Have you ever dealt with a client who just didn’t like any of the homes you suggested, no matter how hard you tried to meet all of his or her requirements? What about someone who kept making offers that were substantially below properties’ listing prices to the point of being unrealistic? Or how about clients who take two or more days to respond to calls, emails or text messages? Every real estate agent encounters at least one challenging client in their real estate careers. So how can you best approach these types of situations?
How to Deal with Challenging Clients
- Stay calm. Even if the client comes across as angry or overly assertive, remain calm and refrain from speaking too loudly. Use neutral body language, listen actively to the client and address his or her concerns one by one.
- Find out why the client is challenging or picky. There may be a very good reason behind his or her behavior. For example, perhaps someone who agonizes over every detail in a contract has had a bad experience with a previous transaction, or maybe someone who wants very specific features in a home has a family member with a health condition that needs to be taken into account. Whatever the reason, it’s often easier to work with a client once you understand the reason why he or she is so difficult because you’ll be able to see things from his or her point of view. Plus, you might be able to offer alternative solutions, as well.
- Do a lot of groundwork before suggesting homes. Once you have all of the client’s requirements on paper, spend a lot of time researching homes that are the best match before presenting any of them to the client. Leave out any that don’t completely match his or her needs, as those are likely to meet disapproval right away.
- Keep track of features the client likes. As you show the client homes, make notes about what he or she does and doesn’t like. It will make it easier to narrow down future options.
- Educate your client on what’s realistic. A client might be very picky or have extreme requirements, but ultimately, the market will dictate what he or she can expect to find. For example, if you have a client who constantly makes lowball offers in a seller’s market, you have to find a way to explain that that strategy is unlikely to work since sellers can easily get much better bids. Oftentimes when clients understand the full picture, they’ll let go of their unrealistic expectations.
- Don’t take it personally. Sometimes, a client comes across as difficult — but it’s simply a culture clash. Other times, a client may be going through a rough time and his or her stress might be carrying over to your interaction. Unless you’ve done something to upset the client — in which case you’re best advised to try to make amends — it’s critical to not let his or her attitude affect you.
Working with difficult clients is part of every real estate agent’s job. By knowing how to handle challenging situations, you can still make the most of every opportunity.
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