As somebody who has been in the real estate industry for years, I would be lying if I said that being an agent was an easy ride. Having non-negotiable clients often comes with the territory, which means you have to stay sharp, knowledgeable and be a constant source of reassurance.
Some clients will challenge every suggestion you make, but it’s your responsibility to represent your brand and profession — this means maintaining composure and delivering the best advice and information available. Here are five ways to deal with difficult clients.
If you have an indecisive of non-negotiable client, then one of the most valuable things you can do is listen to them.
No better opportunity will arise for you to take note of their wants and needs and dispel any negativity. This approach completely covers your back and prevents your client from becoming unsatisfied with your efforts.
The key approach is to let the client talk until they have finished — this allows them to get all of their initial concerns and queries off their chest, while feeling listened to and in good hands.
It also allows you, as the real estate agent, to see if any of their concerns are legitimate. More often than not, their concerns easily solved, but giving the client an opportunity to voice them and dispel them is a vital part of the process.
Once this step is completed, then the real work can commence!
If you stick to this method, then you will prevent yourself from any unnecessarily uncomfortable or hostile situations throughout the rest of the process. Remember the client is always right.
Pre-screen for clashes
This is such a brilliant way of preventing any clashes throughout the buying-selling process.
Before any real work begins, during the “listening” stage, be sure to ask high value questions. This will allow you to get a clear understanding of their individual wants, needs and non-negotiables.
This will not only make you have a much better understanding, but it will also give you the opportunity to see what they are like as people. If you can identify personality traits that could cause problems or friction along the way, then you can also plan on how to avoid these clashes.
Gain as much insight and knowledge about the person you’re going to be working with as possible.
As a real estate professional, it’s imperative to be proactive rather than reactive. It’s our responsibility to make sure that we are educated with the most updated practices, methods and housing market trends to impart our wisdom onto our clients.
Once clients have a clearer understanding of the market, they have a more defined appreciation of the hard work and effort put into the process by the agent.
If clients have a better understanding of the depths of your knowledge, then they will be more inclined to take your decision on board, which will make the process a more enjoyable and smooth experience.
There are so many factors that could prevent a purchase from being categorized as “move-in ready.”
Whether this is because the drains need cleaning or the bath tub is a little bit worse-for-wear, as an expert, this can be a great way of showing understanding, versatility and having the solution to the problem.
Have a contractor’s details on hand, and partake in all of the hand-holding and attentive listening that your client may require.
Always try to put yourself in your client’s shoes, and try to envision what would make yourself feel better at any given point in the transaction. This will make you a more credible and understanding professional (and could even lead to friend and family referrals).
Often, when we clash with our client and cannot find a connection, it’s because we are trying to make them see things our way.
This is an easy habit to fall into, but it will also be the cause of many client disagreements and will essentially make your work life much more difficult than need be.
Instead of being stubborn, it’s beneficial to take a step back and place yourself in the same situation, how would you behave? What would your expectations be?
Following these simple steps could make your life as a real estate professional so much easier. Difficult clients come with the territory, but it’s important to understand why they are being difficult and have the resources and understanding to provide a solution.
Alice Porter is a writer and real estate specialist at Roger Hannah in Manchester. Connect with her on Linkedin