5 Tips for Real Estate Agents to Handle Difficult Clients
#1 Pre-Screen for Difficult Clients
The most effective way to deal with strenuous clients is to not take them on in the first place. Agents find it productive to interview or meet in person with every prospective client prior to working with them. Conducting a pre-screening meeting is one of the best tips for real estate agents as it’ll prevent conflict throughout the buying/selling process. Not only is this a great way to clearly understand your client’s wants and needs, but you’ll get a sense of what type of client you’ll be working with. During the interview, be aware to any notions of a difficult client that is not worth the time and/or stress. A few leads or prospects will have loopy expectations, some are not serious or even ready to buy or sell, and others demand you to devote 100% of your time only to them. As mentioned, these traits could cause tension or problems along the way, so make sure to use your skills to identify them quickly.
Other tips for real estate agents during pre-screening are to 1) explain to potential clients what you need from them to do your job effectively and 2) ask about their objectives, challenges, situation, and expectations. Doing so is important to determine if their needs are in line with yours and that you’re the right agent for them. Furthermore, this ensures that both of you are on the same page and, if not, you can withdraw and save yourself from dealing with a difficult client.
#2 Listen Closely While They’re Talking
Let your clients speak until they’re finished. Why? Firstly, this allows them to get their concerns or questions off their chest and feel that their troubles are being taken into account. Secondly, this also authorizes you to check if some of their concerns are in fact legitimate. Yes, some difficult clients are unreasonable at times. However, more often than not, clients either don’t know what they want or how to communicate it. By hearing them out, there’s a possibility that you’ll find that they’re misunderstanding a concept or that their concerns can be easily solved. For example, a client said he wants his future home to have “plenty of space.” This could refer to an open floor-plan rather than a lot of square footage. So by listening carefully to your clients, you can take note and help them better understand their own needs. This is one of the most important tips for real estate agents as it’ll 1) prevent you from any uncomfortable situation throughout the rest of the process and 2) prevent the client from becoming unsatisfied with your efforts.
#3 Educate Them Early
A few real estate clients are demanding or negative simply because they don’t understand the industry. First-time buyers and sellers, specifically, don’t know the entire process of buying and selling. Thus, our next tips for real estate agents are to address this problem and educate your clients. Instead of being defensive and losing a deal over a difficult client, discuss to them the current housing market in shirt, simple terms. Also, tell them at each stage what you’ll be doing to serve them. Additionally, many buyers and sellers look up statistics and see what other homes are selling for on different real estate websites. They do so because they want to feel secure and confident in their decision since real estate is usually the biggest investment they’ll ever face. Rather than saying “It’s a good time to buy,” a great real estate agent will take this data, translate it, and provides useful insights. All of this will not only give your client a clearer understanding of the real estate market. It’ll also provide proof of your knowledge and enhance your image as a successful real estate agent, leading to more trust. Thus, your clients will be more inclined to take your suggestions and make more confident decisions.
#4 Get Ready for Emotions
Emotions and tension can run high during real estate transactions, especially for non-investor clients. Buyers are looking for the perfect house to raise a family in, while sellers are choosing to leave the place they call home. You can expect there to be many emotional ups and downs, which is why some clients have problems making decisions or procrastinate. Therefore, instead of being stubborn, prepare yourself (and your client) for these emotional phases. A little empathy can go a long way – put yourself in their shoes and try to see things from their perspective. Here are some additional tips for real estate agents dealing with emotional clients:
- Stay calm and professional
- Avoid arguing
- Listen and acknowledge the problem
- Offer to fix the problem
- Identify the reason behind the client’s behavior
#5 Stay Calm and Decisive
Empathy can go a long way, but a good real estate agent needs to set boundaries. You are the professional in every real estate transaction, so make sure your client understands what services you provide and what you will and won’t do. It’s good to lay down the framework and realistic expectations at the beginning of the relationship – preferably during the pre-screening interview – and remember to remain calm while doing so. This will prevent on-problems from occurring later on. Other tips for real estate agents in this regard include repeatedly asking for questions or concerns and preparing your clients for the worst possible outcome as well as some challenges and how to tackle them. In addition, make sure they understand how long each step in the process will take and what is required from them to complete it successfully. Some things that you need to set include:
- The preferred method of communication
- Preferred reports, feedback, or previewing of homes
- Necessary documents
- Services you provide
- Client’s obligations