We all keep bumping into them, don’t we? What’s worse is that we can’t always (or rarely, if ever) speak our mind about them. And yet here we are, stuck with a client that simply doesn’t get it. A client who thinks it’s alright to call you whenever they want and give you an earful, or who never thinks a deal is fair and is convinced that everybody, including you, is out to get them.
Don’t lose heart. If you are new to realty brace yourself to come across some real characters. It can even be fun, if you take it all in the right spirit. Good realty is all about management – time management, resource management, and people management. People being the clients you deal with, the other realtors, their clients, your sources, contacts, etc. It’s all about relationships.
A lot goes around by the word of mouth in this field, so it’s more than worth your time polishing your communication and people skills. Your credibility with fellow realtors, glowing reviews from previous clients, and your charming and professional conduct will take you far. You will get into disagreements all the time. But your test as a realtor is how you handle these conflicts.
There are two sides to every story. It may well be that your client is impossible; it may also be the case that you don’t know how to handle them. Read on to find out what to do when you are faced with “difficult” clients and not lose your perspective in the process.
Personality Conflicts are Inevitable
It would be awesome if we could all get along well or if we only had to deal with personalities similar to ours. But that is just wishful thinking and the harsh reality is that everybody is different and disagreements are the norm, not the exception.
Expect conflict. Then you won’t be surprised when things don’t go swimmingly well.
It’s your job to be nice and polite and smile all the time; it isn’t your client’s job to do any of that.
If they meet your polite ‘hi’ with an indifferent ‘yeah, whatever,’ look past that. It isn’t important in the bigger scheme of things.
Keep your attention focused on the deal. Ignore your client’s mood swings. But be alert to your own!
How Exactly is Your Client Bothering You?
To say somebody is getting on your nerves is pretty vague, though it does describe your state of mind well. You are at your wits’ end figuring out how to deal with this person. We get that, but what has the other person done to wind you up so?
Are they rude?
Are they obnoxious?
Do they talk too much?
Do they have strange (and set) ideas about how much their property should sell for?
Do they have impossible demands?
Zone in on the real problem and break it down further. That will shine some light on what you need to do.
Practise Your Persuasive Powers
Selling real estate is salesmanship at its best. It involves strategic communication, understanding the other person’s objections, and bringing out your persuasive best. But none of this happens on its own. It takes work and time.
Selling requires convincing the other person that what you are suggesting is the best course of action. Once you have put their mind at ease, they are more likely to warm up to your arguments. If a client simply does not appear “amenable to reason” to you, chances are you haven’t won their trust yet.
Listening Is as Important as Talking
There’s a time to talk and there’s a time to shut up.
In their zeal to shoot down other people’s objections, many realtors don’t realize that they could be brushing aside perfectly valid concerns of their clients.
A bit of a role play may come in handy here. Put yourself in the shoes of your client and try to see the whole thing from their perspective. Are they selling their very first property? It is natural for them to be edgy if they haven’t been in this market before. Wouldn’t you be, too?
Are there any points they are repeatedly raising? Instead of making it all about you try to understand that they are particularly worried about a few things and want reassurance from you (even if repeatedly) regarding them, which (maybe) they aren’t getting. How about you approached all their concerns as perfectly valid and gave them a patient listen?
Understand That Some People are Just You-Know-What
So you have done everything in your power. You have shown all the patience in the world, given them endless benefit of doubt, drawn boundaries, done your best, and yet the client refuses to see the light.
What do you do?
If it is really bothering you, and walking away would seem like a victory instead of a loss, by all means ditch your client (though it isn’t really our place to tell you what you should be doing in such circumstances).
Another tactic is to go all Zen-like. Meaning you refuse to get sucked into your client’s theatrics. You show up when you need to and exhibit utmost professionalism in your work as a real estate agent but you don’t get drawn into arguments with them. You understand that their “unreasonableness” is their problem, not yours. Let them deal with it.
Become a Student of Human Psychology
By that we don’t mean borrow from your library a bulky 19th century textbook or two (though that is not a bad idea either). We simply mean take a genuine interest in people. Don’t judge them, but observe them — dispassionately. The more you do this the more of an insight you will gain into human nature. This is vital for anybody who is dealing with people all the time. Some realtors are a natural at this, while others need practice. But whoever is better at gauging human motives and understanding the underlying emotions behind their clients’ words and behavior, holds an edge over other realtors. Making new relationships and taking old ones forward is vital towards gaining success in realty.