It’s easier said than done, but the most important thing to remember when working with a difficult client is to keep your cool. It can be tempting to scream or argue with a client who is being unreasonable, but doing so will only make the situation worse. Instead, try to remain calm and polite. This will diffuse the situation and make it more likely that you’ll be able to reach a resolution that satisfies both you and the client. Real estate agents certainly stay busy. Each day is fulfilling but demanding, between staging homes for sellers, visiting open houses with buyers, and meeting with clients to determine their real estate needs. Many real estate clients are gracious, considerate individuals looking to make the best decisions for their clients and their families. However, every real estate agent is bound to meet at least one difficult client during their lifetime. Even if you’re a real estate investor who enjoys the benefits of a real estate license, you might come across difficult people from time to time. When you face difficult clients, it’s important that you understand how to best work with them. Use the tips below for more information on the best ways to work with and satisfy difficult clients. It is easier
Types of Difficult Clients
As a real estate agent, you’re likely to encounter many different types of clients. Here are some of the most common types of difficult clients:
- Negative clients adopt a pessimistic attitude and are sometimes prone to turn down your input or suggestions.
- Do-nothing clients are those who often expect you to discern their thoughts or expectations, despite their uncertainty or lack of feedback.
- Rant-and-rave clients dominate conversations with loud, overbearing attitudes and a demand for immediate action.
- Know-it-all clients believe they understand the local real estate market better than you do.
- People-pleasing clients say “yes” to almost anything but are slow to deliver results and answer questions honestly.
- Aggressive clients who believe their own needs should come before yours, and before the needs of any of your other clients.
Clients who are difficult to work with can be a challenge for real estate agents. It’s important to be aware of this and be prepared for any potential problems.
1. Educate Your Clients and Set Expectations
If you want to help your real estate clients, provide them with information on how homes are purchased and what your role as an agent is. If you’re helping a client sell a home, explain the staging, offer, inspection, and closing processes. Taking the time to explain these concepts will help your clients develop realistic expectations and understand your strategies.
2. Stay Calm and You Will Prevail
Although you cannot control how a client will react, you can control your response to their actions. As a real estate agent, it is important to stay calm under even the most difficult circumstances. When working with difficult clients, consider the following methods to help you stay calm:
- Take a five or 10-minute break from your work
- Practice deep breathing
- Listen to gentle music
- Exercise, even if it’s only a short jog or a walk around the neighborhood
- Visualize yourself responding appropriately to the situation
Breathing deeply and taking a pause can help you calm down and think more clearly, even if you can’t physically walk away from a difficult situation.
3. Be Patient
The real estate industry requires agents to be patient during periods of waiting. After you show a home, you’ll need to wait for other agents to call or email with their client’s offers. Even after accepting an offer, you’ll need to remain patient during the home inspection and while the buyers examine the results. Sometimes the legal paperwork can take days or weeks to process. When you’re waiting on a response or expecting an important phone call, it can be easy to grow impatient. If you can manage to remain patient through difficult moments, you’ll have an easier time dealing with difficult clients.For example, you can explain the steps that are taking place during a particular phase of the transaction. You may have explained this in your educational introduction, but repetition is needed, especially for those who are new to buying or selling a home.
4. Active Listening
As a real estate agent, it’s important to listen to your clients, especially when they are voicing difficult concerns. This shows that you care about their thoughts and feelings, and can help prevent miscommunication or mismatched homes/buyers. If you don’t listen to your clients, they may get upset, trust another agent more, and you could lose their business.This is the process of repeating back what you have understood, either verbally or in writing in a follow-up email.
5. Limit Buyer Options
Even something as simple as choosing a home inspector can take days if your client can’t make a choice and stick with it. This can happen when buyers are faced with too many options. To help move the process along, it’s best to limit the options to a minimum. For example, if you’re helping a client choose a home inspector or pre-inspector, offer three reputable options. If your client is deciding on neighborhoods or homes to tour, offer suggestions that meet their price range and room number preferences.
6. Show Empathy
As a real estate agent, it is important to be aware of your clients’ needs as they can change during the home buying process. The ultimate goal should be to help your clients find their dream home, no matter how many attempts it takes. You may encounter situations where your clients are outbid or don’t get the result they wanted. Even if you can’t solve your client’s problems, it is important to show empathy. This can be done by agreeing with their experience or sharing a similar story.
7. Practice Good Communication
If you want to make sure you close the sale, you need to be aware of how you communicate with your clients. This is especially important when you’re dealing with difficult clients. Get to know them before you start the home buying process so you know what makes them excited, nervous, or doubtful. This way, you can communicate with them in a way that will keep them happy. If you don’t listen to your clients, you’re going to have a lot of problems. You could lose the sale and make the client even more difficult to deal with. Make sure you’re always asking questions and getting feedback so you know your communication strategies are working.
8. Pre-Screen Your Clients
You might not notice any signs that a client will be difficult to work with until you’re further into your interactions. At the beginning, every client can come across as affable, amiable, and forgiving. It might not be until after a bid is lost or a sale falls through that you realize your clients become tough to manage. Because of this, you might want to do a screening of clients before deciding to work with them, using information like their situational profile or details about their home. You can do an even better screening if you use a platform that gives you access to data about leads, sales history, tax information, loan balances, and other home details. Some of these platforms also provide situational information, like if the owner is deceased, divorced, retiring, or if they are experiencing financial difficulties.It is easy to contact real estate agents and owners, which can help you find potential clients. You can then do a short interview to see if their needs, priorities and personality are a good match. To serve difficult clients well, it is important to keep up to date with changes in the real estate market. You can learn about these changes by taking free real estate courses. These courses will also help you to find the best clients and make your properties more attractive to buyers.
9. Get Ready for Emotions
As their real estate agent, be prepared to take on the role of counselor and help clients process their emotions. Clients can become emotional during real estate transactions, especially if they are not investors. Buyers may be looking for a family home, while sellers may be choosing to leave their current home. There may be many emotional ups and downs, which is why some clients have trouble making decisions or procrastinating. As their real estate agent, you may need to help clients process their emotions.
You should be prepared for emotional phases instead of being stubborn. 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
10. Be Decisive
Good real estate agents should have empathy, but also need to set boundaries with their clients. You need to be clear about what services you provide and what you will and won’t do. It’s important to establish these expectations at the beginning of the relationship, so that there are no problems later on.
Some other tips that real estate agents can use in order to build trust with their clients include frequently asking for questions or concerns, and preparing them for worst case scenario outcomes as well as some of the challenges that may come up and how to deal with them. 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
The Bottom Line
Even though difficult clients are common in the real estate industry, it’s still important for agents to understand why they are being difficult. By taking a step back from the situation, agents can identify the type of client they are dealing with and react calmly.It’s important for clients to see their agent as an ally instead of an obstacle. By being patient with clients, agents can build lasting relationships with them.