If you’re a real estate agent, you’re a problem solver. Every transaction is different and few are perfect. You handle property transactions, but you also handle the emotions, dreams, disappointments, and mentalities of clients and customers. You’ll counsel several challenging clients over the course of your career. Experience from dozens of transactions will give you the tools to handle common issues.
1. Market and Location
You can suggest upgrades, curb appeal improvements, and staging tips, but you can’t change where the property is located. The local trends and situations will determine if it’s a buyers’ market or a sellers’ market, which influences your marketing and negotiation strategies. Alabama house prices have been steadily increasing the last few years. Some areas are strong, but other markets may be negatively affected by plant closings, stagnating growth, and a shortage of large employers.
Before each listing presentation and throughout the listing, research markets and trends to identify changes in the market. If location is a problem, emphasize the unique property features and focus on attractive sub-neighborhoods. Consider redesigning and refocusing advertising materials and tactics if good offers aren’t coming in.
2. Emotional Clients
A real estate transaction is a stressful, emotional process involving large amounts of money and big decisions. Agents commonly encounter a range of reactions and emotions. You can be objective, but buyers and sellers are dealing with their home.
Some people get upset at their lack of control of the process, and some may get loud and demanding. Pessimists have a talent for finding something wrong with everything. Others overreact to every problem. Sellers may think they know the real estate market better than you and insist on over pricing their houses. Buyers often have unrealistic expectations of how much house they can afford.
To successfully manage emotional clients, remember to:
- Explain the process in the first interview
- Identify their preferred methods of communication
- Promptly respond to questions
- Clearly communicate throughout the transaction
- Always be on time
3. Indecisive Clients
Some clients are indecisive, often saying, “I don’t know” and little else. They won’t give you much feedback, impressions, and comments, making your job harder. You may have to pry opinions out of them. Some people are afraid to commit to an opinion or decision, concerned about making the wrong choice. Often, people pleasers are overly agreeable and loathe to say something negative.
Maintain an approachable attitude and foster an environment that’s safe for them to express negative opinions. A pro/con list can be helpful.
Handling Client Challenges
Here are some guidelines for handling client problems:
- In the initial interview, look for signs of a difficult client. Are they unrealistic, overly demanding, or not serious? Inquire about their objectives, challenges, situation, and expectations.
- Educate clients and clear up common misconceptions. Explain the process and the agent-client relationship.
- Be proactive early to prevent problems later. Remember to set boundaries and outline the services you provide and what you will and won’t do.
- Learn by remaining quiet and listening. Then ask clarifying questions and restate their statements to ensure you understand what they mean.
- Be clear and set realistic expectations. Many consumers get misconceptions about agents from T.V. Establish the parameters early in the process to head off issues later.
Prepare your clients for bad outcomes, typical challenges, and the usual emotions of a sale. When handling an upset client or customer, remember to:
- Listen and acknowledge the problem
- Remain calm and professional
- Avoid arguing
- Offer to fix the problem
- Identify why the person is behaving in this manner
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