Emotions can run high during real estate transactions, and overcoming difficult real estate client relationships takes finesse. Do some of your clients drive you crazy? Do you find yourself dealing with increasingly impossible-to-please, nagging, negative, or arrogant clients who are frustrating to work with? Sellers may be angry about falling home prices. Buyers may be unsatisfied with the negotiations process. Others may blame you for their financial shortfalls. In today’s market, numerous sellers and buyers may be unhappy with a transaction, putting you in the middle.
Difficult real estate clients come in five categories. Read about each category below, and get advice on how to resolve conflicts with each specific type of real estate client.
The rant-and-rave client
These clients are pushy and loud because they are angry. They demand immediate action. For example, “Are you crazy? How can you suggest listing my house at such a low price?”
How do you handle a rant-and-rave client? Give them a minute to rant and rave. One minute is enough time to let off steam before beginning to cool down. After one minute, interrupt the client by name and summarize the rant, showing you listened, and give reassurances that you are on the same side. For example, “Helen, I hear you. Both of us care about getting the most for your home.” Then, discuss the main rants with the client.
Offer your best solutions on their main points. Many troubled clients appreciate assertiveness with confidence that you can help solve their problems.
The arrogant real estate client
These clients think they know it all. They possess big egos. Suggest a listing price, and they will let you know what the price should be.
How do you handle an arrogant real estate client? Question their claims. Backing up their unfounded assertions takes the wind out of their sails. You do not have to be aggressive or confrontational. Just show curiosity and ask specific questions about their most outrageous allegations. Eventually, they will realize they may not know so much about what they are saying.
Beware of crushing or threatening their egos. Do not embarrass them. Make your point in a non-threatening manner, such as referring to documents as evidence. For example, “Have you read this article?”
The negative real estate client
These are pessimistic and discouraging real estate clients. They will find something wrong with everything you show them, or with your recommendations on how to sell their house.
How do you handle negative real estate clients? Get them out of their negative attitude. Draw a vertical line on a sheet of paper and ask them to list the negatives on one side and the positives on the other about the home they just viewed. Do the negatives first since that is what’s on their mind. When completed, focus on the positives.
Letting them vent their negatives first allows you to refocus them on the positives. This list will also help when negotiating with an unreasonable seller regarding what the buyer does not like about the house as written by the buyer.
The people pleaser
These clients are keen to always agree but slow to deliver. They are always saying “Yes.” People pleasing tendencies get in the way of giving you honest feedback, which obstructs moving forward with a purchase.
How do you handle people pleasers? Encourage them to provide negative feedback, assuring them it will not jeopardize your relationship. For example, “Mr. & Mrs. Buyer, it’s alright to tell me if none of these homes works for you.” Getting them accustomed to being open and honest with you may result in a client for life.
These clients will not tell you much and provide no feedback. Their first response to your questions will usually be “I don’t know.”
How do you handle do-nothings? Guess how they may feel after a viewing and try to pry a response by offering statements. Such as, “Do you feel the master bedroom is large enough?” Use the positives/negatives list suggested above. Guess the pros and cons for the list instead of relying on them to tell you. For example, “I am guessing that the open kitchen is a positive for you, right?” You have a better chance of receiving feedback using this approach. Don’t worry about guessing wrong, because the purpose of asking is to encourage them to open up in response.
Overcoming difficult real estate client relationships takes listening and responding in positive ways. Master these skills in order to overcome the negatives while focusing on the positives to build lasting relationships.
Ready to start your real estate career? Find out what it takes to get your real estate license in our quick video below.
About the author
Steven Rich, MBA has over three years of experience as a successful real estate agent. He was awarded the Top Condo Salesperson for two of those years by his real estate company. Steven has served as Associate Editor for a real estate magazine and is the author of a 104-page e-book on How to Buy, Develop, Lease, and Sell Real Estate.