It’s Okay to Say “No” and Set Boundaries with a Real Estate Client
While it’s important for real estate agents to take a client-first approach; it’s easy to fall into the trap of people-pleasing. Sometimes you just need to say “no” and establish some boundaries. Here are five scenarios where taking a hard pass makes sense to protect yourself and your business.
A client has unrealistic expectations. While agents should always do their best to satisfy their clients’ needs, sometimes, it’s just not possible. Some people expect too much, even when you have clearly explained why something cannot be done. It’s not uncommon for sellers to overvalue their homes. Sometimes, they won’t listen to reason, even when an agent has presented compelling market data which demonstrates that they will need to lower their asking price. If a buyer or seller expects you to work miracles, consider walking away to focus on more realistic clients.
The client is demanding, abrasive or rude. Ideally, a client should view a real estate professional as an expert or partner who can streamline the buying or selling process. Sometimes, however, clients view agents as employees who should put up with anything in exchange for a paycheck. If the client is especially demanding or rude to you, you can expect them to be the same way with escrow officers, staging experts and anyone else they interact with. This poor behavior can reflect badly on you and compromise your reputation in the long run. While it can be difficult for agents to pass up opportunities, it’s typically better to part ways with rude and abrasive clients who never seem to be satisfied.
A client refuses to accept your advice. As a real estate expert, you should be in charge of the buying and selling process. While it’s perfectly fine to entertain ideas from clients, you shouldn’t feel compelled to say yes just to keep them happy. Sometimes clients refuse to take advice about staging, repairs, upgrades and listing prices. If a client insists on doing things that make your job harder, gently explain your side of things. If your words don’t seem to resonate, consider whether your time might be better spent working with more flexible clients who won’t impede your success.
The client wants to cut corners. If you work in real estate long enough, you will run into plenty of sellers and buyers who want to cut corners. They may want you to ignore earthquake studies and building permits. They may ask you to cut your commission or even insist that you do something that jeopardizes your reputation and license. If you violate regulations or do something illegal, you could find yourself out of a job. You could even end up vulnerable to civil penalties if your actions are viewed as willfully misleading. Protect your reputation and your license by walking away from clients that want to take illegal or immoral shortcuts.
You can’t close the deal. Some customers will lead you on and on without ever making a decision to buy or sell. This can waste valuable time and keep you from taking advantage of other opportunities. It can be difficult for agents to know when to draw the line. If you suspect you are dealing with an especially indecisive or reticent client, it’s perfectly fine to tell them to contact you when they are ready. It may seem hard at first, but by letting the client go, you can focus your energy on productive relationships that are more likely to yield the results you are looking for.
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