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Best of 2016: What to Do When Your Buyer Leaves You for Another Agent

December 16 2016

We're continuing an annual tradition of counting down our top 10 articles of the year. The following article was originally published back in March and is #7 in our countdown. See #8 here.

fingers crossed disloyalHave you ever experienced a "cheating" client? Plenty of agents have. Maybe it happened when your buyer went to an open house and decided to buy with the listing agent. Or maybe the buyer decided to close with a friend after weeks of you chauffeuring them to showings.

Whatever the case–and no matter how long you've worked in real estate–it still hurts to lose a client like this. There are a few things you can do to prevent this from happening again, but here are some tips on what to do right now:

  • Don't waste energy on angry emails. We get it. You feel betrayed. It's hard to know why the buyer acted as they did. It's very possible that they simply don't understand how agents are compensated and that you just wasted time (read: money) on them that could have been better spent with another client. Regardless of the reason, energy expended in anger on a disloyal client is not worth it.
  • Keep calm and be professional. If you do decide to reach out, congratulate them on their new home. Pitch your message as a service check and ask if there was something you could have done or communicated better to have closed the deal. Politely explain that you are disappointed that they went with someone else.
  • Ask for a referral. It's very possible that your former client will be embarrassed when they finally understand how they wasted your time (assuming they didn't already know). If this is the case, they may be more than willing to refer friends and family to you to "make up" for your lost time and commission.
  • Remove them from your database. If you find you can't move past the incident, deleting the client's contact info can be a cathartic experience. Use that moment to put the experience behind you and move on!

So how can you prevent something like this from happening again? Here are a few ideas:

  • Concentrate on securing listings, rather than working with mostly buyers.
  • Only work with a written buyer's agreement. If they won't sign a buyer representation contract after a couple weeks of building trust, their true colors may be showing. This may be a red flag that indicates that they may be the type of client to stray. Move on if they won't sign.
  • Remind your clients how you're working for them. In addition to new listings that may be of interest, periodically send your clients a list of homes you've shown them. Remind them of any features they may have liked, and suggest other homes with similar characteristics.

Have you ever had a buyer who left you for another agent? How did you react and what steps did you take to prevent it from happening again? Let us know in the comments below!