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How to Deal with Difficult Clients

May 23 2017

Wouldn’t it be nice if all your clients were happy, patient, and understanding? Unfortunately, for many that isn’t always the situation. As a real estate professional, you’ve walked through the doors into the service industry—you work closely with clients on a personal and emotional level. Dealing with different personalities and emotions can lead to some tense and stressful interactions with clients.

Difficult clients are part of business, but with a few tips, you can turn adversity into profit.

Shhhh... Listen

Listening is imperative to any form of communication and is an important starting point when dealing with clients. Many situations can be avoided completely if you just listen to the client’s needs, wants, and negotiables from the start. A great way to find this information is to pre-screen all clients during an “interview” process. This can be done over the phone or in person. This is your opportunity to ask questions to figure out what the client is looking for as well as to understand the client as a person.

There are times when you need to take a step back and see the situation from the other person’s point of view. By constantly trying to make the client see things your way, you aren’t allowing the client to have a say in the matter and make her feel as though their concerns are not cared for. Think about how you would behave in this situation and give the client a response or solution in a manner you would like to hear/see.

If the client is already agitated and there are signs of difficulty arising, let the client finish stating their concerns. By letting the client talk until they have finished, they feel like they are being heard—that their questions, concerns, and inquiries are being listened to. This will also give you time to assess whether their problems are legitimate and think of ways to solve the issue at hand. If you feel the client is “right” regarding the issue, don’t hesitate to acknowledge them. However, shift the conversation towards the solution rather than focusing on the wrong. Help the client to envision the desired results and the positive steps that will get you both there.

It’s Not What You Say, It’s How You Say It

When a conversation escalates and you can’t figure out why, you might be the cause. When speaking to clients, you need to be aware of how you are expressing yourself. This has to do with the dialogue, terms, and tones being used. Try to match those of the client. For example, if the client is using a more conservative tone and you are using a more confrontational tone, then adjust yours to slightly mirror theirs.

A great way to realize if the client is uncomfortable with the way you are speaking is by looking at their body language. See how they react to what is being said and take notice if a certain word or phrase is causing this reaction. By adjusting your speech, you should see the client feel more comfortable with you and ease the situation.

Education is Key

Did your parents ever say to you “Because I say so?” How did that go over? Sometimes as a busy and seasoned agent, it is easy to come across like that to a client even when you don’t say it. As the professional, it’s vital to have a clear knowledge of the industry and market trends and know how to communicate this knowledge to clients. With a visible understanding of market trends, the client will be more reluctant to disagree with you and be more considerate regarding certain situations. This is particularly helpful when dealing with unrealistic pricing. Until the client is given a better understanding of the situation, this will create dissatisfaction and a negative environment.

Work Towards the Goal

Keep your focus on the client’s end goal. Clients want to see results and feel like they are part of the process. This is a good way to track specifics in the process; if the client ever sways back to a certain issue, you can remind them that the issue was resolved. You can even send copies of the specifics to the client so they have a visual aide to help them understand where they are in their sale.

It’s Not You, It’s Me, or Maybe It’s Us

Personalities have a huge impact on the way people interact with one another and this might be a source of friction in a client relationship. You may feel like you should be able to get along with everyone, but every now and then, a client’s personality might not mix well with yours. This could be a situation when you should talk to the client and refer them to a friend or a different member of your team who could provide them with better service.

As a professional, there might come a time when all else has failed and it’s time to say goodbye to the client. The negativity of working with this client outweighs the possible revenue and it may be better to cut your losses. Then the time you would have spent on incompatible clients can be spent working with more productive clients.

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