One of the most discussed concerns agents have about across the industry is finding and converting leads. This makes the idea of actually firing a client once you have one seem completely inconsistent. But sometimes firing a client is not only the best option, it is absolutely necessary.
The following are 4 types of clients you need to cut ties with, and tips on how to break the partnership off in the most professional and graceful manner.
1. Abusive Clients. As a realtor, the amount of people you interact with day in and day out is bound to bring you across all sorts of personality types.
Sure, some clients will be more difficult than others; but don’t mistake acclimating yourself to a client’s personality with putting up with abuse. If a client is verbally abusive or consistently rude, that is a sure sign that it’s time for you to politely tell them that the professional relationship should end.
2. Dishonest Clients. Clients who are dishonest can jeopardize your credibility in the industry and even cost you your license. Lying about flaws with the home you’re helping them sell is one of the most common ways clients have been known to be dishonest.
Sellers will stretch the truth or just downright lie in order to get a property sold. If the issue is noticed by the buyer post-purchase, you and your brokerage could take the fall for it.
If you suspect a client is failing to disclose information about the property, it’s best to inform them of the possible consequences.. If they continue to exaggerate about the home, it’s best to let them go than to threaten your reputation as a realtor.
3. Time Wasting Clients. When it comes down to it, you’re in the real estate business to do one thing – make a living. Time wasters are clients who beat around the bush for an exhausting amount of time with no clear closing in sight.
These clients will make you take them to more than 15 showings over the course of several months and never make a decision. If they’re selling a home, the client will have you overprice their listing and work double as hard to sell a house that simply won’t sell at their asking price. They will bring 5 different relatives to the showings and each will have a different idea of what the buyers should look for in a house. They will have a relative send you Zillow or Trulia listings, that are either not in the market, incorrectly valued, or in contract already.
In all these scenarios, your time, energy and resources are being depleted on a client whose business may never come to fruition. If your time with this client has exceeded the 15-week mark, it may be time to cut your losses with this client.
4. Unrealistic Clients. This type of client goes hand-in-hand with the time-wasting client. As a realtor, your responsibility is to aid the client with your expertise and knowledge of the housing market.
Unfortunately, no matter how much advice you give a client, you can only steer them so much. The ultimate pricing or offer decision is theirs to make.
If your client is expecting you to sell their home at a price that is completely unreasonable and won’t budge no matter how much you or an appraisal expert advise them to, it may be time to tell them another realtor may be a better fit.
After all, you are the expert.
How to Gracefully End the Relationship
You know the old saying – breaking up is hard to do. It’s especially hard if you’re breaking up with someone who would be paying you for a service.
If you deem the client relationship to be taxing, first assess if this behavior can be corrected. Can you talk to the client transparently? Will they take your advice if you do talk to them? If you’ve tried this approach, it’s time to speak with your broker about what can be done. Would it be better if they worked with another agent? If not, what would be the best option to fire them; check Listing Agreement terminology to make sure you are not in breach of contract.
If firing them is the best option, then the best way to do so is by having them come in for a face-to-face meeting where you politely lay out the reasons why finding another realtor for them may be a better course of action. Use facts from your ongoing working relationship to explain why you think the client may be more successful with another agent.
In the short-term, cutting ties with a client may seem like a missed opportunity for a commission check, but the reality is, all of the time you were wasting on this client can be allocated towards clients who will actually be profitable in the end.
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