The agent-client relationship is often viewed as one way where agents work for the clients. The reality is, there are really two workings that need to happen to make a transaction a success. The agent must “work”— help close the deal—for the client. In addition, the client must “work”— be worth the time invested— for the agent.
If you’re in business for the long haul, you know that the deals you work today can dictate and shape the future of your business. Be wary of these eight clients who may be costing you more than you’ll earn:
1. The Odd Ball
Whether you know it or not, you have a niche. There is a common thread, cultural trend, or experience all of your past clients share. That’s your niche.
There are some agents who end up repeatedly working with first-timers. Others’ networks lead them to specializing helping divorcees build a new life. No matter the niche it is important to know it and be on the look out for clients who are drastically different than those you are used to serving.
No, you should never flat out reject a new client or area of business, but be mindful of those that don’t fit into the rhythm and schedule that’s generating success for you. Catering to the odd ball in your client-pool can hurt your ROI and your sanity if you’re not careful.
2. The Baffler—The Clients You Don’t Understand
In the same way that there are “odd ball” or “out-of-niche” clientele, there are those you just can’t quite connect with. If you find yourself baffled by someone’s feedback, needs, or work style, don’t be afraid to refer them. In the end, a referral feel is worth a lot more than a negative review or hit to your reputation.
3. The Lemmings
If your client pool starts to look like lemmings, you could be in trouble. Be on the watch for too many clients that are all the same. While you should have a niche, there should be diversity built in. For example, helping single moms could be a great niche. A way to make sure your niche has diversity within, try to work with both buyer and seller single moms or those in different price ranges.
That way you can specialize while creating new opportunities to expand your network and brand.
4. The Clock Killer—The Time Drain
Your time is money. Consequently, how you spend your time should match the payoff. It’s an ugly thing to say, but you only have a limited amount of time in the day, month, or year. That may sometimes mean letting go of the clients you know are never going to close and just want to waste time.
To spot these clients early, have them fill out a seller survey or sit down and have a buyer interview. Vague answers and extreme reluctance to commit can signal someone who really hasn’t thought the transaction through and will eventually just be a drain on your time.
5. The Un-Realist
The short version, clients with champagne dreams and 7Up budgets can be dangerous. You can work months and months for them and then find out their views on pricing, concessions, and inventory will ultimately keep them from closing.
Before you fire the unrealist, try to help them from the start. If they are an “unrealist” seller, come up with what real estate expert Michael Corbett calls an “offer analysis plan.” When working with “unrealist” buyers, developing a Google Doc where you take notes as you show can be helpful in framing how they see the market.
6. The Nutty Professor
Beware of the amateur real estate experts who feel like they have a thing to “teach” you. If you have a client who chronically forgets that they hired you for your expertise, you may want to consider washing your hands of them. Before you let them go make sure that you’ve used data from places like Trulia Local, the Trulia Price-Rent Monitor, and others to help them see the reality of the market. If that doesn’t work, set a plan and benchmark for deciding when to move on.
7. The Fencer
A real estate purchase or sale is a big decision, but ultimately it’s a decision. If you’re 10 months in and your “client” is still on the fence, consider sending them on their way to firm up their outlook. There’s no need to tour, show, or go through the hassle of generating deals that ultimately won’t close.
8. The One You Don’t Really Want
Let’s face it, just as clients have a choice, so do you. If you have 10 sellers lined up whose homes aren’t moving, there’s no harm in turning down the 11th. Budget yourself to provide great service with a high return on investment. That means there may some deals that you have to turn away to protect your reputation, bottom line, and ultimately the future of your business.
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