Tips on Working With Difficult Clients
Every once in a while, you’ll get a challenging client — one who requires little extra hand-holding or one who has a bit higher expectations than others.
You may even come across some that are rude, disrespectful or aggressive.
How do you handle them? What can you do to keep the peace and keep the transaction on course?
Here are 4 tips for working with difficult clients:
1. Set expectations
Often, client difficulties stem from unmet expectations. Maybe you’re not working fast enough, sending them enough listings, or responding to them quickly enough.
Establishing clear boundaries and expectations from your initial client meeting can prevent these types of challenges. Let the client know from the get-go what your “office” hours, how long they can expect the process to take, what your responsibilities are (and aren’t), and any other obligations you’re juggling (kids, etc.) Don’t over-promise, and make sure they’re absolutely clear on what they can expect from you as their agent.
2. Listen and acknowledge
When challenges do arise, it’s time for a conversation. Why is the client being difficult? What’s driving their frustrations? Listen to their concerns and worries, and acknowledge their importance. Only once you fully understand what’s driving the challenges can you make an effective plan to address them.
3. Keep calm
It can be hard to stay professional when a client is yelling, angry, or getting aggressive, but maintaining a calm and collected manner is critical if you want to keep the deal on track.
Take some deep breaths, and if you want, tell the client you need to step away for a few minutes to gather your thoughts. Often, a little space and reflection time is all that’s needed to manage our emotions.
4. Be confident
There are a lot of “what ifs” in the homebuying (and selling) process, and they can often stress clients out — which leads to anger, aggression, and otherwise rude behavior.
Show them there’s no reason to be worried about those unknowns. Make quick and confident decisions, and make sure to remind your clients that you’ve got their back. You’ve done this many times, you will help them achieve their goals, and you know how to make it happen.
Avoid difficult clients from the start
Your best bet is to screen out difficult clients from the get-go. Set up an initial meeting, and get to know the client, their goals, and setting their expectations. Are they aligned with yours? Are they respectful and courteous? Could you imagine working with them for weeks or even months? If not, you may want to refer them to another agent.