We've all had those clients. The buyers who can't seem to make up their minds about what they're looking for. The sellers who refuse to take even a penny below asking price, and seem offended by any offers. So how do we deal with these customers effectively and politely, to ensure that everyone is happy by the end of the transaction?
First and foremost, realize that everyone has a unique personality, and people don't always "gel" right away. Sit your potential clients down and have a casual discussion before taking the first steps in listing or showing properties. We all want to keep every client we get, but sometimes, if you can see right away that your personalities are not going to mesh, it may be best for everyone to politely refer that customer to another agent you believe will be able to meet their needs. However, you don't have to be good friends with a customer to have a good working relationship! Learn you limitations, and decide in advance what you are willing and able to work with, and what is a deal breaker. A customer who is extremely chatty, or who thinks that they know everything about the market in your area after doing a few Google searches may still be someone you can help out, even if you have to deal with some minor annoyance!
It also helps to get as clear and concise a picture as possible of what your potential client is looking for in an agent. Ask them what their expectations of you are. Does a seller want you to handle the whole process start to finish, and only call if absolutely necessary? Or are they the type of person who prefers to get a phone call to let them know about every showing and how it went? Does the buyer want an agent who will show them every single home that fits their broad criteria, or would they prefer to only see a few homes that meet their specifications exactly? Knowing these things in advance can streamline the process and prevent any displeasure or resentment from both sides!
Have a conversation about how the buying or selling process will realistically proceed. Many of these customers have never bought or sold property before, and their knowledge of the process may be limited to what they've seen on HGTV! Let your buyers know that while price is often open for negotiation, it's unrealistic to offer $50,000 less than the asking price and expect a favorable response. Inform your sellers about the market trends in their particular area, and let them know that just because the house down the street sold in 10 days, that doesn't necessarily mean their home will do the same!
If conflict does arise, always keep a level head and a professional attitude. Many times it's not you the customer is upset with, it's the stressful process of real estate. Take the time to listen to their complaints, and assure them that you are here to help in any way you can. Sometimes it can help to ask the customer to pause for just a moment while you get a pen and paper to take down their grievances. This gives a break in the conversation, giving the customer a chance to collect their thoughts, and also gives them the impression that you truly care about each and every thing they have to say, and will do everything in your power to come up with a solution for them.
Always remember that our business can be stressful, and not everyone is at their best under pressure. Keep a cool head, use the age old "smile-and-nod" technique, and you're sure to walk away with happy, grateful clients!