Based on the title of this article you are more than likely thinking of one or perhaps many “problem” clients you have dealt with over your real estate career. Did you delete these people out of your database altogether, or are they still part of your referral network? I realize deleting them forever seems the easiest thing to do, but I would say to take a step back before taking this action. Ever been in an argument with a friend or family member, and you left the situation thinking the relationship is strained or broken, only to having dinner or drinks with them a few months later and all seems well? The same thing can happen here, except these are people that can help grow your real estate business through their referral network. Here are some ways to take a client who had a not so great experience and turn them into referral sources.
Address the Issues Head-On
I get it, the issues with the transaction may not have been anything you did wrong. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t address the issue head-on with your client. If you were at fault, take responsibility right away. People respect this because owning a mistake shows you are being genuine and upfront. Never cover-up mistakes, because if it becomes a larger issue down the road, your credibility is in trouble. If the issues fall on your clients, also address them but don’t act accusatory. Try to find common ground solutions that keep you both in good standing. This will be super important later.
Set Expectations and Boundaries
Part of having a “problem client” is sometimes they are created by you! Before you get mad at me for saying that, busy Realtors like to promote they are available 24/7 and will do anything for their clients. Well, clients sometimes take full advantage of that and expect you to be at their beck and call at the snap of a finger, and anything less is you not doing your job. From the onset, if you want to avoid creating the problem client, set those boundaries and expectations. Does your outgoing voicemail say you are free till 7 pm then will be returning calls the next day? Is there a day you designate as a “family day?” Outlining, where the end of their expectations and your boundaries begin, will help make things smoother.
Getting Future Referrals
One of the goals in working with clients is to not only do a great job but do it so well, they connect you to more people who need to buy and sell. I would suggest halfway through the transaction to follow up to see if you are meeting expectations and doing as you said you would. Doing this can head off any unknown or unspoken issues at the end of the transaction which hurts your chances at referrals. At the end of the transaction, do this once more and remind them you addressed all issues, were completely transparent, and resolved all issues that ultimately led them to closing. Once they agree to how you handled the transaction, add them to your database and work the relationship for referral business.
In many instances, problem clients and issues can either be resolved or expectations can be set so the problem client is not created. If you have tried everything and all else has failed…fire them. Happy Selling!
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