Working as an estate agent in a modern, digitally-connected world can be tricky. Reality television shows and online D.I.Y articles set unrealistic expectations, creating a plethora of potential buyers with their own set of needs and wants. In reality, finding the right property, along with conveying and completing the sale, is complicated. It often requires patience and negotiation ‒ skills that some clients may not possess.
The following skills will help you to manage difficult clients with respect and dignity without sacrificing your chance at a signed exchange contract.
Listening is the most important skill an estate agent can learn. When a potential buyer is upset about a property or a process, let them speak. Often the real issue will surface once they’ve had a chance to get it all out. You may find that they aren’t necessarily upset about the color of the tile floors or the size of a bedroom, but instead are concerned about cost or maintenance.
Allow your client to say what they need to say, and then repeat it back to them to show them that you understand. Ask questions to determine the root of the problem, and adjust your plan accordingly.
Educating your clients is imperative when it comes to maintaining realistic expectations. They need to know about your process. Take the time to explain your methods and tactics, and outline your expectations clearly and concisely. Don’t be afraid to discuss sticky subjects like timelines, pre-approvals, and impractical wishlists. The more information you can give a client upfront, the better they will understand any potential snags you encounter along the way.
Set the expectation of transparency early. Let your clients know that you will be completely upfront and honest with them, but expect the same in return. Doing so will help to avoid miscommunications and petty back-and-forths as you embark on your search for the perfect home.
It may seem a bit elementary, but it is often beneficial to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Are they excited to purchase their first home? Nervous because they don’t understand the process? Stressed because their let is up soon? All of these emotions play a huge factor in your success. Understanding what your client is feeling and where they are coming from impacts the way you interact with them.
Think about how you’d like to be treated if you were in their situation. Acknowledge the client’s feelings and react appropriately. Show excitement when your clients do, quell fears when they rear up and reassure when necessary.
Using these skills can alleviate unrest in the client/estate agent relationship. They foster a healthy relationship built on trust and transparency, which increases their comfortability when it comes time to purchase.