Because a large part of transactions and negotiations happen online these days, many real estate agents have forgotten how to deal with clients face-to-face. Of course, realtors face their online clients personally after some time, but the fact that agent and client have been talking and possibly negotiating online have already reduced the risk of problems occurring once they meet for a transaction.
Needless to say, dealing with clients is a very important skill in the real estate business. The first meeting between client and realtor can officially make or break a deal or a sale. A real estate agent needs to know how to deal with clients professionally and intelligently, as these are two different things.
As an agent, one should always expect emotions from his or her client-panic, fear, uncertainty, and even joy. Clients are entitled to express their emotions, so an agent has to be ready for this since the realtor's reaction can be a factor in the client's decision later on. This is one of the reasons why an agent has to be good with people. A good agent should know at what point of a discussion certain "emotions" will come up. More often than not, they are the same for everyone, although it may vary for different client profiles.
For instance, clients become agitated when they feel the transaction and every detail being discussed are not what they expected. Clients might become listless when there are many available options for them. Clients might become nervous when they express fear in choosing the wrong property. These are normal reactions, and a good agent knows how to deal with it. Presentation is the key: know how to show certain facts that may not sit well with the client. Know the client's expectations and motivations to see where they are coming from. With these at hand, a real estate agent will be more informed when dealing with a client.
Difficult clients are simply a part of the business. Some clients are more challenging than others. For instance, there are the clients who feel they know enough about the business and the industry to actually negate what the agent is saying. Then there are buyers who are not totally decided regarding the idea of a purchase. Again, it pays to know the client's profile. For know-it-all clients, realtors should always acknowledge the information they are putting on the table.
However, it is best to put a client in his place respectfully by showing and explaining to him what makes the situation or problem unique, for example local market conditions that he or she may not have experienced before. This is especially important if the client is dead-set on trying to get discounts by proving his or her agent wrong. The same is true for clients who think agents should do everything for them, running short of actually doing the impossible.
An agent should do everything to satisfy the customer at the proper place and time. And then, an agent should be skilled enough to know when a buyer is serious or simply looking around. This way, the agent won't get caught in the trap of spending valuable time on an uncommitted or unqualified client.
Tess Shepard, Broker
San Diego, California
Phone: (858) 349-3700