When a real estate client defects, it might not be something you are doing to drive them away. Some people simply change their minds about selling or buying. Others feel they can find a better match with another broker. There could be any number of reasons why the client decides to look elsewhere. However, you must consider, at least a little, that something you did along the way caused the client to walk away.
If you’ve lost customers and you’re baffled as to why, you may be guilty of the following:
1. Making yourself unavailable
The worst thing you can do is stop communicating or fail to communicate enough with your clients. From day one, learn their expectations for how often you should communicate and follow through if you agree to their terms. If you are working with sellers, regularly update them, and provide feedback from showings. If you are working with buyers, send them properties as soon as they hit the market, and check in to give them status updates. For all clients, follow up with any call, email, or text as soon as possible—and definitely within 24 hours.
2. Failing to do your research
Show up to a property without knowing a thing about it, and clients may not let you show them another one. Research the listings online, call the listing broker, visit the property first, and find out as much as you possibly can before you take a client to a showing.
3. Losing your cool in high-pressure situations
You must be the one to smooth the bumps in the road and calm your customers during stressful situations. Issues will pop up, deals will fall through, and clients will become emotional. You need to be able to handle it all with a calmness and a positive attitude.
4. Marketing a property poorly—or not enough
You should be marketing each property like crazy, across all available channels, but any old marketing is not sufficient. If you post low-quality pictures or write poor marketing copy, and you don’t do enough to highlight the features or value of a property, you aren’t doing your job.
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5. Showing buyers homes above their budget
If buyers aren’t qualified to cover the asking price, you have no business showing them a property. It’s a tease, and it tells clients that you either aren’t listening to them—or that you couldn’t care less about their needs. That said, even if a person is qualified for a higher loan amount, but has set a lower budget, don’t stray beyond that and show them higher-priced properties, just because they have the loan to cover it. Respect their decision to keep the loan amount—and subsequent mortgage payments—lower.
6. Sending clients to open houses—without you
Maybe you are trying to save time or multi-task, but if you ask clients to go check out properties on their own—and essentially do your legwork—that is just bad customer service. You might as well ask them to find new representation.
7. Overpricing a property
You may think clients are going to walk if you don’t set the price as high as they want, and that is possible. However, you’re more likely to lose their business if you set the price too high, and it stays on the market for months before they have to drop the price anyway. Be honest with people, and if they choose to find another broker because you won’t overprice the listing, at least you keep your integrity intact.
8. Refusing to negotiate at all
Top brokers go out of their way to ensure that their clients receive the best terms and conditions. All contracts are negotiable, and you should be willing to counteroffer price, ask for adjustments to contingency dates or closing times, and make other requests to ensure a favorable result for your clients—even if it means delaying how long it takes for you to receive your commission check.
Have you made any of these mistakes? If so, what did you do to save the relationship and keep the client from walking?
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