As a real estate agent you encounter so many different people: some great and some – not so much. There are also a few clients who are downright mean. Or even toxic.
Tell-tale signs of a toxic client:
- They take advantage of you.
- They can’t make up their minds.
- They’re volatile
- They are rude to you and your team.
- They’re never satisfied.
- They suck up a disproportionate amount of time.
- They cost you money and/or they don’t make you much money.
If you decide a toxic client is worth keeping, here is an important piece of advice I want you to take to heart and put into action each and every time you end up with a difficult client. This approach also works for a high maintenance client.
Advice to follow to a tee when dealing with a difficult client:
Be proactive and ask your client, “If there is ever a time when I have to break bad news to you, what is the best way to tell you?” Most likely no one has asked them this question before. If they’re at a loss as to what to say, you can make suggestions.
Here are a few examples:
- I can tell you the moment I learn of any bad news or I can wait until the time / day you specify for our interactions.
- My other clients preferred getting unpleasant news from me by email.
- The way I’d share the news with you: I’d state the problem, its implications and possible solutions.
- We'll discuss the situation in a professional manner.
After they tell you their preference, REPEAT those preferences back to them. If they change them, REPEAT back the revised version. To reinforce, send a follow up email spelling out the steps and what you’ve agreed on.
When you’re in a crisis situation, refer to the conversation you’ve had in the beginning of your relationship and then follow the protocol the client has agreed to.
You can thank me for this advice later.
What approach has worked for you when dealing with a difficult client? Share in the comments below.