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How To Avoid Disappointing Your Clients 02/2012

No matter  in which direction you are looking, emotions run high when it comes to real estate.

For many clients, the buying and selling of property goes far beyond the exchange of the product at hand. It comes down to hopes, dreams, and the collection of memories over a lifetime- or the transition from one major life change to another.It is not surprising, given the depth of a fruitful REALTOR®/client relationship, that a rather hefty part of the job description is not about seeking out properties or buyers, but about managing an emotional component of the process- namely disappointment.

The question is, how do you turn a negative into a positive that solidifies the relationship, and sets up for future business? Whether you are dealing with a sale falling through, losing out in a bidding war or another drama, there are many approaches to take, but the best stance is to be proactive to try to avoid disappointment before it happens.

Manage Expectations

Disappointment is a vague sort of concept, but it’s arms can spread out and touch down in many forms.The best way to contain the entity is to neutralize it with open, frequent communication that supports healthy expectations.In addition to relying on your own experience in the market, it is helpful when trying to avoid disappointing clients to back your arguments up with hard data on things like comparable sales, local market and industry information, staging info etc.

You’re not the wedge separating a client and their emotions; you are the voice of reason- a reliable third party with their best interests at heart.

Bidding Wars

In many centers across this country, particularly Toronto and Vancouver, the robust markets set the stage for bidding wars. In a situation that is often all or nothing, there co-exists the opportunity for disaster or dream-making; when stakes are high, emotions often run even higher.In these cases, it is advisable to tell clients to put their best offer out the first time around, obviously- with an eye to securing to purchase.

But the real estate professional must also prepare for possible disappointment.  The best consolation, in this case- is not about sharing platitudes about housing destiny; emotions can be tempered with dollars and cents.  Remind your clients that it is not about what a property costs, but about what they are willing and/or able to pay. And as their REALTOR®, assure them that you will be able to be the matchmaker, eventually, to that end.It is worth reminding clients too, that for some seeking a property is a long term process, particularly in hot markets.

Sale Falling Through

What is that they say about best laid plans? Even when a deal is imminent, there are a number of factors that can pull it off the rails before it is closed.The important thing is to be the calm in your client’s storm, and to be encouraging and reassuring. While your client can know that some things in real estate are left up to chance, in working with you as many of the unknowns as possible are removed.

Disappointment in this case can be softened through education about the process- and in playing out scenarios. Nothing can increase discontent like adding unpleasant surprise to the mix.

Don’t Make Promises you can’t Keep

It may seem obvious, but honesty is the best policy, even if it means telling your client things that they don’t necessarily want to hear.It is easy, in the spirit of encouragement, to make promises surrounding circumstances that are likely beyond your control. Avoid statements like “Your house will sell in a week.” Use your language more carefully, to say things like, "In my experience, homes like yours sell quickly,” or “our goal is to sell your home quickly- and here are the measurable steps I intend to take for that to happen.”

Not only does that involve the client in the process, it defines expectations as well as demonstrating your value as a professional.

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