Dealing with Difficult Clients

by Chicago Agent

Sellers might be upset over what you know is the accurate price they should list their home for; buyers may be dissatisfied with stalled negotiations or blame you for their financing fiascos. Whatever the case, there are difficult clients out there. Instead of getting frustrated, it’s better to be prepared. Here are some tips for how to deal with four types of difficult clients:

Angry Rant Clients
They rant when something upsets them, can be demanding and, at times, seem angry. For example, “How dare you suggest listing my house for that low price. You have no clue what you’re talking about!”

How to deal: Give the aggressive client about a minute to vent, and no more; if you allow the vent to go longer, a verbal attack will only escalate. After a minute-long rant, interrupt and repeat three statements heard in the rant back to the client; three is a magic number because not only will it show you were listening to his concerns, it will also make the client feel heard and show you care.

After this, be assertive yourself. Offer a bottom-line solution that is direct and to the point. Aggressive clients appreciate direct and assertive agents.

The Know-It-Alls
You tell the sellers that their house should be listed at the price you’ve identified, but these clients don’t agree because they know the market better than you. In fact, they know everything — or at least they think they do.

How to deal: Ask a lot of questions about what they say, the more specific, the better; they’ll quickly realize they don’t have facts to back up what they are professing to know. However, be careful not to completely deflate their egos. Citing the sources of the information you tell them is a non-threatening way to assert that you know what you’re talking about.

The Negative Client
Unlike the “yes” man (or woman), this client is negative and pessimistic. They find something wrong with every house they’re shown or any idea you present for selling their house.

How to deal: Ease them out of their negativity with a pro-con list. Ask them to list positives of homes on one side of a sheet of paper and negatives on the other. Ask for the negatives first, since that’s more on their mind. Then, ask them to list a few positives. By asking this negative client to divide positives and negatives on paper, it puts pros and cons in perspective, so their response won’t be all negative. This technique also helps the client verbalize deal-breakers when it comes to his home search.

The “Eh” Client
This client gives you nothing to work with – no feedback at all. Their answer to everything is “I don’t know”…which doesn’t help you much.

How to deal: You’re going to have to pry something out of them. Using the same pro-con idea suggested above, you’ll likely need to guess the pros and cons to figure out how they feel about a house, instead of relying on them verbalizing their feelings to you. For example, by saying, “This home has a duplex floor plan with the kitchen and living room on the upper level. I’m guessing that’s a negative for you, right?” And listen to their response. They’ll be more likely to provide feedback about your guess being right or wrong. Don’t worry about guessing wrong – the aim here is to get them to verbalize what they want and don’t want in a home.

Remember, it’s okay to prescreen clients. If you don’t think you’ll get along or be able to give them what they need, perhaps they’ll be better served by someone else.


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