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HousingWire Magazine: December 2021/ January 2022

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Real Estate

Why you should fire your difficult client

Have a nightmare client? It might be time to let them go

Sometimes the best client is the one you never work with. 

It’s a lesson my mentor taught me years ago when I first started out as a real estate agent. At the time, I had no clue what it meant. I even thought he was crazy. Why would you ever not work with a client who wanted to buy or sell with you? That’s business! That’s money! Why would any sane person ever turn that down? 

Dustin-Brohm
Dustin Brohm, Columnist

I’ll tell you why. 

Have you ever had a nightmare client? A buyer or seller who is just unreasonably demanding, undermines every recommendation you make, fights you at every turn and who makes you dread checking your phone whenever a new call comes in? 

You know the ones. They refuse to take your advice and rely on your expertise and experience, even though that’s what they hired you for. Or the ones who are downright nasty, petty and awful.

If you’ve been a real estate agent long enough, you most certainly have had a nightmare client. We all have. And if you’re new to the business, don’t feel left out. Your very own nightmare client is coming!

All it takes is working with one nightmare client before you know deep down in your soul that you don’t ever want another one. Usually, you say, “it wasn’t worth it.” You’re right! You can earn a commission by helping someone that you enjoy helping. So then why the hell would you get yourself stuck in another scenario like that with an impossible client? 

What if I told you that you don’t ever need to work with a nightmare client ever again? That it’s actually a choice you can make. 

See here’s the thing: If you are miserable in the agent-client relationship, you’re not giving them the level of service and energy that they deserve.

Sometimes letting your client go is not just good for you, but it’s good for them. If they treat you horribly or undermine you every chance they get, then they obviously don’t trust you or believe in you. But each client deserves to have an agent who they do believe in, who they do trust.

By releasing a client from their agency relationship with you (if that’s even a thing in your state) you’re getting that negative energy out of your life. You are freeing up your time to work with more great clients. We all only have 24 hours in a day, so choose how you use it, and who you spend it with.

In these situations, it’s better to just fire the client and send them on their merry way.

As an agent, you have an obligation to do what is best for that client. And if you are not able to service their needs to the level that they expect, then isn’t it better to send them on their way to find an agent who’s a better fit?

In some situations, you may even be able to negotiate a referral fee by finding them a better agent for their needs and personality.

Now if it’s one of those clients that are just plain nasty, do the right thing, and don’t even try to refer them to another agent. Why would you put that horrible situation on another agent’s shoulders?

No matter what story you tell them upfront, as soon as they understand why you let the client go, the other agent will end up hating you and resenting you, as they should.

As my very first mentor as a real estate agent taught me, sometimes the best client is the one you never work with. If you’re feeling abused by a client, and they’re obviously not happy or satisfied, then be big enough to sever ties and let them go find someone else.

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