Every now and again you’ll run into a potential client that you should turn down. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.
The 7 clients you should turn down and why
- Clients who can’t keep an appointment – This client is a perpetual time waster and probably isn’t serious about buying or selling anyway. Do yourself and the client a favor and move on to someone who will let you work with them.
- Clients who are rude and obnoxious – You don’t have to put up with abuse. Where you draw the line is up to you, and if you’re a strong personality you may be able to back the client down and demand better treatment. Whether that’s worth it or not depends on if they are serious about their real estate buying and selling.
- Clients who are dishonest – If you discover a client or potential client is being dishonest with you fire them at once. If you don’t you can quickly become snarled in their illegal schemes without even meaning to. If you have to fire a client for being dishonest you may want to involve a lawyer to help you do it completely and thoroughly.
- A client you can’t understand – If you can’t understand a client, perhaps because of language barriers or you’re just not on the same wavelength at all, you can’t really help them. It’s best if you just help them find another agent that can.
- Client who doesn’t fit to your niche – If you mostly sell homes and someone wanders in and wants to buy a donut shop you’re better off helping them find another agent that knows business sales. That doesn’t mean you’re stuck only selling houses but when a client wants you to branch way out of your normal field everyone will be happier if you at least get help.
- A client who is unrealistic – At least once in your real estate career you’ll run into a client who is totally unrealistic. Often this has to do with price – the client is sure he can get a million-dollar property for $100,000, for example. It can however be something else. The client for example is demanding a horse property in a tightly packed suburb is not dealing with reality. Sure, try to educate them but as soon as you’re convinced they are going to deal with the reality of what is, tell them you can’t help them.
- Client you just don’t like – Clients are people and occasionally you’ll run into someone who you just don’t like. Although in theory you can buck up and provide excellent service to a person you don’t like, the truth is, this is unlikely. Unless you can work through and let go of the reasons for the dislike pretty quickly you’re better off letting the client find another agent. You’ll both be happier.
So how do you fire a client?
When you’re thinking about firing a client, remember that you are an independent professional. You’re not obligated to work with anyone who walks in the door.
The easiest way to fire a client is help them find another agent. This is particularly true of when there’s a problem like a language barrier or they want a different kind of real estate in your familiar with.
On the other hand, you don’t necessarily want to pass a bad client off to another agent at least without warning them.
Often, just telling a client you are going to let them go, that you’re not the real estate agent for them, can be the easiest and best way to end a relationship. Chances are they are looking for a way to change agents anyway.
Be particularly careful when you discover a client is dishonest. You certainly don’t want to pass them along and you have to be cautious and make sure your legal basis are covered.