REALTORS® Guide to Working with Difficult Clients

REALTORS® are presented with many challenges in their everyday life, but few can be as trying as working with a difficult client. Sometimes in can seem like the very people you are working for are trying to frustrate you, even sabotage your efforts to close a sale. When the going gets tough, it’s important to keep a cool head and make sure you know how to stay in control of the situation while making the process as easy as possible for your client.

As you navigate the real estate market you’re likely to run into the occasional difficult client. Each of these clients will have their own quirks and challenges, but they’ll typically fit into a few categories. Understand problems before they arise and have a plan of action in place. Are you familiar with any of these problem clients?

High-Profile Clients


Clients with high social standing or celebrity can be difficult to deal with if they have inflated egos or unrealistic demands. However, it’s more likely that the difficulties come from their desire to keep private matters like buying a home out of the public spotlight. Respect their need for privacy, and be flexible with their demanding schedule. Remember, they’re just people.

High-Maintenance and Time Suck


Some clients want it all, day and night, and that can be a real burden when you’re juggling multiple clients and managing your own personal life. If you have a client that expects too much of your attention it’s important to take charge early. Set strict deadlines and limits for how much time you’ll devote to them, and block off your available hours. Most important, take a serious look at the potential profit weighed against how much time you’re spending. Is it worth it?

Mental Roadblocks


Occasionally you’ll run into a client who isn’t forthcoming about their state-of-mind, or perhaps isn’t fully aware of mental roadblocks to buying or selling a home. Take time up front to get to know your client so you can manage any pitfall early on. Don’t wait too long to get to know your client and be surprised late in the game.

Evaluate the relationship with your client early and often. After you’ve identified a problem, perhaps you’ll find the buyer you hate is just misunderstood. Or maybe it’s worse and you have to sever ties with your client. Mitigate any unnecessary damage to you or your client’s psyche and you’ll stand a much better chance of closing the deal.

Do you have experience working with difficult clients? How did you work through the problems to get the job done? Or did you have to break up?

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