Ever have one of those days when you can’t take one more request from your needy client, can’t show them house number 110, can’t look at another midnight text, or deal with their rude and abusive behavior? Might be time to fire your client. That’s right. Fire them. Give ‘em the boot. Send them on their way. You get it.
How does one go about firing a real estate client? It isn’t an easy thing to do, but it must be done in some cases. Let’s take a look a some examples of clients that are termination-worthy and what to do to prepare for the big goodbye.
“Sally the Searcher”: Sally has been looking at houses with you for nearly a year and has looked at over 100 homes. She always has an excuse as to why a house doesn’t fit her needs. In the beginning, she refused to get pre-approved for a mortgage and now you realize that may have been the first red flag.
“Rude Rudy”: Rudy started out as a polite client with few demands. Now he’s rude in front of listing agents as he views their listings. He wanted to find a house for his mother but nothing seemed to be a good fit. Now he tells you, you don’t know what you’re doing, you don't understand his mother's needs and you aren’t a true professional.
“Hi. My name is Ian and I’m seeing other agents”: Ian refused to sign an exclusivity agreement when you agreed to help him find a home. You’ve learned that he is working with 2 other agents and you feel used and played.
“Abby the Verbal Abuser”: Abby gets very upset when you show her homes that do not meet her needs, yet you’ve check all of her criteria boxes. She swears at you, tells you that you aren’t doing your job and has stopped listening to your advice.
“Mark the Micromanager”: After working with Mark for a month, you’ve begun to realize that he analyzes everything you do, wants to know what you’re doing every minute of every day, expects a detailed report on every potential buyer that visits his home and has simply become unreasonable.
I'm sure many of you have dealt with at least one of the example clients listed above. They won't make a commitment, are verbally abusive, try to micromanage you, write low-ball offers, are dishonest, etc. Whatever the reason, working with them is exhausting, a time-waster and you may be missing out on other more lucrative business opportunities.
Before You Fire the Client
- It's likely your broker has experience firing clients, so seek out his/her advice
- Maintain professionalism
- Do it face-to-face
- Consider referring them to another agent vs. leaving them without a backup plan
- Come up with a gracious way to deliver the message
Benefits of Firing a Client
- Opens up opportunities to work with other clients who respect you as a professional
- Can be beneficial to your income if you already have a large Sphere of Influence who buy and sell from you regularly
- You’re going to feel less stressed and have more energy and time for your other clients
Whether you detect a problem with a client early on or it develops over a long period of time, there comes a point when you may have to fire a client. It might not be easy but your professional expertise will be better off applied to a receptive, well-deserving client. Get some advice from your broker and other agents, plan what you're going to say, don't waiver and be kind. Stand up for yourself and get rid of those who aren’t respectful of your time. You can do this!