How To Fire A Client

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Real Estate Marketing Link

Based on the response to my blog about firing a client,  there are often sound reasons for ending a relationship with a client.

Having made the decision to fire a client, the next challenge is how to do it.

The challenge lies in extricating yourself from the relationship...without creating any bed press for yourself.

It's bad enough to lose a client without also losing your investment in building a relationship with the client.

Also remember the cliché that if you please a client, that person might tell some one else.

However, if you annoy a client...that person probable will tell 19 other people. With today's social media, unhappy clients are like to tell a whole lot more tan 19 people.

Here are 5 ways to fire a client.

Customize each to reflect the actual situation that you face.

Just the Facts, Ma'mjust the facts

In ending the relationship, focus on the specific identifiable actions that are causing the problem. Avoid making negative comments about the client's personality.

DO SAY THINGS LIKE: “I have shown you 10 properties that exactly match the criteria you set out, but you were not prepared to put an offer on any of them. Since it appears that I can't help you, perhaps it's time to find another agent “

This explanation focuses on factual, observable and undeniable actions.

DO NOT SAY THINGS LIKE: “You don't know what you want, which makes it impossible to satisfy you.”

Unless the client tells you, you do not know what the client is thinking or feeling. To even suggest that you know what the client is thinking or feeling is insulting.

Accentuate The Positive

To keep the conversation as positive as possible, acknowledge the client's positive characteristics, even if this characteristic caused the problem.

DO SAY THINGS LIKE: "Your tenacity in looking for the perfect home is admirable. Unfortunately my skills are better suited to clients with more flexible approaches to house-hunting.”

Tenacity is often a characteristic to value...acknowledge it.

DO NOT SAY THINGS LIKE: “You are too stubborn...I can't help you.”

As well being insulting to the client, this reflects badly on you.

Provide Options

Continue to show professional leadership by offering an option.

DO SAY THINGS LIKE: “May I have my broker assign this to another agent in our office or would you prefer to find a new agent on your own?”

As well as expediting the ending of the relationship, you might even get a referral fee for your work.

DO NOT SAY THINGS LIKE: “Get yourself a new agent, I'm finished.”

Nobody like to be dumped. And when you dump some one, it invariably comes back to bite you.

open doorLeave The Door Open It's possible that after working with another agent, the client will recognize what great work you did.

This could result in a repeat engagement...with modified behavior...or referrals.

DO SAY THINGS LIKE: “I'm sorry it didn't work out for us, his time...maybe another time it will work better.”

DO NOT SAY THINGS LIKE: “I will never work for your again.”

Never say never...you just never know what might happen.

Don't Badmouth Fired Clients

No one wins when one person publicly criticizes another.

DO SAY THINGS LIKE: “It didn't work out for us.”

DO NOT SAY THINGS LIKE: “He's a jerk...impossible to work with.”

 

There is one final step after firing a client.

That step is to figure out what went wrong...so you can recognize the warning signs and avoid having to fire another client for similar reasons.

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Rainer
7,538
Joseph Harrison
Avalon Properties Group - Brunswick, GA

These are good ways to sugar coat an otherwise difficult scenario.

August 03, 2009 07:07 AM #1
Rainer
52,047
Edward Bachman
EXIT REALTY SOLUTIONS - Kingwood, TX
Your Kingwood TX Realtor

Oh boy, talk about a wordmister!  No doubt that these are more professional methods of handling these difficult situations.  Great advice.

August 03, 2009 07:13 AM #2
Rainmaker
157,200
Eilean Foster
Keller Williams Realty Atlantic Shore - Egg Harbor City, NJ
Real Estate Agent

Larry, I recently had a *face-off* with a seller's children.  They were convinced that I didn't do *something* that would have gotten their mother's home sold.  Know that this house is in an "Adult Community" and the owner does not own the land, and the Community Owners will not sign the document that allows the lender to take possession of the house if the borrower defaults - the house goes to the Community Owners to resell!  Thus, the lender is out the borrowed money!

After listing what I had done to market the house, and produced the history of solds for the past year/past 7 months of the community (ONE sale since December), informing the "children" that in order to purchase, a buyer must have either cash, or be able to finance strictly via a personal loan; I did tell the seller, "If you feel I have not done all that can be done to sell your home, I will draw up the document required to release you from our contract."  Her response, "You have done more than the FIVE agents before you, no I do not want you to draw up the release!"

I did tell the son that staying with his mother was not about my commission; that had been spent long ago on all the marketing I had done!  My staying was only about loyalty to her!

I may have a soft heart, it may be my upbringing about how to treat my elders; but even when the feeling to THROTTLE a client threatens to overwhelm me, I take it as a test of my patience and my proficiency to market myself.

Haven't had to "fire a client" as of yet, but my patience has been tested!  Still working on my proficiency!

August 03, 2009 07:26 AM #3
Ambassador
754,052
Brenda Mullen
RE/MAX Access - Schertz, TX
Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!!

Great advice Larry. 

My husband and I were discussing an issue like this recently.  He was wondering why an agent would get rid of a client.  He knew of one agent who had shown over 30 houses and the agent broke off the relationship so to speak.  I told him that I was surprised the agent lasted that long.  Unless there is something unique about the situation, if my client cannot find what they want with less than 30 homes we need to either go back to the drawing board or the client is not ready to buy. 

Thanks for the post.

 

August 03, 2009 07:26 AM #4
Rainmaker
206,854
Mary Strang
Viroqua, WI
Real Estate

Eventually you need to terminate a relationship that is not working, funny how quickly you feel better once it is put behind you. There is always another buyer and/or seller to replace the one who did not work out. Always keep in mind, they are not the only ones in the world currently buying or selling reaql estate. As they say, don't be attached to the outcome.

August 03, 2009 07:37 AM #5
Rainmaker
147,603
Ashley Cox
972.978.3109 - Dallas, TX
Dallas City Center Realtors

Never been in the situation, but great a great how-to for a soft break-up.

August 03, 2009 08:20 AM #6
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

Larry,

You should be working for for the diplomatic corps.

August 04, 2009 12:20 AM #7
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

I'm so glad I consulted A/R before firing a client.  Your scripts are fantastic and you're right....you don't want to burn any bridges. There's always a diplomatic way to get your point across.

September 13, 2009 09:55 PM #8
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Rainmaker
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Larry Easto

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