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— by Tylee Leighton

It’s Not Your Call: Remember to Let Your Clients Speak for Themselves

MY CLIENT IS NEVER… 

How many times have we heard “my client is never going to fix all that” or “that offer is too low” or “they are never going to accept that counter” from an agent before they have even had a chance to take it to the client. How do we know they didn’t discuss it with the client? Because they are calling us within moments of receiving our email. Maybe they think we didn’t catch on to that part.  

Hmm… your client told you all that in the 90 seconds since I hit send on my email. Really? I don’t think so.  

It’s an easy habit to fall into—speaking for your client instead of representing your client. It’s not a good habit. Maybe you do know exactly what your client wants or will say, but maybe they will surprise you. If you don’t take the time to let them speak for themselves, you will never know. 

HOW DO YOU KNOW… 

How do you know without asking the client? I think we often have a knee jerk reaction to repair requests, offers, or counter offers where we answer how we feel and we forget that how we feel about something has no bearing in a real estate transaction.  

We have a fiduciary duty to our clients. Part of representing them is learning to not speak for them. Sure, it is easier to tell the other agent to pound sand without bothering your client. Is it a bother? I don’t think any offer is a bother, even a low-ball one from an investor. It’s an offer, a sucky offer, but it still needs to be presented. That counter offer that makes the other side look like they are smoking crack – yep – we still have to show it to the seller. That repair request so long it looks like they used an entire roll of toilet paper to create it…no you cannot flush it without going over it with the seller. 

YOU ARE NOT ALONE 

You are not the only agent this happens to. We all go through it. My gut has said “oh h-e-double-hockey-sticks no” to plenty of repair requests, but I always stop myself and let the clients make the call. And clients have shocked me, agreeing to do repairs that I would never have thought they would touch with a ten-foot pole. They have accepted offers that I thought would piss them off. When this happens, I remind myself, I am not them. They are not me. Their reasons, motivations, and feelings are not mine.  

We all like to think that we know what our clients want. Let’s get real for one second: if this isn’t a repeat client or someone from your sphere that you have known for ten years, then maybe you have spent a good 2-3 hours with them at best. Suddenly you think that you know the inner workings of the deep recesses of their mind after 180 minutes. If that were the case, you would be taking your show on the road as the greatest mind reader in history.  

LEARNING TO LET CLIENTS MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS 

As agents, our most important skill is learning not be a “helicopter parent” in a transaction. I said it, we can’t be parenting our clients. We are all guilty of it now and again. We do it because we come with baggage. We have been through a few transactions. We are going to make some assumptions. We are bringing our experienced, occasionally jaded, view into the negotiations. Here is the thing, we never want our biases to get in the middle of a transaction. It’s about them. Not us. And they need to have a chance to respond themselves without us, as the agent, inserting our feelings, emotions, and professional baggage in their financial decisions. 

And there are days when that is so hard. When the offer $100K under list price hits your inbox, when the laundry list repair request comes in, when the final walk-through form comes back with a bunch of piddly crap. As agents, we have been here before. These things hit our “HOT BUTTONS” and send us into overdrive.  

It’s no mystery as to why. Do this job long enough and you have racked up a top 10 list of pet peeves that drive you nuts. I know I have mine – poorly written repair requests are my number one with a bullet annoyance because I can’t explain to my seller what your buyer wants them to fix when it says, “inspection item 1.7 repair as noted” when 1.7 says, “item works properly nearing end of its life span.” That is not asking for anything. That is not a repair. I don’t know what you want! Ahhhhh! But I digress. 

Lab Coat Agents, Nick Baldwin, Tristan Ahumada, labcoatagents.com, Real Estate, Tylee Leighton, Client Interaction

IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU 

These are times that agents end up causing more drama in a transaction then there needs to be. We start sticking our emotions into their transaction. If you are over 40, you will remember those Reese’s peanut butter cup commercials – you stuck your chocolate in my peanut butter and vice versa. It’s like that. We rage, we vent, we complain, we curse the unreasonable buyer, seller, lender, appraiser—whoever it is that has risen our ire. The reality is that the only person we hurt when we do this is our client. There is a better way. 

PUT THE “OM” IN HOME 

The next time you read an offer, a counter, an addendum, or a repair request that causes your blood to boil and your hair to stand on end, just stop. Before you start typing that email, texting that agent, or hopping on the phone to give them your opinion…take a deep breath and focus on this mantra: 

“It’s not about me, it’s about them.”  

“It’s not about me, it’s about them.”  

“It’s not about me, it’s about them.”  

Give yourself 5-10 minutes to get away from any emotion you could be putting into the situation. Then call you clients and discuss it. Let your client make the decision. After they have decided, call the other agent and tell them flat out, “My seller is not willing to fix all of that, pound sand.” 

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