Why Do Potential Clients Go With the Other Agent? And, How to Keep Moving Forward
After working hard to make a connection with a potential client, they suddenly leave you for someone else. The breakup that ensues (even if you haven’t gotten that close yet) can be a painful one. Whether it’s because you genuinely wanted to work with this person or you were very hopeful that this would pan out (or both), losing a potential client is a little stab in the heart. Maybe not always – if you’re an experienced agent, then you’ve already had your fair share of this, and you know that it comes with the territory. But, either way, potential clients choosing another agent over you can be harder for some agent than others.
We start to question what’s wrong with us. Was it something we said? Something we did? Were we not working hard enough? How could we not see the signs? (Okay, this is sounding like a real breakup, now. ) But, losing a potential client can be confusing, and going over the loss in our heads over and over again can not only impact our mental health but distract us from clients who do want to work with us.
If you’re finding that most potential clients whom you are vibing with leave you for “someone else” there may be some things that you can either fix or some things you need to come to terms with, accept, and move on.
Evaluate Your Actions
If you find that more often than not potential clients are going with another agent, then it certainly doesn’t hurt to evaluate your own actions, while remembering that it may have nothing to do with you at all. While you shouldn’t do this every time (you’ll drive yourself crazy), it’s always important to reflect and find ways to improve. You can also, of course, ask for feedback from this person to see where things may have turned them off. Again—don’t dwell on this, just look at it as an opportunity to grow!
Have you done your research?
No matter how this client found you or you found them, there is always information there that you can work with. Do your homework (without stalking) The first time you speak to this potential client, they are going to want to know that you are giving them a personalized experience. If a past client made an introduction and in their email said that their friends here are looking for a three-bedroom house, don’t go into the call asking them what they are looking for. In most cases, they’ll be upset you didn’t take the time to read just a few sentences about who they are, what they are looking for, etc. Instead, say something like, “I see you’re looking for a three-bedroom—can you tell me more about this?”
Did you talk more or listen more?
In some cases, you will have potential clients that want you to do the talking. Perhaps they are new to all this and really want your advice, perspective, etc. But, too many times, agents can have the tendency to go off on tangents about themselves, their own stories, past clients, etc. Again, sometimes this may be useful, but other times, your potential client will want to talk more about themselves and essentially, get down to business. This should be very easy to gage right from the get-go, and to play it on the safe side, listening at first always does better than talking someone’s ear off. Also, be sure that you don’t have distractions – phone going off, dog barking, etc. Hey, if that happens, don’t ignore it—give it attention and apologize to the person. They may have a dog, too, and that maybe something that they like about you.
Are you respecting the person’s time?
Speaking of talking too much, just because this person is looking to buy or sell a home does not necessarily mean they have all day to talk about it with you (which is great, because you probably have other things to do, anyway). But, generally, keep introductory calls to a half-hour, and if the person wants to get off the phone sooner, let them.
Are you being positive or negative?
So, your client is looking for a home in a particular neighborhood that’s at a budget that you know doesn’t really exist. But, listen carefully. Maybe they are looking to buy a home shell they can renovate, and you can advise them on what that would look like. We’re not saying you should lie to the person, but there’s a way to frame bad news in a positive light. Instead of immediately jumping into “No, that’s too low of a budget and you’ll never find anything” you can say, “It may be tricky to find that, but I’d be happy to do some searching to see. Are you flexible on the neighborhood or the type of home?”
Are you enthusiastic or ehh?
Never take an introductory call when you’d rather be doing something else. People can feel that through the phone, and your energy (or lack thereof) could potentially be a big turnoff. You don’t need to be the “hap, hap, happiest” agent out there, and you also don’t need to be a monotonous sloth. Some clients will not mind either way, and some will have a natural preference for one over another. So, just be average.
Are you being pushy or realistic?
If you’re immediately pushing this person from the get-go and it’s clear they need some time to let things settle in, remember to back off and let them come to you. Likewise, if they want to get the ball rolling immediately and we’re in the midst of a pandemic, be clear about what’s doable and what’s not. Realistic time frames work well for some people, but make others feel like you won’t put in much of an effort despite obstacles that stand in the way. Again, trying to find a middle ground may be the best strategy, but leaning more to one side than another is a good way to go. Find that balance.
Are you paying attention to the person’s needs?
Why is this person reaching out to you (or, why are you reaching out to them) in the first place? Don’t get away from the agenda, especially in the beginning. A major reason a person will leave you for another agent is because they felt that you simply were not staying focused on the task at hand and what they were looking for. This also, of course, means that you know what you’re doing and the person can trust you to steer them away from anything that’s not within their budget, not what they want, and not within standards (lots of sketchy developments popping up!).
Understand Whether or Not You’re a Good Fit
Look, finding a client is not just about wanting them to like you. Sure, that’s part of it, but you also need to make sure that you like them. Most of the time, people do not just want to work with someone who they feel good about—they also want to get that feeling and vibe that the person feels good about them, too. After all, who wants to make one of the biggest decisions of their lives with someone who you just don’t have a good rapport with?
Every time you get off the phone with a potential new client, you should be asking yourself not just whether or not they liked you, but if you liked them and if you can see you all working together. The process of buying a home takes time and there’s nothing worse than putting all your time into something that will just fizzle out at the end (this goes for both parties).
If a client goes with another agent at any point in the process, it doesn’t even mean that it wasn’t a good fit; it may just mean that it was an even better fit with someone else. And, that’s okay and nothing to beat yourself over the head about.
Accept What Happened and Continue On
People change their real estate agent all the time. Sometimes, it’s after one phone call, sometimes it’s after months of working together. Honestly, it’s just part of the job. While we can always use an opportunity like this to reflect on ourselves and see if there’s any room for improvement, it’s best not to dwell on that, otherwise, it will impact our work overall. More often than not, a person choosing another agent is more of a reflection on them than you (and, it’s not a bad thing). So, keep your head high and onto the next one!
In your experience, why do you think clients may have chosen another agent over you? How have you learned to cope with it? What advice would you give to real estate agents who are just starting out and may feel discouraged if and when this will inevitably happen to them? Let us know in the comment below!
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