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Every agent has been there - a client who raises your blood pressure by simply showing up on your Caller ID. They come in the form of an unreasonable seller who has lost all rationality, or a buyer who thinks you are a tour guide with no other clients, friends or family. It's never easy, but it really complicates things when the client was referred to you by a dear friend, family member or past client. Here are some tips on using old fashioned tact when telling a client 'You're Fired!' and still have a chance at referrals from the original source who referred them:
Don't tell everyone you want to meet to cancel the listing! You can call it a Market Summary Meeting.
Make sure all parties who are involved are present. When you are trying to get a cancellation form signed, having one party present is never a good idea when two or more are involved. If the person who referred you is very, very close to the client, ask the seller if they mind if 'Mr. X' comes along as well, so everyone is there to hear the facts.
Bring documentation, records of EVERY move you have ever made on this property. ALL Internet ads, MLS info, every time your brain touched this file, you should have that activity recorded for all parties to see. Next, bring statistics. Your MLS is capable of much more than you realize, and your goal in this meeting is to show the sellers that THE MARKET is the reason their home is not selling, not YOU, the agent.
Never, ever ever use 'I' statements to describe your opinions on pricing or condition of the home. Replace all 'I' statements with 'The Market'. Example: 'The Market shows that all homes sold in your area were priced $20,000 below where you are priced, and they took over six months to sell. The Market is showing us that we will not receive an offer while listed at ___'. Another example: 'The Market shows that homes with loud paint colors and outdated flooring don't attract offers from buyers right now'.
Tell the truth, and use the truth as your exit strategy. After presenting them with the facts: Your marketing efforts, the price and condition of their home, you will need to be honest. "Mr and Mrs Seller, I offer top-notch real estate services in xyz town. When sellers hire me, they hire me to sell their home, not to have it for sale for months and months only to go through the disappointment of not selling. I would like to give you the opportunity to exit our listing agreement so that you can make the changes necessary to get your home sold, and if you feel you need to hire another agent, that is OK. I am not being honest with you if I tell you to sit and wait at this price (or sit and wait with the outdated flooring, etc. whatever the problem is, insert it here), that your home will sell. I follow the Code of Ethics as a Realtor, and your home is not going to sell at this price (or in this condition)."
Be quiet now. Give them time to think. The silence will be uncomfortable, but have faith, you are 75% on your way to cancelling this energy-sucking listing and moving on to bigger and better things.
Here them out. As they talk, get out the cancellation form. Mark an x next to the signature blocks as they talk. Unless they agree to fix the condition that is preventing their home to sell, or lower the price, get that signature. Just pass that form over, and say 'I honestly wish you the best of luck. If you feel you are ready to make changes in the future, please give me a call, I would love to help you again'. Give them info on when the sign will be removed, give them their key back, and leave. Smiling. Happy. Free to receive another listing that WILL sell because the seller listened to you on price and condition.
Schedule a meeting at your office. Starbucks or a local coffee shop won't work, this is BUSINESS.
If their signature is on the buyer broker agreement, they need to be present for this meeting. (If you don't have a buyer broker agreement, stop reading this right now, and RUN to your nearest ABR course)
Present the meeting to them as a 'review of their housing needs'. Buyers love when everything is all about them during the buying process, and this will ensure they show up, without the promise of seeing homes. Let them know 'We won't be looking at homes today, but this will help us narrow our focus'.
Present them with a list of all their 'needs' and 'wants' and 'cannot have' separated in three lists - preferable on one sheet in columns. Make a copy for each party who is present so everyone can read everything easily.
Print out a MLS sheet for every property you have shown them or answered questions on, even those emailed properties they found on Craigs List. It's OK if they share this list, it's probably extensive! (Don't have a record of all this? You should!)
Ask them to go through the list and tell you exactly what it was about each home that prevented them from making an offer (or ruling it out during inspections). If the reason they give is not listed, add it to your copy of the list.
After completing the entire list, and they have ruled out every home, show them your edited haves/wants/can't have list with the newest, latest objections.
Explain solemnly that you are a top rate buyers agent, and you pride yourself on being able to find the perfect home for families. Unfortunately in their case, there is not a home that is going to match their needs; they have too many objections for their price range. Explain that there are agents who will drive them around for months in hopes for that sale, but you are not into wasting anyone's time, as time is valuable. Suggest they re-evaluate their list, and when they do, you will be ready to help them. As you are talking, slide that cancellation addendum to cancel the Buyer Broker agreement over, and give them a serious look.
What if either party refuses to sign, or hems and haws?? GOOD!! You may have a more reasonable client on your hands!! These methods are not only meant to help you out of a situation that is hopeless! Your client may recognize and acknowledge how unreasonable they have been, and change their tune! You are presenting them with a choice: Change or move on. There is no reason you have to wait for your client to get frustrated and look elsewhere for service. You have a reputation of integrity, be sure to uphold it, even in an unpleasant situation.
If you lack the records that show how much work you have done for a buyer or a seller, a Real Estate Virtual Assistant can help you track and document this information, painlessly. Please visit our web site for more information on assistant packages, we have plans for every budget.
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.