Even if you are not a gardener, you know that there is a difference between roses and weeds, between lovely flowering shrubs and nasty, prickly invasive bushes. In your real estate garden, are there more flowers than weeds? Are you working with ideal clients or are there some of the toxic kind that suck up your time, energy, and money?
Every real estate professional has weeds. They’re the clients that cause you headaches and simply cannot be pleased, no matter what you do. As the Master Gardener of your business you have two choices: you can try to train and cultivate your weeds, perhaps at the expense of your other plants, or you can pull or transplant them.
Most real estate agents have weed clients at the start. After all, when you first got into the business, you likely took on almost every client who was breathing. You pursued clients who were not loyal, or honest, or respectful. Some were, frankly, nuts. This seemed like a great strategy in the beginning, but you ended up with a database full of “crazies,” then wondered why you hated prospecting or calling your past clients. Maybe you’re still up to your knees in these real estate weeds.
Weedy clients take up space that could be dedicated to more profitable and rewarding clients, but they also add tremendous stress to your life. This stress decreases your effectiveness with your more valuable clients, with your staff and, very importantly, with your family and friends. Learning how to recognize and get rid of toxic clients is one of the topics in The Real Estate Game that always stirs up a lot of conversation. So how do you get rid of them?
You need to decide what kind of business you want. You can’t be all things to all people, but you can design, define, and control your business.
- You need to know how to describe your business, your expectations, and your standards to your colleagues and to your clients. The better you get at describing your business, the more your business will look like what you’re describing.
- You need to be able to describe and communicate your role and responsibilities in the agent-client relationship as well as the client’s role and responsibilities. It is up to you to tell them how they can be a better client for you. If you don’t communicate these standards, you only have yourself to blame for a garden full of weeds. If you haven’t communicated well, start now.
- You need to know how to say “Thanks, but no thanks.” When someone offers you a referral that’s way outside your business model, it’s better to say no than to serve the customer poorly.
- You need to cultivate a community of real estate professionals with whom you can exchange referrals. One person's weed is another one’s rose.
When you plant a garden, you don't just start digging anywhere. You plan it first. Same with your real estate business.
- You must create space for what you want, and that means choosing not to work with people who are not your ideal clients.
- You must take responsibility for what you create. If you have clients who seemed to fit your criteria at first but turn out to be toxic, you must act.
- You get what you expect and what your standards allow. When we have high standards and high ethics, we attract people who are like us. When we lower our personal standards because we are desperate for money or business, we attract people who attempt to manipulate us and take advantage of us. Raise your standards!
- You must assert your boundaries. You won't have the garden or the business you planned for unless you make sure that your clients understand your standards and abide by them. Flowers are encouraged and nurtured; weeds are removed.
Two Choices for the Weeds
Suppose you've finally recognized that a client is a weed. You’ve explained your expectations and you continue to be defeated in your efforts to please them. It’s time for action. I call this the “shape up or ship out” conversation.
- Shape Up: Rise to meet your expectations and become a desirable “A” client.
- Ship Out: Not meet your expectations and accept your referral to another Realtor.
The best part of this process is that the client makes the decision. If they don’t feel that they can or want to meet your expectations, they choose to fire themselves!
When you take charge of your business garden, you will feel better, enjoy higher self esteem and confidence, attract better, more coachable people who are willing to pay you want you are worth, have time to work with more people who fit your "Ideal Client" criteria, have less stress, enjoy better health, have more fun, and receive better referrals. In other words, you will have the kind of business and life that is rewarding and energizing.
It happens to all of us at one time or another – toxic people sneak into our client base. It's up to you to set your standards and make sure that both you and your clients live up to them. To help you get you started, click here to get my new guide, "How to Find Your Ideal Clients (and Keep Toxic People Out of Your Business)"
How is your business garden? Do you have roses or weeds? I'd love to hear how you deal with toxic clients, and how you find and nurture your ideal clients.
Patti Kouri, Accelerated Performance Coaching
Helping You Through Self-Made Limitations!
AND...don’t forget to register for my Free “Getting Listings Priced Right” Teleclass, coming up on Tuesday, July 20th.
You’ll get lots more tips (and real world examples) for dealing with potential “toxic client” listing prospects, and much more including:
- How to get past the seller's "smoke screen of excuses"…
- The roadblocks standing in your way of getting listings priced right from the start…
- How to get a price reduction from the seller…
- How to coach a seller to a successful sale through proper pricing…
- What you can do and say to lead the seller to the right pricing strategy…
- The best time/way to ask for a reduction…
And much more!
After this Teleclass is over, it will be one of my new $47 products for real estate professionals. Register today, and you get to attend for free!
Just enter your name and email address below. As the Teleclass date gets closer, you’ll get free access details by email.