An agent emailed me yesterday to say a buyer she had been working with suddenly dropped her in favor of another agent. She wanted to know why. In fact, she went so far as to email the client and ask -- in the interest of improving her communication skills and learning from her mistakes -- but the client did not respond. She wondered if I would be willing to call the client and find out why the client had hired a different agent.
It's human nature to wonder and to sometimes feel slapped in the face. Some agents might wonder what is wrong with themselves -- what can they fix? Others might wonder what is wrong with the client. Why is the client so stupid? Then, there are agents like me who don't care because it's not important.
Why isn't it important to know? Because it doesn't matter. Because every client is different. I'd say 90% of the time, when a client drops an agent or chooses to work with a different agent than the first agent called, it's because of circumstances outside of that agent's control. Here are some of the reasons clients might not call back or may choose to list with some other agent:
- Co-Buyer or Co-Seller had already made contact with a different agent
- Client was at the grocery store and ran into an old friend who just got her real estate license
- Client stopped at a real estate office and met a very eager agent
- Client called a listing agent who ran over to show a home and wrote the offer
- Client wandered into a new subdivision and builder's agent sold the home
- Client talked to co-worker who suggested client call a discount broker
- Client was interviewing agents and chose the cheaper agent
- Client's mother / father / cousin had used a different agent in the past and asked that agent to call
- Client spotted a photo online and decided agent reminded her of her mother
- Client read a blog by an agent who likes the same kind of books
- Client lives on the same street as the new agent
- Client goes to the same church as the new agent
- Client's lawyer recommended a different agent
- Client fell out of bed and on top of a newspaper advertisement touting another agent
- Client went to YouTube and watched a video of an agent driving around town and liked her car
You see, I can go on and on with reasons, none of which has anything to do with the agent who was dumped or passed over. The truth is clients often work with the first agent they come into contact with. They use very little criteria when choosing an agent. Which is a shame, especially since many of us spend years gaining experience, taking continuing education classes, and developing our specialties to ensure superior service. But clients don't see any of that nor understand it.
I've had clients choose me because my last name is Jewish. Sole reason. No joke.
A few days ago I noticed a new listing that the wife had promised to me show up in MLS listed by another agent. Her reason for calling me in the first place was because the bank had suggested it, plus I am a certified HAFA short sale specialist. She had a HAFA short sale that was preapproved. The listing read: "approved short sale," which is unfortunately not the same thing as a preapproved HAFA and told me the agent they hired is not a Sacramento short sale agent much less a certified HAFA specialist. Too bad for those people. They made the wrong decision. I let it go.
I'm assertive but I don't pressure clients. I tell clients when they call that when they are ready to go on the market to call me back. I work at the client's convenience. Do I lose a few listings this way? Sure. I do. I leave the door wide open for another agent to slip through. But that's how I prefer to do business.
It matters not why a buyer or seller choose another agent. Don't waste valuable time focusing on that. Crap happens. Fix what you can fix and let go of what you can't. There is really nothing to be gained from the knowledge, unless it's why don't you take a daily shower, and in that case, maybe the agent should stop sleeping under the freeway. What matters is that an agent keeps clients happy and new business continues to arrive.
See: Switching Agents -- How Do I Change Agents?