Don't Make Your Clients Feel Stupid
I recently read a terrific post by Elizabeth Weintraub, “Never Say I Told You So About Choosing the Wrong Lender.” It’s well worth a read and raises a significant issue – how saying “I told you so” could certainly set the wrong tone with your client. That could apply to other transaction issues (e.g., inspections), too. True in life as well.
But Elizabeth’s post reminded me of something I was told at a seminar some time ago:
It’s important to not make your clients feel stupid!!
I suspect we have all been made to feel this way at one time or another, by a vendor, a retailer, someone in authority, or perhaps a rude customer service rep.
It’s not very pleasant and it’s annoying to be treated as if you are a numbskull.
While we might tell our clients that “there’s no such thing as a stupid question,” I think sometimes we unintentionally do or say things that just might make them feel stupid anyhow.
It could your tone of voice, a subtle rolling of the eyes, or the look you give them without realizing it when answering a question.
Ignoring what they asked, or said, could also imply that question or comment is not worthy of your response.
There are certain comments or questions we have all made at one time or another…innocently, of course, that could be construed in a negative way.
How about “We already talked about that, don’t you remember?”
This could certainly be viewed as a put-down, especially in the wrong tone of voice. How could they possibly forget that valuable information you shared with them?!
“Why do you want to know?” or “Why are you asking?” in the wrong tone of voice could be a problem.
Understanding and respecting the client’s viewpoint has value, since the obvious answer from your perspective may not be so obvious. Questioning WHY they want to know might be viewed as a negative if you say it the wrong way. On the other hand there are times when “tell me more about why that’s important to you” or something similar could be useful.
Using real estate lingo all the time could also be a turnoff. It might imply you expect them to know, rather than you considering their perspective as a non-real estate professional. Using these terms implies you assume the buyers and sellers know what you are talking about. And if they don’t, well, how might they feel?
Not answering their questions could also carry a subtle message that you don’t feel their questions are worthy of a response. If you don’t know the answer, say so and let them know you will follow-up with the right answer.
Don’t make them feel stupid.
Even if they ask YOU questions that make you feel stupid.