We've all had those clients, you know the ones, they take up your time, call you all hours of the day and night, spend hours with you and then end up going with another agent. This is exhausting and infuriating so how do you tell a time-wasting client that they are fired?
Of course, we want to give our clients the best of our time and information but sometimes they can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. How many homes is too many homes to show a client before you realize they may never find the home of their dreams? You never know how difficult the client will be when you start out. This is the nature of our business. Sometimes we spend dozens of hours with clients, maybe more, only to realize that this could be a never-ending relationship. Of course, I always want long-term relationships with my clients because years after purchasing a home with me they eventually sell that home and continue to use my services. But, somewhere along the line you realize that this relationship may not be going anywhere and the client may just be wasting everyone's time, including their own.
So how do you find those red flags and how exactly do you "fire" a client?
When your client takes days to return calls, texts, or emails, and find it difficult to set up appointments to even see homes, it could be a red flag that they're just not organized enough to jump on a home if the timing is right. Firing the client may be what's best for both parties, even though the clients may feel that the agent is doing a disservice at the beginning.
Other red flags could mean a refusal to abide by your service agreement. If they are using several agents to look for homes or an open agreement where multiple agents can list a property, they're not dedicated to your services and it may be best for them to find someone else. Other stipulations such as preapproval for a mortgage or be able to show proof of funds before going on showings could be the prerequisite to working with a client.
If a client is unwilling to follow any of your advice whether they are a buyer or a seller, it could mean that they don't trust your professional opinion, and they may not be serious about the buying or selling process. They could be simply prolonging a sale and wasting your time.
If a client is insistent on delaying the mortgage approval process, this could be a huge red flag that they are just not ready to buy. Even if they think their own financials are in good order and that they will have no problem getting preapproved, if they don't go through the process ahead of time, they're literally wasting everyone's time.
If you see lack of motivation on decluttering, staging, or cleaning a house, this could also be a good red flag that they have no intention of actually selling but simply testing the market or finding out how much their home could sell for.
It's difficult to see all the red flags right off the bat and sometimes you have to work with a client for a few hours before some of these red flags make an appearance, but as soon as they do, it may be time to sit down and reevaluate the client/agent relationship.