Ever felt like you are in a tug of war with your client? You have made a strong recommendation knowing that if heeded it would bring positive results. The client digs their heels in the ground and decides to not follow the advice. Then as you knew would happen your unheeded words come to bite and the urge to say "I told you so" is silently played in your mind. Nevertheless, a big I told you so happened and now the client is upset. Who owns the problem?
You go on a listing appointment and in preparation have spent a lot of time on a thoughtful market analysis to discuss the appropriate market value and price position of the home. The seller just does not agree with your value recommendation even though it is formed by fact. The seller wants to price at a level that they believe the home should bring because they need to make a certain amount at closing. The price is above market and you warn and discuss of the downside and results of an overpriced home. You list the home and it does not have any showings or which you warned may happen. Who owns the problem?
Your client, against your recommendation, decides to negotiate too aggressively on the offer submitted and the other side gets emotional after the counter and walks away and is too upset to re-engage in the negotiations. Who owns the problem?
One of the biggest mistakes I see Realtors make is taking ownership of a problem that is not theirs to take. Allowing their clients to try to burden unsatisfactory outcomes on the agent's shoulders from a decision that the client made, not the Realtor.
- Have confidence in your representation and realize you are the professional. Take a commanding lead in the wording and delivery of information.
- Respect your representation role. That means that you understand that the client makes the decisions and you are a mirror of their decisions to the other party of the transaction. You do not make the decision, the client does.
- As a representative you have a duty to present all facts, discuss options, consequences and make recommendations. The client makes the decision and you deliver that decision.
So when the seller is dissatisfied with the outcome regarding a decision they made and if they hold you accountable for the poor results what do you do?
- Remember who made the decision and privately do not take ownership. I use the word privately because you are never to become defensive with a client and imply or blurt out the big "I told you so!"
- Step back and carefully examine the situation and plan a well worded response. I have used statements like buying and selling a home can be a very emotional process. I understand you are upset and that the results are dissatisfying. Together let's revisit the steps to the decision and see if there is any repair or change that can be implemented to put us back on track with a favorable result. So together you go over the process of the decision and the client's role will become apparent.
- Should you have a client that insists you take the ownership then you have a choice. The choice is can the relationship be repaired to a level where you can function well as the representative or do you need to offer to terminate the relationship? Do you continue the relationship and just move on acting as a cushion for the issue? This all depends on what the nature of the problem is and if you feel there is value to the continuation of the relationship. Putting things behind and moving forward.
The simple fact is when your client makes a decision or takes an action that you have advised against then they own the results and assume the consequences. Your professional way of addressing this situation may elevate the level of respect so when your input is given in the future then they will respect and listen. As a Realtor, your job is to keep out of emotion and remember who owns the consequences. The client made a business decision. Too many Realtors lose this emotional tug of war and feel they have failed. Keep proper perspective and your professionalism will shine.