Overcome Buyer & Seller Frustrations with this ONE Simple Plan

By Alex Camelio, CEO - Posted on
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Buying and selling homes is an emotional process for people, and at times can be frustrating. Buyers get frustrated after putting in 12 offers above asking price with none accepted. On the flip side, Sellers get frustrated when their house sits on the market too long and they have to consider a reduction.

As an agent, how do you minimize client frustrations?

While we might think these frustrations are out of our control and caused by market conditions like low inventory or a cooling market, this couldn’t be further from the truth. You actually hold the power to keep your clients happy!

People get frustrated when reality doesn’t meet their expectations. But I have some good news for you. On the whole, people are more likely to be reasonable when they know what to expect. So, educating your Buyers and Sellers throughout the entire process becomes key to guiding expectations, and ultimately ensuring their satisfaction.

Guiding Expectations

Buyers and Sellers have a bunch of preconceived notions built up from years of being exposed to real estate in one way or another. Whether it’s through family members buying a house, or maybe their cousin who’s “in real estate” everyone thinks they know a little something about the business.

Keep in mind though, if they’ve just selected you as their agent they see you as an expert who can help guide them. This makes your start to working with a client the perfect opportunity to set expectations. But how do you set expectations to ensure your clients are happy? We suggest following these guidelines:

Don’t Assume Anything

As I mentioned above, your clients come to you with preconceptions and it’s really just not their fault! However, it is your opportunity to align their perception with yours, and you can’t do that effectively if you assume what they already know. You know what they say about assumptions, right?

So let your clients know early in your meeting that you’ll be covering topics that might seem basic, or that they might already know, but you’re doing so to make sure they have the best experience.

Cover the Core Frustrations

People tend to get frustrated primarily for the same reasons, so make sure you cover the core triggers when you educate your clients.

  1. Time
    Time is one of, if not the most, precious resource any of us have, and we hate when it feels like it’s being wasted. So, make sure you explain the full timeline to your clients leaving a little buffer time between each task. It’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver, especially if you’re trying to minimize frustrations.

    Whatever you do, DON’T try to sugar coat things in the hopes you can sell a home quicker than the market will allow, or that you can find your buyer’s dream home in that unrealistic price range overnight. Instead, help your clients understand what’s reasonable, and more importantly why they’re spending time on each item.

    People’s perception of time changes greatly when they feel like it’s being used for a valuable purpose. So when explaining the process always include why. For example – “This time is used for the title search which can protect you from becoming liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in claims against the property.” 

  2. Money
    For the vast majority, buying or selling a home is the largest monetary transaction people ever make. For them, just seeing this amount of money on paper is emotional to begin with and they have little to no experience negotiating at this level.

    Your job is to help educate them about the entire process from things like negotiating in large increments of say $5k to $10k, right through the costs and fees along the way to closing. This might seem self explanatory but what always surprises me is how people will waste $10,000 because they’re frustrated about a $200 fee they didn’t see coming.

    Many times people aren’t mad about the dollar amount itself but the feeling of being taken advantage of with a cost they didn’t see coming, or that wasn’t justified beforehand.

    Save yourself some headaches and make sure all of the costs, fees and value for each are outlined so clients feel like they got something out of every cent they spent. Often, working with a great mortgage professional will help this process.

  3. Hidden Headaches
    Speaking of headaches – every market has their own unique set of challenges to overcome that might not be apparent to everyone. Perhaps the mid-market is exhausted and highly competitive for buyers, maybe there’s been a sharp decline in active buyers because of housing affordability and offers just aren’t being made. Make sure you educate your clients about any hidden frustrations you can think of, especially any that are specific to your market. 

Provide a Healthy Outlet if Things Get Frustrating

While proper education and preparation will keep the vast majority of your clients happy, even the best agents have frustrated clients from time to time. Your best bet is to prepare for these odd situations by giving your clients a healthy outlet before small frustrations become full blown anger.

Let your clients know that if they ever feel frustrated they should reach out and let you know what’s going on. You’re there to help guide them and work through any challenges. In most cases, if you catch it early on you can avoid the whole deal going wrong and clients expressing their frustration in reviews and on social media. 

Keep in mind though, you’re not a punching bag and want to set that expectation as well. On rare occasions you may need to fire a client and we’ve covered that in depth. For more information about how to avoid problem clients and fire them when necessary, check out our article here.

Food for Thought…

Last week, we asked our private Facebook group “What’s the biggest Real Estate challenge you’re facing in your market this year?” and while the vast majority answered “Low Inventory” I would have to agree with Jason Steele’s response: “Nothing, we create our own challenges and disruptions.”

The most powerful tool we have to combat these challenges is our ability to educate and guide our client’s expectations.

Did we miss any expectations that need to be set? Do you have any best practices for setting expectations? Let us know in the comments below!

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Alex Camelio
Throughout his career, Alex has personally helped over 15,000 Agents and Brokers, including some of the Top REALTORS® in North America. His passion for marketing, technology and business development has translated into more than a decade of cutting edge technology and contributions to the real estate industry. As the CEO of the Agent Inner Circle®, a 40,000-member real estate agent community, Alex focuses on providing agents with education and actionable strategies to grow and optimize their business, ultimately building some of the most successful careers in real estate today. Alex is an internationally recognized educator who’s shared his thoughtful and energetic presentations with various National Associations and industry organizations. As always, Alex is excited to share his expertise with everyone.
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10 thoughts on “Overcome Buyer & Seller Frustrations with this ONE Simple Plan”

  1. That is the single most informative, or re-informative, sales piece I have read in a long time. It addresses my single biggest weakness. Thank you.

  2. Definitely addressing client expectations and addressing with a realistic plan is on point. I will definitely integrate this strategy into my initial meetings going forward. Much better sooner than later Thank you.

  3. Great article. Knowledge is power and when you set expectations up front and remind them along the way that things change quickly so you guide them to be ready willing and able to do what is best for them you have a good chance of them and you not giving up.

    1. Thanks Carol!! I love that one of the expectations you set is that things might change (because they always do). Only constant in life, right? How do you guide people that way?

  4. Excellent article! I’m a big believer in setting expectations up front and educating my clients as to the process. This is a good reminder of how important this is. I know I’ve mid-judged some of my clients as to how much they actually knew. It turned out they didn’t know things I thought they would know. I didn’t cover these things in fear of insulting their intelligence. Now I know to assume nothing!

    1. Thanks so much Teri! I included it in the article because I’ve definitely misjudged too, and for exactly the same reason. That one simple line makes all the difference though. Hope it helps!

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