Filter So There’s Never an Issue
Agents can have a tendency to focus on proactivity. You make the calls, you initiate contact, you reach back out when you haven’t heard from a potential client. These habits help with client retention and building a strong base. But there is a place for testing out a potential client’s commitment and letting some leads pass you by. A client who puts off the pre-approval process for instance, might not be in a place for securing that loan. Or someone who may appear to be a “tire-kicker” might just not know a nice way of saying they aren’t interested in your services. By making sure your clients are as committed to the process as you are and are in the right place, financially, emotionally, and personally to see a home purchase through can go a long way to preventing getting stuck with an endless shopper.
Educate Your Buyers Right From Day 1
Like in most relationships, we teach people how we expect to be treated. If you clearly set up boundaries from the first meeting, you’ll be much more likely to be on the same page. This can be challenging. No agent wants to risk turning a buyer off at the start of a new and just developing relationship. However, avoidance now can mean wasted hours and a mental drain that isn’t worth the damage it can cause to your wellbeing and professional productivity. Look at these boundary-setting lessons as yet another filter for weeding out potential problem shoppers.
Another area of education lies in detailing the house hunting process. Priming your new buyers begins with explaining basics like the difference between cosmetic upgrades and major repairs, the costs of inspections and factors that may affect your local market. Introducing and reinforcing these concepts will help make your buyers better at the decision-making process.
Allow Them to Look on Their Time
According to Realtor.com, the average buyer will look at ten homes over the course of around three months before choosing one. Now there are mitigating factors, which you’re surely familiar with, such as low inventory and high demand. These factors can make it more challenging for buyers to find the right house to buy. However, if you’ve been on dozens of tours and it’s been months since you even talked about making an offer, you may be ready to change things up a bit. This is a good time to let your clients continue their househunting solo. You don’t need to make a major proclamation that you will no longer show them homes, however, you could say something to the effect of, “We’ve looked at a lot of homes and nothing seems to be working, maybe you should take a break, slow down the search and reassess what you want.”
This approach allows you to still retain your clients (who you have undoubtedly already invested significant time and energy) while freeing up your own time. This just may be the push they need to make a decision.
Know When to Say When
There’s no shame in firing a client, in fact it could be strategically your best option at a certain point. Always do this with kindness and goodwill. Make sure the breakup is angled positively with you offering suggestions for other agents or actionable steps they can take to be in a better position to purchase. Although this is difficult to do, you owe it to yourself to consider this option if no light exists at the end of this househunting tunnel.