About a decade ago, I was working with Keith. He was a major pain in the butt. He would call me at 11:00 at night and get angry if I didn’t answer. He would ask me to drop everything to show a house RIGHT NOW. If he actually found a house he sort of liked, he would submit such a low offer that the other agent (and the seller) would get angry with me for wasting their time.
I spent a few months putting up with his crap knowing that eventually he would find something, it would close, I’d get paid, and we’d go our separate ways. But that’s not what happened. Instead, he found something, beat the seller up on price, hem and hawed about accepting their counter, and left town for vacation before getting it bottomed line. I pleaded with him to meet with me before he left, even if it meant meeting at 6am. I begged him to find a place at his vacation spot that would allow him to fax the signed offer back, to please just do whatever it took to get it signed. All of this, to no avail. Since we didn’t have an accepted offer, the seller’s agent was free to accept another offer, which he promptly did, bottom lined it, and then let me know.
I completely understood. My buyer did not. In fact, he called me every name in the book, questioned my abilities, my integrity, and then got his girlfriend on the line to tell me the same thing. That’s when I lost it. I screamed and yelled and cursed at them like I’ve never spoken to anyone ever before- or since. “It’s not me, it’s YOU. Good luck finding someone to deal with your sh** because I am DONE.” Click.
Since that time, I’ve dealt with a few more Keiths. They weren’t nearly as bad- if they were, I would have referred them out the second I met them- but there a lot of people out there who treat Realtors like we are their puppets. They forget that we have other clients, other commitments, and other interests besides being their 24/7 agent on duty.
So why do we put up with these people? Money. It’s all about the money. It’s hard to break up with a client after all the time and effort you have invested before you get anything out of it. But you know what? I rarely see their next agent see a payday either.
Buyers who are chronic, annoying, tire-kickers that think the world owes them a house at a reduced price are not worth our time. Sellers who question our every move, micromanage our marketing, and think we should work at a reduced rate are not worth our efforts. Real estate is WAY too stressful on its own without adding difficult people into the mix.
When you start thinking about breaking up with a client, it’s usually time to take the plunge and do it. Rarely does the relationship get better. (And never have I regretted doing it.) Whether you hit your limit with them in a short amount of time or several months later, when it’s time to kick them to the curb, do it, and move on. Here’s how:
If they require more time than you have- refer them out. Say this: “I have an agent in my office I would like you to meet. This person has a little extra time to do the research you need and is better able to work around your schedule, is accessible and available. I will introduce you at our next showing.”
If they are constantly micromanaging you or questioning your abilities as an agent, say this: “It feels like maybe you aren’t happy with my work, or trust that I’m doing a good job for you. I think it’s time we part ways. I wish you the best with a new agent.”
If they are just completely crazy and difficult to deal with, you need to run. Sometimes people have “lawsuit” written all over them. If you care about your colleagues, you won’t refer them out. You simply say, “I don’t believe I can meet your needs” and then either tell them to call the name on the sign (lol) or suggest they call a competitor that you hate. In other words, “Bye, Felicia.”
When Keith came back from vacation, he called my broker asking him to please talk with me about working with him again. He was very sorry, and realized he was wrong. My broker asked me to take him back on. I said No. I’ve had other clients I’ve dumped ask for forgiveness, too. The answer is still No. This job is way too stressful to deal with narcissistic people who bark now and apologize later. It’s best to euthanize the relationship before you get bit. You won’t regret it.
Amy Gilpin, Realtor, Associate Broker, Manager, ABR.
Fourteen years of helping clients. Six years of helping agents. All for this crazy thing we call real estate.
Production Realty 517-879-4141 Jackson, MI Amy@ProductionRealty.com