How to Set and Manage Client Expectations Without Losing the Sale
Expectations matter. Here’s an example.
It’s a Thursday night. Your family is ravenous, but it’s been a long day, and no one has the energy to cook. Pizza it is!
You dial up your favorite local pizza joint around 5:15, and they tell you the order will arrive in about 45 minutes. But then 6:00 rolls around…and no pizza. Soon it’s 6:15, then 6:30, and your family is getting restless. Finally, at 6:45, the delivery person arrives to drop off the pies to a home of unhappy, hungry people. The restaurant let you down, and the food just doesn’t taste as good after the fact.
This is exactly what’s happening to many buyers and sellers right now. They hear the current real estate market is hot and they’re eager to get involved. They’ve got high hopes and high expectations that their agent is going to get them exactly what they want. And when that doesn’t happen, it’s a huge blow to both the client and the agent — and the stakes are much higher than cold pizza.
Keeping It Real
While the market is hot, it’s not normal, and it requires a different set of expectations from both buyers and sellers. It’s up to you as a trusted real estate professional to educate your clients on the current market.
At the beginning of any transaction, set up a meeting with your clients to go through what they can expect. For example:
- Buyers will pay more for a home.
- Buyers will have to remove contingencies.
- An overpriced home will take longer to sell, even in a hot real estate market.
Be transparent and realistic, and avoid sugar coating any of the realities your client may face.
Confidence Is Key
The biggest fear many agents have when it comes to setting expectations is potentially losing the sale. Our natural instinct as salespeople is to assure clients that everything is going to be fine and dandy, but that ultimately sets you up for failure.
If you tell your client like it is, and they want to find a different agent to assist them, let them! Later in the transaction, they’ll ultimately realize that you were right, and they will appreciate the fact that you were honest with them about those challenges. Most likely they will return to have you help them!
Conversely, if you tell the client what they want to hear, and things go sideways, you risk damaging the client relationship that you’ve worked so hard to build.
The most successful real estate agents in this current market are taking on less clients, but closing more transactions. They are setting clear expectations with clients, and advising people to wait if they aren’t willing to accept the current conditions.
So even though top producers are assisting fewer clients, they are winning all of their deals, preserving client relationships and ultimately making more money. This is the best approach for agents who want to create happy clients for life!
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