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How to Handle These 4 Tough Conversations with Clients

As you help home buyers navigate the most significant investment of their lifetimes or help homeowners sell their most significant asset, you’re not just dealing with the intricacies of transacting the property — you’re also dealing with the complexities of people. And it’s no surprise that tough conversations coming up can be inevitable.

In addition to being a master at lead generation, marketing your brand, and knowing the buying and selling process like the back of your hand, you may also have to navigate tricky territories. But sticky situations are no match for you as a real estate expert, and we’re here to highlight four tough scenarios that may arise — and how you can handle each one.

Before we get started, we recommend your approach for any tough conversation is to make sure you listen, empathize, educate, and remind and reassure them that you’re on their team and have their best interest at the forefront.


Here are some uncomfortable scenarios you may face and strategies to help you overcome these challenges and easily navigate those tough conversations.

Scenario #1: Your Buyer’s Offer Got Denied… and They Blame You


Arguably the most common tough conversation to have with a client, and one that never seems to get any easier.


The best approach here is to let your buyer vent and listen actively. Empathy is everything: they’re disappointed in losing out on their dream home. But little do they know you can help them find their next perfect property.


Once they’ve gotten everything off their chest, reassure them that you’re committed to their best interest and put your game face on. Remind the buyer that you’re on their team and that you’re relentless in the pursuit of their home-buying journey.

Scenario #2: The Transaction is Happening Due to an Unfortunate Event


Sometimes buying or selling a home isn’t taking place as a result of the happiest circumstances. Whether it’s a death in the family, a divorce or a separation, or an unexpected change in their job, there can be painful reasons to change housing.


This is where active listening and deep empathy towards your client’s specific situation is key. Start with offering condolences or sympathy, and then reassure them that you have the tough stuff handled.


Clients in these scenarios are very likely dealing with a lot at once, so knowing that they can trust you to handle the big picture — and finer details — of the home buying or selling process is crucial. Taking this weight off their shoulders can help establish trust, and make the process easier for everyone involved.


Pro Tip: In particularly harrowing circumstances, consider a small gift. Not only is it a classy touch, it connects you to the buyer or seller on a deeper level by offering them comfort in their time of need and change.

Scenario #3: Expectations Aren’t Matching Up with Reality


Ah, the starry-eyed, pie-in-the-sky buyer (or seller, but more on that in Scenario #4). 


They want it all, and they want it now, and with an unrealistic budget, of course. Perhaps online calculators have warped their expectations, or maybe they’ve got a surprise in the form of their mortgage pre-approval.


Whatever the case may be, bringing these clients back down to reality requires you to ensure they have a gentle landing. Work with their budget and come to the discussion table armed with data highlighting the state of the market. Gather a list of their non-negotiables, and be patient in explaining the home buying process — and all of its intricacies — to them.


By educating these buyers, and demonstrating your expertise and commitment to helping them find their home, you can gently guide them to the light – or rather, to a realistic home purchase. 

Scenario #4: Sellers Want to List their Home for Way Too Much


Data is everything in this scenario.


Similar to our dreamy buyers in Scenario #3, these sellers love their homes and view them as being worth a top-dollar premium. Again, expectations are surpassing reality here, but armed with the right volume of market data, you can tackle this tough conversation with ease.


Conduct an analysis of home values in their neighborhood, including recent sales. In combination with other macroeconomic factors like interest rates, and the volume of demand in their area, you can give these sellers a clear-cut view of what they can expect to sell their home for in its current state.


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