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Delivering Bad News To Clients
Delivering bad news to clients is a skill that needs to be fine tuned.
We have all had it happen, when we sit in front of the phone taking some deep belly breaths before calling to shatter the hopes and dreams of our clients. They fell in love with the house, they wrote an amazing offer, and cried with excitement when they walked in the front door exclaiming “This is it!!” They are all in, and you are feeling the pressure. Even though we are the professionals, we certainly are pulling for our clients to beat the competition and we do not want to be delivering bad news to clients! No sir-ee-bob!
First of all, prepare your clients by letting them know that you will only reach out to them if you have an update. Explain that you are available to answer their call at any time, but you find it cruel to call them about a new listing or random other items when they are eagerly awaiting a life changing answer to their proposed contract. You will be delivering the news to them, the good the bad and the ugly. Let them know you understand the importance of this responsibility and that you take it very seriously. Some Real Estate Brokers forget that every Real Estate sale is life changing to their clients.
Also let them know you will let them know the minute you get a response and make that true. Nothing is worse than a Buyer seeing the MLS status change to Pending and having to wait for you to deliver the news. Time is of the essence in so many aspects of being a Real Estate Professional.
Call them, get them on the phone, regardless if the news is good or bad. If the news is bad, they will want to understand why and discuss. If you have received a rejection, try to get some feedback from the Listing Agent as to why you are delivering bad news to clients. The Listing Broker should give you some type of feedback, after-all you took the time to show your Clients their listing and to write a good offer. If the news is good, they will want to hear a plan for moving forward and for you to help them gage an expectation.
When delivering bad news to Clients, rip off the band aid. Example, “Hi Client, this is (Your Professional Real Estate Broker name inserted), I have a response for you. Invite them to put you on speaker if another party is involved that will want to hear. Do not ask them how they are; do not chatter on about the weather. Give them the news they have been anticipating. With every passing second, you are missing the opportunity to lead the conversation. This is particularly important if delivering bad news to Clients.
Practice before you call. “Hello Client, Real Estate Broker here, I have a response to your offer. I am afraid it is not good news; they have rejected your offer. In discussing with the Listing Broker, it seems they opted to accept an offer that came in earlier than yours. I am sorry; I know this is hard to hear. Be empathetic, although no one cares as much as they do, you come in second in terms of being effected by a rejection or an acceptance.
Do not talk negatively about the Listing Broker or the Seller just because they are making you deliver bad news to clients. Explain to your clients that they appreciated your offer, but they opted to accept the other. Help keep the door open in the event the Listing Agents first sales falls apart. It happens, and you want to keep things friendly. A Seller can only accept one offer, they have to make a choice, and sometimes that choice is really hard.
Assure them that they did things right, whatever that might be. Let them know that you really appreciate they cancelled their plans to make time to go see the home quickly, that they made a great offer, that they wrote an offer quickly, that they were decisive and helpful, that they did everything they could to make it happen. Clients need your assurance about two things, that they did everything they could, and that their Real Estate Broker did too! This achieves both of those concerns.
End the call by assuring them that you will find them what they are looking for. Let them know you have a client picture of what they want and that they have your full attention. Now, go find them another home and get them an acceptance so you never have to deliver bad news to these Clients again!
What advice can you add about delivering bad news to clients? Have you ever had it go horribly wrong?