We All Get Them, The Grumpy Client
That client that pushes your buttons is the one that tempts you to lose your cool. As a professional, there’s another way. It boils down to the same skills you use to perform an inspection — observation and logic.
As irritating as the moment may be, saving your professional reputation can rest on how you perform when you’re feeling the pressure of irritation. Take a deep breath and follow the steps to keep your sanity.
Recognize that this client is irritated. Ask them what is bothering them. Then, listen to the answer.
Recognizing the grievance is a powerful way to align with the client. Just letting them you realize they are unhappy goes a long way to repairing the rift.
Restate their grievance. It lets the client know you understand. Restating the grievance is a cooling-off tool, that acknowledges they are heard. Many times this is all it takes to calm down a grouchy client.
Take it a step further. After you restate their grievance, explain how or why you are doing what you do and how it benefits the inspection results. What seems like simple logic to you may be outside of the client’s knowledge. Gently educate them on the requirements you must follow to perform an inspection.
Use Your Understanding to Your Advantage
You don’t know what pressures are motivating the client. The best you can do is explain your professional position and how your work ultimately benefits them. Stress the educational components of your inspection and how your client benefits by knowing more.
Show the client how the information you provide helps them make a wise decision. Yeah, that’s right, you’re helping them be smart. There’s nothing like an ego boost to a client to bring them around to your side.
In the best of all possible worlds, clients would understand what we do. But that’s not the case. A little education can help you turn a critical client into a supporter.
All it takes is patience and a willingness to educate the client on the benefits you bring to their real estate transaction. Many first time clients think an inspection is something that just has to be done to conclude the transaction. They don’t understand that you are an independent professional with an unbiased view of the property.
Instant Hard Blowback
If you don’t take the time to slow down and communicate with that cranky client, the agent could give you an angry call in minutes. That cranky client of yours is their client too. The agent’s primary concerns is that the deal goes through. The agent sees anything that gets in the way or slows things down – like you and that cranky client disputing – as a threat to their income.
The call will be a severe reprimand and now you’ll have two cranky people to deal with. The agent will remember this event and tell others.
Save Yourself Grief
Not taking the time to educate an unhappy client can cost you and cost you big time. Without addressing the client’s concern, you can get a call from an irate real estate professional who feels you haven’t treated their client well. Not only are they angry then, but you may also have lost 20 new jobs by irritating the real estate professional. And… word goes out to other agents that you don’t treat clients well.
Negative word of mouth will have a huge and long-lasting impact on your business. You owe it to yourself, your professional dignity, and the life of your business to take the time to calm down and educate that one critical client.
Listen and respond! Hear why the client is unhappy. Acknowledge their concern. Explain your method and process without talking down. Remind them you work for them, not the agent. Clear those concerns so you can get on with your job. You’ll turn a critic into a supporter when you take that extra five minutes.
The client wins. The agent wins. You win.