By Cyndi Bell • 2019 President

In your career, long or short, we’ve all had “that client.” The annoying, needy, pushes-your-button client. I’d ask you to take a moment and rethink because it may be your annoying, needy, pushes-your-button client is your inability to set and meet their expectations. Wait. What?

Expectation management is an art form. Ask yourself a question about your annoying, needy, pushes-your-button client. “Did I set clear processes, expectations and delivery goals from our first interaction?” If the answer is no, then maybe it’s time for a relationship reset.

How many times have you indicated to a client something like, “I’ll get it to you in the next few days?” This ambiguous timeline adds zero value to you or the client. What typically happens in this scenario is the client is wondering: “when were they going to get back,” “should I call them,” “are they too busy for me,” “they are ignoring me.” You’re thinking you’ll get back to them in three days; they’re thinking one. Now, your ambiguity jeopardizes your ability to meet expectations of your client. How many times have you thought “If they ask to see one more house…”

Ask yourself again. Did I set a clear process and expectations before I ever started showing properties? If the answer is no, then maybe it’s time for a relationship reset.

Have you unintentionally given permission to your client not to buy a house? Are you even showing property that meets their needs? Do you really know what “it” is they are looking for? Maybe your client is wondering…. “they keep showing houses that don’t meet our needs”… “this is a waste of time”… “they aren’t listening to me.” Consider your client’s inability to decide is that you’ve not uncovered their real need in their next home. It may be time to sit back down and complete a post-mortem on the properties you’ve shown and really find out why your buyer client can’t seem to move into action.
How many times have you thought “why are they calling, texting, emailing me at all hours?”

Ask yourself. Did I set expectations or inadvertently give them permission to contact me at all hours? Did you set the expectation that you’re available 24/7? Your client is a night owl, you’re an early bird. They are texting you at 11 p.m. and you’re already in bed. They remember you saying you are available 24/7. Consider setting the expectation at your first meeting for when you will be returning calls and emails from the day. And don’t forget, if you set the expectation, you need to stick to it.

Setting expectations and delivering on the expectations builds trust. Trust allows you and your client to work together and build a relationship that will pay dividends for years to come. Get clear on managing expectations and when you experience something that didn’t go as expected. Look back and ask, “what could I have done to avoid that?” Whatever the answer is, it must become part of the process going forward.

Once you’ve “fixed” you, then you can take inventory and eliminate “bad or annoying” clients. Bad and annoying clients suck your energy, your enthusiasm, your time and profits. And if they are really “so bad” ask yourself, how did I end up working with them in the first place? What kind of conversations and qualifiers did I have in place at the beginning of the relationship?

So, before you slap the label on an annoying, needy, pushes-your-button client, take time to fix yourself. RL

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