Is It Time To Fire Your Client?

The phrase Let Go in red text on a note card pinned to a cork notice board as a reminder that sometimes we have to move onIt’s such an odd question. After all, aren’t all clients good ones? Some are more difficult than others, but as long as you get paid, it’s all good. Right?

At the beginning of my career I was right there with everyone else. I would work with anyone hoping that it would turn into a commission check at some point. But after a few bumps and bruises, I realized that maybe this working with everyone thing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Does the thought of saying no make you hyperventilate?

Here’s a statistic that will help you to breathe easier. In the Northwest MLS last year, there were just over 88,000 closed sales. When you consider that there are a buyer and seller commission paid for each of those transactions, that means over 160,000 commissions were paid in 2015. How many transactions do you want to do? There is enough out there for all of us..

Here’s how to know when it’s not working:

  • They don’t respect your time: Not all client meetings are convenient, and sometimes you have to adjust your schedule on the fly, but there can still be respect and consideration. I once fired a client because he consistently showed up an hour late for our Saturday appointments.
  • You don’t have mutual trust and respect: You provide valuable insights that can greatly impact your clients results. If they are going to fight you tooth and nail every step of the way, it’s not going to work. I once said no to a listing because the seller refused to prep his house and insisted on listing $75,000 over the market value. They listed with another agent, and never did sell.
  • You can feel it in your gut: Sometimes you just know it’s not the right fit. Trust that feeling. It’s always right.
  • They will not commit to working with just you: This comes in to play with buyers. If they won’t commit to working with you exclusively, it’s not the right fit. Early in my career I worked with a  few people who I suspected were working with multiple agents at the same time. Sure enough, they bought from someone else after I spent hours showing them homes.
  • It’s not your area of expertise: Whether it’s an area that you are not familiar with, a price point you don’t care for, or something that you don’t know a lot about, it’s time to say no. But in this case, don’t just walk away. Refer them to someone who can help them. It makes you both look like a hero rather than floundering around for months only to have your client get frustrated when it’s clear you don’t know what you’re doing.

Admittedly this is a slippery slope. With even some of my best clients, there are often sticking points when we work together. If you packed up and left every time things got tense or awkward, you wouldn’t have any clients.

What I know, though, is that there have been those times in my career that I knew it wasn’t working, but I hung in there because “you just never know” or “at least I’ll get a commission out of it in the end” only to have things fall apart and turn into nothing.

Having the confidence to say no is hard, but it can be the best thing for your business.

There’s nothing worse than getting dumped by a client and not getting paid after you have put endless hours into it.

Remember, sometimes you need to say ‘no’ to something average to say ‘yes’ to something great.

To your success!


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