- When someone you are close to chooses to work with another agent, don’t take it personally; address the issue, move on, protect your professional boundaries, and use it as an opportunity to improve.
As a real estate agent, your network of personal relationships is one of your most valuable assets. Working on commission can be a hard road, and you rely heavily on the support of your close friends and relatives.
But what happens when one of those close relationships chooses another real estate agent over you?
This situation can be disheartening and put a strain on your personal relationship. Here are some tips to get past the experience and come out stronger on the other side.
Don’t take it personally
When we find out that someone close to us went with another agent, our natural reaction is to look internally. There are many reasons relatives may select a different agent, and most of them have nothing to do with your abilities.
They may be embarrassed about something in their financing that they would be more comfortable divulging to a stranger.
They may not be completely serious about buying a home and don’t want to feel like they’re wasting your time. Or they may simply live life by the adage: “You don’t mix family and business.”
Whatever the reason, don’t let their personal decision affect your professional ego. It is likely an, “It’s not you, it’s me,” situation.
Address the issue?
Leave the issue unaddressed if you can, though with close personal relationships, this can be difficult.
If you do find yourself speaking with them about using you as an agent, understand that sometimes they’re simply not comfortable doing so.
A common response is that they don’t want to be in a position where they might have to fire you and hurt the relationship. This is a valid reason, and you should be ready to compromise.
Perhaps you recommend that they allow you to refer them to an agent whom you trust and have worked with in the past.
They won’t feel pressured while working with this agent, and you’ll be able to work out a small referral fee.
Most people looking to buy a home have no idea that this is an available option.
Move on, and accept their decision
Once they’ve made up their mind and signed an agreement with the other agent, it’s time to move on.
While it may sting at first, you still have a professional image to uphold and pressuring any further would not be appropriate.
Take some time to decompress, and do your best to keep this personal relationship healthy nonetheless.
What if they come back for advice?
Most people have a hard time understanding how to set and respect boundaries. It may sound absurd, but it’s likely that friends and family who pass over you as their agent will still come to you for advice during their homebuying experience.
They may ask for your opinion on a listing or for an inspector recommendation. Although it may be tempting to reopen the discussion, the best move is to simply defer to their current real estate agent.
Your time is valuable, and you need to protect your professional operation from your personal obligations. Be polite and professional in your response, but be firm.
Think of this situation from the other real estate agent’s shoes. By adding your professional opinion to the transaction, you would only be making the transaction more complicated than it needs to be.
There will be times when you’ll be in that other agent’s position and will appreciate the same level of professionalism.
Use it as an opportunity to improve
It’s possible that the person simply forgot you were a real estate agent.
People run very busy lives, and they frequently make quick decisions due to a lack of time. If you’re not top-of-mind when they decide to buy, then they may simply jump online and call the first real estate agent that they find.
It’s nothing personal, they just have a personality that jumps first and asks questions later.
Look at this as an opportunity to improve your outreach to your closest friends and families. This doesn’t mean you have to call them every week and ask if they’re ready to buy.
Take a more passive approach. Make sure that your personal email signature states that you’re a real estate agent and are always looking for more clients.
Check your social media profiles to ensure that “real estate agent” is predominantly displayed so that when people look at your posts, they’re constantly reminded that you’re in the industry.
When it comes to posting on social media like Facebook and Instagram, show your value. Let those closest to you know about the great things you’re doing for your clients and how grateful you are that they’re working with you.
Post pictures of houses your clients have bought and signing at the closing table. Whether they say it or not, people see these announcements and quickly affiliate these accomplishments with your competency as a real estate agent.
Be the kind of person your friends and family want to work with, not just the person they feel obligated to hire.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated.
Jeffrey Miller is a real estate agent with AE Home Group in Baltimore. Follow AE Home Group on Facebook and Twitter.