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This post was updated Sept. 26, 2023.
As real estate agents, we all have experience working with clients who seem hesitant to fully commit to buying or selling. Whether they’re not quite ready to put in an offer or they get a case of cold feet, dealing with commitment issues from clients can leave you feeling frustrated, like you’ve done something wrong.
It’s been happening since the dawn of real estate time though, so know that you aren’t alone. It’s important to understand that this isn’t necessarily a reflection on you, as many factors are at play regarding a client’s commitment.
That being said, here are some ways that you can help alleviate clients’ hesitation.
1. Build rapport
One of the most important things you can do to help clients overcome their commitment issues is to build a relationship with them. Coaching them through their options will be more effective when you take the time to engage with buyers and sellers and build up the relationship.
Make sure they feel comfortable with you and listen carefully so that you understand their needs, priorities and fears. When they feel understood and heard, they are more likely to trust you and be willing to commit.
2. Educate them about the market
Clients often hesitate to commit because they feel unsure about the current housing market and the value of the property they are considering. The current economy and interest rates and their fluctuations can be a daunting topic to understand, and this is where your expertise comes in.
Take the time to educate your clients about the market and the factors that influence it (e.g., supply and demand, interest rates, etc.). This can help them feel more confident in their decision-making and make them more likely to commit.
3. Ask the right questions
Sometimes, clients hesitate to commit because they haven’t fully articulated their needs or priorities. Ask questions about what their goals are and what they are committed to. When clients have a better understanding of what they need, they are more likely to be committed to finding the right property.
Getting to the heart of their objections and hesitancy is key. Perhaps they’ve had a bad past experience with buying or selling, or maybe they’re feeling financially insecure due to the current economic climate. Whatever the reason, it’s essential to have an open conversation and empathize with your client’s situation.
4. Don’t rush them
While it can be tempting to want to close the deal as fast as possible, sometimes rushing a client can actually make them more hesitant to commit. Nobody likes to feel pressured into making decisions, and they will quickly show you the door if they start feeling that way. Ensure you give them the time they need to consider their options and make the most informed decision possible.
Sometimes that means really slowing down and putting your best interests aside to help coach a client to make a decision that is best for them. I see this often. For example, I sometimes hear, “Darryl, how can I get this prospect to decide to sell rather than rent?”
Listings are low, and agents want a win, but then I have to ask: What’s best for the client? For some, selling is absolutely a better option, but for others, not so much. Slow down. Listen. Be of service. Help them choose the right direction. When you do, you will gain a reputation for that service and be rewarded with more business and referrals because of it.
5. Be transparent
Transparency, in terms of real estate, is being upfront with all the details of the homebuying/selling process, discussing potential obstacles, presenting offers in clear and concise terms, and giving your client a realistic expectation of what is achievable.
It also includes making sure they understand the pros and cons of each decision they are considering. When you can demonstrate this level of honesty, they will have no doubts they can trust you completely.
6. Highlight your expertise
As a real estate agent, you’re experienced in navigating the market, but your clients probably won’t be, which is why they need your help. Make sure you highlight your real estate expertise by providing them with examples of your successful sales and your wealth of knowledge in guiding them through the buying or selling process.
When clients see that you’re knowledgeable, reliable and trustworthy, they’ll be more likely to commit to buying or selling because they know they’re in good hands.
7. Provide clear communication
Part of being an exceptional real estate agent is ensuring you communicate with your client. Literally, one of the things that can give agents a “black eye” fastest is when a client says, “We never heard from him.” The flip side of that is true as well. When an agent has excellent communication skills and keeps clients informed, their reviews often are five-star.
The key to this is not leaving things to chance. Have a system for keeping your clients informed throughout the entire transaction process. This makes the client feel important and more likely to remain committed throughout the process because they are kept in the loop.
8. Customize your strategy
Buyers and sellers are individuals with unique wants and needs. Therefore, it’s essential to tailor your strategies and actions accordingly to each client’s specific situation. You need to learn how to adapt to every new challenge that arises with your clients and handle their particular objections.
Understanding your client’s expectations means setting goals from the outset. As a real estate agent, you can significantly reduce the problem of ‘buyer’s remorse’, and other commitment issues clients may face by customizing a unique plan perfect for them.
9. Set expectations
One of the biggest reasons why clients may hesitate to commit is that they aren’t sure what to expect next. In your first meeting with them, it’s a good idea to set clear expectations about the process and what they can expect from you as their agent.
Creating timelines and deadlines and using tools such as checklists can help prepare them for what comes next and help alleviate any anxiety about the process, making them more likely to commit and stay committed.
10. Be patient
Finally, it’s important to be patient. While it can be frustrating when clients are hesitant to commit, it’s important to remember that buying or selling a property is a big decision and one that should not be made lightly. Continue to build trust, address concerns, set expectations and stay in touch, and when they are ready, you can be sure your phone will ring.
Buying or selling a property is a big decision, and giving clients the time and space they need to make that decision is important. By building rapport, educating clients about the market, asking the right questions, not rushing them, and being transparent, you can help your clients move from browsing to buying with more confidence and ease.
Whether you’re working with first-time buyers or seasoned investors, the key is to be patient, empathetic and professional at all times. They need you to be the steady voice of reason, calm in the storm and advocate they can trust.
Darryl Davis has spoken to, trained and coached more than 100,000 real estate professionals around the globe. He is a bestselling author for McGraw-Hill Publishing, and his book, How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate, tops Amazon’s charts for most sold book to real estate agents. His real estate training system, The Power Program, has proven to help agents double their production over their previous year. Davis is currently hosting weekly free webinars to help agents navigate the new real estate reality. Learn more at www.DarrylSpeaks.com/Online-Training.