One Of The Best Lessons I Learned From The Worst Client 

Today, we’re going to have a story time because I’m going to tell you one of the best lessons I learned from the absolute worst client. Yes, we all have those nightmare clients that make us question why we do what we do. They don’t value us, and it feels like dealing with them is just not worth the hassle. But hang tight, because I’m about to share how I managed closing a deal with such a client, despite firing him a couple of times.

The Referral That Started It All

I received a referral from one of my partners in Florida—shout out to Colin! The property was a million-dollar house about 15-20 minutes away from me. This seller had gone through over 20 realtors before me. So, high red flag, right? It’s kind of like dating — what is wrong with you at this point? You know, it can’t possibly be the realtors.

First Impressions

From the moment I arrived, I knew what type of person I was dealing with. The seller came outside, looked me up and down, and checked out my car. I walk inside, the first thing he says to me is I really love this house, I don’t even want to sell it. I knew he needed to sell it, so I already know intuitively, what type of person I’m dealing with, we have someone who is trying to come from a place of power, like I’m awesome, I’m wealthy, I don’t need you. But he does need me.

Lesson 1: Don’t Take It Personally

The first lesson was understanding that nothing he said was personal. His attitude and words had everything to do with his own issues and nothing to do with me and we won’t label him.

So as I walk the house with him, he’s telling me all about his amazing features, there’s statues everywhere, so much junk and clutter that it was very hard to walk the property, beautiful house, like great bones. I’m an investor, so I can see past all the junk, but I know that the buyers won’t.

Understanding His History

Before any appointment, I always look at the history because I want to make sure I have a full picture since there’s going to be things that he’s not going to tell me.
This seller had listed, canceled, reduced, and raised the price multiple times. The inconsistency screamed high maintenance. When I asked what happened with previous realtors, I knew he would never see himself at fault.

Knowing he would blame me for any issues, I decided to take control. He tells me about how the other agent, he could not believe that they dared to market the property and find buyers for it unrepresented, and how he felt like it was a conflict and she was money hungry. And I’m like, okay, so if a buyer ever reaches out to us, I’ll get another agent involved. Check.

Then he starts telling me about how, because this man, of course, has cameras everywhere, literally everywhere, I think there were like 15 cameras. So he tells me about how he canceled the transaction because he saw an inspector dancing, and he could not wrap his brain around the fact that the inspector was dancing in the house, which in all fairness, was a little weird. Still, it’s not something worth canceling the transaction, but whatever.
He tells me about how unprofessional everyone was, and then in negotiations, that they were lucky to even have the opportunity to buy this house, and the fact that they had the audacity, his words, to ask for repairs is just unacceptable. I think he said unacceptable, like ten times.
So now I need to ensure the price is right because if he’s like this with repairs, I need to ensure everyone knows it’s as is. So then he proceeds to tell me that, he’s not going to make repairs, and we get into price. He wants 300,000 more than what I was recommending, and now it’s a matter of getting him on the same page.

Lesson 2: Relate to Their Perspective

So one of the biggest lessons I learned very early on was, if I want someone to understand why this makes sense as a seller, I always have to relate it to being a buyer, because they don’t get it.
So I just simply explained to him, I get it, You’re right this house is beautiful but you just said that you’re going to be buying a house, if someone came to you and said, I know you like this house, but I want $1.5 million for it, but you’re looking the area, no houses have sold more than 1.2 or 1.3 How would you respond? I made it relatable. And he said, well, I wouldn’t pay that.

I’m like, okay, I have a feeling that the buyers might respond the same way that you just did.
Of course, the next thing comes out of his mouth is I have three other agents that will sell it for 1.5 and 1.7. And now I come from a place, well, I think you should absolutely hire them because I don’t think if they can sell it that awesome but I’m telling you what the numbers are, and I’m never going to take something on that I can’t sell because it’s a waste of my time.

So at that point, he hires me and he’s like, fine.

So we go through the transaction, and this man made me use all of my skills to be able to manage him, wanted me at every single showing, which in million-dollar homes is very common except for the fact that he has cameras and he didn’t live here.

And so in that transaction, I had to learn very quickly how to set boundaries, they don’t respect boundaries because everything is a threat. Clients like this are going to push you until you resist, or you can’t take it anymore, or you give in and give me what I want because that’s what they’re used to. But if you put a boundary and you say, this is what we’re going to do, take it or leave it, early on in the relationship, you’re going to show him, this is not how we do things.

I fired him twice. The first time was over a rant about buyers discussing the roof needing replacement. The second was during negotiations when he kept trying to blow up the deal. Both times, setting firm boundaries and sticking to them was crucial.

Negotiating the Nightmare

Finally, after much patience and countless boundary-setting moments, we got the house under contract. It took every ounce of my skill to manage this client, but in the end, we closed the deal.

Key Takeaways

  1. Don’t Take It Personally: Difficult clients often project their issues onto you. Stay detached.
  2. Set Boundaries Early: Establish what is and isn’t acceptable from the start.
  3. Relate to Their Perspective: Make your points relatable to help them understand.
  4. Patience and Skill: Use all your negotiation skills and stay focused on the end goal.
  5. Emotional Control: Keep your emotions in check to maintain higher intelligence in dealing with them.

If you want to learn more about dealing with difficult clients and improving your negotiation skills, join our free class on working with pre-foreclosures. These challenging clients can significantly enhance your skillset. See you next time!

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