Five Tips for Delivering Bad News to Clients

By MNR News posted 07-23-2021 12:03


thumbnail_Difficult_Conversations_v2-03.pngBy helping customers manage disappointments you can transform loss into life-long loyalty 


As a Realtor®, you want to make the experience of buying or selling a home as joyful and pain free as possible. But the reality is that bad things may happen. Contracts fall through. Inspections and appraisals come back with deal-breaking news. A buyer withdraws an offer. Your offer to purchase gets rejected or another offer has been accepted. 


When there is more inventory, it’s easier to move on after losing a bidding war because another comparable home is likely to come along quicker. But when there is less to choose from, buyers can be more disappointed because they don’t know when they’ll find something similar. And some home buyers may turn their disappointment and frustration on you. Realtors® must master the art of delivering discouraging news in order to have long-term success.  


It’s easy to shine when everything is going well; it’s much harder when things aren’t. This can be your time to exceed clients’ expectations and boost your reputation as an outstanding agent. Studies have shown that the most loyal customers—the ones who will use you again or refer you to others—aren’t the ones who never experience problems. In fact, if they run into complications and setbacks, your top-notch customer service will transform them into loyal champions of you and the business. While you may not always be able to tell them what they want to hear, how you say it—and more importantly, what you do afterward—can turn the whole experience around. 


When the transaction doesn’t go the way your client would like, it’s up to you to deliver the news honestly and openly, without destroying their confidence in you or the whole process. Below are some tips to keep in mind when delivering news your client may not want to hear: 


Stay calm. 

Even if you are extremely busy and stressed. Even if you have worked incredibly hard on the transaction and the news also aggravates you, don’t let clients see your frustration or concern. You need to be the voice of reason and a source of comfort. 


Deliver the news quickly.  

If you have bad news for your clients, get it out there quickly. Contact them as soon as you have enough information to offer a clear explanation and answer their questions. 


Be empathic and compassionate. 

What you are about to say may be devastating to your client. Try to avoid having these conversations via text. Speaking with your client in person is best, but if time is of the essence, at least have a phone conversation where you can discuss options and next steps. 


Focus on what is possible.  

When you have bad news, offer some sort of solution. Your clients may be feeling demoralized, overwhelmed and want to give up on the entire process. So, before you call clients, have some ideas in mind for moving forward. Present them with a plan and offer alternatives. Prove to them that you want to find a solution that works in meeting their needs.  


Choose words wisely.  

You want to prepare clients for what you are about to say, but avoid using negative terms. Phrases like, “We have a challenge to overcome” or “We have a decision to make” indicate that bad news is coming, but position it as something you can overcome together. That subtle change can move the conversation in a more positive direction. 


Remember, deals fall through all the time for many different reasons. You are the expert who can help your client through a tough market, situation, or multiple-offer rejections. By maintaining your professionalism, heightening your empathy, and demonstrating your skills as a problem solver, you’ll earn your customer’s loyalty and build a reputation that attracts more clients.