Real Estate

Real estate agents know they’ll have to have tough conversations with clients from time to time, especially when events in the world affect the industry. Having these conversations in a professional manner is key to maintaining a good relationship with clients in the future.

Feel prepared to handle sensitive subjects with your buyers and sellers with the following tips from Forbes Real Estate Council members. These suggestions can help you build trust and confidence among your clients.

1. Prepare For The Conversation

A seemingly difficult conversation with a client can be successfully broached first and foremost by properly preparing for that discussion. Whether it’s a pricing discussion or discussing the need to unclutter or stage a home, make sure to bring facts to the table to support your reason for broaching the subject. In addition, be sympathetic but do not waiver on your strategy and have a goal prepared. – Stephen Glen Kliegerman, Halstead Property Development Marketing

2. Be Honest And Address Concerns

Make sure you approach the conversation with upfront honesty that is backed by facts and data if applicable. Also, ask what their concerns are and address those concerns directly. A business relationship stems from honest, professional conversations about the topics that are most concerning to your client. – Galit Ventura-Rozen, Commercial Professionals, Inc

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3. Hold A Strong Code of Ethics

Continuously employing a strong code of ethics throughout your career will be reflected in your clients’ trust. An “honesty above all” approach always wins, and you may start by quoting Article 1 of the Realtors Code of Ethics: “We pledge to protect and promote the interests of our clients.” – Rodolfo Delgado, Replay Listings

4. Have An In-Person Or Phone Conversation

An in-person or phone consultation is the best way to discuss important issues with a client. It is useful to see or hear a client’s reactions to the message you are delivering. You can follow up with an e-mail to restate key points. You should also include data to back up your information. Managing expectations is a matter of clear communication and trust between you and the client. – Melinda Estridge, Estridge Group

5. Be Informed, Empathetic And Inclusive

It is important for agents to be informed, empathetic and inclusive. Being able to acknowledge world events that are impacting their clients and/or their community demonstrates respect. Creating space for open dialogue and active listening is the cornerstone for managing difficult conversations. – Michelle Risi, Royal LePage Connect Realty

6. Build A Track Record Of Success

The best thing you can do to broach difficult subjects with your clients is to not have them at all. Instead, work on your skill sets. Become incredibly valuable. Get to the point where you have so many great clients that trust your judgments as a result of having a long track record of success. Let your track record do the talking. – Demetrios Salpoglou, Boston Pads LLC

7. Listen To Client Concerns And Needs

Ask questions and listen first to understand the clients’ unique criteria, needs and preferences because not all factors impacting the market may be relevant to them. This way what you discuss regarding the industry and market is relevant to them. Don’t just lecture and assume something you haven’t discussed. After listening, be honest and transparent to address their concerns and manage expectations. – Catherine Kuo, Elite Homes | Christie’s International Real Estate

8. Consider Their Expectations

My brokerage sells homes to Americans living in the U.S. who are weighing the pros and cons of moving to a new country. It’s a little different than selling to buyers simply moving to a new city or state in the same country. We broach their expectations by having a lifestyle conversation with them. What do they like, what do they want and what do they feel are critical lifestyle requirements? – Gregory Gunter, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colonial Homes San Miguel

9. Leverage Your Experience And Expertise

It’s actually simple: find out what the client is focused on and answer questions honestly with your experiences. When asked how anything impacts a market or a property, remember that some events don’t impact everywhere and every person is different. We have seen much more than our clients, and they hire us for our expertise and honesty. – Nancy Kowalik, Nancy Kowalik Real Estate Group

10. Maintain Regular Conversations With Clients

The best way to avoid difficult conversations is to have constant dialogue with your clients. Make discussions intersect when you feel that the client may be affected. If you know that some topics could get heated, send an article on it and start that way. Be an active listener. – Michael J. Polk, Polk Properties / Matrix Properties

11. Communicate Expectations Upfront

The key is to communicate all expectations upfront and keep it real. Not doing this is exactly how business dealings and relationships go sour. Have the important conversations from day one with full honesty with your clients and continue on that path to maintain expectations. It will make everyone happy by creating a mutually valuable relationship between clients and real estate professionals. – Pamela Bardhi, The Mosche Group

12. Educate Yourself On A Variety Of Subjects

Knowledge is power. Being fully versed in a broad range of subjects will be key to approaching any conversation. It is also important to always be honest and straightforward. Clients will immediately realize that the relationship is trustworthy. – Marco Del Zotto, LIV | Sotheby’s International Realty – Breckenridge CO

13. Be Direct And Transparent

The best way for agents to broach difficult subjects or have difficult conversations regarding expectations with clients is to be direct, clear and transparent. In order for agents to be effective, the clients need to be armed in advance of market conditions so that they can make decisions that will produce fruitful outcomes. – Cheryl Abrams, Re/Max United Real Estate