The customer ISN’T always right!
I was watching a YouTube video about landscaping (DIY purposes) and ran across an interesting video I could relate with titled “When the Customer is Wrong”. It showed me some similarities and perspective with my career and areas of expertise. The example that resonated with me was protecting the client from themselves.
People tend to become emotionally tied to what they are buying or selling. In the case of the landscaper, the homeowner wanted the contractor to remove a pool and install a patio which was cost-prohibitive because of the soil composition. The contractor made the homeowner aware of the potential costs associated, but his emotions pushed him to go forward with the project. The contractor, adamant and concerned with not only the cost but the long-term viability of the project pushed back and ultimately was able to talk to homeowner into filling the area in and creating some natural grass and landscape at a much lower cost ensuring the homeowner that he could later install the patio after they were able to monitor ground movement.
Real estate agents are faced with similar situations. This contractor talked his customer out of investing thousands of dollars into the project of which he was already mobilized and prepared to do. As professionals, we also have to show our customers the long-term ramifications of trying to purchase something that doesn’t fit their needs or that may be a bigger project than their emotions are allowing them to see.
Similarly, and in many cases even more challenging is the razor thin line we balance between with respect to sellers and what they should do. Sellers oftentimes ask for opinions and advice, but don’t always heed that advice. Buyers can be emotionally attached to something they want which is an easy concept to grasp. We all like things that are new and shiny. Sellers, on the other hand, are emotionally attached to something that they have lived in, and shared life experiences in. This is why in so many cases, providing opinions of value can be so sensitive to many homeowners.
A classic approach includes sellers who only recognize, and only explain the great aspects of the home they live in. This is a classic trap for many rookie real estate agents. They are being sold by the homeowner. This can lead to overvaluation and extended days on market which usually equates to buyers expecting to be able to negotiate further. We also have to be careful about how we approach sellers when they receive good offers. What a broker might see and know is a good offer, a seller might view as a terrible offer. Trying to tell someone that a good offer is good can oftentimes lead them to believe that you weren’t working in their best interest, it can be messy.
Personally, I try to find ways to show my customers that I genuinely care about their investment or potential investment. I try not to think about my bottom line as a rule of thumb. The more I want something, the more my emotions can play tricks on my own mind. Working in your client’s best interest, genuinely, usually works itself out. However, it doesn’t mean these awkward situations don’t come up, and it’s a part of a broker’s job to know how to handle and articulate these situations.