You can Become Too Emotionally Involved
Building Relationships is key when establishing trust and rapport with clients whether buying or selling a home. Unfortunately, it is easy for this relationship building to be misconstrued as a friendship being formed. It’s easy when the real estate transaction is not a “happy” occasion, but that of sadness, to cross over between the professional to the friend.
Five Situations to Keep Yourself in Check
- Divorce: Usually you act as a middleman in between the two spouses, and when it is an amicable split – it can work without too many glitches. However, usually one party or the other will have to relieve some of their steamed up frustration and tell you what the latest “tuff” is about between them.
- Relocation: Moves to an unfamiliar place can be very difficult. Whether working with buyer or seller, you have to deal with the unknowns many times – which is always difficult to accept; establishing new relationships; jobs; neighbors. It could very well be that you are the first and only new connection that the client has in their new town.
- Short Sale/Foreclosure: The financial strain is a heavy thing. People often experience high feelings of failure and they look to you to balance out the negativity they are faced with.
- Death: The loss of a loved one creates a gap in lives. You may be seeked out to fill it – at least temporarily.
- Downgrading: Sometimes when people decide to downgrade they are very emotional and can attach to you for validation in their decision to move. This can be because of many different reasons from financial to health. If you are working with a seller, you’ll find situations where they need help letting go. When working with buyers, they could be having a hard time realizing what they can afford isn’t quite what they had in mind.
Stay Focused on the Transaction
Because of the frequency of communication with clients, it is easy for them to think of you as their friend that they can unload on. In each of these situations, remind yourself to keep them focused on the house and transaction, continually bring the conversation back to the facts at hand. I’m sure we’ve all had the phone call to the client that never lasts longer than an hour, when you call you have to have “an appointment” you need to hang up for. Sometimes you have to resort to the bold truth, “I can not work on building a friendship with you at the same time we are building a professional one.”
Pay attention to the Warning Signs of friendship seekers: telephone calls just to say hi, going/meeting for drinks, tears through phone calls, home tours that seem to be for ‘talk time’ instead of house hunting time, asking for money, or invitations to parties.
Build One Relationship at a Time
Many times good friendships are desired and are formed. It happens easily because a lot of the time the people you work with will be very compatible to your personality. It’s usually best, however, to work on one relationship at a time. Wait until after your transaction is complete before jumping into a personal relationship with your clients.