Lessons from Terrible Clients - Part 2
Here is Part One of this blog, in case you missed it:
Here are some additional stories, with the consequent lessons:
I once met a musician who was a drummer for a nationally known band (I won't mention the name here, because it just seems like bad form to me). Suffice it to say that it wasn't Ringo Starr. The drummer and his girlfriend looked around quite a bit with us, and we soon honed in on the proper home for his needs. His business manager was supposed to get in touch to begin the offer process, but we didn't hear anything.
Later, the drummer's mother-in-law called to see if they could get into the home to measure a room for soundproofing, and I told her that I hadn't ever heard from the manager. Needless to say, she was very surprised. After piecing it together, we think that his manager simply stole his money and left the country. Nice. The lesson here: Make sure you verify funds on a cash deal before you begin spending time with the client.
My favorite bad client story is this one: I listed a small ranch property in 1998 with a nice home and river views in the Leander area. This was tricky for us, because we didn't have any decent comps to set the right price. We began the marketing, and we got way more showings than I would have thought for the area of town. Many of these flew in to see the place from our national magazine advertising. Despite this, it took a LONG time for this property to sell (over a year as I recall).
The sellers were alcoholics (not exaggerating here - so was my dad, so I have some experience with this), and he liked to call me in the evening slurring and complaining. Keep in mind that I was still pretty new to the business. Once he called and started to cuss at me and bully me.
This was perhaps a turning point in my career, because it was the first time that I had to outright confront a client. I told him that I had known him for several months, and that I thought he and I had become friends now. I told him that he needed to calm down, stop talking, sober up, and call me the next day when he could think straight. He immediately apologized and we ended the call. He was still sorry the next day, and that was the last time that happened with him. Later, we sold the property and all was right with the world when we got a big commission check. I learned that clients may be our "employers", but that doesn't give them license to abuse us verbally.
What is my point in writing this two-part post? Well, I am hoping that it might be halfway encouraging for you to realize that:
- Wow, Jason has had a bunch of terrible clients in the past, but he is still in business and running his own brokerage now.
- Wow, my clients are nothing like that. Maybe I can do this after all.
- There is something to be learned on every deal, even the bad ones.
As always, thanks for taking your time to read this post.