A Perspective on High Maintenance Clients
Written by Ali Calladine, May 11th, 2017
We’ve heard a lot of stories about high maintenance clients. The clients who, with their “outrageous expectations”, “stubbornness”, and “bizarre decisions” end up de-energizing you, and throwing off your business. The contradiction of wanting to hide away from these clients and not take their calls, but being acutely aware of your responsibility to them means often these “high maintenance clients” end up taking the most energy of anyone you’re working with.
We’ve noticed something. Often, these people aren’t universally difficult to work with. In fact, the problem is a conflict of values. What’s important to them isn’t important to you; and this makes it difficult to understand their priorities, anticipate their needs, or really connect with them in the first place and find that synergy that makes working with clients so fun.
If you realize this is the case with some clients, you have a couple options. You can, of course, choose not to work with them. Address that they deserve a realtor who can really understand what they need and who prioritizes things the way they do.
Or, you can expand your ability to work with people who have different values than you do.
If you’d like to diversify who you can work with, we have a couple tips that we see are key.
- Understand your own values
By having a solid basis of what’s important to you, you can more easily understand which values you share with clients and which values you don’t. This makes facilitating the relationship much easier.
- Learn to look for and understand your clients’ values
Read between the lines on what your clients are talking about to understand what values, beliefs, and worldviews are motivating their goals. If you see something that looks like it might be important to them, feel free to ask them about it. “It sounds like this is really important to you, is that true?” goes a long way.
- Don’t judge
Not judging anyone’s values as better or worse than your own is what will really give you the ability to work with a diverse range of clients. Remember that each person’s principles and discernment of what is important comes from a complex experience and history. If they are staying true to these beliefs, they are acting in a way that is completely valid. Learn to be curious and supportive of what your clients care about.
If you come across clients’ whose values you can’t get behind, sometimes the best course of action is not to work with them. It will take a lot more of your energy than is balanced compared to the rest of your business, and they deserve to work with a realtor who understands, supports and aligns with them.