I hear these things all the time and they need to be stopped! Here are the three biggest things your commercial real estate clients don’t have to know.
1) I don’t need your money. This is a common phrased used to keep an overly eager client at bay. It’s very tempting to tell a needy client that you don’t need their money…you’re just doing this as a favor. Your belief is that saying this will magically make the clueless client will back-off and let you work your magic. In reality you’ve just said, “I don’t need you or your business.”
People like being appreciated and very few find it acceptable to be a charity case, especially when they’re paying clients. Instead of belittling their wallet, take a different approach. “I have a sales process but, like all processes, it takes a little time to work.” Everyone understands that things take time, but sometimes they need to be reminded. Overly eager clients may have deeper financial issues. Ask them if they would like to share the reasons why they’re eager for a sale or lease. If they need money now, perhaps they would be willing to drop their asking price in exchange for multiple offers.
Remind them that market conditions play a big role in how quickly a building gets sold or leased. If they’re short on time they’ll need to “play the market game” and adjust asking prices.
2) You’re not my only client. This phrase is used so often that it’s becoming cliché. Of COURSE you have more than one client! This is used as a reminder that your client is taking up too much of your time. Unlike number 1, this can be used on all manners of clients: buyers, leasers, sellers, all of them. Your belief is that reminding them the obvious will stop the 100 emails and phone calls you get on a daily basis. In reality you’ve just said, “Gosh you’re annoying!”
People get excited. It’s likely your client is thrilled that you’re helping him find a new office space or selling his building. Oddly enough, the same strategies you use on a hyper dog work on a client. Whatever you do, don’t reward unwanted behavior. If they send you 20 emails and 5 voicemails, gather the information from each email and voicemail. The next day, give a call or email with those answers. You don’t want to answer each email and voicemail individually, as it will encourage them to continue. Instead make them wait for a single connection that will answer all of their questions at once. Over time, they’ll learn to send one email or call for each project instead of picking up the phone / email to communicate every single thought in their head.
3) My price is flexible. You might as well say, “You can talk me out of my own sales commission.” This is a slippery slope that your client will use today to negotiate you down and again when it’s time to write your check. If your price is flexible, don’t say it! If you really want the opportunity to work with this client, but you know he’s interviewing other agents, don’t make your pitch about pricing. Be sure to tell him that you’re interested in working with his company and you’ll be the most qualified, and most motivated of any other agents he’ll interview.
People are less price sensitive than you think. They want the right person for the job, not just the cheapest. (If they want the cheapest, maybe it’s best they’re not your client.) Make sure your client is aware you’re qualified and interested in his project. Being interested in the particular project will make all the difference in the world.
If your price is flexible, throw out a reasonable number. If they hate it, instead of agreeing to come down (just this once) offer to remove services in exchange for a lower number. “I’ll go to 2%, but your property won’t receive a brochure or a mention on my website. However, I will (1) visit your property, (2) take quality photos with an HD camera, (3) make notes on your property’s features, (4) and place your listing onto Property Line, LoopNet, and Costar.” Compromises will ensure the negotiation is fair on both parties.