You will have heard of 50 ways to leave your lover the Paul Simon song right? This post is slightly different to that, it’s ten ways to lose your client as an estate agent. Luckily for me I have no worries about the clients I lost because of my big mouth and actions over the years.
Working in property for so long I have sold a lot of houses to a lot of people, made a lot of friends, had a load of recommendations and a whole lot more. I have also lost clients because of various reasons some quite normal ones, “you don’t have what we are looking for” or “we don’t think the area is for us” etc… some maybe not so normal (See my post here about ten mad reasons for not buying a house in Spain) and some frankly ridiculous. Today of course we are going to talk about the frankly ridiculous which is always the most fun.
So whether we are talking about clients on the buying or the selling side here are some of the most amazing, strange or mundanely predictable ways that I have lost clients over the years. Me and my big mouth!
1) Express a Musical Preference – Some years ago Keane were really huge, they had a massive album then brought out a total dud in comparison and sort of disappeared off the face of the Earth for a time. One thing I learnt from this disappearing act is never to tell a client that Keane are crap because that client may well hang their whole musical identity on their love for Keane and “Under the Iron Sea“. Once you express the fact that Keane are crap to somebody then never should you expect them to call you or contact you in any way ever again. It’s just too dangerous people, don’t do it!
PS Keane are still crap.
2) Show them video number 54 of the 100 Tips For People Moving to Spain – Embedded below is video 54 of my 100 made especially as tips for people moving to Spain. Decide for yourself but I like to think it works as a filter mechanism meaning I don’t get many clients who are potential UKIP voters (See below too)
3) The hub caps, it’s always the hub caps – Not only do I work as an estate agent to a fashion I also offer a lot more services often free. One client wanted a rental car once and I arranged the most ridiculously good offer from a local car hire company. He went to pick it up drove about for two days and then phoned me up asking to take it back and get him another. (Remember I don’t get paid for this so the sudden inability to drive was irritating to say the least) When I asked why I was told,
– “The car hasn’t got any hub caps”
– “I can’t be seen to be driving around in a car without hub caps”.
– “Rental cars don’t have hub caps here (At the time true) and Spain is different you know, you are not judged on your set of wheels…”. (Interrupted)
– “I don’t care, get me another or I won’t be using your services again”.
Now it is debatable whether I lost the client with my answer or had already lost the client prior to this point but saying,
“What the fuck…” was probably not the most diplomatic response.
4) This conversation (and yes it did happen)
– “You didn’t turn up wearing a suit and tie which just shows a total lack of respect for me as a customer”
– “Wearing a suit and tie is not gonna happen especially in 35 degree heat like today and have you never watched any of the preparation videos I sent you with me on them? You get what you see. Does having a suit and tie on make me any more capable of finding you the best property?”
-“It shows you don’t care”
-“Frankly my dear, I don’t, adios!”
5) Have a different view of the lovely Mr Farage – Some clients have never ever watched video number 54 above obviously and when they are lavishing praise on the Poundshop Enoch Powell (©Russell Brand on Question Time) the fact that I do not agree on that point, will not join in and do not want to have a not-so-closet racist polluting my car seems to be a good reason to take them back to their hotel rather than giving them a free tour of the city and it’s environs.
6) Refuse to change my Sunday plans to take them on a sightseeing tour of Valencia on a cricket playing day – First visit for this client, not sure they were going to buy in Valencia and not even sure if Spain was for them. They phoned me up one Saturday and asked, nay demanded that if I wanted to have the pleasure of their custom that I should drop everything the next day and take them out to view the city and its surroundings for at least a few hours, and oh “By the way if you could throw in a few house visits too that would help sway us towards Valencia maybe.” My response?
– “No chance, unfortunately (Not true) I have plans (True)”
– “Well if you don’t then don’t think we will be using your services”
Again my response was like the following.
7) Criticise the Daily Mail – Over the years of doing this job I don’t think I have missed a chance to criticise the spawn of Satan that is the Daily Mail when it comes up in conversation, it’s sort of obligatory to get it off my chest on a Daily Basis (Which would be a much better paper) However when you are talking with somebody who actually believes what is written in that rag then it is necessary to remind them forcefully that it prints lies, damn lies and then rounds them off with more lies for good measure. So those immortal words,
– “It’s true because I read it in the paper”
– “Which one?”
– “The Mail!”
Just had to be answered by a rant. Surely it is my job as a responsible and sensible human being right?
8) Refuse to take someone to thirty properties in two days – It’s not just the Maths that’s wrong on this ambition, it’s the concept. You cannot see more than a handful of houses in a day and retain that information, you would have a sensory bombardment meaning you stop taking things in after about the fourth house. Also asking me to arrange 30 properties in a couple of days requires planning equal or greater to that of the Great Escape or decoding the Enigma code. If you need to see 30 properties then you do not know what you are looking for and you will not see what you want anyway because, let’s face it, you don’t know what that is. So when I refuse and say ten over two days will be more than enough, don’t write back to me and tell me you will use someone else because I will just Rhett Butler you.
9) Tell Someone What Their Property Is Really Worth – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, some people live with their head in the clouds. When I get told that I have to list a property at 200k when it is obviously worth half of that then I don’t tend to take much notice. When somebody who has their property for sale at 100k as advised then phones me to tell me to put the price up on the site to 130k because it’s worth it then guess what my response is apart from a stunned silence?
When people are told the bald, hard and sometimes brutally honest truth then sometimes it hurts and they may react badly, very badly at times. The relationship is over at that point.
10) And finally, Criticise Expatshire when their goal is a property in Expatshire – You may not know the term Expatshire but it is a largely mythical place on the Spanish coast populated by retired majors and maiden aunts, readers of the paper mentioned a few times above and tattooed hordes of lager for breakfast drinking white van drivers stalking their next Expat victim. As I said it is largely a caricature of the Spanish Costas but it sort of exists in the imagination of many people and in small pockets of overdeveloped carbuncles marketed exclusively to the Brits on the grounds that it has an Irish bar with Sky Sports on every corner (The land of milk and honey in the sun if you like)
Now in Valencia we don’t tend to get that many clients of that type, at least I don’t, can’t imagine why. However every now and again one slips through the safety net and appears in my car and when I start the spiel about Valencia being a real city of a million people where you won’t find too many English bars and shops, you will need to learn some Spanish etc… they recoil in horror and ask if there is anything similar to Benidorm around. At that point I have lost them even if I wanted there to be a Benidorm on my doorstep because they will not find what they want in Valencia.
So my question of course is should I change my way of dealing with clients of this type and just nod along in appreciation of their taxi driver views of the World or should I just use them as anecdotes for more posts like this one? Your choice really. Hope you enjoyed this post. If you did just appreciate it by sharing with someone via Twitter, Facebook or even heaven forbid Google plus.