Knowing when to push and when not to

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Have been doing some thinking about what makes an “enlightened agent”.

One very important skill / talent is knowing when/how to push a client and when to back off.

What do I mean by “push”? I mean the times during the course of a deal where the client is unsure about whether to proceed and looks to the agent for guidance.

Obviously, the agent’s strong financial incentive is to advocate for moving forward. Bad inspection report? We can fix those problems post-close. Weird easement? Everyone on the street has one. And on and on.

The problem with “pushing” is, of course, that the client can (and should) lose confidence in you if you’re always pushing. Lose the client’s confidence and nothing else matters; it’s unlikely you’ll close and, if you do, unlikely you’ll get repeat or referral business.

The flip-side of the above is that, if you have the client’s confidence, you will almost definitely earn a commission from that client eventually, even if this particular deal falls apart. And, doing a good job for the client and in a manner that preserves / enhances trust is likely to mean repeat / referral business.

So, the enlightened agent almost never pushes. Instead, she goes out of her way to point out the problems with a deal, the risks, the downsides, etc. In most cases, it should be the client who loves the deal and wants to move it forward, while the agent covers the client’s back.

What’s an exception to the above? Every once in a great while, a deal comes up which is so good that you have to push a client who is hemming and hawing. This isn’t a once-a-month kind of thing… more like once every few years. And it has to be the kind of situation where, if the client backs out of the deal, the agent feels like she would call every single one of her friends and family to raise the money to buy the place herself.

In that one situation, it is not only appropriate but almost a requirement of enlightened brokerage that you grab the client by his (figurative!) lapels and drag him over the finish line. Believe me, as someone who has been dragged a few times… the client ends up thanking you for it.

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