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I think I would ask them a few questions about their needs. Then, ask them if they would like me to refer them to a "specialist" in that area.
I think I have one coming up like that, but it's ok, I'll take it. "Difficult" is my middle name. As long as the price is right and they follow my showing instructions. I will only turn down business if I really don't feel I can help them. Some of these difficult ones can become real sweethearts, after all, they are trusting you to help them.
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RET...
Fair Oaks, CA
Tell them that you may not be the best person for the job, but you know someone else who can do a better job, then refer them to that other agent.
Stevens Point, WI
I would do what the others have said and say I am really busy and would be glad to refer them since I want them to have great service.
I would ask them the necessary questions and then let them know my schedule but I have an agent that could help you now.
I would probably tell them that I knew another agent who would be more suited to handle their specific type of transaction and then I would collect the referral fee. After reading through the answers, I like Bob Crane's very diplomatic response.
My answer is the same as Sharon Altier, SFR's. And I would follow up with the referral agent and touch base once or twice with the contact during their process. Keep it arm's length, friendly but professional.
I would refer them to someone on my team.
Fair Oaks, CA
Tell them you would be happy to refer them to an agent who presently has the time to assist them. Perhaps you have some projects that may not allow you to give them the service they need? Let them know you will be sure to keep in touch with the agent (who is giving you a referral fee), so you are sure they are happy with the referral. It is professional and would be appreciated. Good luck!
Fair Oaks, CA
We will take this dance slowly
Carol Williams nailed this one!
Approaching me doesn't mean they will actually buy (as an Exclusive Buyers Agent, I don't take listings). So I would have to discern that first. If I was sure that my efforts would lead to a closed transaction, I'd put up with difficult. I do it all the time. If they didn't pass the sniff test, then I'd do what Pamela Seley suggests.
It depends on why you think they would be "difficult". Do they just need a lot of hand holding through the process? Not serious buyers/sellers? I would probably meet with to understand their needs and share how I work...then decide if they would be better served referred out or if I think I can work with their "difficulties" I may keep them.
Just let them know you'd prefer to refer them to another great person you know that can help them.
Dale - If you knew for sure that these people were going to be difficult to work with, then I would just offer up a referral. You could say that you have too much work to give them 100% of your attention, or that you don't want to mix business with pleasure.
Gee, Tom, thanks for thinking of me but I'm going to have to decline. I can suggest someone who specializes in 4 bedroom homes in that part of town.
Refering it out is the best answer.
I have had this situation many times, "I would love to help you with this, but rather than mix my business and personal life, I will recommend another professional who can help you with that."
I agree with Beatrice Briseno . Just refer and keep smiling. A
I'd explain to them the parameters in which I work, buyer and agent responsibilities, expectations, etc. If it seemed like it would be a fight at every turn, I might say that I may not be the right agent for them.
I would pobably say that my plate is full right now and I am not taking on new clients. I would ask if they wanted help with a referral.
Childs teacher? Let's see some A's on juniors report card and I'll take great care of ya
Spouse's coworker? Not my headache, I'd be happy to help (if this goes well, word will spread through the office how awesome you are, worth the risk IMO)
Someone at church? Sign me up, I don't have to be their best friend every Sunday.
Bottom line, it's never good for business to take on toxic clients, but I also think we're crazy to turn away someone that could, potentially, be "difficult". Growing a successful business doesn't afford us the luxury of always going the easy route.
I always made it a a rule to never use the services of my agents spouses, or significant others. I kept it arms length.
Never mix business with those that you know on a personal level...if things don't work out, it can sour the entire relationship.
I believe I would recall immediately that last evening I prayed for patience.
My choice is turn towards God's response or away.
However, since I know better than to pray for patience, I would find a 'better fit' within my referral network....or to an agent on 'the list.'
You could try telling them that you prefer not to mix your friendships with business and would be willing to refer them to another agent.