I'll never forget the look on my agent's face. Many years ago when I was a full-time broker, my agent - let's call him "Dan" - received a phone call from a client he had been working with. They told him, "Dan, we're so sorry. We bought a house with another agent."
The look on Dan's face was like an electric shock had been sent into his body. I felt so bad for him. He was totally unprepared for this. He had been working with these people for weeks and it looked like a deal was imminent. Now this.
Dan took it hard. Everything positive about his career went down the drain - his belief in himself, his confidence, and his outlook for the future.
All because of this one event.
What Dan didn't understand at the time was the psychology of his clients. He felt that all the time spent working together created a sense of "loyalty" to which they would adhere. He felt personally slighted by people he thought had become friends. Dan had a hard time understanding that it wasn't about him at all - it was about the client.
It's always about the client. People want what they want, regardless of you. That's just a hard fact of life. It's important to understand this principle and work with it instead of against it.
I advised him to do something that he resisted: call the clients and ask the circumstances of the sale. Most agents resist this crucial step when I advise them to take it. They're usually so frustrated at the situation that the last person they want to speak with is the client that just dumped them.
But this is business, and if you don't learn from your mistakes, you're sunk.
Dan called the clients, although reluctantly. He asked about the sale. What he found out opened up his eyes.
The clients told him that it was nothing to do with him at all. Their decision was based purely on a chance phone call from an agent they had worked with earlier. They saw a house several weeks ago with this other agent and made an offer. The seller refused it. They believed that house was long gone, but the very night my agent thought he had a sale the seller of the first home dropped his asking price and the original agent called the clients.
It was a chance circumstance that had nothing to do with my agent. The "electric shock" look on his face went away and he was able to rebuild his self-worth.
It is a fact of life that the best scenario can fall apart in the last few seconds. Stuff happens. There is nothing we can do about it.
Here's another example: You've been working with a client for a long time. You were even out showing houses to them today. Everything seemed fine and dandy. The client was going home to think about it.
The next morning, the client calls and says, "We thought about it, but when driving home last night we saw an Open House sign and we couldn't help but stop. We went in, fell in love with it, and the hosting agent took our deposit right then and there."
The answer to all of this is in the psychology of your clients. It's really very simple: People want what's in it for them, what's in the best interest of their family, and they want it when they want it. Which is usually right now.
If you could reach into the subconscious minds of your clients, this is what you would hear them saying to you:
"Serve me. Serve me well. Serve me now. And don't forget to leave out anything."
This mindset has nothing to do with you. It's all about them. You have to keep this in mind at all times. They have no loyalty to you, and they shouldn't. They must act on their best interests at all times. It's only human nature.
It's up to you to understand this principle and not allow it to deter you from moving forward. Not even for a second.
Understand that this will happen. Don't fight the psychology of your clients. Work with it instead. Use this "now"-based philosophy to your advantage. Always assume that people are constantly working with other agents besides you.
But more importantly, look for ways to be better than any other agents. Impress and amaze your current clients so much that they call you even if they find a property on their own or with someone else.
It's all about communication and education. You need to be their one-stop source for everything real estate. You start proving it by sending out your mailings that aren't plain old ads - they're full of useful guidance for consumers. People immediately see that you're one up on your competition because you understand the market better and you can back up your expertise with solid numbers and analysis.
Then, you impress them when you meet by combining this knowledge with a no-pressure personality that connects with them on a very human level.
Finally, you educate them about how working with you is their best choice - even if they find a property on their own. You show them graphs, charts, and calculations that convince them they will save the most money by involving you in any transaction.
Many people don't even know they can call you if they find a property on their own. Make sure they know.
By understanding the psychology of your clients - leaning into it instead of resisting it - you'll be able to understand why some transactions never happen. Nothing you do is infallible. No matter how good you are, some people will always go to someone else. That's just life.
But by being a "Best of the Best" agent, you use their psychology to your advantage. With your incredible market knowledge, Five Star Customer Service, and your no-pressure sales approach, you are more likely to be the agent they turn to even if they find a property on their own.
Be that agent. Be the "Best of the Best" and no single failed transaction will ever slow you down for even a second.