How to tell a client you no longer want to work with him

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Smiling man shakes hands with real estate agent while man's wife looks on.

11/02/2016 | Author: Editorial Staff

Not every client is going to be a fit for your business. If a listing agreement is coming to an end and you don't want to extend it, how do you break the news to the client? With some strategy and simple steps, you can increase the chances the relationship ends well and with the smallest possible chance of hurt feelings.

Plan for the worst. Before starting the discussion with your client, think about how he might respond. Imagine the less-than-gracious things he could say to reduce the risk of you lashing out in response. In the weeks leading up to the end of the agreement, you could ask the client in general terms how he would prefer to hear bad news.

Give an example about what didn't work. Maybe the client insisted on marketing a property in a way that didn't take advantage of your strengths or went against your advice. Try to communicate that difference clearly and without blame. If you can do that, you run a greater chance of getting them on board with parting ways.

Don’t give false hope. If you’re ending the relationship, stick to your "no." Don’t open the door to compromises that are aimed at making the client happy rather than working in both your interests.

Categories: Business tips
Tags: client relations, business tips


Kathryn Nelson on 11/08/2016

Debbie’s comment about a client’s feelings mirroring the agent’s are so true—for both buyers and sellers.  When uneasiness or warnings start—subtle or otherwise—it’s best to address those feelings immediately; find something you can agree on, common interest—- something—- otherwise, escalation could be the loss of the client, time and money.

Theresa Akin on 11/03/2016

Most of the time I know from the first meeting if I’m going to work the listing.  There have been moments though where situations have arisen to change the relationship of client/agent.

Debbie Russell on 11/03/2016

I tell them in the beginning; “if you begin to feel like you are not happy about working with me, it is likely I already feel the same about you”.  While professionalism, knowledge and ability are key to a real estate agent’s success so is a happy and agreeable amicable flow of conversation and negotiation.  My plan is to make this transaction real, truthful and as fun as possible.  I explain how I don’t handle drama well.  I say just let me know, if I don’t think I can easily adjust or remedy the situation we will part ways quickly, without drama and with no hard feelings.  Life is short this is too complex of a transaction to go about it with negativity, distrust or hesitation.

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The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on Any legal or other information found here, on, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

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