There are many reasons to fire an abusive client. If someone is constantly bullying you, belittling you, criticizing your work or expressing doubts about your ethics, it is time to let them go. What you are being paid is not enough for the stress that an abusive client places on your emotional health and on your business.
There is a difference between the difficult client and the abusive client and sometimes it’s hard to see where the line is drawn. A difficult client can be someone who requires more hand-holding than others or someone who rubs you the wrong way or someone who is extremely exacting in their requirements. However, if they respect your clearly stated boundaries, these clients do not generally fall into the category of “abusive”.
Abusive clients take “difficult” and ramp it up to a full-on offensive. There’s the person who threatens to sue you whenever you tell him that what he wants is impossible. There’s the person who laces his disapprobation with your morals and methods with profanity and insults. There’s the person who expresses doubt in your moral fiber and frequently comments on the outrageous sums you, as a Realtor® must be making (often accompanied by complaints about your work ethics). There’s the person who has no boundaries whatsoever and makes you uncomfortable with their personal questions or remarks or their ceaseless phone calls at all hours of the day and night.
There is a legend floating around about the abusive/difficult-client-who-became-a-loyal-lifelong-customer. It’s just that – a legend. If it was actually true, it would have become a cliché long ago. Abusive people don’t miraculously stop being abusive, gift their agents with million-dollar checks or leave them estates in their will. They will continue using you as their doormat, not treat you like a trusted colleague.
The stress generated by an abusive client far outstrips the benefit of the commission you may or may not get (these kinds of clients often find excuses to leave you hanging after you’ve spent hours working on their increasingly impossible demands). If you’re dreading to meet with them again, if you’re finding that they interrupt the flow of the real estate search to cut up your character or criticize your methods, if you just can’t stand being in their presence because you know that they’re going to doubt your expertise, question your ethics and generally make you feel bad about yourself and your business…. CUT THEM LOOSE.
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