Have you ever had a closing delay threaten to kill a deal or strain a relationship with a client? If you’re like most agents, it’s happened to you more than once. Here are three steps you can take to prevent closing delays from ruining a transaction or a relationship.
Step 1: Prepare Your Clients
Dealing with closing delays starts with preparing your clients for them to happen. The best time to do this is when you are writing an offer with your buyers or reviewing an offer with your sellers.
Start by explaining closing dates aren’t set in stone and may be delayed for a variety of reasons. Then ask this question:
What would happen if this closing date needed to be pushed back?
Your clients’ answers will tell you if a potential disaster is looming. The best option is always to negotiate a closing date that leaves flexibility on both sides, but you’ll still want your clients mentally prepared for the worst-case scenario.
Step 2: Create Contingency Plans
Once a contract is executed, buyers and sellers begin to make moving plans. Unfortunately, they rarely plan for delays.
If you completed step 1 and asked what would happen if the closing was pushed back, you should be aware of any potential issues. Now is the time to help your clients create contingency plans to address those issues should the need arise.
Are they able to extend their lease? Do they have relatives or friends they could stay with temporarily? Is the moving company’s pickup date flexible?
Your clients should have answers to these types of questions well before the closing date so chaos at the last-minute is avoided.
Step 3: Address Emotion the Right Way
Moving is stressful and no amount of preparation or planning can prevent emotions from boiling over when a closing is delayed. Handle the situation the wrong way and the work you’ve done in steps one and two above won’t matter.
The single biggest mistake you can make when emotional clients call you is to try to offer explanations or solutions. Emotion cannot be overcome by logic.
Let the clients vent. Listen and acknowledge their feelings without expressing your own frustration with the delay. Only when the clients have moved past the emotion is it time to discuss solutions and remind them of the contingency plans they have in place.
P.S. - Did you know the best time to ask for referrals is immediately after you’ve solved a problem for a client? Following the steps above won’t only help you deal with closing delays, it’ll also put you in a strong position to receive referrals.