Setting Client Expectations for Success

Content Written By: April Wilson, Ryan Winter LLC contributing writer

It’s important to provide each client with a positive, personal experience to help build your business. Experts in real estate and title companies in Jacksonville and around the country know the importance of setting clear expectations early on. Not every situation is going to pan out, however, with the right communication and expectations, clients can still have a good experience with you personally. This is vital in expanding your network and reputation. 

Setting the right expectation upfront is key to this success. Your first communication with any potential client should start with laying out a few expectations about the business, the market, and your professional relationship. Once these are made clear and a business relationship forms, you can set more formal expectations.

Many leaders in the industry have written out expectations they hand out to there clients. They have different handouts for sellers and buyers and they update the handouts to match the ever-changing housing market.

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Here are some helpful tips for laying out proper expectations regardless of whether you deliver them verbally or in writing. 

Expectations About Your Job

Many people don’t know what a Realtor does exactly. It’s beneficial for you to educate them on what you do and what services they should and should not expect from you. Teach them how you prefer to do your job and why you strategize a certain way. 

HomeLight, a site designed to provide local real estate data to help with the home buying process, explains that many leading real estate agents make setting expectations one of their first and most important steps, “From the client’s perspective, it’s not only knowing what to expect, it’s trusting that you, as their agent, will be there to guide them through this real estate journey with honesty and expertise,” HomeLight said. HomeLight said in their blog that not setting expectations early can result in clients not feeling like the Realtor deserves their commission.

You are the expert and your potential clients are looking to you for advice on how to move forward. Let them know what you will do for them in the next hour, 24 hours, 48 hours, week, etc. Help them understand your job so that they know what you can do and what constraints you are under. Help them understand what is and what is not in your control.

Expectations Surrounding the Current Market

Your clients should be made aware of the current housing market in their area and what to expect because of that. 

How long has it taken for others to close recently? How long have houses in their area, condition, price level taken to sell? What other timeframes do they need to be aware of? The housing market changes all the time. Explaining the current state of the market and what the client can expect can help them mentally prepare for the best and worst-case scenario. 

Expectation on Availability and Communication

Communication is key to success. Communicate how and when you would like to be communicated with and vis versa. It’s okay to let your client know you have family dinner every night at 6 p.m. and you will not be able to take their call during that time. Set up an alternative with them. In return, ask them how they prefer to be communicated with – phone calls, texts, emails – and when they prefer to be communicated with. 

Everyone has varying schedules and life constraints. Work with each client on a communication strategy — when you will send them updates, when they can expect to hear news from you, and the best way and time to reach you if they have questions.  

Expectation of Success

Helping your client determine what success means to them will help you be successful with your client. After defining the expectations for your job, the current housing market, and communication, find out what your client defines as success for the housing need. Now that they have an understanding of what they can expect, what do they want? This is a good time to make sure their expectations match up with yours. 

Not only are you defining what they should expect from you, you are gauging their expectation for the task at hand. Both you and the client should have a clear understanding of what success looks like and what failure looks like for the job.  

Expectations: Set Them, Communicate Them, Follow Through

You will have more success when expectations are defined and met. Both parties can benefit from clearly set expectations that are met. If you meet the expectations laid out, you are more likely to get a raving review boosting your reputation. The goal is for your client to leave happy and to suggest you to their friends and family. asked 10 members of the Forbes Agency Council about setting expectations with new clients. The council responded explaining that all relationships require “clear and open communication” to be successful. “Both parties need to have regular discussions about what they want out of the relationship, and they need to be able to provide honest feedback when things aren’t going as expected,” the Forbes Agency Council said. “To get your working relationship off on the right foot, it’s important to establish parameters, timelines and deliverables up front and honor those agreements.”