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Agent Resources

Handling difficult vendors: 5 essential tips

A good working relationship with vendors is key to good business performance and satisfied customers. However, vendor relationships vary and some can be especially challenging. If things are not progressing or the relationship is not productive, try applying the five simple but effective tips below.

Be clear

Selling can quickly become stressful or overwhelming for property vendors, especially if they are not professionals or they are new to the industry. Issues such as UK house prices, house values by postcode, house valuation and more can be confusing for a new vendor. As a result, it can be easy for them to misunderstand what is expected of them. Being clear, especially at the start and end of discussions, can instantly improve the relationship with a difficult vendor. Ensure you clarify what tasks or goals need to be accomplished, whose responsibility they are, and the deadline by which they should be achieved. After every meeting or communication, reiterate what the next step is and set a date when to follow up. Many difficult professional relationships can be solved by clarifying what is expected of each person. This ensures that everyone knows exactly how they will contribute and achieve their goals.

Be sensitive

Expecting high levels of professionalism is common and reasonable, but when handling a difficult vendor, it can be helpful to empathise. Ensure you are taking their concerns seriously and working to reassure them and adapt when necessary. Appreciating that vendors may be confused or under stress can ensure positive, patient, and constructive responses.

Allow for questions

Some vendors will feel self-conscious about asking questions, whether for fear they will look unprofessional or concern that it will seem like they have not been paying close attention. To avoid this problem, ask at regular intervals if there is anything they might be unclear on or would like you to repeat. This shows respect, builds trust, and helps to create a more collaborative, team atmosphere.

Focus on benefits—not on "disasters"

When an important step must be taken by a vendor, such as a structural change, refurbishment, or extensive redecoration, it can be tempting to emphasise its significance in a negative way. “Your house will not sell if you do not update your kitchen” can sound far more positive and encouraging as, “Your house will rapidly attract a buyer with an attractive, updated kitchen”. Framing changes or criticisms with the positive outcome they will produce is still accurate, but diplomatic and highly effective. Vendors are often far more enthusiastic about completing tasks and making changes that will bring them happy results, and can feel overwhelmed by tasks that are simply to avoid disaster.

Establish a way to communicate

Everyone has a method by which they prefer to communicate. It might be via the telephone, text message, email, or strictly face-to-face. Establishing the vendor’s preferred method can improve the relationship from the outset and vastly increases the likelihood of regular communication—which is also key to a successful working relationship.


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