Setting Boundaries: Serving Does Not Equal Servant
June 13, 2021

Setting Boundaries: Serving Does Not Equal Servant 

Setting boundaries with clients creates a healthy work – life balance. Failing to hold to them leaves us exhausted, frustrated, and on the verge of giving up.  

By Real Estate Coach and Speaker Darryl Davis, CSP 

Nobody has ever become a top real estate agent without setting a few very important boundaries but figuring out where that line is doesn’t always come so easily. One Power Agent® recently told me how frustrated she was — she found herself doing a lot of serving, and a lot of giving of her time and energy, but never seemed to get any listings, and she was exhausted and frustrated. Sound familiar? 

TIP: Read “12 Signs You Lack Healthy Boundaries (and why you need them)” from Harley Therapy. While this is geared for our personal relationships, many of these translate to our client relationships as well. 

“Serve, Don’t Sell” Doesn’t Mean “Work for Free” 

I am constantly saying that as agents, we serve, not sell, but that doesn’t mean we go as far as buying their groceries or walking their dogs. It doesn’t mean that we work for free. There need to be healthy boundaries and expectations so that all parties are happy, and everyone has the right expectations. 

TIP: This article by outlines some excellent suggestions on how to do this. 

We have an attorney, and her name is Gabrielle. I will ask her to do something, and she will do that, plus a few other things that she doesn’t charge me for, because doing those things are a benefit what I originally asked her to do. That’s just who she is. She isn’t committed to billing me, she’s committed to helping me build up my business, and she needs to be paid for what she does. That’s where the boundary is, because I certainly wouldn’t ask her to work for free, nor would I ask her to pick up my dry-cleaning or cut my grass. 

Setting Boundaries 

If you find yourself crossing that professional line with your buyers or sellers, that’s going to become a problem for any client relationship you have with them in the future. Keeping the relationship professional is important, though failing to do this is a trap agents can fall into. We want to be helpful, and there is this idea of reciprocity — the seller will list with us because of how helpful we are.  

When talking to FSBO’s, and especially with friends, it’s tempting to think“I’m going to give them all the free real estate advice in the world, and they will see my value and hire me.” But then you get no commitment back, which creates an imbalance in the relationship. There has to be boundarieswhich leads to a healthy work-life balance 

If someone is taking advantage of you, you need to ask yourself, “Do I have boundaries, and have I been clear about them?” Not being clear about what you will and will not do to win this listing or help your clients is the real estate agent’s biggest pitfall, and in the end, the responsibility lies with you to make these expectations clear. 

The Best Way To Help A Buyer 

To help a buyer and maintain those boundaries, get them to sign the Buyer Agency agreement. Without that document, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of working too hard for someone who is already indicating they aren’t going to work with you. Once they sign, you can work your very hardest for them, and feel good about it!  

The Best Way To Help A Seller 

If you really want to help a seller make the move to their Next Level® in life, maybe get to Florida with the money they make on their home, or whatever they are committed to – here’s an idea of what you can say to them… 

“I am so excited about helping you and your family. To get started, let’s get this listing agreement signed, and let me get to work on marketing your property so we can help you get to your Next Level® sooner, with less headaches, and more return on investment.”

Serving doesn’t mean that you don’t insist that people hire you. They need to hire you so that you can work at 110% percent for them. You don’t want to work 100% for someone when they’re not committed to you, and I can’t stress this enough, but you can’t be more committed to the relationship than they are. 

“Serve, don’t sell” meanyou help your potential clients, and the best way that you can help them is to have them hire you so you can get to work for them. 

What’s Next? 

Are you ready to start taking things to the Next Level®Start setting your boundaries and loving what you do again, without working for free! 

Power Agents®check out the Webinars-On-Demand section of the ClassroomWhether you need a boost of confidence, empowering strategies, or training to communicate your value to others, Darryl has the know-how to help! 


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