It’s 9:00 in the morning, bright and early for a hardworking real estate agent like you. You’re sipping your morning coffee reviewing the latest hot sheet, when the phone rings. Slightly irritated you set down your cup of sludge and pick the phone. “ABC Real Estate this is Tami how may I help you?”
There is a slight pause and then the bombshell question: “How much do you charge for your commission?”
Hey, you have a live one here! This is someone who obviously has some interest in listing their property for sale and who knows maybe today is your lucky day! Your heart skips a beat, your hand trembles slightly, and suddenly your at least four cups of coffee perkier! “We charge (X) ……”
Slum dunk, that was easy, next question please!
“Yeah, discount realty said they would do it for less!” and pause wait for it, wait for it, bingo there it is …. dial tone! Game over! You lose. What just happened? This is a classic pitfall that every agent in America will fall into at some point in their careers lets call it by name – Bad Answer Syndrome. It doesn’t just happen over the phone either it can happen at anytime, in person, by email, or even by text.
Now in this case why is giving the commission your company charges over the phone a bad answer? Because that answer, even though it is accurate, provides a potential client with a reason to reject you or what you are offering. Remember clients are rejection machines they intuitively know that because of the massive amount of choices they have available to them they must quickly eliminate as many choices as possible as quickly as possible. To accomplish this goal clients often consciously or even subconsciously employ what are called elimination questions.
It would seem like we are in a catch-22 with these kinds of questions. After all how can you not answer a direct question like – What do you charge? The answer may be easier than you think, all though, it may seem a little unnatural at first. Here it is: To answer an elimination question, ask another question.
Huh? Let’s take a look at how this might work in the real world: How much do you charge? Agent: "Where is your home located?"
Now you have immediately taken control of the conversation. How did you do it? By asking a simple question, always remember to take control of any conversation at any time just ask a question.
Let’s stay with this dialog. Suspect: "123 Main St, Anytown…"
Agent: "That’s a great area! How long have you lived in the home?"
Suspect: "We have lived here 7 years. Now what does your firm charge?"
Agent: "Before I can give you a quote I need to set an appointment with you to take a look at your home. Would today be good or would tomorrow be better?"
Remember the old adage – You can’t list a house over the phone? Your number one goal must be to set an appointment. Every home is unique, and although many offices may have a minimum fee structure most offices will allow you to charge more if the situations merits it. For instance what if the home is outside of your normal service area, or the seller is demanding crazy marketing, or the home is in extremely poor condition all of these issues can affect the commission structure.
So how can you avoid bad answer syndrome in the future? Take the time to think about how you will respond when a buyer or a seller asks you a question. Perhaps ask a question before revealing your hand, and consider using a vesting question to begin building a relationship with new clients!
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About the Author
Jim Remley is a nationally recognized expert in the field of residential real estate. Entering the real estate industry at the age of 19 he began an unlikely rise from college drop out to real estate Rock Star by becoming ranked in the top 1% of REALTORS® nationwide. Implementing game-changing strategies and deploying the latest technology advances Jim shattered sales records by listing over 150 properties in one twelve month period. At 24 he opened his first Real Estate Company and grew the company to 17 offices becoming the largest independent real estate company in the State of Oregon.
Today Jim leads one of the largest real estate firms in the state of Oregon with over $766 million dollars in sales volume a year with just over 150 active Brokers. As a consultant, author, speaker, and trainer Jim has one mission – to create abundance through simplicity of action.
In 2018 Jim launched The Path an On-Demand Video Coaching platform designed for REALTORS to tap into highly focused information and actionable ideas based on thousands of interviews with top producers from across the country. Learn more at www.erealestatecoach.com.
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