By Lee Davenport
As a scientist at heart in a REALTOR®’s body, I love to research, examine, and identify why things work—or don’t work—especially on behalf of the agents I coach. Furthermore, as a real estate coach and educator for more than a decade, I have discovered a sure-fire way for my sales agents to succeed in achieving their goals: Never compromise on what you’re worth.
Yes, I am referring to handling objections when it comes to your commission.
No, I do not mean being a money bully or someone who gives off the slick, shyster, “used car salesmen” vibes where you pull a fast one on a client and they’re left feeling like they just signed over their first-born.
I also don’t mean we handle objections like the half comical, half reprehensible 1990s pharmaceutical drug commercials that tout all of the benefits with bells and whistles, but (in your best fast-talking auctioneer imitation) you breeze past all the concerning conditions.
There is a far more authentic and powerful strategy that works every time it’s put into action. How do I know? I have had agents from Omaha to Singapore, and from the Caribbean to San Francisco, tell me this principle works so well, that not only do their prospects not question their commission, but the prospects profess that the agent deserves more. MORE!
Specifically and notably, I even had a rookie Dallas agent share with me that her boyfriend wanted her to discount her commission for him. (Are you rolling your eyes, too, because he should know better?) I’m sure many of you who have been in real estate sales for at least a couple of years can relate to family and friends wanting a deal when it comes to working with you. This newer Dallas agent used my principle below and her boyfriend wholeheartedly apologized. Then, to her surprise, he did a 180-degree turn and became her commission advocate among their friends and family members who would become her clients.
That needs to be recapped:
- Agent used the principle below to quantify her value.
- Boyfriend paid full commission.
- Boyfriend became her pro bono marketer without being asked.
Because of these consistent results, I call this exercise, “T.A.P. Into Your Value.” We are quantifying why we belong in real estate and the value we bring to our clients without diminishing our worth.
T Stands for Task
We are in an industry where 30-minute television shows sum up our work. “Yay” for the exposure, but “boo” for the editing that cuts a process that may take weeks or months down to approximately 22 minutes. It’s no wonder those new to the real estate sales process give us sales professionals the side-eye when we don’t miraculously give them the keys to their dream home on day one.
Real estate shows can definitely poison prospects’ minds, but guess whose job it is to correct any misinformation. You got—it’s ours. That’s where “T” in the “T.A.P. Into Your Value” principle comes into play.
You’re going to create a spreadsheet with three columns. In the first column, I recommend listing every single task that you perform for your clients. This is your opportunity to set the record straight on your terms. I would recommend creating separate spreadsheets for buyers, sellers, and investors (property management clients).
These lists are not for the faint of heart. The top producers I work with—those with an annual sales volume of $20 million or more—typically have a list of 300 or more tasks they perform for clients. That probably sounds overwhelming, and it’s supposed to. That’s the power in these lists—clients get to see that you actually do work hard on their behalf.
Newer agents, I want to challenge you to still create a list of at least 50 to 100 tasks, but the more the merrier here. Once you have it, you simply update things here and there.
Be sure to list your tasks but don’t get into the weeds of describing them, which gives away your “secret sauce.” For example, it’s one thing to list: “Market on social media.” Just don’t get into your full Facebook marketing strategy, for example, because then clients won’t need you.
A Stands for Agenda
This goes into your second column. It’s the time it would take for the average consumer to complete each of the tasks you just listed in the first column. The consumer in mind is not a real estate professional who is skilled and has aids and resources to help. Calculate the time it would take for your average client who has another job.
For instance, one task might be: “Acquire the property legal description.” For real estate professionals, that may take all of 5 minutes to fire off an email to our preferred closing agent or attorney. However, that’s not what you list. For your average client who doesn’t do this for a living, it may take several hours searching online for a suitable, affordable closing attorney or title agent. If it’s helpful, ask a friend who is not a real estate professional to try to do each of the tasks you list in column one to give you accurate estimates.
Total the number of hours for this column at the bottom. This number should be jaw-dropping. You are quantifying all of your efforts in writing. Clients will see that it doesn’t amount to just 22 minutes like on TV.
P Stands for Price
In the third column, clients get to see the real cost of what you do—especially if you or your company doesn’t have vendor relationships and partnerships. Going back to our task example of “acquire the property legal description,” this is likely free for you as a professional with a preferred list of closers. Do not list that. Instead, list the cost that an average consumer would pay without a professional connection, which is likely the closing attorney’s hourly rate. That could get into the hundreds. Egad!
After you list the full prices for each task that non-professionals can expect and to pay, then total this column, too. Many agents find that this equals more than their typical commission, which gives them footing to negotiate higher commission rates with the client in full agreement.
Now, take this finished document and give it some pizazz. The top producers I work with have these three columns professionally printed into a stylish, branded booklet. You don’t have to give this book to clients to keep (remember, don’t give away your secret sauce), but ask them to review it during your meeting or listing presentation. If you have a boring printout on regular white paper from your computer, prospects will probably stuff it in their purses because it looks like an ordinary handout, so jazz it up.
By using the “T.A.P. Into Your Value” principle, not only will prospects understand what you contribute as an agent, but more importantly, you’ll stands taller and prouder by having this visual document to solidify all of your hard work. Newer agents gain confidence and veteran agents no longer feel intimidation by prospects trying to strong-arm them into not receiving what they’re worth.
*Caveat: If you’re new to real estate sales (two years or less), then you may need help doing the exercises, and that’s okay. Search the internet or connect with your broker or another agent who has time to help, so that you can complete all of the columns. As you come into your stride in the real estate industry, you will want to update this assignment so that it accurately reflects how you serve clients.
I challenge you to “T.A.P. Into Your Value” this week while this is still fresh in your mind and you have momentum. Take the time to complete each column and watch your resiliency grow and your place in the real estate arena expand.
I would love to hear from you. Give me a shout on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, or by visiting LearnWithDrLee.com. And, be sure to tell the real estate agents you know to get a copy of the five-star rated workbook, Plan to Win!, to transform their real estate sales game plan. Here’s to your success!
Dr. Lee Davenport is an Atlanta-based real estate coach who trains agents, teams, brokerages, and other business organizations on how to use today’s technology to work smarter. Join Lee’s free RE Tech Insider’s Club by visiting www.LearnWithLee.REALTOR.