Real estate professionals often ask, “How do I justify my full commission and fight against a discount broker?” Realize that you can’t justify a price in any industry—real estate included. In fact, nothing in the world is based on price alone. Companies, products, and services are judged on value.
Think of it like this: Why do people pay more to stay at a Ritz Carlton than at a Courtyard Marriott? They’re both hotels, yet when someone checks into the Ritz they don’t expect to get their room for the price of the Courtyard. That’s because rather than wasting time justifying their price, the Ritz Carlton has already established the value of what they offer. Real estate agents need to do the same thing.
Price versus Value
Just as every product or service has a price, it also has a perceived value, and that value will determine what people are willing to pay. Going back to our hotel example, if you check into a Ritz Carlton, you have certain expectations, including valet parking, someone to carry your bags, concierge service, people who wait on your every need, etc. But if you check into a Courtyard Marriott, you realize that you’re parking your own car, carrying your own bags, making your own entertainment plans, and fending for your own needs. There’s certainly nothing wrong with this, but it is clearly a different experience.
Real estate is no different. Do your clients want to “fend for themselves” during the purchase or sale of their home? Probably not. But they may not realize what this means. That’s where you come in.
While a discount broker may offer to sell someone’s home for a lower commission, chances are there’s little value offered. Will the discount broker meet the appraiser at the home? Will the discount broker do research on the three houses that sold most recently that are most like the client’s to help the appraiser? Will the discount broker dig deep into a “comp” with a lower sales price to uncover it was sale between family members with different last names? Probably not, as those are value-added offerings.
Value trumps price every time, so when clients understand the value of what you offer, price is never an issue.
Identify Your Value
If you follow the Needs-Answers-Resources sales approach that we discussed here, you know that you must have a value proposition for both your company and yourself, and that you present that value proposition after you uncover your clients’ true needs and educate them on the high-level answers to those needs. [To read that past article, click here.] But how do you know what to include in your value proposition to set yourself apart and make cost irrelevant? Here are some points to consider.
EXPLAIN YOUR COMPANY’S VALUE
During every listing appointment, you want to sell your company strong and highlight the things your company is able to do that others cannot. This is a vital piece because your clients will feel more comfortable if they know that your company is behind them and can help them achieve their goals. Every single company has a distinctive value proposition. Some things to consider that may set your company apart could include:
- What is your company’s marketing plan?
- What does your company do to make sure that the buyers are qualified? Not just financially, but also that you’re not bringing questionable people into the home?
- What is your company’s ability to take control of the overall process?
- What is your company’s internet and social media program, and how do they work for sellers?
- What is your company’s local marketing strategy?
Again, every company—even yours—has a distinctive value proposition. Analyze everything your company does and determine which elements set it apart from the competition.
COMMUNICATE YOUR PERSONAL VALUE
Just as you differentiate your company from the others in your marketplace, you also need to differentiate yourself from the other agents, including the agents at your current company. When you’re at a listing appointment, it’s all about aligning your specific skills and areas of expertise to the needs and desires of your prospective clients. If you can prove upfront that you are more valuable than someone else, no one will ever question your commission again. Some things to consider that may set you apart could include:
- Do you have any designations, such as SRES, CNE, etc.?
- Do you speak any other languages?
- Do you specialize in a particular type of listing, such as the luxury market, condos, or beachfront properties?
- Have you taken any specialized classes, such as negotiation?
- What is your personal internet and social media strategy?
- What is your service policy?
- What is your local marketing strategy?
- How often do you communicate with your sellers?
- What do you do to know what’s taking place in the market? What websites do you subscribe to? What news sources do you read/watch/listen to?
No matter who you are or how long you’ve been in real estate, there are things you do that enable you to stand out from other agents. Pinpoint the uniqueness of what you offer and highlight it prominently.
Your Full Commission… Every Time
Commission is never based on price. It’s based on the unique value propositions of your company and yourself. The more you differentiate your company and yourself from the competition, the more value you’ll be able to offer your clients. With your value clearly defined and communicated, you’ll never hear the commission objection again.