The Battle Cards Are Set – Who Will Win?
David vs. Goliath.
That, sometimes, is what comes to mind when people hear that a “real estate agent” has approached a Private Seller (For Sale By Owner or FSBO). The perception that it’s a battle against wills. From the start, it’s known that the agent is there, to sell the homeowner on listing with them, while the homeowner must hold their ground, to prove a real estate agent isn’t needed…
Then, occasionally, it’s no battle at all. Rather, more of a one-sided slaughter.
Let me tell you a story, then I’ll make my point.
It comes from a conversation I came across in a real estate FB group. The agent, it was a conversation he’d had with a homeowner attempting to sell her home. In his own words, here’s how the story went:
The agent said, “I was talking to an FSBO today when I asked the homeowner about how she went about pricing her home.” She said, referring to the homeowner, “I invited 3 real estate agents to my house and they did a Comparative Marketing Analysis (CMA).”
The agent responded, “Interesting! And you used their recommended price?” The homeowner, “Yes.”
The agent followed up, “I’m just curious, how did you invite them to your house?” What he really meant was, “What criteria did you use, to select those three agents that you invited to your house, to ask for the recommended price?”
The homeowner said, “I called them and I asked if they can prepare a CMA for me? And they did, in fact, they came very fast because all agents are desperate to get listings. Not only that,” the homeowner said, “but I also asked them to leave me a copy of their marketing plan, which I am also using now.”
The homeowner continued, “I hired a professional photographer for $200 and put it online for $400. And I do open houses for myself.”
The agent responds, “Wow, you sound like you know what you’re doing. What’s your job?” The homeowner responds, “I am a tax consultant.”
The agent says, “Excellent, I did have a lot of issues with my last accountant. I need a new one. When can I stop by for a FREE consultation?”
The homeowner said, “We don’t offer free consultations, you have to pay.”
Dumbfounded the agent says, “So why do you get everything from these agents for free and you’re not willing to do the same?”
The homeowner responds with this frank but obvious statement, “You guys sell yourself cheap.”
At this point, both upset and frustrated, the agent finally hangs up. And as he vented his frustration to the other agents in that FB group, here’s what he stated:
“It’s a public perception about real estate agents that [they are] desperate to get business.” Then continued, “She [talking about the FSBO] met with three agents and not one of them was strong enough [in their sales skills] to pre-qualify her before the appointment or aggressively close her for a signature.”
I ask, might that be the very problem? Maybe people don’t want to be “sold.” Maybe people don’t want to be “pre-qualified.” Maybe people don’t want to be “aggressively closed.”
Maybe, if real estate agents weren’t trained to behave as annoying salespeople—commission-driven vultures—then perhaps the public perception would be different.
As a real estate professional myself, I am well-qualified to speak to the Negative Reputation of my industry. Many agents like to pretend it doesn’t exist. But it does. I know it does. And you know it too.
The value proposition that most agents deliver, sadly, is precisely what that ‘Private Seller’ enunciated… why bother hiring an agent that demands an over-priced (by comparison to delivered value) commission fee?
Again, I think it’s sad. Not because the private seller took advantage of the real estate agent. That is, honestly, the least of my worries. It’s that, as an industry, we have brought this upon ourselves. If we want to be treated as professionals and compensated as professionals. Then maybe we should start acting like professionals.
In contrast to the above story, here is a question on our FB page. Chelle asked:
“Can I ask how you are different. Every agent I have dealt with has said how much better they are in one way or another. So please can you let me know how you work differently to others. I am wanting to sell at some stage. But need convincing why not to go private.”
After a quickly expressing that it was impossible to demonstrate all the ways we are different in a short post, and encouraging her to delve into our website for more information, our reply boiled down to…
“In a nutshell – think of us more like your Solicitor, Accountant, Doctor or any other professional specialist. We are not ‘salespeople’ here to talk you into something [so we can get a commission]. We are here to protect, advise and serve in your best interests.
You engage us to use our specialist knowledge & experience to YOUR advantage. Like other true professions, our fees are based on the actual work and outgoing costs involved in serving just you.
For example, unlike a commission salesperson – we wouldn’t try to “convince” you not to sell privately just so we can take a big % of your properties value. Sometimes a private sale is the best solution for our clients and all you might need is a little guidance along the way. Or maybe just a few hours help negotiating and drafting the contract with a private buyer you’ve already found. In which case you would only be paying for a few hours work.
Maybe you need us to manage the entire selling process from pre-market prep – to unconditionally sold – while ensuring you maximise how much you bank.
Every client, their situation and property are different and require tailored solutions. The point is, we can’t possibly know how we can best help you [if at all] until we first understand your personal situation. Hope that helps – yell out of you would like to know more or want a personal call.”
Never forget, in business and in life, how you convey yourself dictates how you’re treated.
If you are considering selling your home yourself. Good for you. We’ve seen plenty of people do very well selling themselves – ending up much better off than they would have with a traditional agent.
With that said, if at any point throughout the process you’d like some professional advice and guidance (on a consulting basis without a large commission), we’re here to help in what ever way you need.