The Confident Rookie Series - SECRET EIGHT - Get Comfy with Your Commission

Education & Training with Sell with Soul


Most new agents are terrified about the prospect of discussing their commission with a potential seller. If this is the case for you, you're going to need to be 100% comfortable with the commission fee you're going to propose. If you aren't, you're dead meat. If you have concerns that you're overcharging for your value, it will be crystal clear to the seller prospect. In my first year, almost all of my listings were taken at a very low percentage because that's all I thought I was worth, due to my inexperience. As my experience and expertise grew, I became more comfortable proposing (and sticking to) a higher fee.

I'm not being real helpful yet, am I? On one hand, I'm shooting down your confidence, yet on the other, I'm telling you that you must HAVE confidence to negotiate effectively! Well, that's the cold hard truth. But I won't leave you hanging... here's what to do.

You need to convince yourself that you're worth it before you can ever convince a seller.

On your first few listings, commit to yourself that you will go way above and beyond what is typically expected of a listing agent in your area. Commit to yourself that you WILL earn your fee, if not with your experience, with your enthusiasm and effort. Spend your own money marketing your listing if you have a great idea that you think might work. Spend as much time as you need to properly price the house. Do open houses all weekend long. Pay for a home-stager to consult with your seller. Include a home warranty. Be willing to bring in help if you'll need it - even if you have to pay for it.

In short, take this opportunity not only to blow the sox off your seller, but to actually experiment with various listing techniques to see what actually works. If, at the end of the day, you spend your whole paycheck on your experiments, that's really okay! The lessons you learned and the impression you made on that seller will serve you well in your future... and pay you back many times over.  

Another way to help make the commission discussion go smoothly is to disclose your fee upfront - on your website if you have one. This is what I've done for years and it works beautifully. I don't beat around the bush about my fee - I simply direct the seller to my website where I explain how I charge and what I do for that money. You can check it out here.

The Confident Rookie Series:

  1. Know Your Systems
  2. Practice with Your Printer (sounds silly, I know)
  3. Preview, Preview, Preview
  4. Drive Your Route Ahead of Time
  5. Cheerfully Waste Your Time
  6. Find a Handyman
  7. Let Your Seller Prospect Do Most of the Talking
  8. Get Comfy with Your Commission
  9. Admit that You're New
  10. What to say when you don't know the answer

 Stay tuned...

Posted by

It's Here!


The More Fun You Have Selling Real Estate, the More Real Estate You Will Sell! 
(True Story)
Order Your Here!










Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. John Doe 04/15/2009 10:40 AM
Real Estate Best Practices
Real Estate Rookie
Learn to be a Top Producing Listing Agent
Selling Soulfully
New Agent's Fasttrack to SUCCESS!
Art of Professional Salesmanship
all blogs

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Ben Bahrami
La Crescenta, CA

I agree, a good agent is total worth the commission. I also hate when a listing sits and sits. When I was a new agent I got very confortablevery quickly about commsion becuase I lost a listing at the beginging of my career.  So I learned from that mistake.



Apr 15, 2009 04:07 AM #14
Debi Ernst
St. Charles County, Missouri - Prudential Alliance Realtors - O'Fallon, MO
GRI, e-PRO, Broker/Sales Associate

Jennifer - This is great information! Thanks for sharing and your willingness to help!  :)

Apr 15, 2009 04:46 AM #15
Roland Woodworth
Q Realty - Clarksville, TN
Q Realty - Power In Real Estate

Jennifer.. Great information... I/m very comfortable with my commission. I offer options and usually get what I'm looking for.

Apr 15, 2009 05:15 AM #16
Kerry Lucasse
eXp Realty - Urban Nest Real Estate Group - Atlanta, GA
Your Urban Nest Atlanta Real Estate Consultant

I'm with you!  I was so nervous about asking for full commission in my first year.  To get over it, I stopped using the standard listing presentation that was provided by my office, created a new one that really felt like me... and the services I provide.  Once I had what I considered to be an exceptional presentation, it really helped me -- and the potential sellers -- to believe in my serivces and my commission.

Apr 15, 2009 06:02 AM #17
Kerry Lucasse
eXp Realty - Urban Nest Real Estate Group - Atlanta, GA
Your Urban Nest Atlanta Real Estate Consultant

Jennifer, I just took a peek at your commission structure and I love the two options.  As agents, we are often taking a big risk when we list a home and I know I usually spend $300 to $600 in the first week it is on the market, so the $500 fee is a nice option.

Apr 15, 2009 06:31 AM #18
Sheila H. Bragg, ABR
ERA Southeast Coastal Real Estate - Guyton, GA

I'm a blog behind reading your series and I'm thoroughly enjoying your insight. This was great!  I'm getting all sorts of ideas from different Realtors on their approaches to presenting the commission and most of the agents say that once they show the seller on paper how it is broken down and divided up between everyone involved, they are OK with it. 

Apr 15, 2009 07:40 AM #19
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Sheila - glad you're enjoying it! I actually don't like that approach of breaking down the commission as a strategy, although I do understand it. I feel that we need to demonstrate to the sellers WHY the fees are what they are, not just whine about how little we end up with at the end. I do agree that the seller needs to understand that we don't get the whole thing - so when I create my net sheets, I divide out my commission from the co-op. At least then I only have to "defend" my half!

Kerry - I love this strategy! I don't try to convince my seller that I'm going to spend the $500, though, because I might not. I just explain that it's a buy-down of risk and most understand that.


Apr 15, 2009 07:46 AM #20
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

Maybe it is my 13 years. Maybe it is my 4 kids. Maybe it is the company overhead required to do what we do well. regardless, I am totally comfortable with what I charge. 

Apr 15, 2009 08:14 AM #21
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Jennifer -- Great tips.  I have my commission spelled out on my website -- 100% total transparency.  Sellers love it.

Apr 15, 2009 11:32 AM #22
Sandy Childs
Keller Williams Realty - Spartanburg, SC
Realtor - Spartanburg, SC

Jennifer: Great post and congratulations on the feature on Active Rain.

Apr 15, 2009 12:09 PM #23
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

Good post -- and you are right -- one needs to be comfortable with what they are charging.

Apr 15, 2009 12:27 PM #24
Aaron Poling
Long & Foster - Martinsburg, WV
Working to get YOU the BEST Deal!

I think you really hit the nail on the head about what new agents are worried about, i would konw i am a new agent.

Apr 15, 2009 02:53 PM #25
Lonn Dugan
Toledo, OH

Jennifer:  Great post! It is tempting for new agents to undercharge but if they do they hurt themselves and their sellers. If you don't charge enough you cannot effectively market the property nor go the extra mile when needed!

May I add:  New agents, and their sellers can benefit from realizing it's not about them. YOU don't charge 7% for YOU.  It's not about the individual Realtor.  And you Don't take 7% away from the seller. 

The Practice of Real Estate is a COMPLETE SYSTEM that adds value to the house.  The SYSTEM includes your board of realtors, MLS, your access to other agents, Broker reputation, location, brokerage support and broker experience.

Here is a great listing close that might help you SEE the value of something bigger than yourself...  I call it the ROLEX CLOSE.  


Mr Seller, if I gave you a real ROLEX watch, and I gave another to a local Jeweler, who do you think could sell that watch for the most money?  (picture streetcorner thug - "Hey Buddy, Wanna Buy A Watch?")

When seller says THE JEWELER, ask WHY?  Seller will say Reputation, Location, Clientelle...  

BINGO!  That's what the Realtor does.  Realtors bring things to the table that allow them to charge more for the house than the seller can.  And in so doing, we ADD VALUE, or EARN our COMMISSION. 


Apr 15, 2009 10:41 PM #26
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Great informative post.  Congrats on both your series and your featured star.

Apr 16, 2009 12:46 AM #27
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

Great advice Jennifer, Often people forget to invest in themselves and their career. This is a good reminder, and there must be a way to voice that to your sellers... That you are spending $ and time to sell their home!

Apr 16, 2009 02:58 AM #28
Toby Barnett
KW North Sound - Marysville, WA
Toby Barnett

I tell sellers that I do not work for free, have bills and food to put on the table. Plain and simple; if they want a discount brokerage they can go some where else.

Apr 16, 2009 04:11 AM #29
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Jennifer - I don't have any issue with the commission we as realtors get for doing our jobs.  There are many times we do things for free in this industry.  I have never detailed my commission on my website, but do see where it makes sense to explain how commission works.  Not so much to justify you are worth it, but just so the consumer understands where the money goes.

Apr 16, 2009 07:00 AM #30
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

This is good advice. You need to believe in your worth before anybody else can.

Apr 16, 2009 04:17 PM #31
Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Arizona's Top Banana!

Very impressive Jennifer.  I like your serious  for rookies.  As a broker/owner I will use some of your ideas in sales meetings if you don't mind.

We follow the "ninja path". I'm sure you're familiar with The Group in Fort Collins, right?   Ninja's  are soulful agents. 

Apr 17, 2009 05:13 AM #32
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Anna - please do! And yes, I"m familiar with The Group - in fact, I mention Larry Kendall in my book.

Apr 17, 2009 05:46 AM #33
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn

Author of Sell with Soul
Ask me a question
Spam prevention