What to SAY (or not say, as the case may be) to Respectfully Decline the Monkey!

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

Glad you stuck with me through the Monkey Series! You made it all the way to the punch line.

In case you just stumbled onto this series, you should probably read it from the beginning - starting here. Or not. Your call.

It's really easy for Old Fogie types (like me) to confidently proclaim that WE don't accept Monkeys that aren't ours to mess with, and WE (said in a deep, gravely voice) just tell our clients the way it is and if they don't agree; NEXT!

But it's not that easy, especially for newer agents who really aren't sure what their responsibilities are, and are not in the mood to NEXT anyone. So, here are some tips.

•       Don't be an objection-buster (aka Silence is Golden). When a client throws out objections, concerns or stumbling blocks, think before you speak. Often these objections, concerns or stumbling blocks will be HIS Monkeys, not yours. Just smile, nod and make an "I hear ya" noise, and let the client continue. If he wants your input, he'll ask for it directly, but until he does, just listen without offering solutions.

If, after your moment of golden silence, you realize that this IS your Monkey, go ahead and offer a response or solution. If you aren't sure, just write it down or commit it to memory to ponder later. You can always accept a Monkey after the fact, but it's much tougher to return a Monkey after you've accepted it prematurely.

•       Ask "What's Your Plan B?" as if you are not guaranteeing the desired outcome... which you aren't. I use this strategy with sellers who are being a little stubborn about pricing, accessibility or condition. I sweetly ask them what they will do if their home doesn't sell for the price they "need" or, at all. This subtly lets them know that while I'll do my best, I need their cooperation to get their home sold and without it, I won't take full responsibility for their home selling - that's not a Monkey I'll accept.

•       A la Jackie Leavenworth, the Real Estate Whisperer - if a buyer or seller looks to you to solve a problem that isn't reasonably yours to solve (e.g. you give up some of your commission to put or hold a deal together), you can gently say something like "I've found that when a real estate agent wants to make a deal more than the other parties involved, it's not the right deal to make." (Jackie has a whole audio CD on negotiations that is superb - check it out at: http://www.coachjackie.com/jackiesproducts). If you like my stuff, you'll love hers.

So, what IS the punch line?

If you know what Monkeys are yours to carry... and which are not... and you respect the other party enough to let him keep his own Monkeys, you'll be a much happier, healthier and RESTED real estate agent!


The Epilogue - I have a very timely situation to share with you about two agents on opposite sides of a deal who both accepted Monkeys they shouldn't have. Stay tuned! 

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Bob Murphy 09/25/2009 11:57 PM
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Real Estate Rookie
Learn to be a Top Producing Listing Agent
Selling Soulfully
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Bob Murphy
Keller Williams Realty Consultants - New Albany, IN

Jennifer - This was an awesome series.  The one thing I remember most about a guy whom I think was probably one of the best sales people I have ever had the opportunity to observe was his "Silence".  When a potential buyer made objections he would just smile and nod as if to say I hear what you are saying and I understand your concern.  That's it, that is all he would do.  Many times the room would be silent for 2 or 3 minutes (seemed like hours) then the buyer would say something that solved his own objection. 

The whole time I am sitting there thinking come on Dave (the salesman I learned so much from) you are about to lose the sale. 

Dave often told me that if you give a buyer a chance they will almost always resolve their own objections when they really wanted to buy.  When they didn't really want to buy and you pushed them they would likely never buy again from you.  In our business that may mean they may never refer others to you.

Sep 25, 2009 11:55 PM #1
John MacArthur
Century 21 Redwood - Washington, DC
Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes

Jennifer...........this may be the most accurate statement that I have read regarding real estate practice. It should be emblazened on the NAR code of ethics. It should be the mantra at the beginning, middle and end of any real estate licensing class. It speaks to the core. If it were followed by agents and lenders (just drop the word lender for real estate agent, there is a good chance the collapse would not have occurred. It is the finest business plan goal. It is the truth.

 "I've found that when a real estate agent wants to make a deal more than the other parties involved, it's not the right deal to make." I will quote this often.......

Sep 25, 2009 11:58 PM #2
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Bob - You said that brilliantly. I've written on that topic as well - if you push a buyer to buy by "expertly overcoming his objections," you'll likely lose him... and his future business and referrals.

JMac - You'd love Jackie's stuff!

Sep 26, 2009 12:10 AM #3
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate


This is a wonderful series! You are right "Silence is Golden!" It does work. The whole concept of not taking a clients Monkey on is genius! I agree with John I will use the statement "I've found that when a real estate agent wants to make a deal more than the other parties involved, it's not the right deal to make!!"

Sep 26, 2009 01:09 AM #4
June Piper-Brandon
Long & Foster Hampden - Baltimore, MD
Piecing Dreams One Home at a Time

Jennifer, oh how true it is.  I just had a settlement yesterday where the seller kept trying to give me her monkeys and finally after much trial and hard work we settled and I got rid of those monkeys. 

Sep 26, 2009 02:06 AM #5
Leslie Helm
Tennessee Recreational Properties - Jamestown, TN
Real Estate For Trail Riders

I like the "Plan B" concept! That puts the ball back in the other person's court....and the monkey back on their back....LOL.

Sep 26, 2009 02:10 AM #6
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I like your approach and will remember both of those ways to handle things.  What I seem to have trouble with is clients negotiating with me.  Frequently they tell me why such and such a house should only sell for so much, or why they are limited in what they can spend; all negotiating tactics.  What I always tell them is they are not negotiating with me; I am there to help them get what they want and I tell them what I think they need to do to get it.  They have to decide if they are willing to do what it takes; if not move on.

Sep 26, 2009 03:59 AM #7
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

May I say this might be the most brilliant series yet?  I loved it.  And I especially love, "what is your plan B?" THAT is definitely something I will be using in the future.  Bravo.

Sep 26, 2009 05:57 AM #8
Jennifer Allan
Jennifer Allan, Inc. - Denver, CO

The first time I used the "What's your Plan B?" question, it came out of nowhere. I hadn't planned it, it just popped out. And the effect it had on the seller was startling. You could feel the attitude (and the Monkey) shift...

Sep 26, 2009 06:22 AM #9
Jennifer Allan
Jennifer Allan, Inc. - Denver, CO

Gene - that is a brilliant observation. Hmmmm... you might have inspired yet ANOTHER post on this topic. EGADS!

Sep 26, 2009 06:23 AM #10
Sarah Wynn
HomeSmart International - Cave Creek, AZ


Another great blog!  I'm a true believer in 'Plan B' and some people just look at me with the deer in the headlights look.  I can only imagine they are thinking that I must be off my rocker to think that 'Plan A' won't work exactly as planned........and then the light goes on.

Thanks again.


Sep 26, 2009 11:26 AM #11
Charlie Ragonesi
AllMountainRealty.com - Big Canoe, GA
Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros

I read this series and enjoyed it. Your perspective on our business is right on the money as far as I am concerned

Sep 26, 2009 01:04 PM #12
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

This was an excellent series and also an eye opener.  We just can't accept everyone's monkey!

Sep 27, 2009 01:53 AM #13
Nancy Kent
RE/MAX Hill & Valley - Granby, MA
RE/MAX Hill & Valley, Western Mass

Great post Jennifer, wonderfully put! I have caught myself a few times, but I am consciously working on thinking before I speak. I really do not want anyone else's monkeys!

Just bought your newest book today too. Can't wait to get it!

Sep 27, 2009 01:52 PM #14

Another great post, busy reading the series. never too late for a plan B

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Jan 11, 2012 09:50 PM #15
Pete Xavier
Investments to Luxury - Pacific Palisades, CA
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide


Aug 18, 2012 02:49 PM #16
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