Picking up from yesterday's blog about my agent friend Sam who was referred to a seller who "has a friend who will list it cheap," let's talk about how Sam should handle the whole issue of commission, knowing that his competition is in all likelihood going to charge less.
The question I signed off with yesterday was something along the lines of should Sam address the issue of his competition's lower commission head-on?
In my opinion, no. He should not. Why?
Because, the only way to "address" it would be to criticize it. And that's not cool. Any overt attempt Sam makes to come out on top in a battle of commissions is going to make him look bad.
First, Sam would be criticizing the seller's friend, which in all likelihood will not endear him to the seller, even if he happens to be right in his criticisms. But not only is he criticizing a friend of the seller; he's also subtly criticizing the seller's own judgment! After all, the seller is considering hiring this friend, so if Sam tries to argue him out of it, he's basically telling the seller he's wrong... which rarely goes over well.
Besides, Sam has no idea what level of service the seller's friend will provide. Maybe she'll cut her services, but maybe she won't. Coming from a background of owning a full-service discount brokerage, I can say with all sincerity that it IS possible to run a profitable, full-service real estate business while charging less than the competition. Unless Sam has full knowledge of the other agent's marketing plan, he has no business putting it down.
So, what should Sam do if he wants a shot at this listing? Well, it's pretty simple. He should go into the listing appointment with the heart of a consultant. He should ask a lot of questions and really listen to the answers. He should show empathy for the seller's situation, and be able to provide solutions to any problems they uncover. He should be intimately familiar with the seller's neighborhood and conversant about local market activity. He should demonstrate an ability and willingness to help the seller get his home ready for market.
In short, he should do his best to win the seller to his side by being friendly, helpful, creative and knowledgeable.
And... what if, after all this friendliness, helpfulness, creativity and knowledgeability (?) the seller chooses the friend anyway? No biggie. Sam can walk away with honor, knowing he gave it his best shot, and that he made a positive impression on one more human being on the planet! And you never know when that will come back to bless you!