Yesterday....I took a walk into the lion's den! I agreed to be interviewed by.... "The Sultan's of Short Sales, the Crusaders of Capitalism, and the Prophet's of Profit...Barry Cunningham and Barry Johnson", over at Real Estate Radio USA.
You may have had some encounters with their producer, Brett Wilson on ActiveRain. Brett posts quite a bit on ActiveRain about short sales and incompetent REALTORS®. He can sometimes come off a little aggressively and has a tendency to "stir up the pot". But that's OK. I actually enjoy heated debates and have enjoyed interacting with Brett. Sometimes I agree with him and sometimes I don't.
Below is the link to the interview if you want to listen. It's a little long, at around 40 minutes, but well worth the listen if you have the time. You can listen as you read this post.
Now folks, I've listened to this a couple of times and have to say......I suck! I think my problem was I went in being very conscious of not dominating the conversation, as I have a tendency of doing. Plus I wanted to do my best to just answer the question "What do you do to justify your high commission?"
But here's the problem. The Barries are looking for an answer that quantifies exactly what it is we do with a cost associated to it. For example. I advertise in the paper and it cost me $500. I'll spend $1,500 to market your property. My negotiating skills cost you $1,000 and so forth. According to the Barries by doing this the potential Seller should be able to justify paying me x% because what I spend on selling their property warrants it.
If you listen to the interview you will hear that I struggled with this question. The reason I struggled is because I don't put a separate line item cost on each individual thing I do to get a property sold.
At one point Barry even related a story about how a plumber can show you an invoice explaining where his costs are. Well folks, I'm not a plumber!! I don't charge by the hour or charge for the part (tool) that I use.
What I was trying to explain is that my value is in my skill. I get the job done by whatever means I choose to use. And a lot of what I use are intangibles i.e knowledge, experience, trust, likeability, negotiation techniques, pricing salesmanship etc. How do you make these...line item charges? You can't.
I've thought about this quite a bit since the interview and I keep coming back to the same thing. The Barries don't understand what we do. And that actually surprises me because they do the same thing. Let me explain.
The Barries are in the business of teaching folks how to buy short sales for a profit. They sell tickets to a seminar. From what I've read on their site this is their business. They also seem to be very good at it.
So my questions to the Barries are:
How many people, that take your seminars and receive all the tools needed to purchase short sales, actually utilize the tools and knowledge you have given them?
What is the percentage of folks that attend a seminar that are now successfully purchasing and selling short sales?
The reason I ask this is that I know from experience that even though we may provide folks with ALL the tools they need to be successful it is still a very small percentage that actually have what it takes to make a go of it. Not because they don't have the tools but because they don't have the type of personality it takes to be a success.
The same goes for your average Seller or Buyer that wants to go it alone. They can find every thing they need to get the job done. BUT having the tools doesn't give them the knowledge and the ability to use them.
Sellers don't want to know what tools I use. What they want to know is that I can get the job done. And I can show them this by having a track record and by building a level of trust where they "just know that I know" what I'm doing. And this is an intangible. It's not a line item cost.
Lindsay, the young lady that the Barries are going to turn into the "Agent Rock Star" asked me a question yesterday. She wanted to know who a Seller would choose if she walked in with no experience but a long list of everything she was going to do to sell their property including spending her own money and me just sitting there telling the Sellers I couldn't explain what I do but "Just trust me, I have 13 years experience and have sold hundreds of properties in your neighborhood".
I can't remember how I answered but know I didn't want to discourage Lindsay in her endeavor BUT the answer is....they would choose me hands down. She wouldn't stand a chance in heck of winning a listing where she is competing with me. How do I know this? Because I don't lose listings. I turn some down but I don't lose them over a 25 step marketing plan, cost or anything else. Why? Because I'm a natural born salesperson. I know how to build trust quickly. I know how to make people comfortable with their decisions.
Lindsay.....it's truly not about what you do. It's about how you do it. Put the marketing plan away and just talk with folks. Find out what their needs are and then fill them. It IS all about the relationship. And relationships, my friend, is what Web 2 is all about. Use all the tools you will be provided but use them for the right reason, building a relationship with trust being the cornerstone.
It's sounds so simple because it is. Assuming you have the tools that ARE needed:
True care and concern
The ability to listen
Problem solving skills
The desire to help
So there's my quantifiable list. The cost is x%.
OK, Barry, Barry and Brett, here's my last two questions. Maybe the answers will help answer the question "How do you justify your high commission?"
If you owned a property in Poinciana Fl and wanted to list it tomorrow, would you hire me?
Be honest. I was.
***OK...so I couldn't resist on the picture! Thanks Danny Smith.
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Tutas Towne Realty, Inc
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker
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