Stop Sugar-Coating It!
There is nothing as refreshing and at times terrifying as the truth. However, the truth is what your buyers and sellers need to make the decisions they need to make. At times those decisions are easy, other times they are very difficult. Different personality types need different things from you to help them with their decision making, but everyone ultimately does better when they are given the truth.
Too many times I have seen agents list properties so high above the market that the seller will eventually be disappointed because there is no hope an overpriced home will sell in their market. Many times, agents don't want to deliver the bad news so they continue to work with the sellers optimistic pricing. The same is true when working with buyers. A buyer tells you they want a 3-bedroom, 2 bath water view home for a price that just doesn't exist and instead of telling them there is no such property like that, you hope that over time you can show them that. You could have saved yourself a lot of time and energy by just telling them the truth up front.
Have you ever been sitting with a client when your gut was telling you to be more upfront, honest and direct, but you just couldn't get the words out? This often happens when you have something to discuss that may be a little uncomfortable. For example, imagine that you need to talk to your seller about the fact that their property is overpriced and you know that unless there is a price reduction the property will not sell.
Go and look through the MLS and you will see numerous overpriced listings; the agents on these listings clearly were not able to have that conversation with their seller either. These properties are overpriced, and I am sure these agents know the price needs to be reduced but they sit on the market doing nothing more than earning the seller a bad days-on-market number on their listing. Stop sugar coating the truth and start having honest direct conversations with your clients.
Agents that have a hard time expressing themselves during difficult discussions need to learn that avoiding or delaying the truth only creates further problems down the way. Telling the truth to your sellers even when it is uncomfortable for you is a gift you give your clients.
When a seller is overpriced they NEED to hear the truth, when a seller's home is in poor showing condition you NEED to tell the truth. If I had to tell a seller that their home was in poor showing condition or that I had been getting negative showing feedback comments from other agents I would set it up like this.
"I have something to share with you that you may not like, but because you have hired me to always do the best job for you. That includes telling you the truth about what I am hearing from agents that are showing the home. May I share that with you?"
I ask permission because I have had sellers say that while they wanted to hear the feedback the timing was not right at that moment. I respect that and we eventually get back to the conversation. Most of the time they are eager to hear what you have to say and they appreciate the truth.
If you go to your doctor, then of course you EXPECT the truth. It would be "professional negligence" if they didn't tell the truth. As a real estate professional you are also required to present the truth to your clients.
When you are working with a buyer who wants to buy a home and you know they will be competing with many other offers you need to tell them the truth of how difficult it will be to actually buy that house unless they are willing to come up with more money.
The best thing you can do for your clients is to tell the truth about everything you discover. If you discover that a seller's home is getting negative feedback because of an animal smell you need to tell them the truth. If you have a buyer that wants you to find them a waterfront luxury home for $800,000 in an area where they are selling for $1,000,000 tell them truth and stop sugar coating it. When someone asks you to cut commission and you don't want to do that, tell the truth. Speaking your truth in your business is one of the single most important things you can do to save your clients valuable time and money. Along the way you will also save yourself time, money and frustration.
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.