Can You Be Trusted?

Written by Posted On Sunday, 23 October 2005 17:00

I have a question for you.

With which of these two agents would you most likely list?

  1. You like this agent. There is good rapport. But you don't trust this agent and you don't believe she understands your needs or will negotiate hard on your behalf. She agreed to lower her commission.

  2. You have fairly good rapport with this agent, you feel that she is a little pushy but prepared. You get the feeling that this is an agent will work hard for you to get the highest possible price for your home. She insists on holding her commission at a rate above the first agent.

If you said you think agent number one would get the listing, my guess is that you have lost some listings based on commission.

If you said agent number two should get the listing, you probably have got some listings based on your ability to establish, not rapport, but "trust."

The need of the hour is to establish more trust with the seller than the seller has in the market.

We all know people we like. We enjoy their company. There is good rapport. But we wouldn't do business with them if they paid us!

On the other hand, we know people we don't necessarily want to have lunch with, but want them in our corner at the negotiating table. They are highly skilled at what they do. Attorneys come to mind.

Cutting commissions is a function of the market, but not necessarily supply and demand. Commission cutting is a function of Trust.

Sellers trust the market to put more money in their pocket than the agent can do.

Here's the problem: Agents don't know how to build a trust-based presentation.

Can they build rapport? Yes, but "rapport" is only one of five steps to building trust. The other four steps are:

  1. finding something in common,

  2. acting with propriety (not flirting, making off color comments, etc),

  3. appropriate dress, and

  4. making a professional presentation.

Violate any five of these critical trust builders and you have lost 'Trust."

Here's the problem: If you don't build trust, the seller will not be honest with you about their needs. How can they?

Does this sound familiar?

Agent A gets an appointment with a FSBO. They have never met. Agent A shows up for the appointment with a CMA in a folder along with supporting papers. They spend a few minutes touring the home, then sit at the table to review the agents presentation.

At this point, there is little or no trust and very little understanding of the seller's needs. The agents brings out the CMA and waits on the world's two most common questions today, or so it seems.

The seller says, "Before we get started, I have two questions. How much is your commission and how much can we cut it?"

The agent, because they have not built trust and does not have a table top presentation, has just lost control of the interview, especially if they allow the commission to be discussed as a line item (as opposed to being presented as part of the net sheet.)

Here is a better way:

Think a two-visit listing.

Before you click out of this column at that idea, let me suggest something to you.

If you are a trust-based lister, you don't take anything but a yellow pad to your first appointment. Your objective is build trust and establish needs. No selling. No commission discussion.

Your answer to the "How much can I get for this house?" is:

"You deserve and have a right to expect better service from me than to give you an arbitrary price for your home." Then offer to bring the CMA.

If you do a good job of building trust and establishing needs, you will probably be invited to give a listing presentation.

This leads to building trust and the offer to compile a formal research report and "pop by" with it soon.

Before you tell me I don't understand the market, let me say that there is one thing I do understand.

As an industry, we have a "trust' problem. I think its partly because we don't understand trust-based selling and the importance of lowering sales resistance before trying to generate sales acceptance.

Here is the challenge: If you don't build a trust-based case for your services, you are leaving the seller no option but to give you a commission-based response.

Become a trust-based agent for buyers and sellers. You will be amazed at how it takes the pressure off of you and your prospects and puts more money in your pocket.

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David Fletcher, NHCB

David Fletcher is a co-founder and CEO of New Home Co-broker Academy LLC., an online e-commerce business. Visit David's website to take his famous 3-hour online course, How To Build  A New Homes Niche, to become a certified New Home Co-broker (NHCB). More than 5,000 graduates. Content is based on his long career and onsite sales success working with both builders and Realtors to list and sell more than $3 billion in new construction. If you are a broker who wants to offer your agents a way to add new homes to their resale inventory and home shoppers, this is your solution. 

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