‘Will you take a lower commission?’
It’s the question that many Realtors expect, but that few welcome. How you answer depends in part on the personality, experience, culture and self-confidence that you – and your client – possess. It also depends on the relationship you have with your client, whether they’re the Buyer of Seller, and any previous relationship you have with them. But what is common to all commission objections is this:
It’s not really about money.
It’s about the perceived value of the service that you bring to your client.
As a Realtor, it’s your job to communicate this value. The confidence that you project, the clarity of your communication, and the way that you make your client feel are pivotal in whether or not your relationship moves forward.
Below are three key considerations to bear in mind as you prepare for the next commission objection:
(1) Identify Your Negotiating Style
If you feel that you need to become someone else in order to negotiate, then – even if that someone is highly successful and respected – your negotiation style will feel forced. You need to be yourself. If you’re already a direct, more forceful communicator, allow that to influence how you position your value. If you’re a great listener, leverage those talents to make sure you understand your client (more of that below!). If you’re skilled at building rapport through humour, use that judiciously to create trust.
At the same time, be aware of your blind spots. If you like pleasing people, you’ll probably be more tempted to compromise sooner. If you’re naturally competitive, you may bulldoze or intimidate a client who’s more cooperative. Similarly, your cultural background will influence how you negotiate (and how your client negotiates), as this Ivey Business Journal article helpfully explains. Self-awareness is your friend: before, during and after negotiations.
(2) Know Your Value Inside-Out
We find that one of our clients’ main recurring obstacles to successful negotiation is a lack of self-confidence. If we doubt the value that we provide, it’s hard to come across as confident in conveying that to our clients. So take the time to itemize why you are worth hiring. What sets you apart? Maybe it’s your personal warmth, your commitment to easing your clients’ stress amid transition. Perhaps it’s the excellent hand-picked referral services you offer, post-sale. Maybe it’s your close rates, your reputation, your years of experience. If you don’t believe it yourself, your clients won’t either. (And if you need to fake it ‘til you become it? This TED Talk by social psychologist Amy Cuddy is one of our favourites.)
(3) Listen for your Client’s Real Concern – and Answer That.
Too often, when we’re in the ‘sales’ mindset, we’re only half-listening to what the client is saying. We’re busy preparing our best response. But being fully present to what your client is saying, and listening for the concern behind ‘the money’, is the best way to help them feel understood. This helps build a trusted relationship between you and your client, and defuses any sense of defensiveness, intimidation or ‘win/lose’ mentality.
You come to understand their main concerns in the transaction – and can therefore support them more effectively – while they come to see you as the expert they can rely on to fight their corner. Only by listening, and listening carefully, can you reach this level of understanding, and help convey that by not cutting your commission, both you and they are coming out on top.
Our RESULTS Real Estate Members gain 24/7 access to our Webinar, “Overcoming the Commission Objection: Establishing your Negotiation Authority” (available in video and audio-only content), plus our transcript, Summary and Member Workbook to help work through the learning. Join our waitlist so you’re the first to know when we re-open registration.