Never Discount Your Fee – 5 Ways to Always Get Paid What You’re Worth
If you’ve been a real estate agent for a few years you’ve probably experienced vendors who want (expect?) you to discount your fee.
Here’re a couple of ways you can head that discussion off at the pass before it even gets a toe-hold.
Set yourself up for success
First up – you absolutely have to believe you’re worth the fee you’re going to earn. If you doubt yourself, even an insy, winsy, teeny-tiny bit, so will your vendors!
You need to know exactly why you’re worth what you’re worth so that if the discussion ever comes up, you’ll be able to answer with conviction and without hesitation exactly why you’re worth every cent of your commission.
If you’ve never thought about why you’re worth what you’re asking to be paid then I highly recommend you sit down and do that. Now.
Get a blank sheet of paper (or open up an empty Word document) and head it up “why I’m worth my commission”.
Recognise the value your skills add
Create three columns on your blank sheet of paper: attributes + benefits + examples.
Start writing in the attributes column first. List all your skills and attributes. All your years of experience that will add value and make a difference in getting the best sale price for your vendors. Things like:
- Negotiation skills – if you’re a parent you’ll have years of negotiating experience: getting kids to bed, eating their vegetables, curfews, tidying rooms, etc. Your vendors will want you to be at the top of your game when it comes to negotiating on their behalf.
- Organisation skills – parents of school age children have honed their organisation skills to be extremely sharp. Think about all the juggling you had to do to get kids to and from after school events, sports, put dinner on the table, organise laundry, homework, grocery shopping, birthday parties, etc, etc, etc. Just like being the Event Manager of your family, so too do real estate agents have many things happening at once. There’s never a dull moment being a real estate agent because you’ll always be multi-tasking of some kind – eg, getting advertising copy ready, arranging photographers, teeing up interior staging designers to visit, keys, contracts, lawyers, mortgage brokers, open homes, buyers, etc, etc, etc.
- Time management – similar to organisation skills but not quite. Time management involves some thinking ahead. Running a home involves time management skills – for example cooking a family meal. You’d soon make yourself very unpopular if you couldn’t synchronise a meal that was cooked all at the same time. Imaging sitting down to a meal that was stretched out over an hour or so because you hadn’t timed the vegetables to be ready at the same time as the meat. So too, does time management become critical as a real estate agent. Imagine organising your open homes too close together time wise, or too far apart geographically such that you were always running late.
- Your networks – sure – just about every agent will tell just about every vendor they have a network of buyers they can tap into. What networks are you able to tap into? School, sports, recreation, spiritual / church, prior professional, social media: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Podcast audience?
- Local knowledge – many agents will tout that they’re “locals”. So what? What does that really mean to your vendors? How does being a local tie in with your networks (above), for example?
Turn These Attributes Around So They Represent a Benefit to Your Vendor
Sales is more about benefits than features. Spouting off a list of your (wonderful) attributes is meaningless unless you make them meaningful to each individual vendor.
You need to be able to explain to Mr & Mrs Vendor exactly what each of your attributes means to them personally.
Second column: benefits
In the second column identify as many different benefits for every attribute that you can think of.
Why is the attribute you possess of value / benefit to your vendors?
What do they get out of the attribute (feature) personally – what’s in it for them?
For every attribute (feature) you’ve listed in the first column there could be multiple benefits because people see things differently. Your vendors may have different priorities – allow for that.
Column #3 – Examples
Finally, in the very last column list some examples where you’ve demonstrated each attribute (preferably in a real estate context).
The reason you’re listing examples is to enable your clients to be able to relate to what you’re saying.
Adding to your sales toolbox
Doing this exercise will sharpen your sales skills.
Reflecting and identifying your strengths will not only be a confidence booster to yourself, but will remind you that you’ve got value to add and that value is worth something valuable.
Passing the First Negotiation Test
Think about it: your vendors are paying you to get the absolute best price possible for their property. This means you will have to negotiate. Sometimes you may have to negotiation harder than other times.
One of the first times you’ll put on your negotiating hat is during the listing process when a vendor may ask you to discount your fee.
As soon as you discount your fee you automatically cheapen your services (is this what you want – to give the perception of being a pushover?).
Do you want to give your vendors the impression that you’re a pushover?Remember: you’re representing them in (most likely) their largest and most valuable asset.
I’ve created this video so you can listen to one way to answer this dreaded “will you discount your fee?” question.
#1 – create your attributes + benefits + examples list
Create your list of attributes / benefits / examples. Study them. Memorise them so that you truly, 100% believe with conviction you are worth your commission fee.
#2 – Practice extolling your attributes
Get comfortable & familiar with this list. Talk to yourself out loud about them just as if you were a vendor. Practice them in the car when you’re driving around town. Say them out loud.
There’s a huge difference between reading a few sentences and actually saying them out loud.
Keep reminding yourself why you’re worth your fee.
Repeat this exercise as many times as necessary until you actually believe it!
#3 – Learn the script
Either listen to the video a few times to familiarise yourself with the words or send me an email and I’ll send you the script direct. Play with it so you can say it comfortably and naturally when you need to.
You need to be able to make it sound natural.
Add your own inflections. Swap some of the words for ones that you might use.
Say it to yourself in the mirror: bathroom mirror, hallway mirror or interior car mirror (it doesn’t matter) but make sure you can look yourself in the eye while you explain (without justification or defense) why discounting sucks.