Many real estate agents use best practices to guide their careers. But when everyone follows the same best practices, they start to become common practices. To outsiders, all agents suddenly look alike.
The good news is that it is possible to set yourself apart from the competition by switching up the way you do business. With that in mind, here are five real estate negotiation tips that can help you stand out from the pack and get to the next level.
1. Overcoming the ‘Yes’ Addiction
People in the real estate business are addicted to the word yes. Using the theory of yes momentum, these agents think that by getting clients to say “yes” to several different things before the big ask, they’ll be more inclined to agree when that ask is made.
There is a problem with this approach. When you’re driving anyone for a yes, they instinctively become withdrawn and defensive. They know you’re trying to take them somewhere, but it is not a place they volunteered to go.
Luckily, there’s an easy fix here: Stop chasing for yes and transform your questions into no-oriented questions that are designed to let your client agree by saying no.
Simply put, we feel protected when we’re able to say no to something. Yes is commitment. No is protection. So, instead of saying this: Could I get you to sign the Buyer/Broker agreement ? Say this: Are you against signing the Buyer/Broker agreement?
Flipping your yes-oriented questions around is a bit of a mental exercise. It might take some practice to master, but it’ll be well worth it.
2. Asking Proof of Life™ Questions
Many agents are scared of turning away potential business. As a result, they fail to ask Proof of Life™ questions at the beginning of an engagement—which can lead to serious problems down the road.
The best agents ask Proof of Life questions before adding a ton of value to relationships. Why are you considering me as your agent when there are multiple options out there? Or there are plenty of agents, why did you pick me?
Very simply, Proof of Life is designed to get two questions answered: Is there business at all to be done here, and is that business with me? When a client is able to say your value proposition for you—We researched you online and your reviews were spectacular. Additionally, we know at least two families you have worked with and both said their experiences were phenomenal—it’ll be increasingly difficult for them to push back against you. If they cannot give you a robust response to your Proof Of Life question, a red flag should go up. This potential may just be pumping you for information to use somewhere else and not with you.
By adding Proof of Life questions to her arsenal, one Black Swan client in real estate was able to reduce listing appointments year-to-year, by 80 percent and still make the same amount of money!
Remember, it is not a sin to not get the deal. But it is a sin to provide value to someone else, take time off the clock, and still not get the deal.
3. Diagnosing and Forecasting
Realtors can differentiate themselves from the competition by being up front and honest and providing clients with a snapshot of what they’re facing.
Open up the dialogue like this: There are a ton of agents out there who will promise you pie-in-the-sky results when you list your home with them. They make big money by making big promises they usually can’t deliver on. How do you feel about those types of agents?
Now, it is time to give them a better idea of what their future looks like: I’m not the kind of agent who will provide you with false hope. I will be very frank with exactly what you’re up against.
At this point, it’s time to launch into an Accusations Audit™: This is going to catch you off guard and send you running to the hills. You’re going to be blown away by what I’m about to say, and it might even make you uncomfortable.
With the negatives defused, continue painting a picture of what the client can expect: I’m a full-service, full-commission agent and I will do everything I can to sell your property for the best price possible based on market circumstances. I’m not going to raise your expectations only to tell you something worse later down the road. If that’s the kind of person you’re looking for, I might not be the right agent for you.
The point of using these tactics is to show them that you’re a transparent, straight-shooter who is not going to pull any punches. When you’re candid about who you are, you’re going to come across as someone who is honest and has integrity.
What better qualities could clients want in a realtor?
4. Valuing Your Time and Capabilities
When we talk about Proof of Life questions, what we’re really trying to do is figure out whether you’re the fool or the favorite. If you’re not sure which you are, you’re probably the fool. If you are the fool, there is no reason to cut your commission. If you’re the favorite, there is no reason to cut your commission. Either way, there is no reason to cut your commission.
Many realtors undervalue themselves. They’re deathly afraid of losing business or offending potential clients—to the point that they’ll give money away or leave it on the table.
When you stop undervaluing yourself, you can ferret these folks out earlier—preventing you from wasting precious time.
5. Using Asking Labels™ Instead of Direct Questions
If you look at any script written by or for real estate agents, you’ll see a bunch of direct questions in there. And yet, a full third of the population has a problem with direct questions. When they are asked questions, they clam up, and the conversation grinds to a halt.
Luckily, there is another easy fix here: Stop asking questions and use Asking Labels™ instead. Essentially, you use Labels and end your statement with an upward inflection and an inquisitive tone.
To illustrate, don’t ask: Why haven’t you signed the contract? Instead, say: It seems like there’s a pretty good reason you haven’t signed the contract?
Again, it might take a bit of practice. But you should be able to change every direct question into an Asking Label.
For more information on some of the more common mistakes real estate agents make during negotiations, check out this infographic.