What If…A Seller Asks You to Cut Your Commission? | The Zebra Blog

What If…A Seller Asks You to Cut Your Commission?

I’m teaching at the Lynnwood Convention Center.

The first thing you have to remember is that when someone asks you to cut your commission, they are being motivated by something. Maybe the seller is concerned about closing fees. Maybe a friend of theirs bragged about what they paid. Maybe they are just trying to figure out the differences between you and another agent (because you may be competing against other agents to secure this listing client).

With that in mind, it’s not about having perfect answers right off the top of your head. It’s about opening up the topic for discussion. Both you and your prospective client should be comfortable talking about your commission.

When I was an agent, I would frequently talk with sellers about commissions. My response was “That is a really great concern. I would love to talk about it, and more importantly there are some things I want to show you. When we talk about my fees, we also have to talk about my services.

When you start this conversation, remember that people need proof. To gather your proof, take the time to go over your previous transactions and do the math. Show your numbers and what you have done for past clients to get them the best results possible. Prepare a summary of your statistics, including sale-to-list price ratios, number of listings successfully sold, and the average or median days on market.

Sometimes people just want to know what your fees include, so make a list of the services you offer and tasks you take care of during the selling process. Demonstrating your market savvy with examples from previous clients. Give them the track record of your success.

Most of the time, when a client asks you to cut your commission, they are worried about their bottom line. This is where you can show them the math and educate them on the process. Show them the results you achieved for other successful sellers. If you are an area or neighborhood expert, take the time to show them the local market.

Don’t be afraid to have this discussion with your clients. It’s not a personal attack if a someone asks about your commission. Some people treat this topic as a barrier or something to avoid, but you can turn it into an opportunity to showcase the difference you make.

So take the time to collect your proof, don’t be afraid of the question, and lean into your presentation.

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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.

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2 Responses to “What If…A Seller Asks You to Cut Your Commission?”

  1. Geoff Phelps says:

    What a thoughtful article, Denise.

    Agents are often programmed to say no to negotiating their commission by lots of the training firms. What a great way to differentiate oneself from the competition by actually having discussion of the subject.

    Even if one arrived at no for an answer to the question, thoughtfully considering the matter and talking it through validates the client and reveals one’s temperament as their prospective representative.

    -Geoff Phelps

    • Denise Lones says:

      Geoff – I’ve always believed agents need to be able to articulate their value. And you nailed it in your comment – it’s not just about commission, it helps them stand out from the competition too. Knowing how to smoothly negotiate is a critical skill for every real estate agent and nothing should just be a “no”, education and conversation are part of the job. – Denise

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