Competitive Selling

Recently I was reading some training material of a large national franchise.  One section of the material was called: “Defending Your Commission”.   It was professionally written and loaded with cliché, but it clearly left readers wondering whose commission was actually being defended.  The Agent’s or the Brokers? 

Agents at franchises are kind of forced to defend their Broker’s compensation.  (Sidebar: No Wynd Realty agent has ever had to defend our $300 transaction fee).  Truth be told, in front of their clients, franchise agents often blame the franchise itself for the high fees; “it’s the system”. 

Our research into competitive training was inspired by a question we get often: how do we compete against the huge KW machine with all their agents and money when it comes to a Listing Presentation? 

Yes, the number of KW agents, in Atlanta alone, seems to rival the population of a small State, but none of that really matters.  In reality, the corporate KW methodology is actually pretty easy to sell against.    

If you work in the real estate industry, rule #1 should always be; NEVER forget where the money comes from.  KW’s MLM and Compass Realty’s, charitable ego-tripping, are examples of real estate Brokerages who have totally lost sight of the customer. 

Watch a homeowner’s reaction when they learn their KW Listing fee includes portions of their nest egg being given to agents, who had absolutely nothing to do with anything other than being several “levels-up”, in the KW pyramid scheme.   Their mood can really turn sour when they realize their money will also go up the KW pyramid in the event a KW agent is on the buy side.  How can sellers not feel “played”?

Franchises also spend a lot of time training agent self-confidence.  They do so with what can only be described as a poster philosophy on steroids; “You are the best, you work for the best, so be your best”.  Of course this all falls apart when the homeowner asks; “so why am I paying top dollar for the Buyer’s agent”?  Are they the best too?   

In review, the homeowner not only has to pay the commission for the agent they are negotiating against, but they’re also paying for that agent’s place in line within their company’s pyramid.  In what world is this financially responsible?   Today, it’s easier for homeowners to see things for what they really are, especially if you remind them.

The latest trend in real estate training is development of the “consumer experience”.   One can’t help but think this touchy-feely philosophy comes from professional marketeers rather than real estate professionals.  In theory it makes sense.  In practicality, it’s pretty silly. 

The “experience” approach works only when the consumer actually wants to remember their experience.  You will hear things like: “it was so worth it” and “can’t wait to go again”.  But, what if your product was one the consumer didn’t particularly like?  What if your product was a “have-to-have-type” of product?  Looking at you Ticketmaster!

No one ever said; “ooh that $12.50 per ticket Ticketmaster fee is so worth it!  Sure, Ticketmaster is an easy target, but there are tons of products and services that don’t inspire the need for an embellished user experience.  Tax preparation, dental x-ray, most insurance products and pretty much everything medical. 

The “consumer experience” is a great sound bite.  It touches all the bases and checks every box.  But, it’s just marketing.  In truth, the consumer experience is nothing more than the cliché of the day.  So use accordingly. 

Remember, the “home selling experience” is like no other.  While the Buyer and their agent sit back and bask in their amazing “consumer experience”, the Seller is thinking, “I can’t believe I paid this much in commission”!   Is this really the experience you want to “productize”?

When an Independent agent compares their situation against that of a franchise agent, it is impossible to forget the massive boat anchor franchise agents are forced to lug around.  This is a huge completive advantage.  Being associated with a dated Brand hurts an agent’s strategy going forward in 2021.  Remember Re/Max?    Is there anything about Harry Norman that doesn’t say dated?

You want selling advice, how about this.  Be honest, professional and cut out the BS and fake platitudes. Never forget, the agent is NOT the star of this show.   That title is held by the Seller, you know, the folks paying for everybody else.    


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