I entered real estate at the age of 15, and started selling when I was 19. Pretty young by anyone’s standards you’d agree. I knew I had a lot to learn but like many confident young people I was also pretty head strong and though that I already knew quite a lot! One thing that distressed me quite a lot when I started selling was dealing with cheap people! I hated it. When I got a call to tell me that I’d lost a listing because the sellers had decided to go with an agent who had discounted their commission I was livid. How could these people be so cheap? Why didn’t they care that their house wasn’t going to be marketed with the same care and attention and skill that I would have used.
Commission discounting or “cutting” was very commonplace in my market at this time – as it is in many places all over the world today. I however had a policy of not discounting my commission, and on the whole I found that it worked well for me, unless of course I was dealing with these cheap people. I called them that in my head all the time. Cheap, cheap, cheap. I had a particularly bad week one week where I lost two listing to commission discounters in as many days and I decided to sit down and take a good long look at what was going on. Was I attracting cheap people? Were they drawn to me? What could I change about the way I did business so that I didn’t have to deal with these cheap people anymore?
I pictured one of the homes I had just been told I wouldn’t be selling, one of the homes owned by these “cheap” people. I tried to vividly play back every step of the presentation from the moment I showed up at the front of their house. From there, something clicked inside my head, I had a light bulb moment. As I remembered walking up their driveway, I remembered the style of their car. I remembered commenting on their newly laid carpet as I entered the foyer. I remembered politely turning down a cup of coffee when offered it. These people, had they been truly “cheap” people, would have had the cheapest car available, they would have laid cheap carpet, they would have offered me cheap coffee. In each of those three instances that now were so prominent as I remembered them – they had a top quality product.
It occurred to me that most people love a bargain – but are prepared to pay for quality if they believe it is good value. These people had a quality car, quality carpet, quality coffee and were prepared to pay for them. They had not seen quality in me in my presentation at that time and had therefore decided to go with the option they saw as better value – the commission discounter.
I realized I needed to change my thinking on this subject. If I lost a listing to someone that discounted commission it wasn’t because the client was cheap. It was because I hadn’t shown enough value.
In real estate and many other industries involving sales you’ll come across some people who will always want the cheapest of everything. These were never the people I chose to have as clients as I was never the cheapest option. I did however start to focus more on demonstrating value and quality when I had any contact with client. And my strike rate started to go up once I found what worked for me. People aren’t typically cheap, but most do want value for money. Are you showing value in what you do?