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01.20.2015 Sharon Spano, Ph.D.

Realtors: Get Your Clients to Value Your Expertise

As a realtor, your success depends on whether or not your clients value your expertise. Your promise is to list and sell their home. You have a responsibility to provide the best possible information. You can’t effectively do your job if the Seller is controlling every aspect of the sales process.

If you’re desperate to get the listing, it’s easy to miss this important point.

Example: The Seller lives out of the country. He informs the realtor that he’s not to bother his tenant. The lessee doesn’t want the agent to host Broker Opens or to show the home more than once a week. This third party, who really has no vested interest in the home selling because she will have to move, is now in control of the sales process.

At the end of the day, if the home doesn’t sell, whom do you think the homeowner is going to blame, the tenant or the realtor?

Master the art of assertive communication, and you’ll never have to battle this level of frustration again.

What is Assertive Communication?

Please don’t confuse assertiveness with aggressive communication.

Assertive communication is the ability to clearly state the facts in conjunction with what you want to have happen—-without the intention of hurting or making the other person wrong.

If you’re in sales, it’s your responsibility to guide your customer to make the best decision possible. Assertive communication is part of that process.

Here’s a simple formula:

STEP ONE: DESCRIBE

Top Producers have mastered the art of assertive communication. When you’re up against a Seller who wants to control the sales process, you want to clearly describe that process and why it works.

Never assume that your Seller understands the importance and value of a Broker’s Open, Open Houses, or the need to have access to the home for showings. It’s not enough to tell them that you want to do these things; you must help them understand why and what’s in it for them.

This discussion should be connected to specific timelines that are linked to how fast your clients want to sell the home. For example, you might back into the number of appropriate activities you intend on generating over a specific amount of time.

Obviously, you always want to honor your client’s need for privacy or any extenuating circumstances, e.g., an aging mother at home. An assertive explanation of the process will help the Sellers determine for themselves how to make accommodations for what needs to happen. You want to engage them in a meaningful discussion that is based on facts so that you can mutually agree on the best approach to selling the home.

STEP TWO: EXPRESS

This step requires you to be even more direct. Here you must be able to clearly and succinctly link the above description of the process to your high level of expertise.

Here’s a sample script:

"Mrs. Seller, I understand your concern about hosting a Broker’s Open. I can assure you that given my expertise in the field, the event will run smoothly and without incident. I’m asking for your trust so that I can meet your goal."

You might express your track record of sales in the area. Your expression is not about boasting. It’s about helping the Seller understand your level of competence.

Offer up the data related to your performance. You’re the expert, and you know what works. This component can feel awkward until you master it. You have to demonstrate competence and confidence and balance it with a willingness to walk away from the deal if they won’t allow you to perform your best.

STEP THREE: SPECIFY

You must be prepared to specify exactly what you know needs to happen in place of their objections.

"I can assure you that my goal is to have ten key brokers in the area experience the beauty and ambience of your home. Imagine that each broker has X amount of agents in their office and that each agents has X amount of buyers. This Broker’s Open could equate to X amount of people experiencing your home. This type of exposure can potentially lead to a far quicker sale.”

Don’t give into a Seller’s restrictions without first describing the facts of the sales process, expressing your level of competence, and specifying exactly what needs to occur in order to fulfill their goal of selling the home.

STEP FOUR: CONSEQUENCES

The Seller has the right to know what will happen if they don’t follow your advice. Desperate realtors avoid this level of assertiveness. If you’ve been appropriately assertive in Steps 1-3, you may not even need Step Four.

If you do move to consequences, be sure to avoid any language that can be construed as confrontational. You want to be specific and to the point. Couch the consequences in no more than 2-5 non-emotional sentences.

“Mrs. Seller, I just want to make sure that you’re fully aware that without that option of a Brokers’s Open, we may be extending the sales process of your home.”

“Given that reality, are you willing to extend your deadline an additional three months? I assure you that I’ll do everything in my power to move your property as quickly as possible. However, given the restrictions to the process, I want you to be fully aware that the sale of your home may take a bit longer.”

“What are the consequences of a longer sales process to you and your family?”

Let the Seller tell you the consequences. Your goal here is to help them realize that they’re making a decision that may have negative consequences.

Bottom line. Assertive communication positions you as a competent, confident expert in the field. It does, however, require practice.

Script out a scenario or two and practice it until you’re comfortable enough to appropriately respond to Seller restrictions in the moment.

Can you imagine a patient telling a surgeon where to make the incision? Of course not. You don’t want to be the realtor who’s so afraid of losing a deal that you let your clients totally run the process.

Your clients are looking for a result based on your expertise. Don’t be afraid to show them you’re equipped to get the job done.

Practice assertive communication, and you’ll enjoy the listing and sales process a whole lot more. You’ll also increase your business and attract Sellers who value your high level of expertise.

Published by Sharon Spano, Ph.D. January 20, 2015