By Patty McNease, Director of Marketing, Homes.com
The most recent NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers revealed that 87 percent of buyers identified negotiation skills as an important quality for their real estate agents to possess.
This fact was just one of the many thought-provoking topics explored by Lee Barrett in Homes.com’s Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar, “Negotiate Like You Mean It! Strategies for Win-Win Results Every Time!” which revealed tips on understanding clients’ needs, understanding the property, and understating terms that may be negotiable.
Barrett, a 37-year veteran in the real estate biz, and president/owner of Barrett & Co., Inc., operating in the Las Vegas market, says to successfully represent and satisfy customers, agents must be effective negotiators.
He touched on a recent study by the California Association of Realtors (CAR), in which one-third of sellers says they changed agents because of the agent’s lack of negotiation skills.
Another study by the group showed that if buyers could change one thing about their homebuying experience, 26 percent wanted their agent to negotiate better, compared to 24 percent for better agent communication, 20 percent about having a better marketing direction and 19 percent wanting better agent response.
Barrett says that 43 percent of real estate agents initiated the discussion of compensation with their clients, which he believes is a total no-no.
“They shouldn’t bring it up,” he says. “They get into a position where they don’t know their value and are willing to become a commodity rather than showing their value.”
The Five W’s
Barrett believes the book “Question Based Selling” by Thomas A. Freese is one that every real estate professional should add to their library, as it lays the foundation for becoming a successful agent today.
The book lists 143 different ways to ask questions, which is more important than ever, in his opinion.
It teaches you to ask “what, where, why, when and how” questions—simple, but needed in today’s negotiating strategy. In fact, Barrett says that real estate pros who ask better questions tend to spend less time with buyers and sellers, have better relationships and get better referrals.
“People are not getting to the depth of conversation that we need to. These cause us to have conversations with people and become better listeners,” he says. “We understand their needs and desires better.”
Some examples of questions that can be asked include, “How long of a timeline are you looking for?”, “What’s your favorite neighborhood?” and “Why are you moving?”
Support Your Figures
You might have some great numbers and facts to tell your clients about the market, but if you don’t have documents or anything to back up what you say, they’re not going to carry much weight. After all, studies show that 65 percent of all people are visual learners, and that number is higher when it comes to millennials.
That’s why Barrett recommends that to build trust with a client, an agent needs to have a supporting document available to explain and show what your projections and numbers are based on. He thinks all real estate pros should learn PowerPoint and collect newspapers or web stories about the markets you practice in.
“You want to be able to put something in their hands and make them comfortable, knowing you have their best interest in mind,” he says. “Remember, today’s client is looking for value—they want to know what you bring to the table.”
In the back of every client’s mind, Barrett shares, is the little voice saying, “What’s in it for me?”
“They are looking for uniqueness,” he says. “Buyers and sellers want sound logic, they don’t just want sales talk. Help give them logical ways to make decisions. People buy from emotion, but purchase with logic.”
Another key element of success is developing and sustaining relationships, which is why agents must consider not only the outcome of a negotiation, but also their rapport with the other party.
“Don’t get adversarial with the other agent. Create a win-win situation,” Barrett says. “It’s all about collaboration. Treat everyone in the transaction the way you want to be treated. It benefits all parties.”
Check back next week when Homes.com presents more tips from Barrett on how negotiating leads to success, including looking at the role social media plays.
Tune in for this month’s Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar, “Leverage Your Business Through Systems, Tools and People,” at 1 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 20, featuring Linda McKissack, author of “HOLD. How to Find, Buy and Rent Houses for Wealth.”
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.