illustration of listing presentation

© Steve Musgrave

In the Trenches: One-Finger Salute

A collection of stories from real estate professionals detailing crazy, funny, or poignant experiences that have happened on the job.

November - December
2019

A Memorable Flip

I had just learned the “three-finger” method for explaining to clients that real estate professionals don’t pocket the whole commission, and I was excited to use it at my next listing appointment. Here’s how it works:

Hold up three fingers on each hand; one hand represents the listing agent’s commission, and the other hand represents the buyer agent’s commission. When you explain that a third goes to the IRS, lower one finger on each hand. Then, explain that a third goes to business expenses like marketing and gas, and lower a second finger on each hand. With only one finger still raised on each hand, explain that the remaining third is how you feed your family.

At a listing appointment with a FSBO prospect, I was hoping to convert to a client, I used the three-finger explanation. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying enough attention to my hands when I ended the last point by inadvertently giving the sellers, a husband and wife, two middle fingers. Blushing, I apologized and wrapped up my presentation.

Fearful I might have blown it. I called the sellers the next day. To my surprise, they gave me the listing. Two months later, as we were leaving the attorney’s office after closing, the wife said they were glad I’d called. They had prayed for someone to help them with their transaction. Embarrassing mistake: not important. What matters is being ready, willing, and able to help meet people’s needs. —Sherry McQuage, GREEN, Keller Williams Realty, Southern Pines, N.C.

First Comes Marriage

As I was setting up signs at an open house, a couple arrived early, anxious to see the home. I let them in, laid out my brochures, and gave the couple a quick tour. They continued to tour the home on their own while I set up the refreshments and paperwork. My mortgage partner was co-hosting the open house with me in case someone had questions about interest rates or needed to be prequalified for a mortgage.

Two hours later, the couple was still there, sitting in the living room and reading magazines. I asked them if they had any more questions. “Yes,” the man said. “We want to buy this house. How do we do that?” Perfect question!

The mortgage rep went into action and started getting their information. I left the three of them alone while I turned off some lights. Soon, I heard my colleague explaining that if they were married, they could access more benefits of the VA loan program. “Oh,” the man said. “Well, in that case...” He turned to his girlfriend, got down on one knee, and said, “It’s about time. Will you marry me?” Tears ensued, and she said yes. The mortgage rep chimed in: “Well, set a date, and let’s get going!” About six weeks later, the newly married buyers closed on the home. Best sale ever. —Linda DeVlieg, CRS, Keller Williams Realty, Albuquerque, N.M.

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