9 Nice Ways to Counter Sellers' Listing Objections
Carla Cross’s rule of thumb: Tell the truth attractively.
“The strategy is to discuss objections, not create a situation where you’re in head-to-head combat.” —Carla Cross, Carla Cross Seminars, Issaquah, Wash.
An objection is nothing more than a question that should be answered, says Gail G. Lyons, author of the Real Estate Sales Handbook (Real Estate Education Company and the NAR Residential Sales Council).
- Talk through objections. Say, “Let’s talk about why X concerns you.”
- Divulge your weakness early. Then build answers into your presentation to objections you know sellers will have. David Knox of David Know Productions in Minneapolis, Minn., suggests that if you expect objections on the commission structure say, “Real estate companies offer a range of commissions. My company isn’t a discount company. Instead we've chosen to provide a full-service plan that sells your house for the highest amount of money with the least inconvenience.”
- Appeal to fairness. Calculate how many hours you spend marketing the average home, including the time to cultivate and take the listing. Also include the amount you spend on marketing, desk costs, transportation, telephone, and other expenses. This figure will give you a dollar wage you’ve earned. If appropriate, compare this to the average salary of the sellers. “I make an average of X an hour for my time. Considering that I offer you 10 years of experience and success and a high level of integrity, I think that’s a fair price.”
- Don’t get into a timing issue. If the sellers say they don’t want to list their house until they’ve bought another one, ask: “Will you be able to make a downpayment on the new home without the money from this sale?” Also, remind sellers that they may not be able to negotiate as good a price on their new home if they must buy it on the contingency of selling their current house.
- Don’t seem inflexible, but refuse to get into a bidding war. If the sellers continue to question the value of your commission and state that another salesperson has agreed to a price reduction, return to the sellers’ stated needs and remind them how you’ll deliver on each issue. "Everyone must decide what he or she is worth. Remember the list of services and marketing efforts I described to you during the listing presentation. I’m committed to follow through on those just as I described. Can another salesperson guarantee that?"
- Ask what more they need to know to decide. If a seller says, “I’ll think it over,” says author and marketing expert Danielle Kennedy of the International Speakers Bureau in Dallas, ask, “Is there something I haven’t covered? Is there a barrier between us that I can break through now?”
- Agree to disagree, but be clear on whose decision it was. If sellers insist on a higher price than you think is feasible, don’t continue to argue. Instead say, “I’m certainly willing to do my best to sell your home at this price. But I want you to agree that you will be willing to reconsider the price if the home doesn’t sell in 30 days.”
- Don’t give in to FSBOs. If sellers say they’ll market their home themselves to save the commission, ask them, “Would you try to set your own broken arm or would you hire a professional? I have expertise that you don’t. For example, I have access to the MLS to market your property effectively to other salespeople. I know what documents are required to close a sale, and I can help you secure them.”
- Focus on objectivity. If sellers say they’re going to list with a friend, remind them that “it’s hard for friends to be objective about each other. Your friend will want to take your side and not tell you things you may not want to hear. Sometimes that can be deadly to closing a deal.”
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