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Protecting Your Commission

Commentary by Darryl Davis, CSP

Are you ready, willing and able to convey your value to a seller, or are you stumbling over the age-old question “Will you cut your commission?”

If you don’t have the right mindset, your words and techniques aren’t going to help you hold the line. One of the biggest mistakes agents make is saving the commission conversation for the end of the appointment, rather than starting the conversation the moment they walk in the door. The better you are in establishing value, the easier it is to command higher commissions.

Never address commission until you’ve established value.
One mistake agents make is answering how much they charge when asked on the phone. You should never address commission until you’ve built rapport and trust, and sellers fully understand the value you offer. If you can create a high perceived value with a seller before you tell them the fee you charge, it’ll be easier to command a higher commission.

Selling a house is a complicated process worthy of hiring a professional.
Explain that agents are licensed professionals and share an example: “If you were sued, you would call an attorney. If you were sick, you would call a doctor. In each of these important areas, you would call a professional, so why would you do anything different when it comes to one of your most important assets?”

Identify the tools that successful agents use.
This includes the MLS, public open houses, broker open houses, etc. If you focus on selling the industry, and the seller buys into it, they’ll list with you because you’re the one delivering the message. Plus, when you take this approach, your conversation comes across as less self-serving. The seller will feel that you care more about serving them versus selling them.

Explain your marketing plan.
Successful agents market properties to create exposure so that every buyer in the price range knows about what’s available. Explain how you’ll do this through your marketing tools. The more tools you use, the more exposure a property gets. This leads to more buyers coming through the front door, which usually results in a higher price.

Remind them that you’re a full-time agent.
If they plan to sell the house themselves, they’re getting a part-time unlicensed employee rather than a full-time licensed professional. Which one is more likely to get the job done right?

There’s no law that says you have to negotiate in 1-percent increments.
If you have to adjust your fee because the seller feels they need to win something, consider adjusting your fee just a quarter of a percent. If the seller has bought into you, this should be sufficient to soothe their ego.

Remember, you’re worth what you’re paid, and you bring real value to the table. Don’t sell yourself short.

Darryl Davis has spoken to, trained and coached more than 100,000 real estate professionals around the globe. He is a best-selling author for McGraw-Hill Publishing, and his book, “How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate” tops Amazon’s charts for most sold book to real estate agents. He is the founder of the Next Level™ real estate training system The Power Program®, which has proven to help agents double their production over their previous year. Davis earned the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, held by less than 2 percent of all speakers worldwide. To learn more, visit

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