When a homeowner asks: “Is your commission negotiable? Why should I hire you and not Sally-sells-a-lot?” What they’re really asking you to do is show your value. Are you really worth your fee?

  • When it comes time to show sellers you’re worth every penny, show them each task you will do for them, when you’ll do it and how much it would cost them if they don’t hire you.

When a homeowner asks: “Is your commission negotiable? Why should I hire you and not Sally-sells-a-lot?” What they’re really asking you to do is show your value. Are you really worth your fee?

It’s a circular dance of your commission and hirability being questioned by prospective homesellers. You think they are ready to sign with you, but then the attack starts, “I heard that my neighbor only paid ____ (fill in the blank with the last lowball number you’ve heard) to sell her house. Can you match that?”

“Sally Sales-A-Lot said she would only charge me a low fee of ______. Will you lower your commission to that?”

Or you may have been asked something different yet it all stems back to one word: value. For whatever reason, the potential homeseller does not understand your value, and therefore, challenges your services and/or your commission.

It is at this moment that some real estate agents get frustrated, even downright angry, and elect to pass on the listing or grudgingly compromise their commission. Often such agents are also likely experiencing a roller coaster ride of unstable income. But what else is an agent to do with such prospects, right? Wrong!

A foundational rule of dealing with people, whether in business or not is that you have to teach people how to treat you. Perhaps the last agent was a pushover, but that doesn’t mean you have to be.

Reality TV shows have lended to the consumer impression that not much goes into the selling process, I mean, you can sell a home in 30 minutes, right? Therefore, it’s our responsibility to explain our value to each prospective homeseller.

In real estate, it’s critical that we show people numbers — but not only the justification for a listing price, which is where many novice listing agents stop. We must show people the numbers behind our value. I call it T.A.P.

The great thing about the T.A.P. method is it can be done by both new and experienced agents. This method can help new agents gain confidence to compete with seasoned agents and help veteran agents get their passion for the job back.

It is time to quantify your value in writing. Here’s how to T.A.P. into your value:


List every task of the homeselling process that you perform. Most top-producing agents can get to a list of over 100 tasks that they perform for clients. Aim to get close to 100 — the more, the better. Make your list, and check it twice.

As a new agent, this will help you become more confident in your understanding of the services you provide. For some sellers, including FSBO sellers, this extensive list convinces them of your worth and ability.


Take it a step further, and assign the time it takes to complete each task from start to finish. Very few homeowners, including FSBOs, have the time or patience it takes to complete the tasks of a real estate transaction proficiently if they are juggling family time, work and other life activities.

Seeing these numbers in writing gives potential homesellers a reality check. If you just verbalize this, it does not have the same impact (especially if they are daydreaming, planning tonight’s dinner, etc., as you talk).


Define the price/cost of each activity at market value, excluding any discounts you might receive through partnerships. You or your office have built irreplaceable relationships.

For example, if you need to contact your preferred attorney for a legal description, you will likely get that free. But without those relationships, one would have to pay potentially several hundreds of dollars for each hour of an attorney’s billable hours.

This is true for photography, videography, staging, inspections and the whole gamut of the real estate process. Your industry relationships (or those of your team or firm) pass various savings on to homesellers that, on their own, they may not ever see.

It’s your job to explain and quantify this — show them the numbers.


I encourage you to block off an hour this week to T.A.P. into your value.

Lee Davenport is a licensed real estate broker, trainer and coach. Follow her on FacebookInstagramYouTube and Google+, or visit her website. This post comes from her book, Profit with Your Personality

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