This post was last updated May 15, 2023.
In 2005, I wrote my book Waging War on Real Estate’s Discounters which contained a collection of the very best strategies, scripts and tactics for overcoming commission objections. The scripts below are excerpted from that book and are as effective today as they were when I first started using them over three decades ago. The question was: Could ChatGPT do any better? What made one script better than the other?
I began this experiment by asking ChatGPT to search the internet (not generate its own responses) to find the best answers to the most common commission objections agents encounter.
Next, I instructed ChatGPT to act as the seller of an expensive home and to respond to one of the five seller objections below. I then asked ChatGPT to compare the responses from Agent 1 (ChatGPT’s search response) and Agent 2 (my response). Based on those responses, I asked ChatGPT to it to decide which agent it would hire and why. Here are the results.
Objection No. 1: How much do you charge in commission?
While this conversation is challenging face-to-face, it’s particularly difficult to overcome when it’s a phone call and you only have a few moments to respond. The caller’s goal is to discover the commission amount and, if it’s more than they want to pay, to hang up.
I understand that commission rates are an important consideration when choosing a real estate agent. However, it’s also essential to consider the value and expertise an agent can bring to the table. I’d be happy to discuss my commission structure and how my services can help you achieve the best possible outcome for your property in a brief conversation. Would that work for you?”
Do you want to obtain the highest possible net sales price from your sale or are you more concerned about how much commission you will be charged? To achieve the highest possible net price, you must have maximum exposure to the marketplace. With your permission, may I show you how my 15-Point Premium Marketing Plan helps you to achieve the maximum exposure to the marketplace that results in the highest possible net price for your property?
Agent 2’s response is likely to be more effective in motivating the caller to set an appointment with the agent for the following reasons:
- Directly addressing the seller’s concern: Agent 2’s response acknowledges the caller’s concern about commission but quickly redirects the focus towards the more important goal — achieving the highest possible net sales price. This can help the caller realize that there’s more to the transaction than just the commission rate.
- Emphasis on the marketing plan: By mentioning their 15-Point Premium Marketing Plan, Agent 2 provides a tangible solution for the caller to consider. This showcases their expertise and demonstrates their commitment to achieving the best results for their clients.
- Call to action: Agent 2’s response includes a clear call to action (“With your permission, may I show you…”). This encourages the caller to take the next step in engaging with the agent, increasing the likelihood of setting an appointment.
While Agent 1’s response acknowledges the importance of considering value and expertise, it doesn’t provide the caller with a compelling reason to set an appointment. Agent 2’s response, on the other hand, offers a solution (the 15-Point Premium Marketing Plan) and emphasizes the importance of achieving the highest net sales price, which is more likely to motivate the caller to set an appointment with the agent.
An excellent tactic for overcoming most objections is to ask a powerful question that requires the seller to arrive at their own conclusion about what’s best for them. In this case, the agent’s question forces the seller to consider which matters most—the commission amount or how much they will net at closing.
Second, the best commission scripts always have a call to action that motivates the client to set an appointment or agree to a full commission.
Objection No. 2: Will you reduce your commission?
The key premise in Waging War is that in order to obtain the highest possible price for your property, you must have maximum exposure to the marketplace. The best way to achieve this goal is with a Premium Marketing Plan (value proposition) that outlines the specific services you offer.
Value proposition: It’s important to focus on the value that a professional real estate agent can provide, such as expert market knowledge, negotiation skills, and a network of potential buyers. These qualities can help sell your property faster and for a higher price, ultimately justifying the commission rate.
To achieve the highest possible price, you must have maximum exposure to the marketplace. With your permission, may I show you how my 15-Point Premium Marketing Plan helps you to achieve the maximum exposure to the marketplace that results in the highest possible price for your property?
While Agent 1’s response highlights the value that a professional real estate agent can provide, it does not present a clear plan of action or a commitment to achieving specific results. Agent 2’s response is more persuasive because it presents a specific, actionable marketing plan with 15 points. This demonstrates their preparedness and knowledge of the market. It also indicates that they have a strategic approach to selling properties, which can be a significant advantage.
ChatGPT also said:
By mentioning the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time, Agent 2 communicates a results-driven approach. This aligns with my goal as a seller to achieve the best possible outcome for my property.
The 15-Point Premium Marketing Plan shows that you have a specific action plan, you know the market, plus it taps into what ChatGPT thought its most important goal was as a seller, i.e., getting the highest possible price for the property.
Objection No. 3: Will you reduce your commission?
Seller: Will you reduce your commission? I see other companies offer commissions as low as one or two percent.
Some agents offer tiered commission structures providing various levels of service depending upon your needs. If you’re looking to save on commission, consider choosing a lower service tier that still meets your requirements.
I only work with sellers who want to obtain the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time by using our premium services. If you would like to reduce the commission, I would be happy to give you a referral to a limited services agent who does not offer this level of service.
While Agent 1 offers a flexible commission structure, their response may suggest that they are willing to compromise on the level of service they provide to meet a lower commission. As the seller of an expensive property, I would prioritize hiring an agent who is confident in their ability to deliver exceptional results and is transparent about their services and commission structure.
While everyone loves discounts, virtually no one wants limited service, especially when they have seen your full-service Premium Marketing Plan. Also, ChatGPT concluded that agents who lower their commission might compromise the service they provide.
Objection No. 4: If you want to work with us, you’re going to have to reduce your commission.
While this response is similar to No. 3 where the seller asks if you’re willing to reduce the commission, this seller tells you point blank they won’t hire you if you don’t lower your commission.
I understand your concern about the commission. However, I believe that the services I provide and the results I deliver are worth the commission I charge. My goal is to sell your property for the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time. By investing in premium marketing, negotiation expertise, and a vast network of potential buyers, I can help achieve that goal. In the end, the value I bring to the table should far outweigh the commission, and you’ll ultimately benefit from my experience and dedication.
Discounters are wonderful. They fulfill an important need in the market for sellers who cannot afford premium service. Would you like me to give you a referral to a limited services agent?
Both Agent 1 and Agent 2 provide valid responses to the seller’s request for a discounted commission, but their approaches differ. Agent 1 focuses on justifying the value of their services, while Agent 2 takes a more offensive stance by not compromising on their commission and positioning their services as premium.
In this context, Agent 2’s response can be seen as stronger for the following reasons:
- Uncompromising position: Agent 2’s unwillingness to compromise on their commission demonstrates a strong negotiation stance. By not budging on their commission, they are effectively communicating their belief in the value of their services.
- Clear differentiation: Agent 2 clearly differentiates themselves from discount agents by highlighting that they offer premium services for clients who seek the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time. This creates a perception of exclusivity, which can be attractive to sellers who want the best possible representation.
- Confidence in their services: Agent 2’s response exhibits confidence in the quality of their services and the results they can deliver. This level of confidence can be an essential factor in determining their negotiation strength and can reassure the seller that they are working with a top agent.
On the other hand, Agent 1’s response, while valid, comes across as defensive. By justifying the value of their services, they may inadvertently give the impression that they are less confident in their negotiation abilities.
Given these points, Agent 2’s response can be perceived as stronger, as it suggests that they are a more skilled negotiator. By taking an offensive stance and confidently asserting the value of their premium services without compromising on their commission, Agent 2 demonstrates their ability to advocate for their position and negotiate effectively.
When a client objects and you respond by justifying your position, you’re playing defense rather than offense. The sellers in this scenario were adamant about not hiring you if you refuse to lower your commission. The first response tries to change their mind.
The second response uses what is known as “Agree, counter, close.” In other words:
- Agree: You acknowledge that they aren’t going to hire you; counter by stating “Discounters are wonderful!”
- Counter: “They fulfill an important need in the market for sellers who cannot afford premium service.”
- Close: “Would you like me to give you a referral to a limited services agent?”
While almost everyone loves discounts, very few people are willing to settle for “limited services.”
Objection No. 5: Will you reduce your commission? John Smith from your office offered to provide the same services at a lower commission.
This is one of the toughest objections you will face because you always want to avoid criticizing another agent, especially in your own office. Fortunately, there’s an excellent way to overcome this objection by asking two simple questions. Remember, the person asking the questions is in control of the conversation.
I respect John and his work, but I believe that my approach to selling properties, coupled with my track record of success, justifies my commission rate. I would be happy to discuss my marketing plan, negotiation strategies, and the specific services I provide in detail, so you can make an informed decision about which agent is the best fit for your needs.
To obtain the highest price possible for your property, you need someone who is a powerful negotiator — isn’t that correct? If John can’t negotiate a full commission on his own behalf, how effective do you think he will be in negotiating the maximum price for your property?
Between the two responses, Agent 2’s response is stronger for the following reasons:
- Focus on negotiation skills: Agent 2 emphasizes the importance of having a powerful negotiator when selling a property. This draws attention to a crucial aspect of the agent’s role and highlights their own negotiation skills in comparison to John’s.
- Rhetorical question: By asking the seller a rhetorical question about John’s ability to negotiate the maximum price for their property, Agent 2 effectively points out a potential weakness in John’s approach. This can lead the seller to question whether a lower commission is truly in their best interest.
- Assertiveness: Agent 2’s response is assertive and implies confidence in their ability to deliver the best results for the seller. This can instill trust in the seller and encourage them to consider the potential drawbacks of working with an agent who is willing to lower their commission.
While Agent 1’s response is respectful and offers to discuss their marketing plan, negotiation strategies, and services, it does not directly address the potential impact of a lower commission on the sale outcome. Agent 2’s response, on the other hand, highlights the importance of negotiation skills and creates a contrast between their own abilities and John’s, making it a more persuasive argument.
I’ve used this script for over 30 years, and it may very well be the most effective real estate script ever. The secret to using this script is that once you ask your final question, wait for the seller to respond no matter how uncomfortable it is. The old sales adage, “The first one who speaks loses,” is true and applies in almost every type of negotiation situation.
Mastery of these five scripts will help you successfully overcome most seller commission objections. It’s also important to note why GPT says these scripts are so persuasive because these principles apply to all types of real estate negotiation.
Finally, if you’re having trouble figuring out which scripts work best in various situations, take them for a test drive on ChatGPT, see what it says, and ask it to explain why one script is more effective than the others.
Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with more than 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.