Forget the infographics, lists and pie charts, broker Teresa Boardman writes. Instead, tell a compelling story about how you’ve helped your clients.

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This post was last updated April 24, 2024. 

Editor’s note: On April 23, 2024, the judge in the Sitzer | Burnett case granted preliminary approval to the National Association of Realtors’ proposed settlement and set a final approval hearing for November. Rule changes are expected to go into effect beginning in July.

In March, the National Association of Realtors proposed a settlement for $418 million that will effectively end most of the commission lawsuits the trade organization has been battling.

Should the terms be accepted, NAR has agreed to decouple commissions on the MLS, no longer display them on the multiple listing service (MLS) and require that agents have a written buyer representation agreement in place before looking at homes with buyers. 

It’s possible that some real estate agents will struggle post-Sitzer ruling. It’s too soon to tell what impact the new rules that remove commissions from the MLS will have.

I know some agents are concerned about using buyer representation contracts, which are also a condition of the settlement. Agents are concerned about how they will be paid when they work with buyers.  

There have been several articles for real estate agents all about “value propositions” and “proving value.” Nothing new here. Being a real estate agent has always been competitive. Winning business from buyers or sellers has never been easy, and many in the industry believe that it will get harder.

Here are a few thoughts about why you should leave generic value propositions out of your marketing and focus on accurate storytelling instead to move your business forward and build the meaningful connections your future clients are looking for.

Forget the lists and the overshare of value prop graphs

One popular technique agents are using right now is sharing ready-made reports, infographics and lists of how much value the average real estate agent offers clients.

This collateral is designed for any agent to use and is being pushed by NAR, state associations and even business coach gurus.

The National Association of Realtors has a document Realtors can use about 179 ways Realtors are worth every penny. It’s a pretty typical list. 

The list includes tasks that I call “administrivia.” Seriously, do consumers really care about inner-office checklists or closing information sheets? The list from NAR includes making an appointment and confirming it with an email. Do people really want to pay our exorbitant fees because we can make appointments? 

Many tasks may be necessary but can be performed by AI or an intern and do not command a high salary. People who work in small companies like mine might have fewer administrative tasks. 

Generic lists do not help agents distinguish themselves in a crowded marketplace. If the consumer interviews three agents, and each has a similar list in their listing presentation, who will they choose? You cannot demonstrate your value with a list, especially not a list of administrative tasks.

Sure, Realtors work hard. Many people work hard, and their work is sometimes even more important. Consider the people who work in nursing homes. Consider low-paid hourly workers who end up working more than one job.

When I think of important jobs and people who work hard, the first one that comes to mind is an E.R. nurse. Their work seems more life-and-death than that of a real estate agent. They need more education, too. 

Real estate agents are not paid for performing tasks hourly or by how hard they work. Their pay is based on results, a specific outcome. Being a real estate agent doesn’t require a degree, and it is an easy field to enter.

The best real estate agents have experience and an abundance of soft skills and can tailor their list of tasks to fit the situation and the client. They don’t need to provide a job description to their audience.

Use storytelling instead to show your value

When experts lecture agents on how to “prove their value,” I am not sure they understand what value is in this context. I agree with well-known industry speaker, coach and author Valerie Garcia, “Value is the emotional feeling associated with solving a problem.”

Instead of ready-made graphics and lists, put stories based on real-life situations in your presentations. They are much more powerful than a pie chart. Perhaps you were able to solve a problem for a client or save clients some money. Maybe you brought something to a client’s attention that they might have missed. Tell the story. Include stories as examples in client presentations and when discussing your services. 

Telling the story doesn’t have to be challenging in your marketing. Check out some of my previous articles on creating conversations with your clients:

Real estate agents are fired up and ready for change, even though they don’t know exactly how the NAR proposed settlement will impact their businesses or whether the courts will approve it

Being a real estate agent is all about people and how they feel about what could be the most important purchase or sale in their lifetime. There isn’t any list that can replace soft skills or experience.

Lose the lists and pie charts, and focus on telling valuable educational stories instead — consumers are definitely listening.  

Teresa Boardman is a Realtor and broker-owner of Boardman Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is also the founder of

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