Do you remember when Julia Roberts dressed in her “street” clothes and shopped on Rodeo Drive, and she was snubbed? Then, she came back looking like “money” and they were all over themselves trying to get her business. She reminded them of her past treatment and said “HUGE MISTAKE, HUGE”. I have actually heard similar stories from customers recently who were very upset that their agent talked about money before they even had an opportunity to talk to the customer about their wants and needs. I agree with Julia: Huge mistake.
I think two things come into play here. First, we’ve been conditioned from real estate birth to find out if our prospect qualifies to purchase. Today’s customer is really quite offended by the money conversation right out of the gate. Today’s buyer wants to know if their agent cares about them and can give them the level of service they expect. There’s nothing wrong with having them qualified by a mortgage company, in fact it’s beneficial to everyone, but only after you’ve established a relationship with the customer. Give them a chance to see if the relationship is a good fit for them and for you.
Second, because of the recession and the rising cost of gas and other costs related to real estate, I think many agents tend to panic about how they can afford to work with a customer. You must make this decision prior to accepting a buyer as a new client. Asking for a retainer fee up front or complaining to the customer about how much working with them is going to cost you is really off putting. How would you feel if a waiter asked to check your credit card before you could order your food?
Having said that, there are circumstances where a discussion regarding fees is perfectly acceptable. If a customer wants to engage you to help them find a rental, fees for services rendered is acceptable. Just keep in mind that your conversation should cover what you’ll be doing for the customer and what fees you’d be willing to negotiate with them.
Another instance where you must discuss fees is when you want to refer a person to another broker (through our Relocation Department, of course). The law actually requires that you tell your customer that you will be receiving a referral fee from the referred broker. You don’t have to mention amounts, just that they are being referred and fees will be paid. Metro Brokers has a GAR form that the customer must sign saying they are aware that a referral fee will be paid to Metro Brokers.
The main thing to remember is that you want the customer’s first impression of you to be a positive one.
Photo from movieposter.com
Tags: atlanta, atlanta real estate, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers, Buyers, dana eskridge, GAR form, georgia, Julia Roberts, Metro Brokers, mortgage company, Pretty Woman, Real Estate, real estate agent, real estate career, Realtor, relocation, Rodeo Drive, success