Dear Zuess,

It’s the New Year and I was totally psyched to have a really great one.  I had a client all lined up to put their house on the market mid-January.  We have been speaking for months. I helped them get the house prepared in December and I’ve even got some of the marketing material done.  I’ve invested a ton of time and effort and when I called them today they said that they have decided not to sell.  They think that it’s the wrong time and that prices may go up more.  How can I get them to change their mind?  I was really counting on this listing.Disappointed


Dear Margaret,

Is it the right time?  I mean, it’s the right time for you but is it for them?

I know that you are super disappointed but this is an excellent opportunity to learn a super valuable lesson about entrepreneurship.

I would bet from the rather weak reason they gave you that there is a lot more to their story.  Perhaps a job promotion has been delayed, or job layoffs are imminent in the company they work for.  Maybe they are anticipating additional expenses due to new baby or an ailing parent.  Perhaps they are reconsidering a transfer or they are considering a different move.  There are a million reasons that are real and that matter to them.  Without having the empathy and the patience to learn the internal reason for their change of mind, you don’t deserve their business.

To be exceptional at real estate, you need to always put the client first – no matter what.

To do this, you must take your needs out of the equation, completely.  That you need the commission or want the listing for exposure, is of no interest to the client.  In fact, I’ve found that the agent’s needs can severely interfere with the client’s experience and cause the client to seek out an alternative agent.

The easiest and likely only way to take your needs out of the equation is to have an abundance of prospects and clients.  When you have many potential clients, you know that you will earn a living (whatever that may be for you) and you can focus on the clients’ needs.

Here is a short story to illustrate the importance of this concept:

Imagine:  A client wants to delay selling their home because their spouse has an ailing mother who needs a great deal of attention.  They are scared, and worried and are having trouble coping with the stress.  They don’t feel like going into the details with their agent.  The agent calls and hears that they are going to delay the sale and the agent’s internal dialogue is screaming out, “Oh no, I need this sale.  I’ve invested so much time and effort.  I’ve told several people about this listing.  I need them to list!”  What the agent says to the client is likely a meek question or two with an undertone of disappointment and anger.  Thoughts are things and you can be certain that the seller will pick up on the underlying mindset.  The outcome, no listing now and a very high probability of no listing in the future and no referrals.

If, on the other hand, the agent had an abundance of prospects and clients, the call would likely be very different.  The Internal dialogue would be something like, “This is a surprise, I wonder what’s going on.  I hope that nothing bad is happening for my client. I am curious to know more.”  The agent would then go on to ask some very sincere and genuine questions and likely the seller would share more information.  The agent would be in a situation to empathize, acknowledge the sellers situation, offer assistance and give the seller the space they need to deal with their personal challenges.  The outcome?  No listing now, an almost guaranteed listing later and lots of referrals.

As it turns out in this story, the mother passed away a couple of months later.  There was a significant inheritance and the sellers eventually sold and bought a much bigger home than originally planned.  Do you want to be the agent who gets the information?

For 2014, commit to attracting an abundance of clients and you’ll find that everything about your real estate practice becomes easier, more fun and a lot more successful.