Although the bombshell commission lawsuits are scary, Inman contributor Chase Williams writes, it’s time to focus on the things you can control and move forward.
Lawsuits can be concerning. Lawsuits asking for enormous amounts of money can be downright scary. Lawsuits that threaten an entire industry and a way of living for millions that have been given class-action status can be Texas Chainsaw Massacre-levels of terrifying.
As the Moehrl and Sitzer/Burnett cases continue to be a hot topic of discussion in the industry, let’s get back to doing what successful people always do: Focusing energy on only the things we can control. Here are a few tips to put you back in control and ease your mind, because, after all, real estate agents need a good night’s sleep, too.
5 reasons top agents aren’t concerned about the commission lawsuits
1. They know their worth and aren’t afraid to ask for it
The vast majority of consumers, 86 percent, actually, use a professional real estate agent to help them navigate both buying and selling. Top agents know that this is primarily the case because those same consumers find massive value in their expertise and service. Although a lawsuit “might” change how they are compensated, professionals are never worried about whether they will be compensated. So breathe.
Having said that, top agents are also not afraid to pivot if factors outside of their control threaten their livelihood. We’ve seen those who pivot time after time — in the face of industry changes, consumer preferences changing, and even a global pandemic — continue to thrive. This will be no different.
The only reason to worry is if you are unwilling to change or pivot. If you are a mouse and someone moves your cheese, go and find it, or you might starve to death. It’s still your choice.
2. They have the power to walk away
Top agents understand the foundation of their success and their business, and, not to burst anyone’s bubble, but it isn’t commission. It’s client acquisition and conversion. It’s finding buyers and sellers. Period.
By staying focused on lead generating and finding buyers and sellers in their spheres of influence and beyond, top agents are always filling their pipeline, which leads to always having an abundance of clients to work with. This is the secret to walking away from those who don’t value your service or time.
Real estate agents work with clients they can’t stand because they don’t have enough clients. This is true for clients not willing to compensate you for the value you bring. When you have a full pipeline, walking away from them will be easy. Let someone else work for free.
3. They’ve never allowed someone to negotiate commission on their behalf
List to last. We’ve all heard this statement in real estate. It might be truer now than ever, considering the claims and intentions of these lawsuits. The truth is that listing agents have been negotiating their commission and commission for the buyer’s agent for a long time.
I don’t know about you, but I want full control over what I want to work for in this business. I certainly don’t want to leave it up to another agent. Why would they care as much about how much I’m paid as I would? They don’t.
Neither do many sellers. The buyer agent doesn’t work for them. It’s partly why homesellers offering less commission on the buy side than what they are willing to pay the listing agent is commonplace in many markets.
If you want to be able to decide what you get paid and have no worries around the current litigation threatening that, start listing homes. “But Chase, I love working with buyers.” I get it. If you also love being paid for what you do, learn to love working with sellers. You’ll regain control and make more dollars per hour, too. Win-win.
4. They know exactly what to do and say to get paid what they are worth
They are polished and practiced in handling commission questions and objections. They have proven talk tracks, objection handlers and powerful questions to ask back. It’s not only experience; although she is the mother of skill, it’s also a commitment to great training and practice.
Top agents are learning-based. They take the time to be well-trained and take the time to practice those skills through role play with peers, with coaches and leaders, and even in preparation for appointments.
The game always changes. These lawsuits have some wondering if it will change again in a big way. When it does, top agents go back to “school” and learn the new skills they need to add onto their strong fundamentals. Stay learning-based or risk flunking out of the business.
5. They provide a service that both buyer and seller are excited to pay for
Top agents understand that clients want an amazing experience. They want a full-service broker who makes all aspects of the process easier and more enjoyable. Top agents are true brokers of every part of the buying and selling journey.
Fortunately for them, many agents don’t understand this or are unwilling to create this experience. They either act transactionally or have poor communication during the process. Another leg up for top agents and another reason asking to be paid what they are worth is easier than you think.
Don’t just put the client’s needs first (yes, do that); go the extra mile and put their entire experience first. You’ll do more business, and they will be happy to pay for that level of service, regardless of how they pay you.
Focus on what you can control, give that maximum effort, provide maximum value and the commission dollars will always find you, regardless of how they find you. I don’t believe any lawsuit can disrupt that law of free enterprise in the long run.
Chase Williams is the co-founder of NW Wealthbuilders and growth leader for the Keller Williams Northwest Region. Connect with him on Facebook or LinkedIn.