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As agents try and navigate ongoing changes to the industry — buyer-broker agreements, tough discussions about commissions and other brand new challenges — they may continue to feel uncertain treading in new waters.

It may not be clear exactly what the impact will be on the industry six months or one year from now, but that doesn’t mean agents should panic, coaches told Inman. The key to benefitting from the moment is to explore new ways of showcasing value, coaches overwhelmingly said.

Fortunately, there are several ways in which agents can prove just how much they’re worth — and why anyone would want to sign a buyer-broker agreement and pay their commission.

Five real estate coaches shared with Inman some of the ways agents can strut their stuff in order to benefit from industry changes, rather than cower in the face of them.

Use Dr. Lee’s TAP method

Lee Davenport

Dr. Lee Davenport of Learn with Dr. Lee told Inman she recommends that agents use her tried and true “TAP” method to compile a binder full of all the tasks they will complete for their buyer client in the process of helping them buy a home. (The same can be done to show value to sellers.)

“T” stands for “task.” Agents can make a list of each activity they do for their clients, with supporting documentation.

“A” stands for “agenda.” Next to each task, agents should then specify how long it takes to complete each of those tasks and total up how much time is spent doing them.

“P” stands for “price.” Next to each task, also list the going rate for how much it costs to complete that task, and then add up all those costs.

Dr. Lee said top agents will easily come up with over 100 tasks to fill the binder.

“One task might be to find out what the legal description is,” Dr. Lee said. “Because without the legal description, you might not be buying the property you’re thinking of. To get the legal description, you would likely have to go to an attorney or some type of settlement office, and they charge hourly rates — for an attorney, it can be $200 to $600.

“We bring more than what HGTV will show in a 22-minute segment,” she added.

The binder can serve other purposes than just showing value, Dr. Lee noted. For all agents, it can be a helpful organizational tool, and for new agents, it can help bolster their confidence and help them believe they truly are worth their commission.

Provide guarantees

Tim Harris

One of the things clients can become most frustrated with agents over is their lack of communication, Tim Harris of Tim & Julie Harris Real Estate Coaching told Inman. Agents who show they’re willing to go the extra mile by establishing a communications guarantee with their client show one more way in which they’re worth their commission.

Establish guidelines for when, how frequently, and in what format (text, call, email) the client wants to be communicated with; formally write up the agreement; and stick to it.

Agents can also add a risk reversal offer into the deal, if at the end of the transaction, for whatever reason, the client is not satisfied with their home purchase, Harris said.

“If you buy your house with me as a buyer’s agent, if you’re not satisfied with the house, I will sell it for you for free within the first six to 12 months,” Harris suggested. “We’d basically not charge a listing commission.” (Individual agents should check with their broker first before offering this deal.)

Amp up your off-market game

Ashley Harwood

Even though most buyers today may think they can easily find their new home themselves through any number of listing portals, savvy agents know there are a lot of other places where listings can be found.

This is another place where smart agents can show their value.

“Agents will need a rock-solid buyer consultation that they deliver with confidence, to be experts in every step of the buying process (and be able to communicate that expertise quickly to their prospects), and to level up their game when it comes to finding off-market properties for their buyers,” Ashley Harwood of Move Over Extroverts told Inman.

“This is an amazing opportunity for agents to set themselves apart from the competition,” she added. “Those who choose not to improve their skills likely won’t last much longer.”

Harris elaborated on showing buyers the steps behind tapping into off-market opportunities, by explaining how he might clue buyers in.

“Let’s say the buyers want to live in a resale subdivision, and there’s a neighboring new construction subdivision that’s nearby that a lot of people from that existing subdivision are moving up to,” Harris said. “You’re going to want to explain to them that one of the things you’re going to do is go to those new construction reps and you’re going to ask them who are the folks from the neighborhood that are going to have to sell their homes in order to buy a new home — and those might become listing leads for you.”

Become more visible

Quiana Watson

Homebuyers are less likely to feel connected to their agent if they tend to interact more via virtual meetings on Zoom or by phone, Quiana Watson of Agent Tools for Success suggested. She told Inman that in order to truly showcase their value to their buyer clients, agents need to spend time with them in person.

“I feel like when the pandemic happened, a lot of us got very comfortable with Zoom meetings,” Watson said, “not having to meet our clients in-person, upfront … and not giving them that ultimate experience.”

Watson said agents should have formal buyer consultations with clients to show what they’re worth and, on top of that, refresh their marketing collateral. But at the same time, be sure to serve primarily as a consultant, not a salesperson.

“That means you are consulting with them, you’re taking your time, you’re explaining the processes, you’re making sure concerns are addressed.”

Showcase adaptability

Ken Goodfellow

The point at which agents can keep their heads buried in the sand to industry changes has long passed.

Show clients your value by adopting an adaptable mindset, keeping your clients in the loop to changes in the market and the industry, and generally adjusting your business model so that it’s also adaptable to change, Ken Goodfellow of Coach Ken Goodfellow Coaching and Consulting told Inman.

“You’ve got to be open to the change,” Goodfellow said. “It’s going to happen.”

As the lawsuits have progressed through the court system, many agents Goodfellow has encountered have focused on trying to get around the industry changes, he said. But the reality is that new buyer-broker agreement and MLS policy changes go into effect as of August 17, and there’s no getting around it.

“The reality is you’ve got to learn to work within it,” Goodfellow continued. “And that’s why a good, strong mindset is important.”

Make sure buyers understand what they’re getting when they sign a buyer-broker agreement too, Goodfellow added. And show them you’re ready to roll with the punches as these new changes go into effect and the industry continues to shift.

“Your business model has to be adaptable to the change that’s going to happen,” Goodfellow said. “Because nobody really knows 100 percent what’s going to happen. I’ve been in this business a long time — I believe that people are going to get used to it and carry on. The people that are strong and do the things that they need to are going to be fine. Other people may have a hard time surviving.”

Email Lillian Dickerson





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