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How to Handle "Will you reduce your commission?"

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Virtually everyone has a family member - that “uncle” - who says you should never pay a full commission when selling a home.


 To that end, even after the absolute best of listing presentations, you can still get that dreaded question: “Will you reduce your commission?”.



Inside Sales Agent ( ISA ) , More Real Estate Sellers

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Now, while a simple “No”, will sometimes do the trick, it a may require some additional elegance, and eloquence, on your part to handle this question, which sometimes shows up as an objection. 


The good news is that if you handle it properly, you can secure the listing and still get rewarded handsomely at the same time.


Now, before we dive into 5 ways to handle “Will you reduce your commission?”, there are two things you need to understand:


1. A question is not an objection and an objection is not a question. Being a good listener is an important trait for a great salesperson. Unfortunately, when we handle objections like questions and vice versa, we mess things up. When someone asks: “Will you reduce your commission?”, they’re asking if you’re open to doing it, not telling you they won’t pay your fee. 


This is a key distinction to make and understanding it can save you a ton of headaches, a lot of embarrassment and most importantly, keep you from blowing up a perfectly good opportunity to get a listing for yourself.


Sometimes, simply answering the question directly will net you the exact result you seek.


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2. Discussing commission over the phone is different than face to face. Commission amounts aren’t just numbers to sellers, they’re dollars sellers won’t have the service of because they’re paying them to you to provide them a service.


And since they’re going towards the cost of a service, that cost needs to be justified - in person - by you and your listing presentation. Telling someone what your fee is over the phone is akin to telling someone you’ve never met that you love them. It just doesn’t register because there’s nothing to justify it for them.


If someone asks what your fee is over the phone and if you’ll reduce it, the answer is simple: “I’m open to discussing it with you”. Notice I didn’t say that I would drop my fee, I simply stated that I would be open to talking about it.


This leaves the door open for you to have an open discourse about your fee (which you’re not likely to reduce) while giving you a chance to still get in the door to add mad value and justify your fee.


Remember, your fee is indicative of the services you bring to the table in helping someone get their home sold. Until they see what you do, how you do it and how it affects them...your fee is meaningless to them.


Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s hit the five ways to handle “Will you reduce your commission?”:


3. “Thank you for asking. Unfortunately, I’m unable to reduce my fee”: If you can swing the direct approach, it’s a good one.

Many people are asking because:


  • Someone told them to (there’s that uncle again)
  • They read online that you should always ask
  • They doing it as a defense mechanism
  • They’re taking a flier hoping you’ll crumble and say yes

Essentially, they’re not asking because they expect or believe you’re going to lower your fee. They’re “throwing it out there”, so to speak, to see what kind of answer they’ll get.


By answering firmly, with confidence, you can put the kibosh on any additional commission cutting conversation going forward.


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4. “Great question. May I ask why you’re asking that question?”: Assumptions are never a good thing. So, if the direct approach doesn’t get it done, check in to find out why they’re asking.


They might might be tight on funds and can’t afford to do everything they need to do and pay your fee, too.


They might think they need more to sell their home and buy another home. Often times, people overestimate how much money they’ll need to get situated into a home. A lot of homebuyers think you still need 20% of the purchase price of a home for a downpayment.


They may legitimately want to pay a reduced fee and object to paying the price you’re seeking to get their home sold.


If this is a case, you’ll need to treat it like an objection and use the following objection handling strategy:


  • Let them get it out: Nobody likes to get interrupted. Nobody likes it when they say something and the other person doesn’t listen. If your seller prospect has an objection, let them get it out. Very important that they feel they are being heard. Plus, you want to make sure you understand the exact objection so you handle properly. That’s why you’ll then…


  • Repeat the objection: Be sure you understand what the issue is. Your goal is to handle this bad boy once and knock it out of the park: :So what I’m hearing is that you don’t want to pay the fee I’m asking, is that correct?”


  • Isolate the objection: You want to find out if this is the only objection or if there are other objections as well. If there are more, then handle them individually. Trying to tie them altogether will ultimately be ineffective: “Other than the commission, are you okay with everything else that we do to get your home sold? [Listen] Great, so if we can resolve this matter, then you’re okay with letting us help you get your home sold?”. Saying that should help you isolate the objection and ferret out any other objections, if there are any at all.


  • Cushion the objection: There’s tremendous power in acknowledging that your prospect has a concern. It shows you’re listening and it’s a sign of respect that you legitimize their feelings about an issue they have: “Mr. Seller, I appreciate you sharing your concern with me. It’s reasonable to feel that way about paying my fee as it’s a large number. Other sellers with whom I’ve spoken have felt the same way. After seeing how much value they’re getting in hiring me, this is what they’ve found.”


  • Handle the objection: At this point, it’s time to deal with the objection based upon the reason they gave you. Don’t just throw a canned line at them. Attach your handling of the objection to the real issue for them. If they say another agent will do it for less, show them how cutting commission can cost them thousands in the end due to poor marketing, poor negotiation skills and lack of resources. Take the time to handle the commission properly so you get great results.


  • Close the objection: You’ve made it this far, it’s time to wrap it up: “Based upon what I’ve shared with you, can you see how my fee is reasonable based upon everything we’re going to do to ensure you get top dollar for your home?”. Whatever you do, just don’t leave it hanging. You want to make sure the objection handled properly and no longer an impediment to moving forward with the listing.


It’s pretty much a given that you’re going to get questions and objections about your commission when you’re a real estate agent.



The important thing to remember is that you need to first identify what the seller is throwing at you and then proceed to handle it properly.


Don’t run from it.


Rather, embrace what comes your way and handle it like a seasoned pro. The result will be more listings and better commission checks.


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