David vs. Goliath.

That, sometimes, is what comes to mind when people hear that a “real estate agent” has approached a FSBO (For Sale By Owner). The perception that it’s a battle against wills. From the start, it’s known that the agent is there, at the homeowner’s house, to sell the homeowner, while the homeowner must hold his ground, to prove a real estate agent isn’t need… Then, occasionally, it’s no battle at all.

Rather, more of a one-sided slaughter.

Let me tell you a story, then I’ll make my point.

It comes from a conversation I heard the other day in a real estate FB group. The agent, it was a conversation he’d had with a homeowner attempting to sell his home. In his owner words, here’s how the story went:

The agent said, “I was talking to a FSBO today when I asked the homeowner about how she went about pricing her home.” She said, referring to the homeowner, “I invited 3 real estate agents to my house and they did a Comparative Marketing Analysis (CMA).”

The agent responded, “Interesting! And you used their recommended price?” The homeowner, “Yes.”

The agent followed up, “I’m just curious, how did you invite them to your house?” What he really meant was, “What criteria did you use, to select those three agents that you invited to your house, to ask for the recommended price?”

The homeowner said, “I called them and I asked if they can prepare a CMA for me? And they did, in fact, they came very fast because all agents are desperate to get listings. Not only that,” the homeowner said, “but I also asked them to leave me a copy of their marketing plan, which I am also using now.”

The homeowner continued, “I hired a professional photographer for $200 and put it on the MLS for $200. And I do open houses for myself.”

The agent responds, “Wow, you sound like you know what you’re doing. What’s your job?” The homeowner responds, “I am a tax consultant.”

The agent says, “Excellent, I did have a lot of issues with my last accountant. I need a new one. When can I stop by for a FREE consultation?”

The homeowner said, “We don’t offer free consultations, you have to pay.” Dumbfounded the agents says, “So why do you get everything from these agents for free and you’re not willing to do the same?”

The homeowner responds with this frank but obvious statement, “You guys sell yourself cheap.” At this point, both upset and frustrated, the agent finally hangs up. And as he vented his frustration to the other agents in that FB group, here’s what he stated:

“It’s a public perception about real estate agents that [they are] desperate to get business.” Then continued, “She [talking about the FSBO] met with three agents and not one of them was strong enough [in their sales skills] to pre-qualify her before the appointment or aggressively close her for a signature.”

I ask, folks, might that be the very problem? Maybe people don’t want to be “sold.” Maybe people don’t want to be “pre-qualified.” Maybe people don’t want to be “aggressively closed.”

Maybe, if real estate agents weren’t trained to behave as annoying salespeople—commission-driven vultures—then perhaps the public perception would be different.

As a real estate professional myself, I am well-qualified to speak to the Negative Reputation of my industry. Many agents like to pretend it doesn’t exist. But it does. I know it does. And you know too, that it does.

The value proposition that most agents deliver, sadly, is precisely what that FSBO enunciated, after having requested the marketing plans of the 3 agents. “I hired a professional photographer for $200 and put it on the MLS for $200. And I do open houses for myself.” So why bother hiring an agent that demands an over-priced (by comparison to delivered value) commission fee?
And as far as the recommended price, speaking to how she arrived at it. “I invited 3 real estate agents to my house and they did a Comparative Marketing Analysis (CMA).” We don’t do them, that’s not how we operate. But pretty much any agent will hop when a homeowner says hop, and deliver that recommendation.

Again, I think it’s sad.

Not because the homeowner is taking advantage of the real estate agent. That is, honestly, the least of my worries. If you want to be treated as a professional and compensated as a professional. Then, by God, you shouldn’t sell yourself (or your knowledge) cheap.

That FSBO was a 100% correct.

Occasionally, it doesn’t happen often, but occasionally a homeowner will ask if I want to interview for the position of being their agent. I kindly respond. “No thank you. I don’t do interviews. But let me do you a favor. I’ll send you a copy of my book. Read it. Then, as you interview those other agents, compare them, their marketing plan, etc. against the fundamental mistakes that I outline in my book. If any of them violate those fundamental mistakes, to the point you don’t feel comfortable moving forward with them – then give me a call, and we can look into the possibility of executing our documented approach on your behalf, to maximize profit.”

Never forget, in business and in life, how you convey yourself dictates how you’re treated.