Fiddling to get the key out of the lockbox and struggling to find the ‘one key’ that opens the deadbolt on the front door.  That’s a picture of a real estate agent if I’ve ever seen one.

Article By:  Neil O’Donnell

Fiddling to get the key out of the lockbox and struggling to find the ‘one key’ that opens the deadbolt on the front door.  That’s a picture of a real estate agent if I’ve ever seen one.  Meanwhile, your clients stand nervously behind you wondering what is behind the front door.  Is it going to be another ‘dud’ like the 6 other homes we just saw?  Or is it going to be ‘the one?’

The anticipation of finding a home for your family is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences that you will every encounter.

If you have ever bought a home you know EXACTLY what I am talking about.

You start looking online at location, neighbourhood, size of the yard, how close to the schools (or whatever you really want) and all of that is a great way to start a search.  But there is no substitute for walking through the front door.  

First impressions are everything.

The smell.  The visual appeal.  Your senses are at a heightened state, filled with the ‘unknown,’ and there is the even bigger unknown that comes from the anticipation of finding a new home.

Within the first 10 seconds buyers get an overwhelming emotional ‘feeling.’’ Sometimes it just feels right, like sitting by a warm fire, sometimes it’s terrible.  Either way, they will talk themselves into or out of the home based on their first impression.  Based on those ever important first 10 seconds.

This is why we focus so much on our documented approach.  It’s designed to make those first 10 seconds what they need to be make that experience as best as it can be.  If you do that right you don’t need to sell/push people on homes, because they know almost immediately.  

Yes, we can point out the pros and cons of the house. The age of the appliances, the quality of the HVAC system or whether there is enough space for their California King bed or their wraparound couch. We can answer those functional questions, but one thing we can’t help them with: their EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT. It’s either there or it isn’t.  

Believe it or not, that’s why real estate is such a TOUGH business to succeed in. It is the only business I know where you have to 50% psychologist, 50% business owner, 50% technical expert and 50% marketer.  

Yeah, Yeah.. I know that does not add up to 100%. But our successful real estate agents don’t work 40 hours a week, they work 80-100 hours a week. (hahaha)  Its hard work that most agents just don’t want to do (or they don’t know how).  Whatever the reason, the just don’t do it.

Let’s face it, no one grows up and says, I want to work 100 hours a week and ‘sell homes.’


Remember when they use to have Career Day in Elementary School? When all the kids say what they want to do when they grow up? You might have heard ‘Teacher,’ ‘Fireman,’ ‘Doctor,’ ‘Engineer,’ ‘Entrepreneur,’ or ‘Nurse.’

Remember what you didn’t hear? ‘Realtor.’ Chances are you didn’t hear anyone say I want to ‘sell homes.’

And don’t get me wrong, it’s not because it’s not a great profession, it is. It just takes a LOT more than you see most agents doing.    might think to succeed in the long run. You see, when you’re a kid, you want to do something you know you will do well at. And who could blame them?

And at Three Pillars, we’ve been helping clients enough to know that a lot of those kids from Career Day have what it takes to be a great in real estate if they wanted to. It just might not be what you expect…

Believe it or not, it’s not the Engineer or Entrepreneur who’s going to automatically thrive in this business. Sure, they have an analytical mind. They’re smart. They’re motivated. But if you think for one minute that’s enough to beat out stiff competition and help clients snag their dream home, then well….

…you’ve got another thing coming.

Why do we commit ourselves to working 80-100 hour work weeks? Why do spend hours at night, after long days of touring homes, to tweak contracts and negotiate favorable closings for our clients?

It’s not because we’re so smart (haha). Although, there is quite a bit of strategy involved of winning negotiations and getting your clients offer accepted.

Nope, it’s because we care. It’s because one of the true joys we get out of those long hours and nights of playing part Perry Mason and part Mark Cuban is the satisfaction we see on our clients’ faces. It’s the joy we see when we tell them the good news: ‘Your home is SOLD!’ or ‘Your offer has been accepted. You bought a HOUSE!’

This is especially true in today’s market, where entry level and modestly priced homes are still seeing bidding wars and getting sold very quickly.  Conversely the larger more expensive homes are taking longer to sell and buyers can get a better deal now than they could 1.5 years ago when the market was crazy, the new mortgage rules were not in and interest rates were at historic lows.

Now, back to Career Day again.

Which kid do you think is going to make the best agent is this situation? The Teacher or the Entrepreneur? I can tell you from experience the answer: IT’S BOTH.

You must have a solid strategy and expert negotiation skills to keep your clients from losing out. And this is ever evolving. The strategy used last year is now outdated as others have ‘borrowed’ our strategy, so we recently came up with a NEW strategy for getting our buyers’ offer accepted.  This is how we protect our clients.

And guess what? It’s worked recently with 4 different clients! We’ve developed a solid strategy of our own for buyers in this market. For modestly priced properties our buyers submit a fair/strong offer but put a tight deadline on the offer.  For higher priced homes we put in an offer on the cusp of fair to find out how motivated the seller is.

Doing this keeps more power in our buyers’ hands. Winning in Negotiations is all about having the upper hand, and in today’s very fluid market we don’t want sellers to have that upper hand, what we are doing is trying to flip that script and get our buyers the upper hand. And it’s helped us get 4 recent buyers their dream home in this shifting market.

However, when it comes to managing expectations or knowing when to fight for your client, being an Entrepreneur will get you nowhere. I repeat, nowhere.  

You have to truly care about your clients first. You’re not going to negotiate anything well if you aren’t motivated to help get them the home they really want. You might think to yourself, ‘They’ll just buy the next one.’

We have learned that for our way of doing real estate the two best professions that provide excellent real estate agents are nursing and teaching. It doesn’t mean other can’t succeed, just that teachers and nurses have an innate sense for helping others and being empathetic to other’s emotions.

Why? Both nurses and teachers know what it’s like to work under pressure. They know how to manage the emotions of their students/patients/colleagues to do what really needs to be done. Some of our best agents have come from these professions. And they are the ones who do best at keeping our clients from getting too excited before that offer agreement is signed. They’ll also be the first ones to pop a bottle of champagne with them, too, at the closing table.

To really succeed in this business, you have to have the emotional strength of a nurse and the analytical mind of an entrepreneur.

You have to be able to handle high-emotion situations and know how to manage the negotiation and business side of things. No one is good at both of these things to start. And I’ll tell you right now, one is a whole lot easier to teach one than the other.

When I’m fiddling with that lockbox or waiting for an offer to be accepted before the deadline, my ‘business sense’ is not going to keep me going. It’s my emotional side (the side that really cares about the client) that pushes me on to do what needs to be done.

At Three Pillars, we’d rather hire the former nurses and teachers and give them the business skills later on. It’s much harder to do the other way around. You either care, or you don’t. You can either emotionally connect with your clients, or you can’t.

Back to ‘winning negotiations,’ we are always thinking ‘outside the box’ to get our clients’ offers accepted. The offer deadline has worked, just ask The Roccas, The Changs, The Otites, and Mr. Raji who recently got their offers accepted on their new homes, we had to go above and beyond to get their offers accepted. But it was all worth it when we saw the look on their faces, the hugs, the tears, the sheer raw emotion when we told them they’re getting their dream home.

Now, that’s a story we should share at next year’s Career Day.  Maybe we’ll have a lot more kids raising their hands to sell houses. What do you think?

Any thoughts or questions?  Share them with me at [email protected]

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