20 Comments
Jun 5Liked by Rob Hahn

I am a seasoned agent and I am in advisory role most of the time as my reputation takes care of the need to sell myself. My first priority in attending a listing appointment is to determine if we want to work together, not to get the listing. I want to size up the client and determine if I think we are a good fit. If the client is not desirable, I know more like them will invade my business. So discernment is my first priority. Then I work to acquire the listing. I realize the majority of agents don’t have the benefit of lots of experience and the luxury of choosing who they work with. I remember those early years. Become an advisor and your business will succeed. You have to be able to tell the client the truth. Just read a true quote, not sure who said it “When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.

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Wouldn't it be nice if the industry were structured in such a way that all agents have the option that you do? #realgoals

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I am in the same boat as you. Advisor 95% of the time. It is very empowering to walk away from certain opportunities that I’ve evaluated will be more problematic than it’s worth. I wish newer agents felt that freedom so they were focused on helping others instead of themselves. The industry would be in a completely different place.

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Jun 4Liked by Rob Hahn

I have watched our industry move heavily toward teams from individual agents since I started in 2010. You hit the reason on the nose. The team model allows for groups to be built around the specific strengths, rather than one agent having to be a jack of all trades. A lead agent can go out and generate new business, then plug their clients into their system, without having to worry about the liability, compliance, accounting, overhead, etc. that you'd need if you started your own firm.

The client gets a consistent experience and the business can scale in a way that doesn't obliterate any semblance of work-life balance for the agent.

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Jun 4Liked by Rob Hahn

This the best explanation of THE skill required for agents to require. The biggest issue is the majority of agents lack the experience to be advisors.

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One wonders how it is that we then tolerate them to go and "advise" a young family on the most expensive purchase of their lives, which will put them into debt for thirty years....

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Jun 16Liked by Rob Hahn

Why are the barriers to entry so low? I started 19 years ago having a b2b sales and purchasing 2 homes background. I am stunned on a daily basis by the lack of sophistication of agents NO MATTER THE PRICE POINT. This is a BFD and I can’t help but feel that the industry changes are bypassing the brokers and landing on the shoulders of mostly inexperienced agents. It’s a recipe for disaster.

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One general note I'd like to make, because it's been brought up over and over again.

I deny that one has any fiduciary duty to a prospect. You can only have fiduciary duty to a client.

I was addressing the specific situation, which always comes up, where the prospect hasn't signed any papers yet. You do not owe any duty to that prospect. But that doesn't mean you should be in hard sales mode 100% of the time. You want to switch from sales mode to advisor mode (to teacher mode, which was brought up) until the client-agent relationship is formalized... and at THAT point, you now have fiduciary duty.

If you are a REALTOR, you also owe a duty to the public as part of your Code of Ethics. That the current leadership of NAR is inept or that the Code isn't taken seriously, is no reason to deny that it exists, that it is wonderful, and that you do owe a duty to the public.

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I agree with your premise that a “consultative” approach rubs up against a harder sell. Giving clients a perceived option with non-binding choices, would seem to foster a relationship over getting a deal done.

When I held a license I took representing the fiduciary interests of my clients very seriously. All agents should understand that is their first priority.

Real estate is heavily regulated for a reason; the barrier to entry is typically low, and there are probably as many crooked landlords as there are poorly equipped agents. I think one of the major problems in real estate is that agents are bound by the industry standard 100% commission model. This encourages all sorts of bad habits. Talk about antitrust!

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Spot on, Rob. I've been often baffled/frustrated by the ignorance surrounding fiduciary duty. It's not just a switch in roles, but also a switch in *interest*. We have ours quite necessarily foremost as we set out on a day or career, but that has to completly switch to our (even potential) client's interest(s) smoothly and very fast.

While I'm agreeing and venting: Agent chatter and shop talk frequently confuses Seller interests and Buyer interests. The two often vary sharply. We'd all do well to keep laser-focused on the differences AND be ready at all times to speak clearly to our clients about both. Great thread!

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There are four roles of the Realtor, not two. The Realtor also is a Marketer (of themselves and the property) and Teacher.

Marketing (themselves) is rather easy to explain. It's everything done *before* the listing presentation (at the listing presentation it's almost entirely selling; even when 'advising' it's still SELLING during the listing presentation).

Marketing a property doesn't need an explanation.

Teacher is not the same as Advisor. In your mold example, yes, the agent was in the role of Advisor. If she had told you about the risks of mold, the history of mold and use cases where a home seller and/or agent were sued for not disclosing known mold, then she would have been a Teacher.

Once the listing is taken, there doesn't need to be a switch. You're in an advisor/teacher role. What else is there to sell. It's not the house. The house will sell itself based on price, condition and location. When an offer is presented the listing agent TEACHES the contents/requirements/etc. in the contract and then switches to ADVISOR when it comes to negotiating the contract.

(shhhh....here's a secret. I received a message from Mr. Listing Envy. He doesn't seem to like you.)

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I guess I don't care if Mr. Listing Envy likes me or doesn't; I just want him to do better for his customers (agents who pay for his coaching).

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This more fine-grained but well put. Thanks!

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I am a photograher for real estate and inside over 1000 homes a year. Being the proverbial fly on the wall, I hear soooooooo many things that are just w.r.o.n.g. Agents should be advising then they are teaching, teaching when they should be advising, selling when they should be.....you get the idea.

At the end of the day, my general rule is, "Is anything that I'm saying now could be used against me if the seller isn't happy".

Don't tell a seller what to do....always advise and teach. If a seller can come back in court and state, "My agent told me to do it this way" then I've failed.

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Fantastic! I resonate with everything you say all the time. It is all about guiding. To meet the negotiations come in when we are going under contract. Otherwise it is all about conversations and making decisions together. Thank you!

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Excellent Rob! Over a 30 year career as a manager/trainer/coach I’ve taught the same concepts.

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Right on❤️

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Seasoned agents unconsciously advise their clients, we have fiduciary duty. Brokers train agents to bring in checks, and routinely demand that all agents bring in a minimum %. Not legal, but almost every broker I ever worked with demands a minimum. What amazes me that in a room full of attorneys, no on acknowledges that the buyer pays both commissions that are baked into the price. There is no option for the buyer to deduct the selling agent commission from the price. The real price of the house is minus agent commissions, admin fees, closing costs, title charges. The DOJ settled with NAR over admin fees, which are junk fees. Then they revoked the settlement, so what might happen next? Realtors Agency disclosure states that we practice contract law and owe fiduciary duties: Loyalty (client interest always first), Obedience (they make all decisions), Disclosure (all material facts disclosed), Accounting (everything in b/w), Reasonable care.

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I realized early on that you're not selling homes but instead "selling" the offer in hand for your listing/the property your buyer is interested in - as long as it is in your clients' best interests. Put another way, we aren't selling/advising anything until we are able to MANAGE emotion/hopes/fears to the point that our client can make an informed decision with the advice we've given them.

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Great article. I just saw my first postcard offering to sell my home for only 2.5% because I won't have to pay the buyer's agent.

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