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Being Unattached to the Outcome

Dave Robison

By Dave Robison

Ever had a buyer working with more than one agent? Ever had a seller who you spent a ton of time with, gave them your advice, and then they used a discounted service? Ever had a buyer who kept changing their mind or made offers on a lot of properties?

I knew an agent who had a hard time with one of these scenarios. “Tina” broke down crying one day, saying, “How am I going to pay my bills now that this closing fell through?  I’ve worked so hard this past month and now the buyer is backing out? How can they do this?” Many agents have been there. (This is a real story, however, and I changed the name above.) I had to explain a secret to Tina, on getting deals done.

The secret to success is not being emotionally affected or attached to the outcome of the transaction. Whether it fails or closes, you can’t be attached to the outcome you want. It’s a Nordstrom Way Secret.

The scenario:

Eons ago, I had a buyer who planned to purchase a multimillion-dollar property. I remember spending hours on end, educating and reassuring this person about the home buying process, in anticipation for what was about to be their biggest purchase ever. During the process, the buyer was concerned with the inspection.  The items did not seem of major importance to me, however, they caused stress for the buyer.

The buyer asked the famous question: “What should I do?” This is the point where many REALTORS® might say something like, “It’s a great time to buy,” or, “I would do it,” etc.  A secret to being unattached to the outcome is that you tell yourself: “It’s okay if they don’t buy the home. I still can pay my bills. There will be other buyers.”  Even if you feel these statements aren’t true, you are going to have to say this to yourself anyway. There are many buyers I meet who will tell me they felt like their previous agent just wanted them to buy something and get a deal done.  Those buyers left their agent to look for someone who would help them, rather than an agent who just wants a deal.

The right approach:

Give options and go over “the darkness of the night, and the light of the day.”   I had to ask the buyer, “What is the worst case scenario? What is the best case scenario?”  The buyer started to explain the worst case scenario.  I asked the buyer if the worst case scenario was okay to live with, or if they would be upset with the situation?  I told them if they were upset with the situation, then we’d have to move on to the next option and cancel the deal.   The buyer declared afterward that they were good with the worst case scenario.

Years after the transaction, the buyer’s testimonial to other clients is what I care about more than making the deal. When you are unattached to the outcome of the transaction, and more attached to helping your client make the right decisions for them, you end up having a happier career… and you win more clients!

Dave Robison, known as “Utah Dave,” is a broker/owner of Robison & Company Real Estate.

Comments
  1. This is a great piece of advice! I remember starting out needing that pay check and always getting beat up by the other agent at the negotiating table. Now I regularly stop my clients from over paying for a property and they really appreciate it and always come back to me when they find something they finally like.

    This is what makes or breaks your reputation. You really need to put your clients interest above yours at all times.

    Well Said!

  2. Dr. Ken Edwards

    I taught real estate licensing at an Oregon community college for over ten years. I told my students that we role played in which I was their supervising broker and the name of our company was “Golden Rule Real Esate.” No theological implications. Just good business. For example, you are working with a potential home buyer and in showing them a home you wonder whether or not you should disclose a particular fact about the home. My guidance: “Disclose unto others as you would have them disclose unto you.”

  3. I think I like UtahDave. He’s spot on. Love the worst case scenario. Guess I know who to refer my clients too when they move up to Utah.

  4. Currently I am working with a client on the purchase of income property. Throughout this transaction there have been some really challenging events that have occurred. My client called me and said “Tara I just don’t know about this deal, I am not feeling comfortable and I know you are worried about the commission, but don’t worry there will be another.” It doesn’t necessarily shock me that she said this, but it did a little. However, it clearly speaks to the experiences that she has had with other agents in the past. I assured her that of course I need to earn a living, but that is not dependent on this one transaction and that I wanted her to be comfortable with the purchase. I feel that at that point, she knew that she could trust me and that I had her best interest at heart. We are still moving forward with this transaction and taking one day at a time. I have just recently gotten an email from my client saying that she is impressed by my integrity and that we will work together again in the future. Nobody said this business would be easy or that you would be able to pay your bills on time, lol!

  5. Great article Dave! It is always important to tell the truth and counsel clients to make a decision that is right for them. Your reputation and character will create success in your business and personal relationships. Continued success!

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