Probably one of the most frustrating things a Realtor has to deal with is losing a listing to a relative. The farther removed the more frustrating it gets. This week, at our Wednesday Mastermind session an agent confessed that this had just happened to her. She had spent weeks with the potential sellers, offering advice, helping them make final preparations for listing. Lots of in-depth conversations about the market and strategies. She got a sense that the sellers really loved her. She met them after selling a unit in the same building and achieved the highest price level per square foot. She had sold other units in the building too. She was not a rookie. So on the eve of preparing the listing and doing final adjustments to the CMA to fine tune the listing price, the owners took a sharp left turn. She received an email stating that their aunt, in London, was going to recommend them an agent in Toronto. (Insert swear word here). She responded with kind words and good luck wishes. That was not what she really wanted to say though. This was bad news to bring to a Mastermind meeting but it got us all thinking about strategy in the hopes that we could save the listing. Remember those times when you walked away from an argument and thought, Oh, if I could go back in time I would have said THIS? Well now was the time to come up with the perfect counter attack…and we had lots of brains working the case. This is what we came up with;
“Dear Mr. and Mrs. Seller. Upon reflection I hope that, before it is too late, you discuss with your aunt the qualifications of the person she is going to recommend. I have sold X number of units in the building including the most recent one in which I negotiated the highest price per square foot for the owners. I am very familiar with the building and believe that I am in the best position to maximize your profit. Please ask your aunt how many suites her recommendation has sold as this will be critical information. I am happy to work in conjunction with your aunt and provide her with bi-weekly updates and showing feedback if that would make any difference”.
I loved the bit at the end because it hints at the fact that the aunt is only in it for the referral while our agent is making it about quality of service. In the end however, despite a noble effort, the aunt won out by claiming that her referred agent had more experience with “new families”. I’m not sure what that even means. Simply put, it’s hard to trump the family relationship. A similar thing happened to me many years ago, in a different market. After 90 days on the market the sellers eventually came back to me and my neighbourhood expertise and I got the job done. The fact remains that with as many Realtors as there are in the city, it might be worth having a discussion about family agents early on in the conversation.
mark mclean is the Broker/Manager at the Bosley Real Estate Queen St W office and President of the Toronto Real Estate Board. The opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of TREB or Bosley RE.