This is a weird brag for a salesperson.
For the third time in five months I talked a seller out of selling.
It's not to be smug, but it is to point out a difference and a problem that is unfortunately part of any sales profession. It's a problem I can avoid.
The problem is conflict of interest. My difference is that I'm not attached to outcome.
Most salespeople are commission focused and when you're commission focused, that's a conflict of interest. No action on the part of the prospect equals no money. I do take the rule of working only with ready, willing and able prospects, especially as buyers, but my tag on that is to first qualify this question: are you really ready, willing and able?
I hate calling it the Platinum Rule, especially because there is such a degree of relativity to it, but the statement "do unto others as they would have you do unto them" is an uncommon practice and one I hope to continue. My clients work at a major employer in Colorado Springs and friends of theirs had used an agent who commonly gave rebates. My clients had worked with me before and it had gone well but they were wondering what I could still do on my commission out of reaction to the "deal" that their friends received. There are three ways of qualifying a deal: the cash someone got back, the "actual" savings a person reaped (did the sell at a pittance or buy too high?) and the third way: what else did the "deal" cost them? We had been in conversation and looked at some properties for a few months and today was a decision day: do it or don't. We had lunch, and we spent maybe three minutes on numbers. We spent the rest of the time on the emotional and psychological ramifications of selling in a slow-to-sell, risk-filled marketplace for two people who support and keep afloat IT systems for someone whose slogan used to be "when it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight." There is being a member of a company and then there is living a this company. Both of them are frequently on-call overnight. They also have two small boys.
Then there is "the deal": here are two people with $100K in equity wanting to sell one mid $400K's property and buy another one worth $50K more. The $50K more happens to be on sale for about $20K off of what it's really worth. The catch: to buy the one on sale, you have to build. That takes seven months. That means at least one, probably two moves. That means selling based on the miserable last four months of data and possible future price declines. That means corralling the life out of two small boys and keeping the house in total mint condition.
It's going to be a slower year and the chance to do almost $900K in business is sitting there. I asked them what kind of stress would five days of no showing activity do to them, and that one example was all the needed to realize: we're not the want-to-sell sellers that have power in this market. Technically, they could do it. They have the income, they certainly have the equity, and it could be done. But they have next to no free time, they would have great difficulty just keeping the house perfect which it has to be in this market. There is almost no way to go door to door on a great buy in this market because there isn't a lot of sitting inventory... the really good buys are if you take seven months and build (which really flies in the face of conventional wisdom).
My favorite part was that they came to their own conclusion which was not a "talk ourselves out of this" idea. They are moving. But in a year. The strategy then changed, based on their own needs and imagination, to paying down a bit more of the house and allowing their home to rebound just a skosh in value. Even better, seeing a simple demand up-turn in the market gives them the peace that they need that they'll be able to sell with confidence. Because it takes confidence in this market. There has to be a swagger that you're the best buy and the best condition. If it's not there... you're probably not. One year from now the kids are both in school, the dollars are a little readier, the "good deal" is $30K more expensive... but there are ways of planning for it to afford it between now and then.
My point in writing all of this is that I have an inventory that is pretty stable: it's not listings, it's relationships. I have a ton of people that will do business with me when they're ready. I'll council and walk with them until their ready.