The One I Want: For Buyers, Loyalty and Listings Can Be Deciding Factors For Whether Your Broker Calls You First
Jotham Sederstrom Aug. 8, 2012, 10 a.m.
Truly great brokers can be likened to sculptors. As a sculptor takes a lump of clay and sees a statue of David, a creative broker sees a building and envisions more than just bricks and mortar. Exceptional brokers are visionaries who see all of the unique possibilities in every deal.
They connect situations to the appropriate buyers who will bring out the essence of their value. They navigate each deal carefully and methodically with artistic flair to uncover the gem that will bring that deal to life.
After selecting a suitable purchaser, a broker is on a timely mission to bring both the buyer and seller to the finish line with finesse and skill.
The broker must sometimes select only one prospective buyer who they believe can close without issue and pay for the opportunity. One false move or any sign of backpedaling on terms or price, and a seller’s confidence in the deal could be lost.
The position of being the frontrunner selected by a broker is not to be taken lightly. With this position comes a tremendous responsibility for the buyer. Such a buyer must be willing to be in sync with the broker. Trust is critical.
Once the broker has teed up the deal, she will carefully select an appropriate buyer based on many factors, including historical performance, property type and ease of execution.
One experienced broker told me he only sees the buyers with whom he’s actually closed deals in the past and knows their modi operandi. While this is a safe bet, it doesn’t open the door to newcomers, and it shuts down the opportunity for building future relationships.
Another broker who always lands exciting assignments said her success is directly related to whom she chooses as the buyer for these deals. She doesn’t always call the same entity, as not every deal is for every buyer. However, if they are not user-friendly, have a lackluster performance record or show any signs of being untrustworthy by calling owners directly or going to a competing broker, she files that information in her notes for future reference and will never call them first again.
In a poll of several successful brokers, the traits in first-call buyers that stand out for all of them are the same: loyalty, trust, ability to perform, reliability and respect for the relationship the broker has built are most important.
Loyalty goes a very long way. The surest way to get a broker to call a buyer first on a deal is to return the favor by listing with them when ready to sell. Almost 99 percent of the brokers in the industry repay loyalty with first calls on deals.
Trust is crucial to any deal. If a buyer wants to be a broker’s first call, it is imperative that whatever news the broker imparts to a buyer stays with that buyer. A broker must be able to trust the buyer with confidential information that may only be made available because of a broker’s relationship with the seller. This is a critical aspect of deal-making.
An honorable buyer who can be trusted with highly privileged information goes right to the top of most brokers’ minds.
Without the financial ability to actually close a deal, a buyer doesn’t stand a chance at being in the lineup, let alone being a first call. Regardless of how much loyalty and trust a broker places in a buyer, he must be ready, willing and able to close the deal. A buyer who retrades, can’t commit or can’t perform, goes right to the bottom, rarely to be called again.
When the broker says it’s time to strike, a reliable buyer will step up without hesitation, often paying the broker’s fee to get in position. Respecting and appreciating the broker’s relationship to the seller is tantamount to the success of any transaction.
To warrant a broker’s attention, a buyer should respect the broker’s time and acknowledge her efforts and expertise.
Giving a straight answer and being honest about your intentions and abilities goes a long way to being that broker’s first call. A great broker is an advocate and voice in the selling arena, who can create combinations and tailor deals to suit the players in the market.
One broker I know was disturbed when an owner to whom he sold a large hotel resold it for a handsome profit shortly after closing, and didn’t give the original broker the opportunity to have a shot at it. Unfortunately for that seller, the broker actually had a higher offer than what the seller closed for.
You can bet that this broker will not be calling that seller the next time he has a great deal.
Brokers only have their time and information to sell. They mold the elements of the real estate into a tangible deal and shepherd it to fruition. Exciting opportunities land in the hands of deserving buyers.
Adelaide Polsinelli is a veteran real estate professional with more than 25 years of real estate brokerage experience. She is senior director at Eastern Consolidated, an investment sales firm in New York.