"You've Caught the NET!"


MOTIVATION - Biggest Predictor of Success in Agent-Client Relationship!

Hi, folks!  Hope you're well!

Our Team members,Jeff Ardito and Kathleen Weaver-Zech, lost a listing the other day.  It was for a small, three-unit apartment building in the Chicago Neighborhood of Jefferson Park. 

The successful agent has made a living in the area by discounting his fees, signing for short listing terms, and taking the listing at whatever price the seller dictates.  His own Expiration Rate, predictably, is high.

How did this agent get the signature on the Listing Agreement?  Probably, by being agreeable - he likely figures he can now easily "work on his client's too-high price" now that he got the contract!  Not a long-term way of forging a valued client relationship, I would say - but very effective at generating a signature short-term, and perhaps a few bucks in his pocket if the listing, by chance sells.

But why didn't Jeff and Kathy get the listing? 

Most likely, they didn't crystallize MOTIVATION - the key to why the seller is selling in the first place!

Sure, they alluded to possible pricing levels.  Comparative marketing strategies.  Online promotion.  And we do all of that, in our humble opinion, better than just about anyone here in Chicago.

But if you don't focus on exactly what the client's MOTIVATION is, and custom-tailor your presentation to specifically WHAT THAT MOTIVATION IS, you simply have a signature with a Listing Expiration Date, and a listing unlikely to sell.

In order to precisely determine MOTIVATION, an expert Listing Agent not only has to ask a lot of questions, but also listen CAREFULLY for the answers, as well as the INTENT BEHIND THE ANSWERS!

This particular family wanted to sell because their building was too big.  They didn't want to deal with tenants anymore.  The building lies only about 75 feet from the busy Kennedy Expressway, I-90 here in Chicago. 

It sits landlocked with no garage, and the owner has to make separate arrangements with a neighbor to park his work truck off-street overnight. The schools are not good enough for their children.  Etc, etc.

If you properly uncover motivation, and gear your discussion specifically how ONLY YOU, and YOUR TEAM, can address and SATISFY THE MOTIVATION, the clients will work with you, and will pay a premium to do so.  If you don't uncover true motivation, you are just another real estate agent, hustling for the listing - so the seller might as well go with the cheapest, the one with the shortest commitment term, or the most agreeable!

"After all - all you folks are the same, right?"  That's the dreaded chant even very successful agents here every once in a while.  We top agents, however,blast through that homogeneity.  And we do so by identifying exactly what the client is after when they list -


Of course, sometimes a potential client's "Motivation" is to go with the cheapest.  The easiest.  Success is irrelevant here - control is all important to some.

These are the times you have to look at your OWN motivation - and perhaps walk away!

Your thoughts here?


Comment balloon 20 commentsDean Moss • April 22 2008 02:59PM


You made a lot of good points here. Better luck next time.
Posted by Erik Elsea (Erik Elsea-Jones & Co. Realty) almost 11 years ago
very well said. Motivation is everything. If I don't know what they need, I can help them get there. As Brian Buffini always says "measure the mo!!"
Posted by Sean Carroll, Real Estate Speaker and "Expert" Coach (The Get Off Your A$$ Academy) almost 11 years ago
Dean, good words, especially in such a competitive market ~ connecting is what it's all about and understanding motivation is a key part in that!
Posted by Joddie Roberts, Your Spokane Realtor - Spokane, WA (Mountain Real Estate and Property Management) almost 11 years ago

(choir of angels singing in the background) Halleluja Brother!  You have to do whats best for you client whether or not you get paid.  Walking away is sometimes the best option for everyone!  Who wants an expired listing on their record??  Way to go!

Posted by Amanda Wernick, Making Real Estate a FUNomenal Experience! (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) almost 11 years ago
Motivation is key. We all loose listings because we didn't say just the right thing!  Or do the right thing. But what goes around, comes around, right? Best of luck in the future!   Terrie
Posted by Terrie Leighton, Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno (Ferrari-Lund Real Estate ) almost 11 years ago

Motivated sellers will sell, motivated buyers will buy.

If they're not motivated..........."next"

Posted by Jim Lee, Portsmouth NH Realtor, Portsmouth, NH (RE/MAX Shoreline) almost 11 years ago
Motivation is key,
Posted by Travis Adams (Coldwell Banker Tomlinson Group-Boise) almost 11 years ago




Posted by Anonymous almost 11 years ago


Of course your right on with your observation. However I suspect the sellers are what I like to call "commodity shoppers" you said it yourself "After all - all you folks are the same, right?".

They only want one thing the cheapest (perceived) price.

Not to worry I'll bet your phone starts ringing in about 45 days!

Take care,


Posted by David Swierczynski, RETIRED (Retired) almost 11 years ago

Great post, agree 100%, maybe when they realize that they listed with a "yes person" they will list with your team members when the listing runs out or they run out of patience.

Listening and tailoring to a client is one thing but agreeing to what a client says without giving them the facts is foolish.  Why list too high?  thats just the first mistake, sellers come around eventually.  Lip Service is the pits!!

Good luck let us know if the sellers call when the listing expires!

Cathy Elmore - Windermere, Ocean Shores,<WA

Posted by Cathy & Gary Elmore (Coldwell Banker Tomlinson N) almost 11 years ago

Dean, It is easy to walk away from an overpriced listing or unreasonable seller when you have lots going on.  I think it is way more challenging to walk away when you are really in need of the extra business.  I think we sometimes rationalize it and take an overpriced listing or a listing with terms that are not fair to us as Realtors, because we think that maybe we'll get lucky, or maybe we'll get that great buyer call.


Posted by Susan Mangigian, Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches (RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A) almost 11 years ago
more luck to you in the future
Posted by Alan Robinson (PTE REAL ESTATE GROUP) almost 11 years ago

Well said Dean! Wishing you continued success!

Geri Doyle Doyle & Devoe Iowa Realty

Posted by Geri Doyle almost 11 years ago
Agents who just say anything the client wants to hear are not doing a real service to the client. Perhaps things will sell in that mode, but more likely not.
Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) almost 11 years ago
Hi, Dean - Talk about being right on the money.  Our job is to help clients achieve goals.  How do we do that if we can't identify what those goals are and the motivation driving them?  Excellent post.  Very worth of that little gold star in my opinion.
Posted by Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired (Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®) almost 11 years ago
Good point, movitation is the key to success in all we do.
Posted by Leslie Stewart, Realtor, ABR, CRS, Oregon Licensed Broker (Oregon Licensed Broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Real Estate Professionals) almost 11 years ago
I don't know if pushing motivation always works.  Sometimes people want a change.
Posted by Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239, Michigan homes for sale ~ yesmyrealtor@gmail.com (Real Estate One) almost 11 years ago
Motivation is the key with how we approach business.
Posted by Sharon Paxson, Newport Beach Real Estate (Compass) almost 11 years ago
Great post!  I have learned that motivation is greatly needed from the sellers, especially in today's market. Gone are the days (in most areas) of "thinking they want to sell", stick a sign in the yard and in 30 days they are moving. Sellers MUST be motivated, in one form or another....It is our job to find out what their motivation is, and if we can't find it, off to the next one! 
Posted by Elizabeth Cooper-Golden, Huntsville AL MLS (Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group)) almost 11 years ago
You definitely need to determine their motivation or lack there of. You can have someone who says they are motivated but doesn't and will not show motivation.
Posted by Christy Powers, Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent (Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners) almost 11 years ago

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