Fundamentals

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All quarterbacks call plays, receive the snap, hand-off to running backs, pass to receivers and run with the ball.

Elite quarterbacks standout by doing these fundamentals more skillfully than their 3rd string counterparts.

All cooks fry, bake, fricassee and sauté. Gourmet chefs produce epicurean delights by doing these things better than a short order cook working the graveyard shift at Denny’s.

All painters use canvas and brushes and paint. A Van Gogh or a Monet use these basic tools to create priceless masterpieces compared to the paintings churned out at a Canvas and Cocktails event.

All trial lawyers make opening statements, question witnesses, lodge objections and deliver closing arguments, yet an F. Lee Bailey or Johnnie Cochran have honed these skills in ways that let them win cases at a much higher rate than their run of the mill counterparts.

In each of these professions, the key ingredient in success is not WHAT a practitioner is doing. They are all practicing the same fundamentals. The thing that makes one quarterback, chef, painter or trial lawyer better than another is HOW they execute on those fundamental skills.

It is HOW a John Elway, Wolfgang Puck, Salvador Dali and Gloria Allred practice their respective trades that creates value for their clients. They cost more than their competitors and they get better result for those they serve.

The same is true of real estate agents.

All agents price homes, stage houses, market properties, negotiate deals, prepare contracts, deal with lenders and appraisers, and protect their clients from legal liability and hidden pitfalls.

What makes one agent better than another is not  WHAT they do. It’s the HOW they do it … how skilled the agent is at performing these fundamental tasks. Good agents make their clients more money than the fees they earn by being exceptional at the essentials of their profession.

In contrast, poor agents cost clients more than the fees charged by failing to execute at a high level. Careless pricing, weak negotiating skills, unfocused marketing and sloppy contract preparation can cost a client thousands, and even tens of thousands, of dollars on top of the actual fee charged to a client.

It turns out that the “pay less, keep more” approach that some real estate companies and agents advertise is false advertising. You can easily pay less … and make less!

Jake Plummer didn’t get the Denver Broncos to the Super Bowl. John Elway did. Twice. The Broncos made more money during the Elway years even though they paid Elway a lot more money than they ever paid to Jake Plummer.

As a consumer, how do you tell a good agent from a weak one? How do you find a Peyton Manning, a Rachel Ray, a Picasso or an Alan Dershowitz? If cheaper isn’t better, how do you tell who provides you the greatest value?

Here are a couple things you can evaluate…

Be wary of any agent claiming to have some “whiz-bang” service that other agents don’t provide. They are not focusing on fundamentals. One good example of this occurs in the marketing arena.

Agents sometimes claim to have a unique marketing plan that no other agents utilize. It may involve an “exclusive 57-point marketing plan” to find a buyer for a house. Or, it may be a piece of technology with some cool, hip “wow” factor.

But, this ignores the fundamentals of how buyers find houses … 97% of buyers find a house in one of just four ways:

(1) Their agent shows them the house.
(2) They find it online on one of three major websites.
(3) They see a “For Sale” sign in the yard.
(4) A friend or relative tells them about the house being for sale.

A good agent maximizes the effectiveness of how a house is presented in these four marketing channels and doesn’t waste effort on other marketing that is more about wowing sellers than efficiently finding a buyer for the property.

Ask the agent what makes them different. If they talk about their ongoing professional development and how they are constantly working to practice and improve their skills in pricing and negotiation and so forth, you’ve found a winner.