Are You the Favorite or the Fool?

On this 239th episode of my Monday Morning Pep Talk, I will discuss the highlights I took from the book The Full Fee Agent written by Chris Voss and Steve Shull. This book could have easily been named "Are you the favorite or the fool?" because the theme of the book provides insight on how a real estate broker can protect their business by asking the right questions before fully engaging with a potential client.

Before I dive into my highlights of this book, I want to remind you of my professional purpose and that is to help you, the broker/advisor, optimize your productivity and help you become the best version of yourself.  Why? "Because Happy Brokers Sell More Real Estate". I do that by teaching you how to handle the challenges and opportunities that you face every day. If you can effectively manage those certain situations that arise on a daily basis in your business, you'll be more productive and live a life that is the best version of you. My ask is that you listen as if you are in a one-on-one coaching session with me in my office or on a phone call.  If you'd like a transcript and full recording of today's MMPT, send me an email at [email protected] and I will add you to my private email list.

Each year, I proclaim a book as my book of the year. The Full Fee Agent is that book for me so far in 2024. Despite it being written in late 2022, it became more popular recently and finally hit my radar earlier this year. As we face changes to our compensation structure industry wide, it became an important read.

If I was to describe my top 5 takeaways and "validations," they would be:

  1. Real estate brokers should focus on high probability activities.
  2. All of your conversations must get you to a point of "trust" with your clients. If a prospect or client doesn't trust you, nothing else matters.
  3. Real estate brokers are worth every penny paid by their clients. You must put boundaries around your fee. You need to go into every conversation believing you are a full fee agent.
  4. In sales, "No" is way more important than "YES."
  5. By the time a prospect calls you, you are either the favorite or the fool.

You can't read this book and not ask yourself the question "Am I the favorite or the fool?"

That is the defining statement, and when I read through the book as a mentor and as a content creator, it pushed me to identify the characteristics of both. I looked at it not only as an immediate question when discussing an opportunity with a potential client, but as a general question: Am I operating like a "favorite" or am I existing as a "fool"?

To me, it's a mindset and I think this book proves the concept, so I will dive deeper into it today.

A fool is the agent who is:

  • Unprepared. Fools chase "possibilities." They find themselves consistently engaging in low probability activities. (20% or less success rate)
  • Says yes to everything.
  • Doesn't understand their value and their worth in the marketplace.
  • Negotiates their fee down without even being asked. They leave home in the morning as a full fee agent but negotiate against themselves before they even present their value to a buyer or a seller.
  • Consistently gives their advice away for free.
  • Avoids tough conversations, worried that providing bad news will upset their clients resulting in lost business.

The favorite:

  • Is prepared and understands how to ask the right questions before they meet with the client. They chase "probabilities." (80% or better success rate)
  • Isn't afraid of the commission question. They have boundaries around what they are worth and say no to those opportunities that don't meet their standards.
  • They are straight shooters. They give bad news gently.
  • Favorites gain trust with their clients through getting to "No" instead of "Yes."
  • They work with clients that trust them. The key to building trust is through emotion, connection and relationships. They get paid for their advice.
  • They focus on working with the right clients not all clients. They sniff out the "HALF" clients in the first call (Hard, Annoying, Lame, Frustrating). Those 20% that steal 80% of your joy.
  • In Take Flight terminology, they run a business not a hobby.

There is so much more great content in this book. It includes terrific scripting that will help you know when you are the favorite or the fool. In the conclusion, there is one paragraph that is the essence of the book:

"Remember, how you do business is more important than how much business you do. When you focus on the how, the score will take care of itself."

With the changes in our industry, if you want to live a peaceful existence, you must come to terms with your value and your boundaries. Every 1/2 point in commission = 20% effort either way. If you identify and build a business with clients who have you as their "favorite," your life will be easier, happier and more financially productive for you. What does this mean? If you charge a seller, for example, 2% on the list side instead of 3%, you'll need to sell 40% more in volume to make the same amount of revenue.

This book was validating for me. It plays right into my battle cry that "Happy brokers do in fact sell more real estate." It provides further insight and content that will help you create that kind of business for yourself. This book plugs right into Take Flight, which is the operating system that will help you build essential and necessary trust with your clients over the life of your business.

As you reflect on this MMPT, I challenge you to ask the questions: “Do I operate like a ‘favorite’ or do I exist as a ‘fool’?" and “What is my skill level at negotiating my worth?

As you contemplate your own answers, dive into The Full Fee Agent by Chris Voss and Steve Shull. It’s my top reading recommendation so far for 2024 for a reason, and it will be hard to dethrone especially because of the changes coming to our industry.