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Terminology Matters!

Jan 22, 2015

Posted by

Laurie Moore-Moore

Laurie Moore-Moore is the founder and CEO of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, an international training and membership organization for agents who work in the upper tier. The Institute offers Read more

Here are just three simple suggestions that will help you enhance your ability to make your point with upscale buyers and sellers.

Terminology Tip #1: 

Don’t use “comparable properties.” 

Yes, you read that right.  The use of the words “comparable properties” or “comparables” can actually create problems for you with your upscale homeowner.  Here’s what happens.  You say “comparable property” and your luxury homeowner thinks, “My home is custom.

  It’s special and unique.  Sorry, but there are no comparables.”  Sometimes they even tell you this.  Whether they verbalize it or simply think it, they block out what you are telling them about relative value.  Your excellent price opinion is ignored and agreeing on pricing can become more of a hurdle.

Sidestep the problem of comparables with a simple change of terminology.  Instead, say, “These are the relevant properties with regard to homes a prospective purchaser for your home may also be looking at and considering.”  Or, “These are the relevant properties which the buyer’s lender’s appraiser will most likely be reviewing to help establish an appraised value for your home.”  This helps diffuse the issue of, “There are no comparables for my home.”

Don’t get caught in the “There are no comparables!” trap when a simple change in terminology to relevant properties can help you keep your seller more open minded.

Terminology Tip #2:

“ Closed Transactions” aren’t always good.

While we always love to see a sale close with a happy buyer and seller, the term “closed transactions” is not necessarily the best way to describe a finalized sale.  The words “Closed Transactions” or “Solds” are real estate expressions which we use all the time, but these terms don’t always communicate effectively with the consumer.  We understand what we mean, but these words can go in one ear and out the other of buyers and sellers.

Instead, try the term, “Real Buyers.”

  For example, when talking about the number of properties sold in a particular price range, you might say, “In the last 60 days there have only been 18 ‘Real Buyers’ in the $700,000 to $750,000 price point.  That’s just nine ‘Real Buyers’ per month.  And by the way, I’m defining a ‘Real Buyer’ as someone who not only contracted to purchase a home, but who also showed up at closing and walked away owning it!”  Not only is this quickly understood, it is also a quick dose of reality for prospective sellers who often think there is a buyer on every corner for their luxury homes.

The use of the term “Real Buyers” is also powerful when negotiating on behalf of a buyer.  Imagine being able to say to the party negotiating across the table, “You know in the last 60 days in this price range, there have only been 18 ‘Real Buyers,’ or nine ‘Real Buyers’ per month.  And, I’m defining a ‘Real Buyer’ as someone who not only contracted to purchase the home, but he or she showed up at closing and walked away owning it.  My buyer is qualified and offering reasonable terms and conditions, so doesn’t it make sense to give serious consideration to this buyer?

  Only 18 ‘Real Buyers’ in the last two months, that’s not many.  Don’t let this one get away.”

Terminology Tip #3: 

It’s not a “Listing Presentation,” at least I hope not!

Sometimes we do ourselves a real disservice with the words we use.  For example, many sellers believe that a real estate agent is a commodity product and that all we really do is list their homes in MLS, fall to our knees and pray that they sell.  This certainly isn’t the case.  Yet we reinforce this opinion by talking about a “Listing Presentation” as if all we are going to do is list the home.  What if you have a “Marketing Consultation Appointment” rather than one for a “Listing Presentation”?

  After all, your presentation involves (or should) a discussion of the market, a consultation about pricing, and presentation of a recommended marketing plan.  Why not use terminology that describes what it is you really do – consult about the marketing of the home?

Differentiate yourself from others who may call to set up a “Listing Presentation” by calling instead to schedule “Your Marketing Consultation.”  Sellers are likely to think, “Wow! Here’s a real estate professional who sounds like she may actually market my home.”  A small change in terminology may help you secure the listing.  Just be sure you deliver on the implied promise to offer a marketing plan.

These small changes in vocabulary can -- and will -- help you generate big, rewarding results.