recently met with Sylvia (not her real name); she’d reached out to me
about helping her sell her well-located 11,000 square foot commercial
retail plaza in west end Ottawa.
Sylvia is an elder with one child in her 50s (Kim) and three grandsons, all in their 20s.
“Why do you want to sell?” I asked Sylvia after settling down on her
comfortable condo sectional sofa in an upper tier apartment in a ritzy
“Why do you want to know?” Sylvia responded in a direct manner that I was to learn is typical for her.
“Well, I’d like to do more than just give you a listing presentation. I’d prefer to give advice instead…”
“Don’t need advice. Just do your… thing,” she said.
So doing my best to channel Jerry Maguire, I made my pitch as a real estate broker.
It wasn’t lost on Sylvia or Kim that our brokerage is more expensive
than any of the other agents who’d already stumped for the listing
earlier in the day.
“Why would I pay you 5.5% when I can pay other brokerages 4%?” she asked after my 15-minute living room histrionics were over.
I was tempted to say, “Because I’m worth it,” but instead I said…
“For two reasons.”
“Firstly, I have clients who will buy this type of investment product, which is in short supply.
You just can’t find great plazas like this… ones with just four long-term leases,
easy to administer, a building that produces a reliable 6.5% per annum
cap rate, and a site that is close to everything that matters—excellent
transportation, fast-growing residential areas, massive employment
nodes—meaning it’ll increase in value probably for as long as there is a
“Secondly, as a brokerage that belongs to organized
real estate, we freely share information with every other agent out
there. We’re not trying to double end every deal. I believe we’ll get it
sold for you sooner and for more money.”
Instead of saying, “Where do I sign?” Sylvia replied, “We’ll get back
to you,” which is client code for, “Never going to sign with you,
Bruce M Firestone, B Eng (civil), M Eng-Sci, PhD, Ottawa Senators founder, Real Estate Investment and Business coach, Century 21 Explorer Realty Inc broker, 1-613-762-8884 email@example.com twitter.com/ProfBruce profbruce.tumblr.com/archive brucemfirestone.com
MAKING IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE
POSTSCRIPT: you can
download my spreadsheets and experiment with them yourself—
Find out the real story behind the founding of the NHL's Ottawa Senators