When dealing in luxury real estate, you will often find that a sale may be multi-level – in other words, you may not be working directly with the buyer or seller or find that they are referring to other professionals for advice.
In these multi-level sales, there are several types of influencers that you may come across. Each influencer is unique in their own way and will have a different impact on the client. It is important to familiarize yourself with these influencers, understand at what point they will enter the process and most importantly how their opinion affects your client in order to have a smooth and successful sales cycle.
The Implementer is going to be an individual who supervises the entire process. They will be heavily involved in negotiating the deal and their main source of motivation will be a good performance.
A good example of this type of influencer would be a trustee. These types of scenarios typically deal with a property that is going into trust. The trustee will most likely be tasked with finding a real estate professional (you) and supervising the marketing of that property. As the process continues this individual will be heavily involved in the actual negotiating of the transaction, the closing and distributing the proceeds of the sale according to the terms and conditions of the trust. Though the trustee has zero ownership in the property, in this type of scenario they would be considered the Ultimate Decision Maker.
This type of influencer will have no emotional attachment to the property. Rather, they know they are going to be evaluated based on the job they did. That said, they will be looking to you to make them look good with their boss thus making a good performance their main source of motivation. This is why it is so crucial to do your research and be knowledgeable when dealing with high net worth listings.
The Screener is another type of influencer you will often see in a luxury market. Typically, you will see The Screener when dealing with celebrities or high-profile individuals — essentially anyone concerned with confidentiality.
The Screener typically got their role because they are someone who the client can trust who’s opinion, they highly respect. They will typically be a business manager, staff person, friend or family member.
In a buyer scenario, the client will go to the Screener and ask them to assist with the buying process. They will often give a list of criteria and request that the influencer screen properties and only recommend them to the top few that they think would be a good fit.
This conversation may sound something like this, “I want to buy a condo. I’d like you to find an agent that you’re comfortable with that you think I could work with as well. Here’s the list of criteria that I’m looking for in a property. I want you to screen properties and zero in on the top four that you think are the best match given this list of criteria. And then, at the point that you find those four, I will look and make the final decision.”
At this point in the process, you’ll often see the Implementer step in to actually do the negotiation. You’ll find that these contracts are generally going to be in a corporate name.
In short, the Screener will review and screen salespeople, review and screen the property and they have veto power over both.
Their main motivator is making the right match, matching properties with the criteria and maintaining confidentiality.
The Screener is a KEY influencer to remember.
The deal killer is an influencer who will come up later in the process. They are typically looking for problems and want to improve the deal for the client. Oftentimes this won’t be a formal role but will be someone who informally steps into it.
If you can smoke out the deal-killer early on, you will have a much simpler time throughout the rest of the process.
To smoke-out a deal killer, we recommend asking one of these two key questions:
- Will you be turning to anyone for advice and counsel as you make your decision to buy at the million-dollar price point?
- Will you be turning to anyone for information and advice as you make your decision to sell?
Some key aspects of these questions are the phrases “information and advice,” or “advice and counsel.” Perhaps most importantly, “as YOU make YOUR decision.” By phrasing your question this way, you are sure to avoid implying that the client is not making their own decision as they will view that as highly offensive.
More often than not, you will get a response such as “Well, you know, we would never make a purchase of this size without running everything by our real estate attorney,” or our financial adviser, or the family trustee, or whomever the deal-killer might be.
The Ultimate Decision Maker
Surprise! We decided to add a fourth influencer to this list. This person has the most influence and is ultimately the most important aspect of any real estate deal. Who is it you may ask? Why none other than the buyer or seller themselves.
In any real estate deal, the ultimate decision will most likely come down to the buyer or seller. Therefore, it is important to form a solid relationship with them and always keep their interests and concerns in mind.
Please note however that some clients prefer extreme privacy. In these cases, you may never actually meet the client and thus the other influencers become the ultimate decision makers.