Marketing Can Justify Commissions

By Rob Wicker

My friend Brian Delaney is traveling around the country conducting marketing seminars for Realtors. I asked Brian about commissions—is a slow market driving down the commission percentage that Realtors receive?

Brian was curious about commissions too and has been asking his audience for feedback. Not surprisingly, Realtors are getting hit on the front-end before the listings agreement is signed, and on the back-end. Sellers want agents to eat some of their commission dollars to offset the lower prices that buyers are offering.

One reason home sellers believe that commissions should be lower is that many agents aren’t bringing enough value (real and perceived) to the table. The NAR reports that these are the four services most valued by home sellers:

  1. Help price home competitively
  2. Help find a buyer for the property
  3. Help market home to potential sellers
  4. Help sell the home in a specific time frame

Numbers 2, 3, and 4 relate directly to an agent’s marketing plan. If you can show sellers that you are actually investing marketing dollars to achieve goals 2, 3, and 4 then it is much easier for you to justify your commission. All agents will throw out the MLS and some websites in their listing presentation. Consumers are much more sophisticated about the Internet, and know that it is easy and usually inexpensive to advertise online. If you can show sellers that you are using print, direct mail, quality brochures, and featured listings on high traffic websites, then persuading home sellers that you deserve a full commission is much easier to do.


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