Commissions: What Gives You the Right?

Commissions: What Gives You the Right?

By Verl Workman


“What gives you the right?”


Today’s consumer is asking this question, and companies outside of our industry are answering the call.


What gives you the right to charge the commission you charge in this business?


Some agents are worth every penny they charge and more. Others don’t bring enough value to the transaction and, therefore, aren’t deserving of a significant commission. The problem is that the consumer has a lot more experience with the mediocre than the exceptional.


In this world of discounters, disruptors and deal-seekers, it’s on us to change the narrative. The only way to do that is to get better at our craft and then learn to communicate our true value proposition to today’s buyers and sellers.

Let me start by posing a few simple questions to think about:

  1. What can I do differently to justify the commission I charge and actually be worth it?
  2. What would my promise to my clients have to be?
  3. What would my level of service have to encompass?
  4. What impact would I have on the lives of my clients?
  5. What must I do today to provide this level of service?


The reason Zillow and others are successfully inserting themselves into transactions is because they’re listening for the answers to these questions and then giving clients what they’re asking for. I’m convinced that if we truly focus on how our clients’ lives will be changed, we’ll find success. Consumers today are looking for instant information, ease of transaction and transparency throughout the process. If you’re fearful of becoming irrelevant in the transaction, then ask yourself the above questions and really think about the answers. What do you have to offer that makes it worth what you charge for your services? This question could be asked by agents, broker/owners, brands and associations.


If I’m making you uncomfortable with this article, I want to apologize…but not really. I love this industry and the amazing people in it, but I strongly believe that if we’re going to continue to hold our value, we have to shift our messaging, enhance our level of service and increase transparency in the transaction. The words we use matter, but our actions—before, during and after the transaction—matter even more.


I challenge each of you in your position as agents, broker/owners, brands and associations to build your business with a concierge level of service. Listen intently to your clients’ needs and then determine what you can do to have the greatest impact on their lives. Let’s build brands, teams and services that outsiders can’t compete with. It’s time to stop talking about differentiators and deliver them instead. Create your unfair competitive advantage by delivering a higher level of service that allows you to dare to charge a high fee.


Verl Workman is the founder and CEO of Workman Success Systems (385-282-7112), an international speaking, consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and building successful power agents and teams. Contact him at For more information, please visit

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