Winning dialogue that makes sense

“When everybody else is complaining about something, that’s where the opportunities are.” – Bernice Ross.  That is the type of dialogue you will hear from Bernice Ross, one of the most respected coaches and mentors in the US.  She talks to us today.

Topic – Hard talk

Mentor – Bernice Ross


Kevin:   The next guest on our show is someone I’ve been promising I would come and visit for well over a decade, because I’ve been working with Bernice Ross for so long. In fact, Bernice and I go way way back into the early podcasting days and I’m absolutely delighted you’ll get to know more about Bernice as we talk. But Bernice, I am absolutely delighted that you’ve come and joined us on set, thank you so much.

Bernice:   Well first of all, welcome to the US, to Real Estate Connect and I’m so excited that you’re here to be part of this and to be part of the launch of “”.

Kevin:   Yeah, we talked to Brad Inman and he holds you in such high esteem. You’ve been with Brad for so long as one of his major contributors Bernice, so it’s a delight. Bernice has a similar podcast to RE Uncut here which is called Real Estate Coach Radio, and you’re an esteemed coach. And just looking and walking around here with you Bernice I can see how well loved you are and how well respected you are too so.

Bernice:   Well thank you for that, when you’ve been in the business, you know doing these conferences, for over 15 years, you get to know people. And that’s the whole point of Real Estate Connect is. What Brad’s vision was, was to connect the innovators with the real estate industry. And I have a chance to sit both sides of the aisle on that in some respects because I get to meet the people who are innovating the new technologies and see that because I write for Inman. But then I get to, you know I came out at the brokerage side of the business, so I get to that too. So it’s kind of best of both worlds and I just love the innovations and things are coming and where the industry is going. I think we’re heading into a little bit of a downturn. There’s some really interesting pressures taking place in the US market right now, but, as one of the speakers said this morning, when everybody else is complaining about something, that’s where the opportunities are.

Kevin:   That is so true. That’s so true. I hear you say that the market’s heading in to a bit of a downturn, how do you think the industry is geared to handle that downturn?

Bernice:   Quite frankly Kevin, those of us who’ve been around for a lot of years and lived through the recession. But for people who’ve been in the business for ten years or less, they’ve never seen anything but a sellers market. And those people have not learned to do yet, is to deal with when there’s a decline in prices. And I know you’re going through that in Australia right now. How do you have that conversation with the sellers about where the market is going and why they actually may have to reduce their price more than the costs show, because otherwise, they are going to be chasing the market down and they will actually get less money.

Bernice:   And I heard the difference the other day on an average priced house something, I don’t remember what price range they gave, but they essentially said the difference between selling at the first two weeks of listing period versus 90 days, is that it costs that seller $40,000 and that’s on an average priced property.

Kevin:   That’s sliding really quickly, isn’t it. But that skill you talk about, in being able to communicate with the seller as to why their property may now be worth less than what they paid for it. That requires not only skill, but a lot of courage.

Bernice:   Well, not necessarily. Because, first of all, the technology really helps me. And there’s a new tool from, for my US listeners. Alan Weiss worked with Kay Schuller, they ran the same company together and you’ll hear on the financial news shows, they’ll reference the Kay Schuller index, which gives you an idea about where metropolitan areas are going. But what Allan has done now is taken that down to the individual house and you can now get a prediction of how much that house is predicted to decline or to stay the same or go down. But the thing that’s really powerful, I could overcome the price objection by using the Zillow Evaluation Tool, a tool that every broker that belongs to an NAR has, Homesnap, I can use evaluation tool, there’s some other ones out there. But I can point to all of those in addition to my CMA to them, to give information.

Bernice:   But what Allan’s tool does, is they have a heat map and it changes colours and what happens is, when you’re in an appreciating market it’s green then it goes to neutral then it goes to red when its downturning. It goes back to 2001. When you walk in to listing appointment with that, and you can show the seller that the market peaked, that it was the greenest about a year and a half ago and now we’re kind of getting to that middle zone where its a balanced market, but its slowing down. You need to think about getting your price lower now, because if it goes red, you’re going to get a lot less.

Kevin:   That’s a very good point you make Bernice too, and that is that, the agent is just the conduit, not saying this is what it’s worth “But I’m just telling you what the stats are showing.”

Bernice:   You know, you made a great point. I’ve always trained that my role as an agent is: I am a conduit of information. And Mr and Mrs seller, it’s your house, it’s your mortgage, it’s your decision. So that way it’s like “I’m here to give you the best data.” And for me as an agent if they’re not going to price their house realistically, I need to get up and walk away. And when you do that, on a listing appointment, say “I’m not going to lie to you and tell you I think I can get that price, because I don’t believe I can, I wish you the best in doing that.” And you get up to leave, its like… “She’s not… Wait a minute, wait a minute, she’s willing to walk away, maybe she does mean what she says.”

Kevin:   Yes, yes yes. And you see, I think that’s the real skill of a really good broker. It’s the new ones in the market, who won’t do that, you know, the new agents who don’t know how to handle those kinds of conversations.

Bernice:   Now if they sign up for my new agent sales training at we will show them how to do it.

Kevin:   There is a lovely plug.

Bernice:   Of course.

Kevin:   Bernice, you’ve been doing your shows for many many years. And, as you do for us, you talk to a lot of leading people in the industry. Are you amazed at just how rapidly technology is pushing the industry?

Bernice:   Really, no. A better way of asking me that question, is, what I see happening Kevin, you know what’s still makes the most difference is, NAR’s number showed that 46% of all transactions comes from referrals.

Kevin:   Yes, 46?

Bernice:   46%. And on the listings side, if you take all the websites that are out there, MLS, Zillow,, all the websites, agents websites, they only account for 5% of the closed listings transactions. So, people are paying for leads you can get, and I’ve heard some discussion today that the quality of the leads that people are getting off some the portals appears to be dropping. At least that’s what the feedback is in the street.

Kevin:   So why is that, what’s happening?

Bernice:   I think, first of all, there’s more competition, they need to sell more leads. But, if we’re in a market slowdown, then it’s just hard to say what’s going on. But the brokers are trying to take control of their data back. There was really, I’m wandering around here a little bit, but there was a really interesting comment that one of the speakers talked about. I think it may have been Robert Reffkin, may have talked about it or maybe it was someone else, one of the other CEO’s, but it was one of the big CEO’s of the companies. They said, I think it was Glenn Sandford from eXp now that I think about it. But, what they said was, that what happens is, because the MOS’s get the data, they’re not as fast as the portals are about getting the data up online.

Bernice:   And what happens is, Redfin and Zillow post that data immediately as soon as they get their hands on it and then Google see’s “Oh here’s the source, its an aggregator, so they come up on top instead of the company that originated the listing and that is falling for the fact that either the MLS or where that particular source is pulling from.

Bernice Ross:                     So what’s happening, there’s a discussion, I hear a lot of talk at this congerence about platforms, and the notion of these platforms, you know Keller is working on one. The big players are working on these platforms with the idea being able to be the first one to get it out there or to cut out the middle men. And then Gary Keller’s been very clear in his intention to cut out Zillow, I mean he’s just. And the gentleman who’s the CEO of Realogy said much the same this morning. He said they are frenemies, they are not our friends.

Kevin:   Okay. Wonderful. Hey Bernice, we’re out of time. We are limited, and I can talk to you forever. Thank you my dear and I just love working with you.

Bernice Ross:                     My pleasure, same here.

Kevin:   Bernice Ross is one of the leaders in the industry in America and people turn to her for her advice and you can see why.

Kevin:   Yes it was great catching up with Bernice and so many other people. We did well over 60 interviews when we were at Inman Connect in New York. And all those interviews are available for you to have a look at now at and thanks once again to our supporters, to Beepo Outsourcing, Raine & Horne, Cocio and Rockend. That’s all for this week. Thanks to all of our contributors, thanks to you for listening in, have a great weekend, look forward to catching up with you again on Monday.

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