One of the 4 levels is the discounted service. I tell them right up front that I don't perform that service because I know it won't sell their house in this buyer's market.
I have several listings in the 8-10% with a few of the properties listed in the $500k range. I've only been in the business since Dec 06 and I am one of the top listing agents in my office of 300 agents. The cool part is that I don't have to break anyone's arm (so to speak) to get them to do business with me.
I have been taught the script of "if an agent backs down on their commission, how can you trust them not to back down on the price of your home" tactic. Frankly, I find this tactic argumentative. A real sales pro will use finesse in a negotiation situation, not a frontal assualt. A statement such as, "Mr. Johnson, my experience has taught me that people look for three things when hiring a real estate agent to represent them. They often look for an effective marketing plan, quality client service and a low fee. Isn't true Mr. Johnson, that there is yet to be a real estate company that can really provide all three? I'm curious, of the three, quality, service, and low price, which one are you willing to give up?
I'm a full service agent (though no carpet cleaning - sorry) and this is my fee. I am defending my fee in the same way that you can expect I'll defend your price. If someone else is willing to take a cut, consider that an immediate red flag. Great negotiators don't fold.
I tell them that commissions are negotiatable, I am a full service broker and my commission is %. I am not a discount broker and do not negotiate. If I fold here on commission it will folding and picking up costs along the transaction.
Ken, I too would love to see your 4 levels of service. Your speech to the homeowner is something I plan on using next time. Great ideas!
But, if all else fails.. Get a pen & paper, and start writing out a list, of ALL the things that must be done once you take a listing. From entering it in the MLS, to advertising, to COE..
I've gotten to item #100 before I was stopped, and then thanked in advance for all my hard work.
Be sure to point out to Mr & Mrs Seller that you do ALL of these things, free of charge, assuming it will sell in the period of time suggested.
People dont balk when I say 6, so maybe I'll take Ken's advice and start asking for 10%!