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When working in high-end real estate, you will often find that a sale may involve multiple people throughout the process. It’s also entirely possible that you may never work directly with the buyer or seller at all.

In these multi-level sales, there are several types of influencers you may come across. Each influencer is unique and will have a different impact on the client, and could also become a roadblock to a closed transaction. It is important to familiarize yourself with these types of influencers, understand at what point they will enter the process, and, most importantly, how their opinion affects your client.

The Implementer
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 outcome.

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 a trust. The trustee will most likely be tasked with finding a real estate professional and supervising the marketing of that property. As the process continues, this individual will be heavily involved in the actual negotiation of the transaction and the distribution of the proceeds 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 property changing hands. That said, they will be looking to the real estate professional to make the process seamless. This is why it is so crucial to do your research on this type of transaction and be knowledgeable when dealing with upper-tier listings.

The Screener
The Screener is another type of influencer you will often see in a high-end market. Typically, you will encounter the Screener when dealing with celebrities or high-profile individuals—essentially anyone concerned with confidentiality. Typically, the Screener will be someone the client trusts, such as a business manager, staff person, friend or family member.

In a buyer scenario, the client will use the Screener to assist with the buying process by screening properties based on a list of criteria. Overall, the Screener’s main motivation is to find the right home for the client, maintain client confidentiality and shield the ultimate buyer from the task of seeing multiple properties.

The Deal Killer
The Deal Killer is an influencer who will come up later on in the process. They are typically looking for problems and want to improve the deal for the client. This doesn’t have to be a formal role, but rather, someone who steps into the role as needed, or it could be an attorney, adviser or even a family member.

If you can uncover the Deal Killer early on, you will have a much simpler time throughout the rest of the process. We recommend asking this key question to your client:

“Will you be turning to anyone for advice and counsel as you make your decision on this transaction?”

By phrasing your question this way, and emphasizing “as you make your decision,” you can avoid implying that the client is not making their own decision, which they could view 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 their financial adviser or the family trustee, or whomever the potential Deal Killer might be.

The Ultimate Decision Maker
In any real estate transaction, the Ultimate Decision Maker can be hidden, so it’s important to be aware of the potential complexities and ask the right questions as early as possible in the relationship.

Diane Hartley is president of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, an independent authority in training and designation for real estate agents working in the luxury residential market. Hartley brings her passion for luxury marketing and more than 20 years of experience growing and leading businesses to her role as president of The Institute. For more information, please visit