Editor’s note: This item was originally posted at the Real Estate Zebra blog by Daniel Rothamel, Inman News community manager.

‘I don’t want to be sold’ doesn’t mean, ‘Don’t sell me anything’

I want you to take a moment and read that title a few times. Seriously. I’ll wait … got it? It’s important, especially if you make a living selling homes.
Salesmanship is always going to be a part of our industry. And by "salesmanship," I mean the ethical, professional, kind — NOT the kind of salesmanship that has lead to the popular notion of the real estate professional.

"I don’t want to be sold" usually means:

  • I don’t want to be mislead.
  • I don’t want to be lied to.
  • I don’t want to be steered.
  • I don’t want you to care more about your commission than my needs.

What it definitely doesn’t mean is, "don’t sell me anything." The interesting thing about our profession is that it puts us at the intersection of salesmanship and client representation. Pure sales would require nothing more than closing the deal, just like in the video clip above from Boiler Room. That’s it, make the sale.

Our profession demands more from us than that. It demands that we have the best interests of our clients as our driving force, and it demands that we treat our customers honestly and with respect.

The demands placed on us do not, however, mean that we should ignore professional, ethical salesmanship; quite the contrary, in fact. Ethical, professional salesmanship is something to which we should all aspire. We are always selling something to someone, and the fact of the matter is that folks expect and want us to sell to them.

Sometimes we sell our service, sometimes we sell our expertise, and sometimes we sell a home. No matter what we are selling, we owe it to ourselves and to our clients to be the best salespeople we can be.

Of course, the skills and tactics required to be a successful salesperson today are a little different than they were 25 years ago. Some of them are the same, to be sure, but others have been added, and others have changed.

The good news is that we are practicing our profession in a time when the information necessary to increase our professional knowledge and acumen is more readily available than ever before.

There is no reason why you can’t be learning new skills and improving the ones you already possess on a perpetual basis.

A positive side effect of the availability of all this information is that it enables us to redefine what it means to be a salesperson. No longer do we have to follow a handful of examples.

There are literally thousands of examples that can be followed, learned and integrated into our practice. We can now be the salespeople that we all want to be, the salespeople that our clients and customers need and expect us to be. That’s a good thing. But no matter what, we’ll always be salespeople. And that’s a good thing, too.

Copyright (c) 2009 Daniel Rothamel 

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What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor. To contact the writer, click the byline at the top of the story.

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