Why do we lose sales we should make? Because we can’t sell?

I don’t think so. We are not selling cars. We show homes. If our prospect likes the home enough, he may buy it, with or without our closing skills.

Could it be we don’t show the right homes? Possibly.

Could it have been something we said or the way we said it?


We are commission salespeople. We make our living by our words. We don’t learn a trade. We trade words with prospects and are paid for doing so. Or get paid nothing if the prospects decide not to buy the home using our services because they did not like trading words with us.

The right words at the right time can make or lose the listing or sale. It happens every day and it happens to everyone in sales.

Too many times it is not the words we express to a prospect — it is the words we express about ourselves — that hurt the most.

Words like:

  • "I will do it tomorrow."
  • "I don’t need to learn that."
  • "I just can’t help these people."
  • "This is too hard."
  • "I don’t want accountability."

They hurt, because they drag us down and eventually out of the real estate business.

The following, which you may have heard in some form, is surely the industry standard for words that hurt, sting and upset us to no end: "We thought about it over the weekend, and are going to wait (or buy a for-sale-by-owner home or a new home). But you are fantastic. We could not be happier with your service. In fact, we are going to email your broker and send all of our friends to you."

Think of this type of call from a client as the origin for the "Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song." If you got this call, there is a good chance you did not use the right words somewhere along the line.

If a person starts selling me without understanding my needs, I am done listening — not because the person does not know the product, not because I don’t like the person, but because it is obvious that the person cares more about addressing the need to make a sale than about my need to buy their product or service.

Recently, an Internet marketing company representative called me to apologize for not getting back to me earlier, but promised to have the proposal to me by 6 p.m., which did not happen. The next morning he called and said he lost my email and didn’t want to call me at 10 p.m.

You know what I thought? Why didn’t he call me at 6 p.m.? Why is he continuing to break his promises? I got the proposal. It is in line with my budget, but I will not be using this company. Would you?

My concern is trust. How can I trust a company to deliver services as promised when it cannot deliver a proposal as promised?

It has nothing to do with the company’s website, services or cost. It has everything to do with the words used to get me to read a proposal. Sad.

If you have ever promised to show up at a certain time and did not make it, and did not call to notify the person that you were running late, you know what I am talking about.

A representative for another Internet marketing company told me, "The setup fee is $1,200."

I said something to the effect, "Is there anything we can do about the setup fee?"

The representative replied, "Oh,a wait, I made a mistake. We can do it for $750."

I was honest with him, because this company had obviously not trained its sales team to use the right words.

ME: It sounds like you have no pricing integrity.

HIM: What do you mean?

ME: You are negotiating with yourself. You went from $1,200 to $750 without getting anything from me. I feel like I could cough into the phone and get another $200 off the price. How will I ever know what you will really do? Would you do the setup for nothing if I paid a higher monthly fee?

I quickly added that this was not an offer — it was an example of what I was talking about.

He had no words that would bring me to the closing table. Not one. The apology had no effect, because the trust was gone.

Words matter.

It might be a good time to think through the words you use on the telephone, in your texts and emails, and in person.

Nothing is more valuable than the right words at the right time to generate commission checks and to grow your business.

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