Do you think of yourself as a salesperson or as a real estate consultant? Many real estate agents would say (or at least prefer to say) consultant. Why is that? There seems to be a stigma among us that prevents us from thinking of ourselves as salespeople, but that’s what we are, right?
Maybe it’s because we associate the term “salesperson” with a used car salesman proudly sporting a 1970s suit and creepy mustache, who’s looking to coax us into purchasing a 1994 Nissan Sentra, one on which the odometer has clearly been rolled back to show only 38,000 miles. Maybe it’s because we’re afraid someone will think less of us or not want to work with us if we have “sales associate” on our business card. After all, it could very well conjure up a similar image in their head.
Either way, the reason is not important, and I don’t think we actually need to change our titles. We simply need to change the way we think about our careers to reflect the fact that we are salespeople. We need to recognize that no matter where we are or what we are doing, we need to be selling. We need to be selling ourselves as real estate professionals and continually upholding the image of a successful business professional throughout the day.
So how do we do this? An easy strategy is to wear your name badge proudly when you are out and about and in between appointments to advertise that you are in the business. You’ll be surprised by how many people approach you with real estate questions just because of this. We have a saying where I work, “Don’t be a secret agent.” We’re not working undercover here, so when people ask you about your career, tell them about it. When someone asks you what you do, speak enthusiastically; tell them that you sell real estate and that you’d be happy to help them with all of their real estate needs.
Now, it’s also important to remember that we need to market ourselves to people we do know as well as those we don’t. We also need to continually sell our value proposition to our current customers. Be sure to let them know what you are doing behind the scenes, especially when it comes to sellers whose home you’ve been hired to market.
If you don’t tell them what you’re doing to market their home, they could assume that you’re not doing anything. What I do is go over a detailed marketing plan with my sellers right when their listing agreement begins. Right from the start, I schedule out events like open houses, brokers’ open houses, office caravans, etc. This allows the seller to put these events on their calendar and eliminates the chance they will be surprised or inconvenienced when you ask them to clear out for an afternoon. The last step is to follow up after each event, and let them know your results and next steps.
When working with buyers, an excellent way to show your value is to meet them at your office prior to taking them out to see the first property. At this meeting, you can explain the process of buying a home and give them information about the local market. This helps them know what to expect moving forward. Is it a buyers’ market or a sellers’ market? Is inventory low, creating the opportunity for multiple offer situations? The answers to these questions can help to keep your buyers informed and prevent surprises.
It can also be helpful to provide your buyers with a sheet containing answers to some common questions, in case they think of questions after your meeting. Lastly, you’ll want to include some time at this meeting for your buyers to speak with a mortgage representative to ensure they are qualified and ready to make an offer should they find a home they love. Most mortgage representatives can get a good idea of someone’s qualifications over the phone in 15 minutes or so.
These are just some strategies to get you over the “salesperson stigma” and help you build your value. The bottom line, though, is that there is nothing wrong with being a salesperson — and maybe, just maybe, if you change your negative perceptions of what you do to positive ones, others will follow suit.
Ross Malpere has been working in the real estate industry since 2010. He lists and sells homes in northern New Jersey.