Last week as I was walking home from my downtown workspace, I stopped in front of the local antique shop. There was an antique mirror on the sidewalk in front that caught my eye. The store is a small family-owned business, and they always put some furniture and unique items out on the sidewalk so that people passing by might see it. It’s a simple marketing technique.

  • Sometimes we forget that selling is a huge part of our job.
  • Our homesellers expect us to sell, sell, sell. And our buyers are looking for help making a huge life decision.
  • We have to go above and beyond for our clients -- they expect and deserve it.

Last week as I was walking home from my downtown workspace, I stopped in front of the local antique shop. There was an antique mirror on the sidewalk in front that caught my eye.

The store is a small family-owned business, and they always put some furniture and unique items out on the sidewalk so that people passing by might see it. It’s a simple marketing technique.

There wasn’t any price on the mirror, and I know the owners of the store, so I just yelled in the door, “Wally, how much do you want for the mirror on the sidewalk?”

He came out of the store and told me that I would not find a mirror like that anyplace else. He started to explain to me the features and benefits of the mirror and how wonderful it is.

Using the hard sell

He quoted me a price that was pretty steep. I told him that was too much. I guess if I had loved the mirror, I would have paid what he was asking. I could buy a similar new mirror for about one-third of his price.

I tried to get him to come down a little. I was willing to overpay, but I couldn’t get him to drop his asking price so that it wouldn’t be completely ridiculous.

Most items on the sidewalk in front of the store have price tags on them, but when the owner wants to “sell” something, he puts it out there without a price tag. He wants people to ask for a price so that he can talk to them and give his pitch.

When I said no to the mirror, I was more or less told that I would regret my decision one day.

So far, that day hasn’t come. I rarely have any regrets.

I smiled as I walked away. I respect salespeople even when they are using the hard sell. I respect Wally because he comes out on the sidewalk and talks to me.

Wally understands sales and marketing better than most people do, and he isn’t afraid to go outside and pitch his product. The clerks who work in his store just put stuff on the sidewalk in the morning with price tags on and usually bring it back in again when they close up in the evening.

I went and checked the next day, and the mirror was gone. I said no and Wally said, next customer. The person who bought the mirror might not have paid full price for it; but it sold, and I strongly suspect someone walking down the street that day bought it.

The customer might not have even known he or she needed it or wanted it at first sight. I know that has happened to me on that very same sidewalk.

Remember to sell

Sometimes we forget that part of our job as a real estate agent is to sell. In fact, it is a big part of the job. Sometimes it isn’t enough to market a listing with pictures on the Internet and printed brochures. We can do more than a “for sale” sign and open house, and our clients expect more from us.

Our homeowner clients expect us to sell, sell, sell. Our clients who are looking to buy a home don’t want us to sell them anything. They want us to help them choose, which isn’t quite the same, but it’s still called selling.

It has been a long time since I have read anything about how to sell a house. It’s unusual to make it through an entire day without reading something about marketing, social media or something called “mobile” that seems to be more of a way to consume content than a separate marketing channel.

There is plenty to read about lead capture and how to set up a drip email campaign. That is all important, but it isn’t much fun. Selling houses is a lot more fun, and sometimes I get so busy with other parts of my job that I forget about the whole house-selling thing.

All agents should receive some sales training, but I don’t think they do. When I started as an agent, my sales training was about how to sell the brand.

When I call other agents about a house, they rarely pitch it to me. But agents should pitch — because if I am sold on it, I can sell it to my clients.

Maybe we all need to get out on the sidewalk and pitch our merchandise. Not literally, of course, because it probably wouldn’t work, but when someone asks about a listing, we should have a pitch ready. Isn’t that what a good salesperson does?

Teresa Boardman is a Realtor and broker/owner of Boardman Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is also the founder of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com.

Email Teresa Boardman.

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