When Anthony Lamacchia warns never to start a conversation with a prospective client by asking these two “absolutely awful” questions, take notice — no matter how unorthodox his advice may seem.

In 2018, agents with Lamacchia Realty in Massachusetts closed $467 million in transactions.

This year, the 187-agent strong independent brokerage is on track to ink $700 million.

So when Anthony Lamacchia, the firm’s chief executive, warns never to start a conversation with a prospective client by asking these two “absolutely awful” questions, take notice — no matter how unorthodox his advice may seem.

As a hands-on CEO and owner of a training company, Lamacchia’s agents, on average, record a 318-percent spike in sales growth 12 months after signing on with his brokerage, he said during an Inman Connect New York 2019 session Monday in New York City.

So what are those “absolutely awful” questions?

  1. Are you pre-approved?
  2. Do you have a Realtor?

“These are absolutely awful questions,” Lamacchia said to several scoffs from attendees inside the Westside Ballroom on the fifth floor of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. “You may as well not have called them back.”

“My message to you is, when people are inquiring about a property, they don’t need to be interrogated,” Lamacchia said. “Their financial well-being in the first two minutes that you talk to them on the phone is really none of your business. It took me awhile to wrap my head around that, but when I did, our conversions went up within a week.”

“Talking to them about pre-approval is something you do a little bit further down the line,” he added. “Not in the first two minutes on the phone.”

Anthony Lamacchia

As for asking a potential client if he or she has a Realtor, save it for a little later. Lamacchia warns that by asking a potential client to commit so early in the relationship, the agent risks acting like an overeager sales clerk at a department store, pushing away customers even as he or she works to retain them.

“This is another massive training flaw — and there are broker-owners who tell agents to do this!” Lamacchia told the audience. “I did it! Until I changed! And when I changed, conversion went up.”

“When an agent asks if you have a Realtor, all that does is make a buyer say, ‘Yes,’ because who doesn’t know a Realtor, especially right now?” Lamacchia added. “Everybody does. So it’s pushing people away.”

Email Jotham Sederstrom

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