While you probably don’t want to listen to those spammy sales calls, they can teach you something about what to do, and what not to do, in your business.

If you’re a real estate agent, you’re used to getting emails, texts and calls from strangers. Sometimes, it’s about one of your listings, but other times, it’s just another unwanted solicitation from someone taking advantage of easy access to your contact information.

Even though these inquiries can seem like an intrusion on your otherwise peaceful existence, they can teach us important lessons — if we’re open to them. Like the solicitors we often regard with disdain, we as agents are also salespeople. So, in an effort to consistently improve our sales process, let’s learn by observing what not to do.

Though all spam messages are a nuisance, can we crown one King of the Pests? Hopefully, you can relate to these scenarios, have a good laugh and use these lessons to improve your sales pitch.

Spam message 1: Health insurance quotes

You’ve probably seen this one at least a dozen times. Someone sends you a text saying they “partner” with members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to provide discounted healthcare coverage and that they want to send you a quote. If by “partner” they mean namedropping NAR without their knowledge or consent, then yes, the partnership is alive and well.

The saddest part about this is that at one point, I actually was looking to purchase health insurance, and when I replied to two different reps that I wanted a quote, I never got a reply. My verdict? Don’t bother responding to these. Instead, go on NAR’s website and get a quote from one of their actual partners.

Key lesson: If you contact prospects with a proposition, be genuine and make sure you’re prepared to follow up in a timely manner. For example, if you’re sending emails offering a home valuation estimate, keep your prospects in the loop and deliver on your promise. Cold texting won’t have a great response rate, so, unlike the health insurance agents, be professional and capitalize on every opportunity by doing exactly what you say you’re going to do.

Spam message 2: Security systems for your buyer clients

You just closed a deal representing your buyer clients when you get a call from some home security company. You can tell right off the bat something’s wrong because they’re way too excited about a home security system. Gleefully, they inform you that your client’s home already has the equipment installed and that they just need to reactivate the system.

This one really irks me because it’s not our job as agents to sell their security system (that’s assuming they really are a representative of the company and not some sort of impostor or scam artist). If a client wants to activate a security system, they’re perfectly capable of making that decision themselves Back off, ADT, we’ve got enough work to do as it is.

Key lesson: Always respect your client’s privacy and avoid the hard sell. It’s okay to cold call and shoot your shot; just remember to focus on what’s best for your prospect and client, and communicate with them clearly and directly. Home security companies might try and sell prospects by using agents as their intermediaries, but your clients will appreciate working with you directly and knowing that you have their best interests at heart.

Spam message 3: Referral ‘partners’ in other cities

“Hey, Jonathan! Can you handle a high volume of leads? We’re looking for a partner in your city to send leads to. It doesn’t cost you anything upfront, you just pay 20 percent at closing!”

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. These so-called referral partners butter you up by saying they’re looking to work with top agents, claiming they have more leads than they can handle, and that they’ll give them to you in exchange for a cut of the commission at closing.

While some of these leads could, in theory, turn into a successful closing, I’m highly skeptical that anyone with an abundance of high-quality leads would just entrust them to some random agent they found on the internet. In my experience, these inquiries are either complete scams, they’re not telling you the whole story, or they don’t even answer if you call or text them back. Regardless, I’ve grown quite frustrated with these phony referral partners and personally don’t deign to respond anymore.

Key lesson: Quality leads are extremely valuable, so if you’re referring a buyer or seller to another agent, consider the fact that the client will probably associate you with your referral partner. It’s perfectly fine to charge a referral fee, but don’t just throw your client at the first paying agent who comes your way.

Which one of these pesky solicitations gets your goat? Vote below in the comments.

Jonathan Pressman is a Realtor who writes on a wide range of financial topics. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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