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Pulse is a recurring column where we ask for readers’ takes on varying topics in a weekly survey and report back with our findings.

As Sitzer | Burnett began to unfold last week, one of the first items up for discussion was the advice offered by coaches, training systems and even best-selling books. Plaintiffs’ attorneys looked to commission scripts and objection handlers as proof of an organized conspiracy to fix compensation throughout the industry.

Things change over time, and we sometimes outgrow the advice we received from brokers, trainers and mentors early in our careers. That made us wonder about the old-school advice that seems particularly outdated now.


Do you cringe at some of the scripts you were taught to use when you first started out? Do you no longer cold call or door knock? Do you now reject the dog-eat-dog competitive mentality you used to embrace? We asked about those outdated ideas and boy, did you have thoughts:

  • Honestly, much of it was never good advice. Why would a client care what an agent’s split is? Why can’t a listing agent charge less and pay out more? I have been doing that for years. Scripts might not be the best way to handle objections. I like to listen to the prospect and I have a repertoire of answers to most any question, concern or objection. More than anything, people want us to listen to them and they want to feel heard. 
  • I was told straight out of the gate many years ago by an assigned “mentor” to overprice a property (my own) and then start discounting if I didn’t get any bites. The pricing was not supported by comps whatsoever. The mentor also would not allow me to list my own property and took the listing for him/herself to boost his/her numbers. I can only feel gratitude that with the bad advice playing out in this transaction the way it did (extended time on the market, reduced commission, being told to transfer keys before wire confirmed), that the mentor got the credit for that as well. Beyond that, I have never used a script in any kind of sales. For me, they are inauthentic, and try as I might, I lack the ability to polish them. I am the odd person out in many real estate conversations due to adapting each approach to the transaction at hand. Is it work? Yes. We are now seeing on a national level that some consumers are sick of boilerplate approaches and are having a response. 
  • Explaining to sellers how buyer’s agents won’t show their house if the commission is less than the house next door
  • It costs you [the buyer] nothing because the seller pays the commission 
  • I don’t cold call or door knock. I’ve always thought it unprofessional and now, since people no longer answer their phone or the door, it’s a waste of time. 
  • Personally accompanying buyers for their mortgage pre-approval appointments and driving your buyers is extinct now, isn’t it? 
  • Calling from the phone book
  • A large majority of scripts from when I started seemed aggressive and near-abusive back when I started, nearly 20 years ago. When the boom-went-bust, many offices, including the one I worked at, really bought into those scripts in a scramble to recapture what was “lost.” (Back when companies still cared to help agents get business.) [NAME REDACTED] was the most extreme. We had in-office people from his company come in, and one older agent during role play told them he would toss them out on their … ear if they came into his home talking like that. The agent was no wilting flower, he was a hunter, an old-school kind of guy … but he thought the scripts were way too aggressive, and that was over 15 years ago. Now? 
  • Outdated: Buyers are liars. True: Buyers are often confused by the options, taking advice from non-real estate family members or friends, or unrealistic about homeownership. They need the right information, support and guidance to help them determine their real estate needs, goals and timelines. 
  • Get an autodialer and cold call the neighborhood.
  • You have to have 3 percent in the MLS to get showings from buyers’ agents 
  • Door knocking
  • I was taught to reach out to FSBO properties, call expired listings, and door knock. Nine years later, I’ve never done any of these things and my business is thriving. It’s all about building relationships and greatly exceeding your client’s expectations during each and every transaction. My clients often say “I didn’t realize Realtors did that.” The reality is that they don’t, which is why they refer me to their family, friends and colleagues. 
  • Making 200-300 cold calls a day. There has to be a better use of time.

What did we miss? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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