A vast majority of the real estate people do not want to even be referred to as “salespeople”. In fact, they pride themselves on being called almost everything but a salesperson. Their business cards are plastered with various letters from the alphabet and you almost never see these people with the title salesperson under their name.
Unfortunately, for the last thirty to forty years, we’ve allowed “a non-selling” behavior pattern to exist in real estate. The public doesn’t even expect to meet a salesperson anymore, and then when they do, things start to happen quickly … homes get listed, homes get sold and deals are closed. Buyers and sellers are ecstatic because of the results they get, and salespeople because of their ability to prospect, build a predictable and profitable business.
The problem is … as we move closer to a larger, more dominant industry in the U.S., and a consumer base who is becoming more knowledgeable, the two groups are moving farther apart rather than closer together. Why is this happening?
In real estate we have a strong core of people who are referred to as “traditionalists”. They claim they are holding on every minute to the “traditional” ways of selling real estate. These quote and unquote traditionalists are scared to death of this wild bunch of crazy salespeople who are invading their old-fashioned, unproductive, non-profitable industry. What fascinates me the most, is that if you go to any era of the real estate industry there were always a group of real estate people who treated this business like a business, and went out everyday and acted like salespeople … they prospected.
The traditionalists seem to forget that we have an industry built on hard-working salespeople who prospected every day. The traditionalists also seem to forget that walking around and behaving like a “Realtor” who doesn’t have to be a salesperson, is exactly what leads to low per-person production, low average income, and high-turnover. For years, we’ve been teaching the real estate industry that it’s okay to be a salesperson. It’s okay to go out and actively seek new business … it’s okay to go out and be aggressive and look for buyers and sellers … it’s okay to prospect.
The traditionalists never really think about the sales process from the perspective of the consumers; the people who buy and sell real estate. Here’s an interesting angle for those of you who are involved in traditional thinking… in relationship to selling real estate.
A seller lists his home for sale and in his mind he believes he’s listed his home with a salesperson whose only intention… is to go out and actively behave like a salesperson, and try to get the home sold.
It seems like common sense doesn’t it? Yet, we know that when a traditional Realtor lists a home for sale they are in most cases, doing just the opposite of what a professional salesperson would do … that is prospect to try to find a buyer for the listing.
What does the traditionalist do? Well, they throw it in MLS … today they even put it on the Internet (Wow, isn’t that exciting!) … they hold an open house … they put together a flyer … and, in some cases, they run an ad in the newspaper. My, aren’t these aggressive ways of getting a home sold in the year 2012?!
What does a real salesperson do? They are also going to put it in MLS and throw it on the internet … and, in most cases, they’ll have a flyer made up sitting in the house which will assist the traditional agent when showing the property to their buyer. The salesperson will also be prospecting one to three hours per day looking for people who not only want to sell their home, but who would also like to buy their existing listings. This is a much more aggressive form of sales, and one that is proven to work.
Let’s look at a second scenario. A buyer meets a real estate person, and has the intent of buying a house. What does the traditional real estate person do? Shows them property to the tune of fifty to sixty homes… in hopes that they wander across the right property for the buyer, and that the buyer will decide to buy… and in most cases in spite of the agent!
What will a salesperson do in the same case? They will have a mortgage company pre-qualify the buyer so they know exactly how much the buyer can afford to pay… which often tells the salesperson the types of properties they can show. The salesperson then also asks the buyer a long line of pre-qualifying questions regarding motivation and the type of home they want to buy. This information, coupled with the lender pre-qualifying the client, allows the salesperson to narrow the number of homes shown to 3-5, and with good sales skills, allows the buyer to purchase a house immediately…which, by the way, was the buyer’s objective anyway!
As you can see, there are some differences between the traditional real estate salesperson who is holding on to the past, and the salespeople of today.