Let’s Reframe it.

Sales get a rap of being slimy, sleazy, pushy, coercive, and manipulative. And since we are known as salespeople, this can have a pretty negative effect on our self-esteem and influence how we interact with people.  

The negativity associate with sales comes from a few bad apples who use sales techniques to gain financial advantage at the expense of their customers and clients. Think used car sales. For every slime ball who sells a nice little old lady a known lemon, many salespeople are selling good quality used cars to consumers who appreciate having a means of transportation without paying the dealership premium.  

Real estate is the same. A few bad apples – but the problem we have in real estate is that it’s systemic. Most training programs in our industry teach on the old school approach designed to benefit the sales agent with little regard for the customer’s best interest. This causes one of two things to happen. 1. Agents trained in these methodologies practice real estate in an unethical and coercive way as they have been taught, or 2. Agents are so conflicted with these methodologies that they avoid anything that even resembles sales.

And, we are in sales, so avoiding sales conversations doesn’t produce great results. We need to change the way we see sales and gain the critical skills to help people make great decisions about whom they hire and how they transact in real estate. Let’s Reframe Sales

By definition,

A sale is a transaction between two or more parties, typically a buyer and a seller, in which goods or services are exchanged for money or other assets.

According to this, there are two distinct sales taking place in any real estate transaction. One between the sales agent and the buyer or seller. The agent provides service and expertise to the buyer or seller and gets paid a commission if successful. The other sale is between the buyer and seller when a property is traded. Without a sale, neither of these two things could happen. In fact, nothing can happen until a sale has occurred.  

I’m running a beta testing group for a new sales training program that I am developing. I want to share some of the things I learn during this 8-week course development. Perhaps we can all learn something new about how to reach the people we serve more effectively.

This first week, I asked the group, “What is the first thing that comes to mind when I say the word sales?”. The answers were all things like pushy, smarmy, slimy, used cars, and worse. Every single person felt something very negative.    

I then asked the group, “What is Sales?” and the answers were remarkably different. I heard things like service, connecting, helping, exchange, agreement, and other positive things. Every response to the first question was very negative, and every response to the second was very positive. There were no exceptions. This is a huge disconnect.   

Sales are an essential and intrinsic part of the process of trading in real estate. The attitude that we hold and that of our prospective clients potentially interferes with our ability to do a great job.

Trust plays a huge role. Many people have a perception that REALTORS® are not to be trusted.  (See the CREA 2017 Survey results – unpublished).  Trust is a key element to a successful sale. Most agents work to defend themselves against this perception instead of doing the critical work of earning the person’s trust. You can’t earn trust by telling people to trust you. That adds to their skepticism. Earning trust, particularly when operating from a trust deficit, is complex.   

Sales isn’t a dirty word. Before anything can happen, a sale must occur. New hospital wings get built because someone sold a philanthropist on the idea.  

What if we owned that our job is to help people make important decisions and that this can’t happen until we sell them on our ability to sell. I believe that we would be more trusted and that we would attract a lot more business.  

The number one thing that the consumer wants from REALTORS® is for them to be honest and trustworthy. (NAR 2020). What if it’s as simple as being that?