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Everyone Loves to Hate a Salesman

real estate salesmanI’m no genius, but you know it, I know it, the whole world knows it – we don’t want to be sold. Shysters, con men, snake oil salesmen, used car dealers and real estate agents – all they want is a quick buck at the other’s expense. They should all be lawyers!

I walk into Nordstroms looking for a Tommy Bahama shirt (for my next listing presentation), every four feet some salesperson asks me if I need help. I’m not tripping over my shoelaces, I’m not using my walker – what kind of help would I need? Thank god for the Internet where I can surf anonymously, live virtually, shop in a pest free environment, and avoid the pitfalls of human interaction.

I often wonder, what’s so difficult with saying – sure, what can you tell me about…

What holds us back? Where’s the threat with engaging someone paid to make our life easier? Vehix, Zillow, Expedia, Priceline and a great many more are attempting to make our lives easier. What’s a riot to me is that removing all human interaction from the process is one of their biggest selling points.

real estate spamerI think it is basically about boundaries and confrontation. Many people have difficulties setting boundaries, they find it difficult to say no, so they want to avoid situations where they have to. Or they feel that they will have to explain their decision to some complete stranger. Who wants to do that? Or they may have to get confrontational to get some rabid salesperson out of their space. Of course, there’s always the fear of being on “THE MAILING LIST,” that infuriating source of endless spam and annoyance.

Okay, you get the feel of it, here’s my point – I don’t know of any professional real estate agent that wants to hassle or annoy people. It’s bad for business. It creates ill will. If a real estate agent is bugging you or spamming you, call their broker and ask the broker to please call off the dogs.

You’re the client (or potential client) YOU’VE GOT the POWER – use it! Use it effectively. Don’t be anonymous, be the driving force in the process.

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Buying a house is a complex process. Look at it as a series of steps toward an end. Gathering information and choosing an agent are important steps. Before I got into real estate, I purchased and sold a half dozen houses as I moved the family around the country. Every Realtor I worked with was a treasure trove of good information, advice and assistance. Why, because that is what I wanted – I GOT TO CHOOSE. You do to.

You don’t have to be a genius to choose a good real estate agent, but it does involve human interaction.

Post by John Harper

Written By

Writer for national real estate opinion column, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.



  1. Lani Anglin

    October 11, 2007 at 1:14 am

    John, you make some great points (and an awesome debut by the way). The fear of being spammed or oversold is founded on the reality that so MANY people in any form of sales behave in a non-human spammy way.

    Real estate isn’t exempt from this but for those who embrace the Web 2.0 philosophy of “be yourself” (be it online or in person) will demystify the stigma of being used car salespeople. As my husband said in conversation about your article, he hasn’t PERSONALLY been treated like a used car salesperson, but we witness it primarily online. Stupid spammers- thanks a lot. 🙂

  2. Benn Rosales

    October 11, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Just to clean up my comment to Lani- Never in my career has someone looked at me and said ‘ew, you’re a realtor?” the way they say “ew, you’re a used car saleman?” I do not believe that is the perception of the profession, but I do believe it is a perception that is being spewed by disrupters. The political style attacks waged by would-be revolutionaries have polarized the profession, and it’s unfortunate. I for one am proud of what I do, and anyone who knows me knows I am a salesman last. I’m a facilitator, I’m a friend, and I’m a trusted advisor. My clients respect me and refer me to their friends, that is the proof. No car dealership can tout what I just said. So, in closing, I will say this, I am a closer. That’s what I do.

  3. Mad Gringo

    October 12, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    Did you get the shirt?

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