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Are you A-1 or Heinz 57?

As agents we have a responsibility to help our clients

I’m all for doing whatever I can to help my clients not just purchase or sell a home, but live a better life. I get asked questions all the time in fields out of my area of expertise that I do my best to answer or help my clients (and friends) find the answers to. As agents we build networks of people we can refer to, people we can call with questions, and people we trust to do the best for the people that have placed their trust in us. We’re a loving, caring, giving bunch overall (sure, we have our moments). We want to see people happy, we want them to succeed, we want what’s best for them. So why is it that we keep diluting ourselves?

I am still what I consider a fairly new agent (I’ll be saying that when I’m 50) and I’ve heard stories about it before, but now its up close and personal. Its happening in my office and around town. As the real estate market squeezed some agents out of the business, some stayed, but elected to try new opportunities to meet their bottom line. I have seen several recent “bottom line fluffers” including everything from selling e-books to multi-level marketing schemes, selling trinkets to selling health-care savings programs (not insurance, but I will use it for lack of a better word). While I see the need for some of these products in the world, I don’t see the need for them in real estate. We come across many people in the course of our business, but by selling them things outside of our realm (real estate) are we not cheapening our profession? Are we not telling the consumer that we’re not good enough to do real estate full time, but while we have their ear could we pitch them the latest Amway or Avon products so that we can “earn a buck.” I find it distasteful and a sore on the industry. Maybe I’m just too naive and green to realize we all have to worry about the bottom line (I know I worry about mine all the time), but at what cost? An industry that’s already looked down upon now hawking wares out of their cars as they tell a seller they can get their home sold, no problem. Do we switch name tags when we sell the other products or do we reel people in with low cost health care and then get them to buy a house? Should I change the car magnets to my 1-800-GET-SLIM (I hope that’s not a real company, I just made it up) ones as I head to my next listing presentation?

Where do we draw the line?

Maybe its my rock ‘n roll life that causes me to think like this, I don’t know (perhaps that’s why I can’t wait to read the comments and am typing like a madman to get this post completed). I suffered through long droughts in the music industry. Try taking five years to record an album with little income, even though you had just come off two of the best years of your life financially. Its not easy, I know first hand. I made sacrifices, I did what I could, but I didn’t cheapen what I did by trying to hawk Avon to our fans. For lack of a better way to put it, I suffered for my art (I hate that phrase). I had a passion and I stuck to it. Come hell or high water, I was going to succeed at what I did. Real estate isn’t easy to break into. Its a tough, competitive world that you have to make a name in before you become the superstar you want to be and obtain the level of business you desire.

So which are you, A-1 or Heinz 57?

Are you off in 57 different directions or are you the king of steak sauces? Are you A-1 with your clients? Are you focused and defined or are you selling beans, pickles, and ketchup? I know when I’m sitting in front of a Texas sized Ribeye which one I’ll reach for. And your potential and current clients will too.

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(The irony of the fact that Heinz is a very successful company is not lost on me, please bear with me – and hey, its my post anyway, I’ll make as many weird comparisons as I want.) I do want to note that I am a firm believer in the fact that everyone can run their business how they want and if you choose to do this, that’s your call. For me, I just don’t get it and see it as a stigma that we will have to battle down the road.

photos courtesy of BlueEyedA73 and MrNoded

Written By

Matt is a former PA-based rockstar turned real estate agent with RE/MAX Access in San Antonio, TX. He was asked to join AgentGenius to provide a look at the successes and trials of being a newer agent. His consumer-based outlook on the real estate business has helped him see things from both sides. He is married to a wonderful woman from England who makes him use the word "rubbish."



  1. Clint Miller

    January 7, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I guess Im a Heinz 57 kinda guy when it comes to the things I sell.

    But, Im A-1 in service!

    I prefer horseradish with my steak.

  2. Marvin Jensen

    January 7, 2009 at 2:42 pm


    Good first post. I am definitely A-1. I think you have a valid point. It is too easy to get AND keep a Real Estate license these days, because if this, we get people trying to mix and match professions. Let’s start to take our PROFESSION back in 2009 and start with strengthening the requirements to be in Real Estate and become a Realtor!

  3. Ken Brand

    January 7, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Booo-Yawwww. I’m with you. I know, I’ve seen, I’ve been tempted too.

    When it’s tough and that little voice whispers, “hey, you can do both or all three, it won’t dilute you”, man you want to go for it. When you’re hot thirsty, you’ll drink almost anything. Don’t do it, as you say, “It’s not the path to deep, long term success.”

    Take every second you would have invested in the other and work your ass off on what you do best. I don’t mean work sorta hard, or think about, I mean work smart and hard on the thing you do best. The results will come.

    A-1 in concentrated, refined, 120 Proof, Mojito style.

    Thanks the confirmation.

  4. Matt Stigliano

    January 7, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Clint – Its not so much selling other things that gets me, its the using one to sell the other. Maybe it works well in some professions, but I think it looks bad on ours. I just feel like we wind up looking desperate. I know a lot of agents who have had to get part time jobs and such, which I’d prefer not to do, but I can see where sometimes you have to do things like that in life. Hell, I delivered pizza in a BMW with platinum records on my walls for a few months in a tight spot.

    Marvin – I’d love to see tougher educational requirements (even if it meant I had to go back for some extra classes to keep my license). I have taken more classes than I need so far and my goals for this year include extra credits that aren’t required for my license. P.S. This wasn’t my first post.

    Ken – Have you ever written a book? If so, I want it. Your writing style is so much fun to read. I get those whispers at times, who doesn’t? The key is to push through them and keep working towards the goals. I find when you do take that drink, its usually not all that refreshing. You wind up thirstier and let down. What good is that?

  5. Marvin Jensen

    January 7, 2009 at 10:24 pm


    Oops, sorry, I don’t know why I thought it was your first post.

  6. Jason Crouch

    January 7, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    So I need to give up my Avon territory? Dang.

    Actually, I agree wholeheartedly. I like the phrase “sore on the industry”, by the way. Nice turn of phrase there, buddy.

  7. Thomas Johnson

    January 8, 2009 at 12:41 am

    Let me light the charcoal here. What is the difference between a Realtor/Loan Officer and a Realtor/1-800-GET-SLIM agent? Inquiring minds want to know.

  8. Paula Henry

    January 8, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Matt – I prefer A-1, if I use steak sauce. As real estate goes, still A-1! Not that I don’t believe there may be some who can manage more than one “side job”. If I am a client, I want to know my Realtor is available as my Realtor.

    Thomas – I was never one who believed in acting as both a loan officer and Realtor – so you get no fire from me:)

  9. Matt Stigliano

    January 8, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Marvin – No problem. I was just telling you so you’d read all my other stuff – just being self centered and selfish really. Haha.

    Jason – Yeah Lani made me write the post so she could take over the Avon/Austin Cartel. Watch out! As for the “sore on the industry” phrase…I had typed it and there was another word in my head, but “sore” came out. I went back to correct it and had forgotten the other word. So I read it and liked the sound of it, so I kept it.

    Thomas – I have two opinions on your question and then a final answer. Lender/Realtor is at least in the same genre. 1-800-GET-SLIM/Realtor is like being a vendor of fruits and microchips in the same storefront. It just doesn’t make sense. Now, my final answer is, I don’t believe in the Lender/Realtor combo. I wouldn’t personally do it. There’s a few reasons why. One, I think concentrating on one or the other allows you greater focus on your clients. Two, I think it sets a bad idea in people’s heads (you’re double dipping, you can’t be objective if you loan offer sucks, you are pushing approvals to certain levels because you know what you’re trying to get them into). Whether these perceptions are true or not doesn’t matter. The thought is there and its giving the client the possibility of thinking ill of the industry. It may not happen, but it opens that door. Three, it does open the doors for some “shady” dealings (maybe not against the law, but in magical gray areas).

    Paula – I think there are many capable people who could pull it off and do both jobs well and successfully. I just don’t think its right. I’m not saying a Realtor can’t have a side job, I just see the combining of the two as wrong and demoralizing to the industry. As a client, I would be turned off if as I was signing a Buyer’s Representation Agreement my agent offered me Avon, Amway, a few vacuums, some great cleaning products, health insurance, and a quick diet supplement to solve my weight problems. It would make me instantly distrust them and I’d probably walk away.

    Mmmmm A-1. When I was a child, my mom caught me drinking from the bottle more than once. I was addicted to that stuff.

  10. Missy Caulk

    January 8, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    Matt,I have been approached my every MLM company out there. Like you they want me to cross sell.

    Are you kidding me?

    No time

    No desire

    We do take Shaklee Vitamins and have for 20 years but I have never sold them and never will.

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