– – – If you think this is a ridiculous and wild statement, then you are definitely the person who stands to gain the most from reading what follows. If you somehow relate to the statement then you probably will recognize some of these points.
I’ve written many times describing what selling is really about along with recommended and relevant tips for success. This post is geared specifically for those who sell Real Estate and though I focus on Residential, the principles are true for Commercial as well.
The definition is important so we’re all on the same page – throughout this discussion.
My Definition of “selling”
Selling is the act of assisting a potential buyer to clearly understand and articulate all the critical needs to be filled by the proposed transaction and then, while acting as a trusted advisor, guiding her to the best possible fulfillment of those needs and providing the opportunity to close.
Please note that I do not use words like “convince” and I also do not say “…guiding her to purchase the service or product you are offering.” Also, in Real Estate, there are ethical dilemmas that arise – especially when you are representing the seller directly to the buyer – however, I can’t possibly cover every eventuality in this one post so please extrapolate the principals to your specific situation.
On that note let’s also stipulate that while you have a property to offer, you are definitely not selling a product. If you were, then the customer could easily do almost all your work by herself; she could get description, specs, and pricing from a list of available properties and she could even tour the location without you.
No, you are offering a service – a very specialized service that takes into account your extensive knowledge of a database of alternatives along with your experience of market realities as to pricing, the quality of the neighborhood, and capped off by your knowledge of competitive pricing in the neighborhood. The customer relies on you for your advice, guidance, negotiation skills, and truth-telling. You already know the truths that include the size of this transaction and its relative importance in the buyer’s life as well as the emotional element that often trumps the rational.
Selling is part of a complete process commonly called “Business Development.” The complete BD process includes demand generation, qualifying opportunities (so you don’t waste your time), marketing, presentation, negotiation, closing, long-term relationship building, and much more. Yes, relationship is critical – especially in real estate where there may be a long time before the next transaction. The relationship will serve in the first transaction and will also set the stage for the customer to come back to you while simultaneously recommending you to others. Though we are dealing here with the customer interaction and your ability to impact the potential close of the deal, I am not ignoring the importance of closing. I am however suggesting that closing will never happen if the relationship isn’t one of trust and if the process isn’t pleasant and easy. (Think “fun.”)
“You can’t sell anything to anyone – not really.”
Yes, I suppose there are people who are infamous for being able to sell stuff and that implies the power to convince someone and maybe even to push them towards buying. And, if that’s what happens there will inevitably be a negative fallout. Remorse for our buyer at having made a bad and wrong decision or even happiness at the result (the house that was purchased), but total dissatisfaction with the process and how it made her feel.
On the other hand if you see your job as a partner with the buyer, taking on the task of guide, operating in a total trusted advisor role (being willing to say: “no, this deal is not for you”), and generally filling the client’s needs with the resources at hand you will be seen as a successful salesperson HOWEVER, no one will think you “sold” anything. It’s Win-Win and a total partnership that’s worth repeating and worth recommending to others.
Please add comments and questions based on your own experiences…