I was sitting in my Tucson hotel room over the weekend, reading through the complimentary Tucson Lifestyle Magazine generously provided by my hosts at the Tucson Festival of Books where I spoke on Saturday. An ad catches my eye. Oh, there's nothing special about the ad, but it got me thinking (doncha' love that?). It's an advertisement for a local financial planner who promises help me manage my wealth using her "effective strategy for helping create peace of mind through a focused personal and business investing structure."
So, I'm wondering... if I were to stumble into her office, present my portfolio and ask for her advice, what do you think the chances are that she'd try to sell me something? I'm guessing it's about a 100%. And that's fine, as long as I know that's what she's up to. That I know she's a salesperson first and foremost with a product to sell, and not someone committed to looking out for my best interests.
Reminds me of an experience I had more than 20 years ago at a health club in Springfield, Missouri. I was in my senior year of college. I wandered into a local health club and inquired about getting a membership for the remaining months prior to my graduation. The "Sales Consultant" I was assigned to proceeded to push me toward a 3-year membership, even though I made it quite clear I was LEAVING the AREA in May. "No problem," she said, "You can use the membership at other clubs around the country!" Did I know where I was moving after graduation so we could determine if there was a club nearby? Nope. But she pushed and pushed and darned if I didn't buy a 3-year membership!
Was this health club sales-babe acting as a salesperson or a consultant? Obviously, she was a salesperson. And she did her job as such.
So, this brings me to our industry. Are we salespeople? Or consultants?
Well, that depends!
- You're a consultant if you help your buyer decide if now is the right time, for him, to buy a home.
- You're a salesperson if you search for strategies to push him off the fence.
- You're a consultant if you help your seller determine if selling makes sense, for him, right now, in today's market and given his personal situation.
- You're a salesperson if you use memorized closing scripts to get him to sign on the line that is dotted.
- You're a consultant if you commit to finding your buyer the right house, in the right location, at the right price (even if it takes awhile).
- You're a salesperson if you focus on strategies to get him to buy as quickly as possible.
- You're a consultant if your listing interview with an expired listing prospect includes an in-depth exploration of why his house didn't sell the first time.
- You're a salesperson if your listing presentation simply describes your 32-point marketing plan.
Not saying there's anything wrong with being a salesperson (okay, well, I guess I sorta am). Just don't claim to be a consultant if your primary goal is get the sale!