It's Ok To Hire Me, But I Won't Let You USE Me

Real Estate Agent with Howard Hanna Real Estate Services

Originally posted at Cleveland Real Estate Blog


You Can Hire Me, But Don't USE me

Hey consumers, it's time for a semi-stern lecture on business etiquette.

I have encountered thousands of consumers over the last 20 years and have a good sense of how most of you operate. While many of you do have decent manners, a few of you could use a refresher course. Today, I wanted to share some things about those of us in sales so that we can all have a better understanding of each other.

Let's start with a typical scenario that I encounter on a regular basis: someone contacting me for help.

Dan, I am looking to buy/sell a home and noticed your website/blog. You seem to be very knowledgeable about the local market and I wanted to get your insight.

Initially, I'm pretty excited. Someone saw us on line and decided to contact us.  While a majority of these people have good intentions, and many do hire us, a few are looking for a free ride.  These folks have already committed to another agent and have no intention of hiring us, yet they are looking for specific market information or my advice. A few people that have contacted me in the past were actually in the middle of contract negotiations.

Now, do I think these people are malicious and looking to purposefully waste my time? No I do not.  I think they simply don't "get it".  Most of these these people have probably never been in sales and don't fully comprehend how things work in our world. They don't understand that I only get paid when I sell something. For all these people know, I work on salary so taking my time to help them is no big deal. In fact, I have had clients who originally thought I was on a salary until I explained my actual compensation to them. 

Some people may be thinking, "why not just be nice and help these folks and maybe they'll refer someone to you some day."  My response is that I am certainly cordial and often very friendly to these people, but I am not willing to give up my knowledge for free to someone who isn't a client. Not to sound cocky or arrogant, but I am very accurate when it comes to values and pricing. In fact, my wife has even been known to call me "Rainman" on occasion.  I am confident that we bring tremendous value to the table.

Please don't misunderstand me though. We are always appreciative of meeting new clients, just those who are genuinely considering working with us. In fact, once someone actually commits to us, we will run through walls to get them what they want. However, if you have no intention of ever hiring us, please don't call or email and expect to receive my advice, and more importantly, my comprehensive market knowledge.

Our philosophy is built on mutual respect for one another and one-way relationships simply don't fly.


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Here are other articles of interest that you may enjoy:

Is Your Message Being Tuned Out?

Real Estate Agents Are Not Just Door Openers

Is Zillow Really Accurate? Take A Look For Yourself

The Dangers Of Selling Real Estate

How To Take A Picture Of Your Computer Screen


About The Authors:

Dan and Amy Schuman service the Cleveland, Oh metropolitan area and specialize in Cleveland luxury homes and working with buyers relocating to Cleveland.



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It's Ok To Hire Me, But I Won't Let You USE Me is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent. ©March, 2011


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Larry Bettag
Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001 - Saint Charles, IL
Vice-President of National Production

I'm with you.  Use me, but don't USE ME!  Love your post!  I"m with ya!

Mar 22, 2011 02:03 AM #1
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Dan, One of my pet peeves, being called out under the pretense of interviewing for a listing, and realizing later we were ONLY there to give advice they could use with Sister Sue Ellen of Co-worker Colleen who is licensed but not familiar enough with the are to do the job right.

Mar 22, 2011 02:05 AM #2
Dianne Goode
Raleigh Cary Realty - Raleigh, NC

My question is, how can you tell whether you have a potential client on the end of the line or other side of the email, or someone looking to take advantage?  When we put ourselves out there on the World Wide Web, we are offering our services and information FREE, NO OBLIGATION.  I wonder if we have the right to be grumpy when people take us up on our offer? 

Mar 22, 2011 02:09 AM #3
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

It is a bummer when we find out we have been used but I often don't know with the first phone call or e-mail that it's happening to me LOL

Mar 22, 2011 02:23 AM #4
Dan and Amy Schuman
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Solon, OH
Luxury Home Specialists

Larry - Thanks for commenting. Glad to hear we're on the same page.

Bliz - We have had that happen one too many times. We give enough information away during listing appointments for a sellers to get a good feel for what we are all about but save the vital stats for after they hire us.

Dianne - Please don't misinterpret my message, we should all be grateful and appreciative when someone contacts us.  I think you make a good point and we have to assume that all prospects that contact us are potential clients and should treat them accordingly. My real problem is when, after speaking to a prospect, they have already identified themselves as being committed to working with someone else. At that point, they already have a relationship and I don't personally feel it's right for me to #1, step on another agents toes, and #2, give them my market knowledge. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, we appreciate it.

Barb - You're right, we don't know and have to assume they are genuinely contacting us with the intent of possibly hiring us. This is fair game, we put ourselves our there and people contact us. It's really the very small percentage of folks who I think take advantage, but it's our right to hold back a little bit until we get a commitment. Hope all is well.

Mar 22, 2011 03:27 AM #5
Dick & Sandy Beals
Wilmington Real Estate 4U Wilmington, NC - Wilmington, NC

Hi Dan, I agree, to the point of being cordial to consumers already have chosen someone else to work with. They tell they are working with another REALTOR, I suggest nicely they need to call him or her.  I always ask upfront if they are working with some one else, if they lie then I'm at fault, however I'm a pretty good judge of character and can sniff them out.  That is why I don't cut commissions, as it does help to make up for those that have not been upfront with me.

Dick Beals

Mar 22, 2011 04:38 AM #6
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Dan--Great post.  I will suggest it for Feature.  You & a few others here at AR are on the same page today.  I have read a few similar posts.  Better to get rid of the 'time wasters' now rather than later.

Mar 22, 2011 05:18 AM #7
Dan and Amy Schuman
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Solon, OH
Luxury Home Specialists

Dick - Nice to hear from you and thank you for your contribution to the discussion. I always wonder why someone who is already working with someone would contact us. Perhaps they aren't being serviced properly.

Mary - Thank you as always for your comments and support of our blog.

Mar 23, 2011 01:57 AM #8
Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind
KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate - Tucson, AZ

HI RAINMAN DAN!  Someone beat me to a suggest for feature!  I'm nice - but not free!  Great post!!

Mar 24, 2011 10:18 AM #9
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