How NOT to Sell Anything to a Real Estate Professional

Managing Real Estate Broker with Howard Hanna Rand Realty License # 49FA1074963

As a broker with over 60 agents, I am approached fairly often by many in related industries about getting my business for their product or service. They could be mortgage loan officers, lawyers (NY is an attorney state), title people, inspectors, or any other housing resource. I'm often bemused by the way my I am solicited by what are often complete strangers. 

After 20 years in the industry and 10 as an independent broker, it probably is no big secret that I have fostered relationships with industry colleagues in law, finance, inspections, and other sectors of the business. They have earned my friendship, my trust, my good will , and my loyalty. They were with me through the darkest parts of the crash, picked me up, laughed with me, cried with me, and referred me business. They are my "go to" people. Am I open to new relationships? I am, as the firm grows, but there is a right and a wrong way to go about asking for my business.

Here are a few do's and don'ts. 


  • Invite yourself to speak to my team or office 5 minutes after we've been introduced. You didn't earn that kid of access, and quite frankly, being that detached from decorum makes me question your judgement. 
  • Drop in. Just don't. I don't interrupt your work day. 
  • Ask me to display your stuff in my office. Plastic stands with your business cards and brochures imply an endorsement. They can also pile up if I display for everyone who asks, and that crowds out my tried and true relationships. 
  • Have conversations that always culminate in solicitations. This makes me appreciate caller ID. If I get pitched every single time we speak, you get old really fast. 
  • Refuse to take "no" for an answer. I appreciate persistence. I am in sales. I get it. But if I am on the phone with you and you force me to hang up on you because I have to answer a call from a client or team member, that is irksome. And obtuse. And vexatious. Who likes an irksome vex? Nobody, that's who. 
  • Corner me and hijack my time at industry events. Awkward. Rude. Not much upside. 


  • Demonstrate value. Many of the vendors we use were introduced to us on the other side of a transaction or came directly from a client. We kept using them because they performed. 
  • A good job. Excellence is difficult to hide. 
  • Demonstrate thoughtfullness. People that actually remember what we spoke about make a far better impression than those who view anything as I say as their waiting period before they can revisit blathering. 
  • Ask what I need. This is sales 101. Define the need, then deliver a solution. I might not need a home inspector, but you know what? We could use one who speaks spanish fluently. There are many other examples if you pay attention. 


  • Spoof me or call from a spoofed number. Subterfuge is never appreciated, and is borderline harrassment. 
  • Pressure me. As the adage says, people may not recall what you say, but they always remember how you made them feel. Applying pressure or the hard sell has no place in 2015 commerce. 
  • Act entitled. So we rub elbows at quarterly industry gatherings. That doesn't make us best friends. Revisit the do's above.

Notice that not once do I suggest that you buy me lunch or a drink. I can't be bought, and I respect your wallet as much as I hope you'd respect mine. 

Some will disagree with me, and say that you have to ask for business to get business, and nothing ventured, nothing gained. But I think there is a right and wrong way to foster relationships, and much of it is rooted in making the object of your desire feel comfortable and percieve value. That's how I prefer to do business, and that ethos has served my firm well. 

Comments (56)

David & Kirsten Myers
Sold By Myers - Anthem, AZ Real Estate 623-551-1000 - Anthem, AZ
your local Anthem, AZ connection

Good points, J. Philip Faranda.

 One of my favorite "not's" is the phrase, "After only one transaction, it pays for itself!"



Jul 21, 2015 08:55 AM
Debbie Sagorin
Coldwell Banker Realty - Irvine, CA
Marketing Irvine to the Highest Level

Very good, Philip!

Jul 21, 2015 10:10 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Love this post.  I get calls every single day from someone trying to get me to spend money on some program, or software that is poised to make me a Top Agent!  Really?  I thought it was all about working hard and smart!  I've been a Top Agent since 1998 and I didn't use their software or program.  Wrong way to start off. 

Jul 21, 2015 11:44 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Well done Phillip! They have to earn the Know, Like and Trust before I will do business with them.

Jul 21, 2015 11:49 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good evening Phil. I have missed seeing you here. You are one of a kind and I am so looking forward to attending your swearing in as HUD Secretary.

Jul 21, 2015 11:50 AM
Kimo Jarrett
Cyber Properties - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Great post and many interesting comments, yet, I've discovered that regardless of what detours I install, I still get interrupted. The latest are robo calls using local phone numbers, so only after answering the call can I put that number on my auto reject call list. 

Jul 21, 2015 12:03 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Very good points. I had to laugh at the photo you chose - Last winter my son was working in the city where Spam is manufactured, and as a joke, he brought home a variety of flavors I didn't know existed. Garlic Spam is sitting on my pantry shelf right now - one of these days I'll get the nerve to try it! 

Jul 21, 2015 01:13 PM
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

I agree with every point!  In addition, the number of phone calls I receive every day from sales people is overwhelming!  As you listed, Show me the Value!

Jul 21, 2015 02:45 PM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Notice how I am the only one calling you Joe?  And nobody else understands it!

Jul 21, 2015 08:10 PM
Teresa Boardman
Boardman Realty - Saint Paul, MN

I would like to add. Don't call me on my cell phone when I am with clients or any other time. Most days it feels like starting a real esate company or any other business is an invitation to other businesses. 

Jul 21, 2015 10:08 PM
Carolyn Roland- In Delaware and S. Chester County PA
Independent architectural histor'n - Wilmington, DE
Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS

Great list of pet peeve time wasters! Once someone has made a bad impression, I may not remember  exactly how they did it but I do remember to avoid them!

Jul 22, 2015 01:16 AM
Kent Simpson
Realty One Group Mountain Desert - Tucson, AZ
Real Estate Is About People

I'm right there with you on "Demonstrate Value" - but would add "without forcing me to sit through a 15 minutes online demo or webinar before answering any questions I have beforehand."

Jul 22, 2015 04:05 AM
Keith Whited
RE/MAX Gateway - Alexandria, VA

Excellent post - - I hope that it is read by many of the vendors that approach us on a daily basis. I like Rob Hurst's comment. When I get the call telling me how they are going ot increase my leads I just tell them that after 38 years in the business I am trying to cut back and that what I really need is someone who I cna SELL my excess leads to.

Jul 22, 2015 04:48 AM
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

You hit the nail on the head.  Multiple times.  

Jul 22, 2015 10:58 AM
Matthew Hermanson

Other than a minor tweek here or there, what you have described holds true for any sales-oriented situation. And that also goes for agents working with buyers and sellers.
Think about how much value you bring to your potential clients in order to build a relationship with them BEFORE you show them a new home or offer to list their existing home.

Jul 22, 2015 11:37 AM
Toronto, ON

How very true.

One item I would add are those sales pitches via email where the sender forwards a copy of an email that they claimed to have sent several days earlier to me and thought that I might have deleted it or it may have gone to the spam folder. never sent it to me before.  Then they try the same trick on other people I know with the same emails.

Jul 22, 2015 12:05 PM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I totally agree with 'ask me what I need'. That is the way to get someone's business. I often use that line with potential clients...what do you need? what else can I do for you? what do you expect from an agent?

Jul 23, 2015 05:39 AM
Anna Valencia Tillery
White Glove Moving, Storage & Delivery - Vero Beach, FL
"Moving Made Easy at Prices that Make it Possible"

Seems like you've been through it all...the good, the bad, and the ugly! These are some great reminders for us, as a moving company which serves it's community. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Jul 24, 2015 05:49 AM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

It's so true.  Each of us has developed relationships with vendors for products and services.  I don't hesitate to tell folks that, too.  When they call, I'll let them know that immediately.  Great post!

Aug 03, 2015 05:03 AM
Brian Rugg
Rugg Realty LLC Sun City Texas 512-818-6700 - Georgetown, TX
Sun City TX Real Estate - Georgetown, TX Real Est

I have to admit I have lost track of you at Active Rain.  I see you last posts were summer 2015.   I hope you are happy & healthy and a ton of business.  

Jan 27, 2017 06:35 AM