Are you a pushy used-car salesman?

Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

Ladies and Gentleworms.  This is a blog post that I wrote about 12 years ago.  I figured it was worth of an update and rewrite.  So here it is.

In today's market, it has become more and more important to differentiate yourself from other Realtors. One Realtor is definitely not the same as the other Realtor. Choosing the right Realtor can be the difference between a sale and an "expired", between a successful negotiation and a "capitulation", between a calm and pleasant transaction and a "blind-panic-run to the finish line, arriving out of breath and bloodied".

But more importantly, as we see on blogs all over the internet, consumers are viewing us in the same light as Used Car Salesmen, and I'm not sure who's coming out on top.  Used car salesmen are at least upfront, with their loud clothing, greasy hair, and hard sell. It's critical to set ourselves apart from that used-car-salesman image. So to that end, I've put together a few of Alan's suggestions to help you stand apart, not necessarily in any particular order.

• Dress professionally.  That doesn't necessarily mean you have to wear a suit or a St. John's knit to the office... but torn jeans and a t-shirt just won't cut it.  That loud Hawaiian shirt that reminds you of your trip to the islands, is more appropriate at the bowling alley than an open house (unless, of course, you do business on Key West, or in Hawaii).

• Be responsive.  Always return phone calls promptly.  Unless there's a death in the family, there's no excuse for not returning a phone call in a reasonable period of time. In my opinion an hour is too long.  I recently got a listing because their prior agent sometimes took up to three days to return a phone call.  (that's right, I said three days!) If you're with a client, send a quick text message, or place a quick call telling them you can't chat now, (you're with a client.), but you'll call them back in 1 hour... and then DO it!

• Be punctual.  Your client may be late, but you should not.  If you tell them you'll meet at 2:00... be there by 1:50.  IF you are going to be late, make sure you call and let them know (and don't call when you're already late... call in advance... you KNOW when you're running late... communication is key... have the courtesy to let the people-who-are-waiting-for-you know.)

• Give your client your undivided attention. Other than the scenario described in the prior paragraph, do not take phone calls while with a client.  The person you're with always deserves 100% of you.  That doesn't mean you can't take a moment to reply to another client (when there's an appropriate break in the action)... but make it very brief... explaining to both... "I give my full attention to the client I'm with, just as you'd want when I'm with YOU!"

• Keep your car clean & smelling nice.  As a Realtor, your car is your mobile office.  Make sure your office is a pleasant place to be. Buy discounts at the local car wash (10-wash-cards), and keep the outside and inside clean.  You don't have to drive a Mercedes, but the car is a representation of YOU.  If it's unkempt, with squishy carpets, and torn seats... well... yuk.

• Be current on your market.  Make sure you know about all of the properties on the market (and some that aren't listed yet) so that you can speak intelligently about other listings.  Take advantage of Broker's Tours to get INSIDE the homes.

• Soft Sell.  No pushing! Do not pressure your clients.  No used-car language (you know the spiel: this one may go quickly, you'd better place an offer, or if you don't buy this weekend, I'm gonna have to cut you loose)... you're a Real Estate Consultant.  You don't have to SELL a client on a home. They'll know when they've found the home of their dreams, you just need to be available to assist them in the purchasing process, with CMAs, and guidance.

• Be willing to say "I don't know".  If you don't know the answer to a question, consumers will respect "I don't know, but I'll find out" more than you making up some strange statistic.  They know when you're just flapping your lips.

Speak professionally.  This applies with clients, other Realtors, and internet presence.  It applies on the phone, in e-mails, texts and blogs.  It applies business hours and personal time.  We are Realtors and are held to a higher standard.  There is no excuse for having a public hissy-fit, either on the phone or in a blog.  You have no idea who's watching, and guaranteed someone you don't want to witness your melt-down, is watching.

There are plenty more suggestions... these are just some of those that have hit the front of my brain today ... This post is already too long.  I'm sure the AR Brain-Trust has a few suggestions to add.  Please feel free to add to the list.

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email:

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois


Comments (10)

Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Alan- good post to update. I know many excellent and professional agents. That said I remember meeting one who could have passed for a hooker and even when we lived in South Florida, I always respected the agents who wore suits or at least weren't wearing shorts and flip flops. 

Dec 15, 2020 06:17 PM
Alan May

I think I know that lady.

Dec 16, 2020 05:54 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Alan nice update now you just need to change the Title... Realtors are not Pushy  Car Salesmen, just saying. Endre

Dec 15, 2020 09:12 PM
Alan May

I know quite a few who would qualify.

Dec 16, 2020 05:54 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, Alan... well said. I've followed those "rules" for going on 28 years and they have held me in good stead. Nothing worse than a pushy sales person of anything.

Dec 16, 2020 04:42 AM
Alan May

... and yet, I know many who have managed to thrive.

Dec 16, 2020 05:55 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Yes, these are all great rules to follow. Being punctual, responsive, attentive and knowledgeable. All a "must" in my book.

Dec 16, 2020 06:15 AM
Alan May

they can certainly be helpful.

Dec 16, 2020 07:23 AM
Rocky Dickerson
Realty One Group - Las Vegas, NV
Superior Service!

Good morning and great post Alan May principles like these are timeless and always helpful

Dec 16, 2020 07:49 AM
Alan May

good morning, right back atcha.

Dec 16, 2020 08:53 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Alan May this is just as important now as it was 12 years ago....or more!  Maybe even more so when I think about it much as changed as to what's acceptable.

Dec 16, 2020 12:54 PM
Alan May

The only thing that's really changed, these days, seems to be that nobody really cares what the inside of my car looks like... 'cause nobody's getting into my car anymore.

Dec 16, 2020 12:57 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker

That's for sure!

Dec 16, 2020 01:07 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Alan what a shame so they are Realtors in Name only like some politicians claiming to be helping people while lining their own pockets???:)))Endre

Dec 18, 2020 06:36 PM
Alan May

I'm all for lining one's pockets (I often line my pockets when attending a good buffet), but not at the expense of our clients.

Dec 19, 2020 01:58 PM
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Hawaiians don't produce loud Aloha shirts, so be careful when you buy Hawaiian shirts, made in Hawaii is the key and should be worn anytime, anywhere, especially if you're tall, dark and handsome!

Dec 19, 2020 12:47 PM
Alan May

Hmmmm.... three strikes and I'm out.

Dec 19, 2020 01:58 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Alan:

This is a well-done and timeless post...the basics of professionalism don't change much. Where's that gold star?


Dec 19, 2020 01:18 PM
Alan May

I haven't seen a gold star in a while.  Not sure I would recognize one.

Dec 19, 2020 01:59 PM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Words of wisdom that are still true today!!!

Dec 22, 2020 10:59 AM
Alan May

Words of Wisdom??  On my blog!?

Jan 12, 2021 07:54 PM

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?