Work With An Expert Not A Salesperson

Real Estate Agent with Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 CA BRE# 01261476

Times are changing and the skillsets you posses (and more importantly convey) are going to be your bridge from surviving 2023 to thriving in 2024 as we move through the 2023-2024 era of inflation, recession, bank failures, the interest rates rollercoaster and a billion dollar+ NAR lawsuit that will be ultimately be challenging if not changing how you get paid-at least as a selling agent.

We are salespeople and we should be proud of that. Nothing happens economically in this world until a sale happens. We move money, create jobs, resolve problems, serve people, and connect needs & wants with solutions and improvements. Done well, we're in one of the noblest professions on Earth! But, times are changing in our industry, so we need to work with perception, very often over reality, so...

You need to be more than just a great salesperson, you need to be an expert and be able to communicate this as well as demonstrate it. I have believed this long before I opened my real estate business; this belief dates back to when I opened Nelson Entertainment back in the 1980's. Initially we did all events, but eventually I realized the most lucrative and fun events where the wedding industry. So we turned our training, our marketing and our focus on weddings and by the early 1990's became one of the most successful wedding entertainment companies in The SF Bay Area and eventually San Diego too.


I've always been a salesman, since I was about 17 years old across 5 businesses/careers, but once I started working with people's biggest moments: first their weddings and then (by 1999 as a REALTOR®) buying or selling their homes, I knew I needed to install that same "wedding expert"-confidence in my real estate clients as I did my brides & grooms. I did this through marketing my  competence (expertise/skills) and character (care/community) to open the door to getting interviewed. Then I delivered a different kind of listing or buyer-service presentation than they were used to, because it was born of the wedding industry, not real estate.

I believe we need to meet people on two levels: emotionally and practically. There are clients that hire us because we fulfill an emotional need (tell me a story) and those that we fulfill a pragmatic need (show me the money). Some lead with their heart (how do you make me feel?), others their brain (give me the facts: the data and the numbers), and for many it's a combinations of the two or very often a couple where one is the thinker and the other is the feeler and you need to satisfy both. How?

Without getting into NLP, because it's not rocket science, I'll share what basics I cover to be seen as the expert in my niches which are: Veterans/Active Duty Military, Second Home Buyers, Investors and Coastal Property owners. I'll address both

Emotional connections include I relate I'm from a military family and maybe share a story of victory with a recent VA buyer or seller. I share how I am a second home owner and the story of how I helped my Dad become one in Palm Desert. With investors they are not quite as emotional, but some are still human so I may just share a story of a great find or deal I secured through a unique method like Instant Inventory or even one of my own investment victories. With my Coastal Property owners, I position myself as their neighbor for 20 years, usually connecting emotionally on favorite beaches, restaurants, golf courses or hiking trails.

Cerebral connections include how I share the strategies I incorporate to be successful and competitive with a VA loan and my Military Discounts. With Second home owners I talk use of equity,  Vacation Rental statistics, and there where and the why of prime San Diego locations to own second homes. With investors it's all about ROI, After Repair Values, Cap Rates, 1031 Exchanges, ADU's, etc. With my coastal property sellers, I share comparables, seasonal stats, market trends, home enhancement tips, location amenities and school districts that increase value.

My final tip is to focus your marketing on each group you serve. The days of recipes, sports schedules and "fall back, spring ahead" are over! Know your audience and how to connect with them through your specific (USP) Unique Selling Proposition that connects with their specific needs and wants. A USP is not "I'm a hard worker, I've got 25 years experience, I sell 200 Homes per year". Because many agents can claim that exact same thing; (even it untrue).

Unique means it's hard or uncommon for other competitors to offer it too.
USP examples are things like specific rebates you offer, donations you make, unique additional skills or unexpected extras you offer that matter to who you serve.
I know one agent that donates 10% of every closing to specific charities that have meaning on a large scale to that community. I know another that offers a weekend stay at a hotel for your first big open house weekend so you don't have to deal with the intrusion.
Some agents offer moving trucks after close and I have my very specific rebates and charity programs that connect me with a lot of the industries/professions that I like to serve. The point is your target clients need to connect with it, value it and want to support it or take advantage of it enough to hire you over the others.


IT Works! My USP got me a listing today in fact; I was competing with a more established agent in my Mission Bay Park neighborhood, but she assumed her reputation proceeded her and presented as such. I assumed my prospect needed a compelling reason to hire me instead of her, so I gave him a USP that he really connected with and I was hired! It's time to be seen as the expert, not a salesperson.


Cover Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Image 1 by Alex Green:
Image 2 by

Posted by

Thomas J. Nelson
REALTOR®, CRS, RCS-D, CDPE, e-Pro, Certified Military Home Specialist, Luxury Home Specialist, Author, Keynote Speaker and  Podcast Host 

Serving Coastal San Diego from Carlsbad to Coronado, Downtown, Balboa Park Area,
La Jolla/UCSD & Mission Bay Park Areas
I Offer Rebates to Veterans
& Active Duty

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Search For Homes

(858) 232-8722
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RCS-Divorce     Southern California Chapter of Certified Residential Specialists (CRS)

Disclaimer:  Nothing in this blog article is to be construed as legal advice, tax advice, medical advice or financial advice.  For legal advice see an attorney.   For tax advice, health or financial advice see a tax attorney, certified public accountant, or other qualified professional.

Comments (21)

Charles Ross - eXp Realty LLC
eXp Realty LLC Salina Group - Salina, KS
Love To Help People

Thomas J. Nelson, your post highlights a crucial aspect of successful real estate practice: being an expert, not just a salesperson. Your emphasis on creating both emotional and practical connections with clients is a testament to your understanding of diverse client needs. The way you tailor your approach to different segments, from veterans to coastal property owners, is insightful and effective. Your article serves as a valuable guide for real estate professionals striving to enhance their client relationships and services. Excellent work! 📘🏠 #IndustryInsights #ProfessionalGrowth 📈🌍

Nov 18, 2023 04:55 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

Thank you Charles Ross - eXp Realty LLC I appreciate your feedback.
I've learned not to try to be all things to all people. I know my lanes and I stay in them - it makes this career more fun and profitable.

Nov 18, 2023 06:54 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Thomas - although my real estate practice is in the rear view mirror of life, I still believe representation in the industry and in other parts of life has connection as a foundation.   From that point, a relationship is built.

Nov 18, 2023 05:07 AM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em:

So very true. Have a super fantastic weekend!

Bill Salvatore, Realtor- Arizona Elite Properties

Nov 18, 2023 05:07 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Thomas. The only thing your competition can't duplicate is you! So be all you can be and demonstrate your expertise. Enjoy your day.

Nov 18, 2023 05:18 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

Well said Wayne Martin - we just need to sell ourselves the way an expert would not a competitor would. The expert knows her/his focus and masters it, competitors tend to spray and pray.

Nov 18, 2023 06:56 AM
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
The Grit and Gratitude Agent

Exceptional advice.  So many real estate agents shy away from being called a "salesperson." I have been one for 50+ years and thoroughly enjoy it. I considered myself a specialist, as I specialize in real estate. My unique selling proposition has morphed into "The Grit and Gratitude Agent Who Goes the Extra Mile." The super majority of my clients have used the phrase "goes the extra mile."

Nov 18, 2023 06:34 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
CEO of Vision Drive Realty - Coastal San Diego

Leanne Smith that's a wonderful USP if your clients identify YOU as the:

"The Grit and Gratitude Agent Who Goes the Extra Mile." 

Nov 18, 2023 06:57 AM
Leanne Smith

Thank you and it was a while to craft that USP. When we listen to our clients, we have the opportunity to learn more than we realize.

Nov 18, 2023 07:00 AM
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Hello Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets it is very important to work with a knowledgeable expert than a salesperson. 

Nov 18, 2023 11:04 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

To succeed in promoting anything one must believe in the product or service and that needs to come across in the presentation. You obviously have that skill.

Nov 18, 2023 12:42 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi Thomas- excellent!  We had our Prius worked on by a new mechanic this week. Their reviews and the service they offered ("we'll come to you") got us there. We'll be going back because they were what they said they were and more. 

Nov 18, 2023 05:59 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

I have always thought that real estate professionals, should set aside the salesperson label for something more. I like your post, Thomas.

Nov 18, 2023 06:04 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Thomas, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Nov 18, 2023 06:05 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

Thank you Myrl Jeffcoat 😁

Nov 19, 2023 11:45 AM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I suppose there is some thing to being able to sell your expertise very effectively and that make the sale and do it very well. :

Nov 18, 2023 11:41 PM
Chuck Willman
Chuck Willman - Alpine, UT

The title of your post is profound on its own. Greatly articulated in the post as well. Thank you for this post, I loved it.

Nov 19, 2023 11:56 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

When it comes to my clients; I never stop thinking about success I become their biggest cheerleader Thomas.

Nov 19, 2023 01:04 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

There is so much about who we are that we can relate to our clients and make those connections, TJ. It's so much more about the emotional and cerebral connections than the promotion of us as the 'best' salesperson. Some people in our profession miss the boat with regards to promoting yourself as a top tier salesperson; at the end of the day, it's the connections that matter - and of course those connections are multifaceted! 

Excellent post and congrats on the feature! 

Nov 19, 2023 05:33 PM
Barbara Michaluk
Weichert Realtors | Phone Direct 240-506-2434 | 301-681-0550 office - Silver Spring, MD
Leisure World Specialist / Full Service REALTOR

Good morning Thomas, I am usually turned off myself by someone who comes off like a salesperson.  I much prefer working with someone of obviously knows what they're talking about and presents them self as a sincere person rather than push something at me.

Nov 20, 2023 04:36 AM
Brenda Mayette
Miranda Real Estate Group, Inc. - Glenville, NY
Getting results w/ knowledge & know-how!

FANTASTIC post & well-deserved feature!!  LOVE the part about the day's of "spring ahead - fall back" are over.  Consumers need to trust us; knowledge IS key and that's not always reflected in volume.  Thanks for taking the time to put this post together.  Bookmarked! 

Nov 21, 2023 04:58 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

Wow Brenda Mayette thank you! To me, the highest honor is being bookmarked or reposted by a commenting reader. I love it when a post connects, as so many have done for me in The Rain by our amazing authors.

Nov 21, 2023 06:53 AM
Scott Gerami
Real Time Realty - Naperville, IL
Helping people find their place in the world!

Really enjoyed this article! It's spot on about adapting in our ever-changing field. Love how you blend emotional and practical connections with clients, especially with your unique background in weddings and real estate. Your examples of USPs are a great reminder of the need to stand out in meaningful ways. It's not just about what we do, but how we do it. Thanks for the insights!


Nov 21, 2023 07:01 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

Scott Gerami I'm pleased you found value in this and hope it lends in it's own small way to your success in 2024!

Nov 21, 2023 07:43 AM
Jason E. Gordon
CMG Mortgage, San Diego, CA - San Diego, CA

Well articulated and fully on point (as usual).  Well done Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets 

Nov 22, 2023 06:09 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Knowing one's talents and capabilities is critical in being a success in any business. Your post highlights your own formula for success.

Nov 23, 2023 10:08 AM