How a Sales Background Helps Real Estate Agents

A friend on another real estate board talked in her blog yesterday about out how a sales background helps real estate agents. Her research revealed that many real estate agents had no sales training before joining the real estate profession. She commented on how much her corporate sales background helped her in real estate. And boy, can I relate to that. I did not become a top Sacramento Realtor by chance.

From an early age, I won sales contests. Taught me to be competitive and to win. Even today, at my age, going on 67, I still like to win. When I no longer really need to win. It’s ingrained.

One of my first jobs was selling flower seed packets door-to-door in Circle Pines, Minnesota. In fact, I engaged in a lot of door-to-door sales, maybe because I wasn’t old enough to work in a stores. Also, there were not a lot of telemarketers on party-line phones in the 1950s.

Some of my sales background was acquired and some naturally inbred.

When I sold flower seeds, I would engage the person who answered the door in conversation. Oh, I’m not selling anything, lady. Like, where I lived in relationship to them, so they knew I was a neighbor who went to school with their kids. I wasn’t beyond begging them to buy my flower seeds. Or using my mother’s name in the community. The problem with that job was I wasn’t really motivated by money. I simply enjoyed selling every seed packet I had. Creating answers to handle rejection on the fly. Most neighbors could not say no to me.

Did not realize at the time how much a sales background helps real estate agents. I sold newspaper subscriptions for the Circulating Pines (a suburb of Minneapolis) and won a brand new Schwinn bicycle! My parents sure as hell were not buying such an expensive toy for me. I sold more newspapers that year than anybody.

While supporting myself through my senior year in high school, I sold magazines over the phone. People would say, “Oh, I don’t have time to read a magazine.” Oh, really? What about when you’re stitting at the breakfast table, eating a bowl of Cheerios? You’re probably reading the back of the Cheerios box when you could be reading Playboy, for the articles, of course. I take my cues from the conversation. Smile and dial was the name of the game. And not surprisingly, I made good money doing this.

When I moved to Denver, Colorado, at age 18, I sold Grolier’s Encyclopedias door-to-door. Something people would “value, use and appreciate, not only now but forever through the years.” See, I still remember the lines. I memorized a 90-minute presentation and was very good at ad-libbing my delivery. Changing it up in the middle of my performance. Complete strangers let me into their home, and for the next 90 minutes, they were all mine. Very similar to a listing presentation today.

Having a sales background helps real estate agents, no doubt about it. For a short time after moving to Ventura, I became a headhunter. The company sent me for training at IBM, to learn sales techniques. I learned how to sell benefits over features, like a duck to water.

The mere fact that I came up the ranks through working as a title searcher and later as a certified escrow officer boosted my analytical nature. Knowledge is power. But that sales background helped mold me into the top producer I am today. If a person says to me, I don’t think this is a good time to buy, for example, I will die trying to change that thought.

Most agents would shrug, say OK and get on with their lives. But I like to change minds. Just ask my husband what an argument with me is like.

Elizabeth Weintraub

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