Are You in Sales (psst, the Answer is YES!)?


Do you think of yourself as a sales professional? From what I’ve seen, most Realtors do not. It’s ironic, don’t you think? Even our license says “salesperson”, unless you’re a broker of course. Still, most Realtors I talk to avoid sales like the plague. Most of us think of selling as a bad, bad, dirty thing. How do you feel about this?

Do you feel using sales tactics to get a client to the closing table is wrong? My argument is that selling is the right thing to do. We should not only be proud that we’re in sales, we should embrace it, study sales techniques and become the best sales professionals we can. What do you think?

Do you want to make a living in real estate? Then you have to sell! Does this make sense?

The Problem with Avoiding Sales

If we need to make sales in order to make a living (this is no secret in real estate!), then why do so many real estate professionals skirt the issue and say they’re not salespeople? I hear Realtors say that they’re “just here to help their clients”. They’re “just here to give them the information”. They’re “just here to help them overcome any issues they have in buying their home”. These are all nice things, but I have to argue that it’s a sellout to be in real estate and claim that you’re not a salesperson.

I’d go one step further and submit that it’s UNETHICAL to be out there doing deals and NOT consider yourself a salesperson! Why would I make such a claim? Because people trust you to guide them and work in their best interest. They trust you to know better, because the client often doesn’t know better. Our clients need us. What does that mean? It means a number of things, but it includes a responsibility to SELL…when it’s called for. We have a responsibility to close the deal when that’s the right thing to do.

I’ve seen it again and again out in the field. Realtors kill deals. If you’ve been in real estate for any length of time, you know what I’m talking about. The agent on the other side of the transaction blows an item on the inspection report completely out of proportion and tells their buyer to ask for a bunch of unreasonable concessions as a condition of moving forward. It’s not in the best interest of the client. They’re already getting a great price. If they didn’t want the dang house, why did they make an offer?

This is an all-to-common example of a Realtor allowing their client to walk all over them. They’re allowing a client’s insecurities to dominate the negotiation. Instead of educating, instead of CLOSING, instead of SELLING the deal, the other agent becomes a doormat and wrecks a perfectly good transaction. All because they either don’t want to be a salesman (i.e. pushy), or because they just don’t belong in this business to begin with!

Yes, salesmanship is stigmatized. We have to deal. We have to be the ones to educate our clients and show them we know what we’re doing, that we know what we’re talking about. We have to establish TRUST and go for the close when it’s the right thing to do. A trained and practiced sales professional knows when that is. A Realtor who is afraid to call themselves a salesman doesn’t aggressively pursue sales training. They don’t practice scripts. They don’t learn to overcome objections and guide a consumer from “point A” to “point B”. Sales skills are a responsibility. That’s true. It’s possible to abuse any skill. But without the skill to begin with, you also cannot use it for good!

Why Sales Training Should be an Ethics Requirement

We all have CE requirements. In depth sales training should be part of the course as well. Knowing how to sell does not mean ALWAYS going for the close, no matter what. Knowing how to sell means more than knowing HOW to close. It also means knowing WHEN to close. It also means knowing how to interview a client and determine their needs and desires. It means knowing how to qualify clients and work with people who can and should buy, as opposed to just working with basically everyone that walks in the door.

Working with every client you can get your hands on is a favored tactic of professionals who don’t know how to sell. This is destructive, because it inevitably puts clients in your car (and eventually at the closing table) who shouldn’t be there. You do bad deals, because you don’t know how to qualify. It’s ironic, isn’t it? Because we avoid salesmanship in an effort to be more human and helpful, and what happens instead is that we just end up doing bad deals anyway.

Sales training teaches you to qualify. This means you’ll always work with qualified and legitimate clients who can and should buy. This is a good thing! It means you’ll do solid deals. It also means you’ll waste a lot less time, because you’ll only be working deals that can and should close.

Sales training also teaches you to prospect, another thing abhorred by most Realtors! We avoid prospecting like the plague, because we don’t want to come off as a salesman. We don’t want to be pushy! Understandable. The thing is, when prospecting is done well, it’s not pushy! In fact, it’s a natural healthy activity that generates a strong pipeline of sales leads. How does this affect your business? It makes it so that when you get a bad client, or when you become aware that someone has an issue or legitimate reason they shouldn’t be buying, you have no problem or reservations at all cutting them loose. You’re cool with letting the deal go for two reasons. One, it’s the right thing to do. Two, you have a million other clients to work with. A trained and practiced sales professional knows how to build this pipeline. A Realtor who avoids sales like the plague in most cases doesn’t have a strong pipeline, because they don’t prospect aggressively.

Being clingy and trying to close a deal that shouldn’t be done is, oddly enough, not something a well-trained sales professional does. But most of us think differently, don’t we? Most of us think sales means being forceful and working against the best interest of a client. That’s not it at all. It’s why I’m so compelled to share these ideas, because as Realtors, we’re in a sales profession, yet the stigma of sales has reached deep into this industry, and the misunderstanding of what sales is and isn’t has literally ravaged the real estate business. A Realtor with a strong sales-based approach doesn’t have time or the inclination at all to do deals that shouldn’t be done. They cut those clients loose and move on.

The Responsibility to Sell

Are you good at what you do? Do you truly offer a significant value to your clients? If not, then you should step back and GET good, or you should get out of the business. If you’re not awesome, you shouldn’t be helping clients with such a huge transaction. You have no business being in real estate if you’re not serious about being great. It’s a massive purchase for someone, the transaction CAN be screwed up, and it’s wrong to put yourself in the middle of a deal like this if you’re not in it to win.

If you ARE great, then you have the RESPONSIBILITY to sell and close as many deals as you possibly can. Why? Because if you don’t close them, then some fool who has no business being in real estate will end up being that person’s agent. You don’t want that, do you?

About Author

Christian creates dangerous internet strategies at


  1. Although not directed towards someone who’s not an agent, there are some great lessons to be learned in there Mr. Russell and I enjoyed reading it. Cheers to you.

    I think the points you mentioned about prospecting and qualifying are some strong points when it comes to being a great salesman. It really helps you ‘sale’ less but achieve more.

  2. Christian Russell on

    Thanks Nick 🙂 I’ve found that basic sales principles work no matter the industry. I work with a lot of real estate people, but this stuff will kill in no matter what business you’re in. I appreciate your feedback!

  3. Carrie J. Cruz on

    To be successful a person must know where he stands. Being a sale person is no difference from being a doctor or lawyer, all should have passion and dedication to the craft. It’s just ironic that someone who does something for a living can be uncertain of his profession.

    There are many ways to kill the cat. In sales, there are millions of ways of closing the deal without being forceful or working against the interest of a client. Just be creative and the deal is closed!

    • Christian Russell on

      Carrie, you’re right that you have to know where you stand. I don’t like it, but I have to acknowledge that most people in real estate should probably be doing something else. Is that mean for me to say? I honestly think that 🙂

  4. Closing good sales doesn’t mean you were pushy during the negotiation, it just means your good enough to “sell” the good points overpowering the not so good points.
    You have to decide to sell in order to sell. You have to master the ABC’s of salesmanship which starts with accepting the fact that you are into sales, because like champions.., to be successful… there can never be a half-hearted sales person

  5. Christian Russell on

    Thanks Brian. I’ve done the thing where i work with everybody under the sun. It just doesn’t pan out. In my perception a lot of agents are afraid of “confining” themselves to a niche and being selective about who they work with. They fear they’re limiting themselves. In fact, you’re limiting yourself by trying to work with clients that don’t fit your area of expertise, who want to drag you all over town and then not buy anything, who want to work you to death and then beat you up over the commission before signing paperwork. If that’s what it takes to get the job done, then I’m clearly doing it wrong 🙂

  6. From the old Guy on the block. I have spent my whole life (40yrs) in Sales. I have sold everything from ball point pens, to air planes. After a short semi-retirement, I acquired my Real Estate license (3yrs now). With that said; I can honestly say that I have yet to meet a Realtor (even one’s with years of experience) who actually understands the meaning of the word SALES! Most are taught to be order takers and order takers they will always be. Please find another occupation-I’m trying to build some credibility here!! If your looking to buy a home or Invest in Real Estate-Talk to a seasoned SALES PRO with 40yrs negotiating experience. Your Price-Your Terms acceptable to you guaranteed!
    .-= matt mathews´s last blog ..California posts nation’s largest foreclosure total in 2009 – Los Angeles Business from bizjournals: =-.

    • Christian Russell on

      Hi Matt 🙂 I do have the pleasure of knowing some true professionals in real estate. They’re out there! In my experience, most people can learn the craft, but it is something that must be pursued, practiced and honed over time. I place a lot of burden on NAR who takes no perceivable effort to regulate the integrity of the industry, only to grease the wheels of loose money. I’ll get off my soapbox now!

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