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Real Estate’s “Original Sin” — Agents are not Salespeople

Real Estate’s “Original Sin” — Agents are not Salespeople

I had an opportunity this past week to talk with Brad Inman of Inman Media as part of his “Unlisted” Podcast.  It was interesting, because ideas that I would normally take hours to develop on the paper for an article came out real time in about 15 minutes.  Podcasts are fun — you start recording, you talk, you finish, and you’re done. We didn’t have any re-takes or edits, just unfiltered discussion.


I thought it came out pretty good. In particular, I was really excited about a thought that jumped into my mind as I was answering a question about the “competency problem” in the industry:

I think what it comes down to is there’s an original sin at the heart of the real estate industry, which is the fact that we conceive of ourselves as salespeople. When, in fact, sales is a very small part of what real estate agents do. They spend 90 percent of their time counseling people through a transactional process that is very difficult, that is challenging, that is complicated.

And yet someone who says, “I’ll put your home on the market for $500” is living off the perception that the public has that all a real estate agent does to sell your house is they put a sign in your yard, take a couple of pictures and put them up on the internet.

If that’s all a real estate agent does, well then, you can get that done for $500 — but anyone that’s in the industry knows that it’s a lot more complicated. And that requires a lot more skill, a lot more knowledge, a lot more hard work than that, which is why people can command the pricing and the charges that they do.

But if people perceive us as being just salespeople — they don’t value that, and they’re not gonna be willing to pay for that, and it leaves you vulnerable to outsiders coming in.

(emphasis mine).

I kind of like that — the “original sin at the heart of the real estate industry” is the misconception of real estate agents as salespeople. I’ve made the argument before, in fact it’s a centerpiece of my CORE teaching philosophy, but I never framed it this way.

I’m going to follow that conceptual thread, see where it goes…..

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