Are You Overselling?

In another life, I thought I’d try selling real estate and I just happened to have a real estate broker friend who was interested in showing me the ins and outs of listing and showing property to potential buyers.

After working with him for a while, I noticed that he never asked clients whether they wanted to purchase the property and, although he was successful in his business, I never saw him actually close a sale. I wondered how he ever made a living in real estate. Were his only clients family and friends?One thing I did notice was how he talked almost non-stop while we were showing  properties to interested buyers. Not only did he talk up the virtues of the property but he could easily get side-tracked and go off on another tangent totally unrelated to selling the building at hand.

As his salesman-in-training, I kept thinking, “Why doesn’t he take a break in his presentation as ask some questions of the client?” Why wasn’t he interested in how the client felt about the galley kitchen or the deck outside the bedroom which overlooked the kidney-shaped pool or the fenced-in yard that was perfect for their dog? I came to the conclusion that he was actually overselling the property. I sometimes just wanted him to shut up and leave some silent space in his speech to get some reaction from the client.

I thought that if I were a complete stranger, I’d probably walk away from the property simply because I was tired of hearing his ramblings that went on for the entire time I was being introduced to building.

At one professional photography seminar I heard the speaker tell us that the most effective presentation consists of asking questions of the client as opposed to telling the client about the greatness of your products and service. Obviously, asking your client questions shows that you are actually interested in fulfilling their needs as opposed to selling your photography. Of course, you are interested in being commissioned for their photographic needs, but you must also be aware that not everyone is a perfect fit for your offerings. Sometimes, either your client or you will feel that your services would be the proverbial square peg that’s impossible to fit into a round hole. You sometimes have the option to suggest that they would be better served by another photographer and then recommend that other photographer. This truly indicates your sincerity in serving their needs.

The speaker also said something that stuck in my mind. “Once you have made your presentation, shut up! The next one who speaks owns the product.” This isn’t easy to do! But as a former eighth grade art student of mine opined, “Silence is the biggest sound there is!”

As the old adage goes, “Silence is golden,” and that gold can find its way into your bank account…if you don’t oversell.

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