by Jacques Werth, as told to Paul Bunn (and posted by Carl Ingalls)
We were in a large meeting room in a nice hotel, in a suburb of Seattle. Twelve successful Realtors were attending a Real Estate Sales Mastery workshop. They were an unusually well-dressed group for a two-day offsite workshop.
At our request, one of the participants had borrowed a sample front door and door frame from a builder. It was in the front of the meeting room and it was braced to stand on its own. The outside of the door was to the right, and to the left of the inside of the door we had a kitchen table and some chairs. Those were the props that we needed to begin the first exercise.
One of the workshop participants was asked to role-play how she approaches a visit to a homeowner who wants to sell his house. The instructor played the part of the home owner.
The first Realtor walked up to the outside of the door and knocked. The instructor opened the door and said “Hello.”
The Realtor flashed a big smile, held out her hand and said, very cordially, “Mr. Smith, it is so good to meet you. I am Pam Jackson with XYZ Real Estate. How are you today?”
The instructor invited her in and offered her a chair in the “kitchen.”
“Your home is very lovely. I really like what you did with the kitchen,” said Pam with delight, while looking all around.
The instructor stopped the role-play at that point and thanked Pam. He asked her to switch roles. She would now play the homeowner and the next participant would play the Realtor. He was even more effusive than Pam. Each successive Realtor tried to out-do those what went before them in their attempts to impress the “prospect” with their enthusiasm, charm and likeability.
During those role-plays, the other Realtors watched intently and remained very quiet. Several preened their clothing and hair before it was their turn.
For the second part of the role-play the instructor played the part of the Realtor, with Pam playing the homeowner. The instructor knocked on the door, and the Pam opened it. “Yes?’ she said.
“I’m Joe Instructor with HPS Realty. Are you Pam Jackson?
“Yes, I am,” she said, reaching to shake his hand. “Come in. I suppose you want to look over the house.”
“Before we do that, we need to get to know each other and determine whether we have a mutually acceptable basis for doing business.”
Homeowner: “Okay, we can sit in the kitchen, here.”
Realtor: “When we spoke on the phone we agreed this meeting would take about ninety minutes of uninterrupted time. Have you arranged for that?”
Homeowner: “Yes, I turned off my phone and put the dog out in the back yard.”
Realtor: “We agreed that the purpose of our meeting is to determine whether we have a mutually acceptable basis for selling your home. Is that your intention?”
Realtor: “And, we agreed that if we can meet your conditions of satisfaction for the sale of your home, we will make a decision about that today. Is that still your intention?”
Homeowner: “Yes, it is.”
The instructor thanked Pam and asked her to rejoin the rest of the group. Then, he asked the entire group “What did you notice about the way I just approached Pam, the prospect?”
They called out their answers:
“You were very straight-forward,” “You were dignified,” You were very relaxed,” “You were authentic,” “You were not acting,” “You were in control,” “You asked for and got commitments,” Pam then capped it off with, “I felt privileged to be your prospect, I felt respected, and I felt respect for you.”
Then, the instructor explained exactly what he did, why, and how he did it, and asked all of the participants to replay both roles – doing it that way.
At the end of that exercise, they were offered a choice; continue to sell by out-charming, out-smiling, out-dressing, out-dancing and out-impressing their competition, or learn how to sell on a basis of mutual trust, mutual respect and mutual commitments. They all chose the latter.
What if the choice was yours?
What do you want to do?