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The salesman greeted me with a friendly smile as I approached the shiny SUV on the showroom floor. “That’s a pretty one, isn’t it?” he asked.

“It sure is,” I agreed, “But can you tell me about its towing capability?”

“Well, let’s take a look,” he responded as he walked around to the rear of the vehicle. Pointing to the rear bumper, he explained, “There’s a hole right there for one of those little silver balls, so it looks like this one’s set up for towing all right.”

Hoping for more specific information than this, I questioned further. “Is this built with a full frame or is it unibody construction?”

“I’m not sure about that, but I can tell you that it’s a real sturdy son-of-a-gun,” he said.

Moving to open the driver’s door, he continued, “And check out this interior – it’s gorgeous! And the backseats have plenty of room for full-sized adults!”

At this point, I had learned a few things about this vehicle – it was a pretty one, had a hole in the rear bumper, was a sturdy son-of-a-gun and had a gorgeous interior that would carry full-sized adults. Although this was good news since the only adults usually riding with me are full-sized, I still hadn’t learned how much weight this SUV would tow.

Would you buy a vehicle from this salesman? I didn’t either. I won’t buy a computer from someone who can’t intelligently discuss memory, drives, megabytes or gigabytes. I won’t buy a suit from someone who doesn’t know fabrics or the details of proper tailoring. I insist on doing business only with someone who knows the parts, pieces and details of the product they’re selling. And on the basis of my research, I believe I’m not alone in these attitudes.

Why? The answer I’ve shared in my seminars for almost 20 years sounds ridiculously simple: people buy from people! Unfortunately, in the process of working personally with thousands of salespeople, I’ve found that a majority somehow see themselves outside the buyer’s decision-making process. They seem to think that sales come about solely on the basis of a relationship between the features of the product and its selling price. In effect, they remove themselves from the sales process.

If this were true, how is it that some individuals selling the same type of products in the same market areas under the same market conditions sell so much more than others? Because these individuals recognize that people buy from people. Of course, the product and pricing must be right, but the buying decision for most of our customers is only made once the deal feels right. Even when all other factors feel right, for most of our customers, the deal doesn’t feel right if they don’t feel good about the salesperson.

For a real estate professional then, one of our most important goals is to be the kind of person that helps people feel good about their home-buying decisions.

One powerful key to this is having professional level knowledge of the details of the products we sell. Whether selling a new home or an existing one, it’s important to be able to discuss the parts and pieces along with methods and terminology. We need to win our customers confidence by knowledgeably dealing with their questions and concerns. Many of our customers today are glued to the TV screen watching an ever-growing number of shows teaching them about the construction of their homes. There’s more to satisfying them than simply showing them a “lovely” home with “spacious” rooms in a “nice” neighborhood. If we’re to earn their respect, if we’re to be considered truly “professional,” we need to be knowledgeable and informed.

As a sales trainer, it’s part of my job to “shop” for real estate wherever my travels take me. Sadly, I continue to find that too few in the business grasp the importance of possessing real product knowledge for selling homes. Those who do, however, stand out from the crowd. They handle themselves with more self-confidence that takes their customer relationships to a higher level. Because they more effectively win the confidence and respect of their customers, their customers feel better about the decision to buy this home in this community.

The most powerful “secret” in this approach is truly caring about what’s best for our customers. This gives us a powerful winning edge. We become the people that help other people make some of the most important decisions of their lives.

Based in Newport Beach, CA, Dennis Walsh & Associates, Inc. is recognized as real estate’s #1 source for training and sales tools specific to new home sales and residential construction. More than 150,000 have enjoyed Dennis’ presentations including his Certified New Home Specialist™ (CNHS), Residential Construction Certified™ (RCC) & 203K Specialist courses. For more information, visit or call 800.428.1122.