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After 25 years in the real estate business, I believe the old ABCs (“Always be closing”) of selling are over. The consumer is tired of the old-school, high-pressure tactics of the last 100 years. It’s time for teams to implement a new style of selling. I call it “Servant Heart Selling,” with the new ABCs of selling being “Always be contributing” and “Always be connecting.”

Our clients, now more than ever, need help making the best decisions, especially in making investments as significant as real estate. In a world with so many options, we need to be the expert that educates and communicates in a way that helps our clients make those great decisions. We need to manage expectations and lead, not push.

The first step in Servant Heart Selling is being completely client-focused. We are there to serve them, so get rid of the commission breath. The next step is becoming the expert. We need to understand our market and be able to educate them clearly on what it will take to buy or sell. Simple is always better, because a confused mind will always say no. Being the expert lowers stress and increases trust. When we do that, we can sell without resistance and eliminate frustration.

Let’s begin with becoming the expert and understanding your market. Is it appreciating or depreciating, and how much? Is the buyer pool growing or shrinking? Is inventory up or down, and how is that affecting price? What is your absorption rate in each price range? Do you know how to price effectively, and when we should expect an offer? What are your average days on the market, and what is your average sales price per list price ratio? Do you have a plan that takes the guesswork out of selling and guarantees results? This is the data all of us need to know as a sales professional, and when we share it with our clients, it gives them peace of mind and completely differentiates us from the competition.

That brings us to the next step, which is education. If we can simply and clearly educate the client on how real estate really works, they will allow us to guide them. Every client needs an agent who understands their needs, shows them a clear plan and calls them to action that leads to success. In a listing scenario, we can show a few short charts and graphs to give them this data.

The biggest mistake agents make when they do a listing presentation is they position themselves as the hero. The client doesn’t want a hero; they want a guide. They want to be the hero. Often, the agent shows up and just talks about how great they are instead of positioning themselves as the expert and guide. When you clearly define a plan that results in success, you will win every time.

The final step to creating raving fans in the selling process is to manage expectations. We must deliver the plan clearly and eliminate all surprises, always moving the client down a straight line to the next decision. If we manage expectations correctly, they will be asking you for the price reductions instead of you asking them.

In a listing scenario, for example, the market speaks to us in three different ways. The first way is the buyers won’t actually come see us. Are they looking at us? Absolutely, they are—online—but, they don’t see enough value to get out from in front of the computer and into their car for a visit. That response is based on price every single time (assuming we have a great marketing plan).

The second way the market can respond to us is they come see us, but choose not to buy from us, or end up buying something else. We need to know why they are doing that. This is why feedback is so important. I always say, “We will have an offer or an answer within 3-4 weeks.”

Lastly, the third way the market can respond is they come see us and choose to buy us. That means we won; we beat the competition. Real estate is not smoke and mirrors. It is very predictable and consistent. When the client understands that, they will follow our every recommendation, as long as it helps them reach their end goal.

So, make it a priority to become an expert in this great business of real estate, and have your team educate, communicate and manage expectations so your clients will trust you and help you grow your business with plenty of referrals.

Paul Wheeler started Accent Realtors as a licensed agent and broker in 1992. Wheeler leads THE ACCENT TEAM with energy, experience and vision for the future and a better business model in the real estate industry. He speaks to and teaches groups and organizations across the country on business and real estate-related topics. For more information, please visit

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