Sales Person Or Service Provider?..Interesting article...

You’re registered as a salesperson or broker, but what exactly is a salesperson? Actually, as a species, since we’re always selling ourselves to survive and procreate, to meld into society, it could be said that with varying degrees of success, absolutely everyone on the planet is involved in sales.

Now, here’s something else to ponder; who actually sells real estate? If you believe you do, then technically, you’d be wrong because only owners (or mortgagees) have the legal right to sell their property. A seller sells and a buyer buys. Notwithstanding government legislated designations, you undertake the responsibility to represent those needing skilled disposition and acquisition services.

Clearly, just like a building contractor, lawyer, doctor or auto mechanic, you’re paid to perform a service. And rather than guaranteed compensation based on an hourly rate or flat association-established fee schedule, you’re normally paid a percentage commission on the successful completion of service. So, what exactly are you – a salesperson or a service provider? As inferred earlier, I submit that you’re the latter. If a lawyer or doctor were compensated only on successful completion of their undertaken task (as some litigators are paid), could they also be considered salespeople?

This would normally not be the case, but not because they’re paid by the hour or by a flat fee. Doctors are service providers and presume they’re correct in their diagnosis, but nowadays, increasingly must convince – or sell – their patient on the accuracy of their medical assessment. Lawyers must argue – or sell – a judge or jury to prove their postulations are correct. Because we provide a valuable service, maybe the norm for our industry should be to offer clients a flat fee or hourly rate in lieu of a percentage commission fee.

Merriam-Webster defines a salesperson (paraphrased) as one who “sells merchandise or services, either in a shop or by canvassing in a designated area.” It defines selling as “delivering or giving up property to another in violation of duty, trust or loyalty and especially for personal gain, for something of value, especially foolishly or dishonourably, to exact a price for, to give into the power of another, to deliver the personal services of for money, to dispose of or manage for profit instead of in accordance with conscience, justice or duty, to impose on or cheat, to cause or promote the sale of something or to influence or induce to make a purchase.”

Well, I don’t know how you feel about this definition, but little of it fits with my self-image. If for no other reason than self-respect, you must not think of yourself as such. I’m repulsed by the preconception of the stereotypical deceptive, aggressive, greedy manipulator as commonly depicted in the media.

Think about how you felt when you were last gently persuaded to buy. If the sales rep was pushy, you probably quickly took your leave. To accurately determine your wants and needs, did they ask sensitive questions? Did they patiently listen, or in an attempt to coerce you, simply talk at you while extolling the many virtues of their product? Did they honestly explain things, offering valuable information and alternatives? If they showed sincere interest in fulfilling your needs and presented the right product or service, you bought. Right? However briefly, they became a trusted fulfillment specialist.

Maybe the official designation of “salesperson” is a misnomer. Perhaps our industry’s regulators should amend the act to more accurately designate a real estate practitioner as a “property transition facilitator”, “realty service specialist” or “home marketing consultant”; maybe even the more generic “realty agent”. With the gradual implementation of higher educational requirements and increased focus on professionalism, maybe we need a more professional handle.

A realty agent is a consultant who usually performs the role of agent in the field of real estate marketing, negotiation, acquisition and disposition. Expert knowledge, experience and various related skills, not to mention expensive tools and overhead, all contribute toward efficiently calming the potentially challenging waters of real estate trading. Thus, you deserve better and more accurate recognition. Though unlikely to occur anytime soon, it’s time that our realty designation matched reality.

Skill is the unified force of experience, intellect and passion in their operation.”  — John Ruskin

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Joann Visaretis

Joann Visaretis

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Leading Edge Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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