Why Most Salespeople Suck (And How You Can Be Better)

Here’s an obvious but profound application of the 80-20 Rule as it applies to sales:

For anyone who sells anything – no matter if you’re a copywriter, a sales rep, a real estate agent, a retailer, an agency owner, or something else…

If you put in 20% more effort than the average person in your field…

You will automatically be more successful than at least 80% of those people.

Because here’s a boring secret…

The key to success really is just showing up and actually giving a f**k.

Truly it is.

But, ever since I first went out on my own as a freelancer back in early 2012…

I’ve been continuously shocked by how many people don’t seem to actually care about making the sale.

Here’s the story that triggered this thought:

Yesterday, I emailed a real estate agent about a beach house I saw that’s for rent. It’s in a great location, but when I walked by it I noticed the “For Rent” sign also said “no pets.”

So, I emailed the agent and asked how firm the owner was on the no pets thing.

I also mentioned that if there was some flexibility and we liked the house, we’d be open to paying an extra $500 per month to have our two small cats there with us.

Then I finished the email by saying that if the owner of that house was adamant about no pets, then no big deal…

But to let me know if he (the agent) has any other properties in the surrounding area that would be worth looking at.

Here’s the agent’s reply:

“Owner will consider small dogs. That’s it. Sorry.”

Sweet.

It’s nice the guy responded back…

But it also seems like he just missed a big ol’ opportunity.

The rental I emailed about isn’t cheap…

And yet, I’m saying I would pay above market value if we could bring our cats…

So even if the answer is no, which is fine…

It seems like I might be the kind of client this guy would want to build a relationship with…

Because in our first interaction ever, I’m indicating that I don’t mind paying extra for things I want.

And then there’s the fact that he completely ignored my question about other listings…

Which is kind of nuts…

Because I just found the guy's profile on Realtor.com a few minutes ago…

And the dude does have other listings…

Including a house that's listed for $2.3MM, and that’s in the same area as where we want to eventually buy.

It honestly looks like a pretty nice home, and I’d be interested in seeing it…

But I’m certainly not going to go out of my way to email that guy about it now…

Especially when he was so unhelpful in his first reply.

Maybe I’d still email the guy if that house looked like my absolute dream home…

But it doesn’t.

It just looks like a house I’d be interested in seeing.

Still though…

If the agent had mentioned that house in his reply…

There would at least be a CHANCE that I’d go view it…

And there'd be a chance that I ended up really liking it and putting in an offer.

Probably not, but it would have been a possibility at least…

And like I said yesterday, sales is all a numbers game, right?

A 3% commission on a $2,300,000 listing is $69,000…

So it just seems like with that being the case…

The agent would want to show the house to as many qualified buyers as possible…

Until he gets a bite.

Apparently not, though…

And this agent’s behavior isn’t some one-off…

This kind of stuff is happening all of the time.

Here are just a few other things I’ve noticed when it comes to real estate:

1. For the beach houses listed on Zillow, about 25% of the time the agent doesn’t use a picture of the ocean as the listing’s main image.

That’s a huge mistake. People who are looking for oceanfront homes want to know that they’ll be able to see… the ocean! But by just including a random picture of the kitchen, they’re killing their “open rates.”

2. I’d say that for about 10% of the listings, the agent doesn’t write a description. And these are for expensive properties that have been on the market for a while.

3. Then there’s the super amateur photos that are used for some of the listings. We’re talking about rentals that are $10k per month or more… and houses that are $2MM+… Yet the photos look like my grandpa took them on his 1997 flip phone.

4. About 50% of the time when Laura and I call or text someone to inquire about a house, we don’t get a call back until a few days later. Sometimes we never hear back. In the realm of sales, and especially real estate, you’ve got to be fast, but a lot of these agents aren’t.

And conversely – if I was thinking about hiring a real estate agent to list my home, I’d first find one of their current listings and call them to inquire about it. This way, I could see how quickly the agent answers or respond to me and what their demeanor is. Then I’d probably go so far as to schedule a walkthrough of one of their listings where I pretend to be a potential buyer. That way I can see how the house is staged, how hard the agent works to sell the house, etc.

Most of us don’t do that though – we just get referred somebody by a friend and go with that agent, without knowing if they’re actually any good.

And that’s just real estate…

But let me give you a few more mind-blowing examples…

5. I fly private sometimes. About 25% of the time when I reach out to an agent or a broker for a quote, they don’t respond back. This includes brokers I’ve used in the past. This is pretty common too – a person does a great job the first time you work with them, but then aren’t as solid in subsequent interactions. That’s no good. Consistency is key.

6. I recently inquired about season tickets for the Las Vegas Raiders. Instead of calling me, the sales rep sent an email with some generic info + a link to view available seats. The package I was interested in would have cost $70,000. I asked the agent a question about this package and he did respond. But then that was it. If he’d followed up with me a few more times, there’s a decent chance I would have bought the package. I just needed some convincing.

7. A little while back, I had a freelancer friend who said he was struggling to get clients and having money problems. I introduced him to a dream client. The freelancer took two days to reply, and then asked if they could get on a call the following week. The dream client didn’t respond and I don’t blame them. They had an urgent pain point and the freelancer seemed like the kind of guy who moves slow. Not worth it to them.

8. One more. Back in early September I went to the dealership and looked at luxury cars. One of the cars I liked a lot was the Rolls Royce Dawn. It was a little over $403,000. After I left the dealership, I emailed the sales rep and asked him to do the math for me on a lease. If I put 10% down (so $40k), what would my monthly cost be over a 36 month lease, and with how many miles? The guy never responded back. I even double-checked a week later to make sure I had his address right, and I did.

Honestly, I could write another ten thousand words about this…

But I think you get the point:

A lot of the secret to success is just showing up.

You don’t have to be the best at what you do…

You just have to be better than most of your competition…

And the bar is pretty low.

K that’s it for today…

Hope everyone has an awesome Monday.

– SPG

 

P.S.

For the copywriters on my blog…

Showing up means proactive communication with clients, meeting deadlines when you say you will, and being responsive. That’s it. Simply do those things and you’ll have differentiated yourself from 90% of the other copywriters out there.

P.P.S. This post originally came from an email I sent to my private list. If you want to see more stuff like this from me, you can apply to join my list using this link.

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