Sales Ideas by the Grab Bagful

By Robert Freedman, REALTOR® Magazine

Ralph Roberts sells 600 houses a year and doesn’t mind sharing with you some of the ideas that have made him, as Time magazine puts it, “America’s scariest salesperson.”

He’s even made it easy to dip into his new book, 52 Weeks of Sales Success (New York: HarperCollins; $21), by giving you at least one new idea for every week of the year. We dipped in, and here are a few worthwhile ideas we picked up:

  • Stay put. Jumping from company to company pursuing higher commission splits confuses your clients and increases your expenses. You make money by digging deep where you are and making things happen in the here and now.
  • Don’t hold on to all deals. If bad chemistry between you and your client is making it difficult for you to work on the deal in the best possible way, get out of the relationship. That will free you up for deals that work.
  • Meet with your clients in their kitchen. Some places are more conducive than others for getting clients to relax and reveal their feelings about a deal. No room is better for this than the kitchen. Ask for a glass of water or just to see the kitchen, and once you’re there, try to hold your conversation at the table.
  • Buy and sell houses for yourself regularly so that you can stay in touch with what’s going on in your market area.
  • Even when sales are strong, maintain an active marketing program and always reserve time to make new contacts each week.
  • Tap for-sale-by-owner business by offering sellers a do-it-yourself kit. A kit can include a training video, a 24-hour voice message system, a pager, a yard sign, information flyers, and cards with a photo of the home. “Some salespeople think I’m helping cut all our throats by showing customers how they don’t need us. But it’s a fact that 25 percent of all homes sold are FSBOs, and the trend is increasing. Unless we adapt to this sort of trend, a lot of us will be out of business.”

Robert Freedman

Robert Freedman is director of multimedia communications for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. He can be reached at

More Posts