Attitude Before Platitude

Becki Saltzman has arranged a threesome. It involves you, your clients, and her wacky self, and it takes place in her new book, Arousing the Buy Curious: Real Estate Pillow Talk for Patrons and Professionals (Oomau Media, 2013).

Author Becki Saltzman

While the book is peppered with what some may term naughty language and innuendo, perhaps the more shocking element is that she wrote a book that is aimed at practitioners as well as buyers and sellers. What? Didn’t someone tell her not to give up the secret codes?!

But after reading this compendium cover to cover, I can assure you that you can relax. In fact—once you read the client-focused chapter and the client tips scattered throughout the book—you’ll probably want to buy this for all your (not-so-uptight) buyers and sellers. Not only does Saltzman guide clients on how to pick good agents, but she teaches them a whole lot about how to be good customers as well.

OK, back to the naughty bits. This book is not for those easily offended by language. Still when Saltzman writes, “You might be appalled by some of what you read in this book, but I promise that the ideas my potty mouth spouts are valid,” she lives up to the promise. Indeed, her advice is novel as it is solid, and it spans everything from getting started in real estate, to transaction management (from both sides), to handling crazy market fluctuations with grace.

Arousing the Buy Curious, coming to bookshelves in September, is definitely useful. But it’s also hilarious. There are quite a few laugh-out-loud commentaries that I can’t print here. But here are a few that can sneak by:

  • The word “charming” appears in 72% of all real estate listings, but what does it really mean? After all, people described Ted Bundy as charming.
  • (On deciding to work within a team:) If companionship is what you’re looking for, join a book club or a twelve-step program.
  • The better you sniff, the more you will find that the adage “Buyers are liars” should be changed to “Salespeople suck at getting to the truth.” Too bad that doesn’t rhyme.
  • (On the importance of choosing a good hair stylist:) Hell hath no fury like a woman improperly shorn.

As someone who reads business books for a living, I particularly appreciate her subtle pokes at the genre. At one point she calls biz book authors out for their over reliance on acronyms, categorizing waitstaff’s usefulness as COT (Conveyeors with Opposable Thumbs), SOT (Sort Of Trustworthy), or TBK (The Best Kind). She also peppers sarcastic exercises throughout that seem way more fun (and possibly more effective) than the corny routines I’ve read in some other business books.

Her sidebars of “Sortafacts” are both helpful and hilarious (One example: “Studies show that the most confident people use their first and last names when making business introductions in person. Online, however, people tend to introduce themselves by the name of their first dog and their current computer operating system.” *). She does include one chapter that harkens back to her training in psychology in a semi-serious way called Bit-O-Science, which applies some of science’s real-world findings about peoples’ reactions in sales situations. It’s informative, and has real citations.1

The best secret Saltzman gives away is how to do exactly what she’s doing—putting together a collection of smart observations about business and how people work. This is one huge part of creating a business book that actually works, rather than one that is just littered with nice-sounding platitudes.

“Try to apply lessons from outside the world of real estate to your business,” she writes at the end of Chapter 20. “Listen to your own family folklore and learn from the stupid things your family and friends have done. Think like a storyteller so the lessons will implant for longer and on a deeper level.”

Lucky for her brand, she does not reveal the secret to being hilarious and snarky (though she does give plenty of examples of how to mix things up a little). I guess some people are just born that way.

*That would make me “Misha Mountainlion.” It’s got a ring to it, no?


1 It also cautions people against believing citations.

Meg White

Meg White is the managing editor for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine's Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]

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  1. James Redfern

    Saltzman’s book is hilarious!

    For more laughs, check out AGENT!

    AGENT, a book written about you, about all of us, is a humorous novel that tells the real story about what it takes to make it this business of ours. Cast aside all the played-out clichés, forget all the tired caricatures, this book celebrates the real deal. This book tells the tale from the inside out. Celebrate our profession, and read this book today.

    AGENT by J. G. Redfern is now available on Amazon.

  2. James, I just now saw your comment so I jumped over to Amazon and bought your book. I’m happy to trade review for review.

    Looking forward.