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Sales Etiquette

No prospective buyer should ever leave a  home builder’s sales office feeling like they just attended the annual Tour of Homes, yet that’s exactly how I felt after visiting a new home community in an upscale suburb of Dallas.

When I arrived, the salesman, Greg, was so absorbed in reading a text message that he greeted me without looking up from his phone and muttered, “Just a sec,” as he sent a lengthy reply.  Offering no apology and making no attempt at all to determine my requirements, Greg turned his back to me and walked several feet ahead as he began his well rehearsed model home demonstration.  Doing my best to keep up, I followed from room-to-room, his brisk pace never slowing as he pointed out features in all directions, leaving me feeling like a spectator at a tennis match.  His presentation was perfectly timed to end as we returned to our starting point.  Here, I expected him to be curious about my thoughts on the home or encourage me to ask questions.  Instead, he summarized the home’s many attributes, handed me a folder with additional information, and wished me luck in my search.

To say I was frustrated is an understatement.  I had driven a long way in traffic I normally avoid only to leave 30 minutes later with a packet of information I didn’t understand about a product I still knew little about from a man whose cool indifference more closely resembled a tour guide.

Although this was my first personal encounter with such an unprofessional salesperson, I’ve watched and scored plenty of video shops starring others who were frighteningly similar — or worse.

Greg obviously isn’t familiar with these Sales Etiquette tips:

Treat Your Buyers Like A Boss

Buyers determine whether or not you get paid.  If you don’t sell, they don’t buy.  If they don’t buy, you don’t eat.  Be on your professional toes at all times, ready to give them your undivided attention.

  • make them feel welcome
  • make them feel comfortable
  • make them feel you want to know them
  • make them feel liked (use their names!)
  • make them feel you value their input
  • make them feel you’re listening
  • make them feel understood
  • make them feel like they are your favorite clients

Put Your Phone Away

Checking or sending emails and text messages during client meetings tops the Sales Etiquette Don’t List for several reasons – aside from being just plain rude.  It implies that you are:


You consider the conversation outside the room to be more important than the people you are meeting with.


The person you’re assisting expects and deserves 100% of your full attention.  When your attention turns to another conversation, you are no longer focused on the buyer in front of you.

A Poor Listener: 

You can’t listen if you aren’t paying attention.  Listening is a vital skill for a successful salesperson and plays a major role in good communication.  Asking the right questions and listening to your buyer’s answers requires concentration.

Become Familiar With Silence and Vibrate Mode

Before meeting with a buyer, check your phone to make sure it is in silence or vibrate mode to avoid interruptions.  If a non-emergency call comes in during a presentation, just let it go — and put it out of your mind until your client is gone.  A ringing phone is annoying and intrusive; answering it is an ever worse breach of etiquette.  So unless you are trying to make someone feel irrelevant, my best advice is to ignore it.

If you are waiting on an important call or text that must be answered, advise your client of this in advance and ask them to please excuse you for a couple of minutes should the correspondence come through while you are meeting with them.

Avoid Annoying (and Sticky) Situations

Chewing gum, eating, loud music, mumbling or not speaking with confidence are all major turn-offs to buyers.  Doing any of these things can severely hurt your chances of making a sale.

Don’t be Greg

Why didn’t Greg take the time to find out what I was looking for and help me achieve my home shopping goals?  Why did he make me feel like my visit was an inconvenience?  I don’t have those answers, but I do know he will not get my business or that of my friends or family.

Fortunately, Greg doesn’t represent the majority of salespeople, but he does serve as an example of what you don’t want to become.  Regardless of what may be happening in your world, put a smile on your face, greet clients graciously, demonstrate excitement when showing your homes, take time to ask questions, ignore phone calls, text messages and emails, gain your clients’ input and give them Your Attention Please!

Until Next Time,