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Why It’s Time to Focus on Service, Not Selling

In the wake of a series of steamrolling disruptors—such as the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) lawsuit, which calls us conspiring and attacks our commissions—and misleading, myopic iBuyer programs whose momentum is invoking panic in agents from coast to coast, it’s time for change. Significant change.

What do we change to help break the momentum and create a breakthrough in our businesses? Come from a place of service over sales. Position yourself as a coach, not a closer. Whether you’re making prospecting calls, canvassing your farm, taking buyers to see a home or standing face-to-face at a kitchen table on a listing appointment, authentically be there to help and serve. When you do, you’re genuinely building relationships and creating connections, which translates to trusted advocate, valued professional and sometimes even friend.

In the “old days,” there was a mantra among some agents when prospecting for listings that went something like, “I’m not going to go over to see if I can get a listing, I’m going to see if I want it, and if I want it, I’ll take it.” At the time, it was meant to help embolden agents and make them feel more confident. I get that. For many agents though, that doesn’t feel aligned with who they are and how they want to connect with other human beings. It’s a lot more “taking” than “serving”—and that disconnect not only makes them cringe at the idea of prospecting, but also leaves them terrified of how they sound when the “canned scripts” they’re required to recite come out of their mouths. I get that, too. It feels smarmy and insincere, which wouldn’t make anyone want to go to work—and certainly wouldn’t make consumers want to work with us.

We’ve got to level up as sales and service professionals. We can’t wait any longer. Disruptors tell us many things about the market, consumer awareness, media interpretation and how quickly misinformation can be disseminated and presumed real. One thing they tell us loud and clear is that our value as REALTORS® is under siege.

Here’s the difference a service mindset and practiced communication skillset makes: People will see your value more clearly. They’ll feel seen and heard. They’ll recognize that you’re there to genuinely help them get to their next level—to move closer to the grandkids, settle closer to a new job or find a home in a great school district. They’ll know that you’re not focused on dollar signs and closing tables, but rather, on them.

There may be some that say it’s just semantics. “Service” over “selling.” Will this one small shift make a difference? Absolutely. My students and agents across the country are proving it daily with increased listing inventory, growing referral bases, commissions based on value and solid communication skills that allow them to do what they love every day without fear of market trends and disruption. That’s the kind of change I think every agent—and every brokerage—can get behind.

Call me. Let’s talk about it.

Commentary by Darryl Davis, CSP
Darryl Davis has spoken to, trained and coached more than 100,000 real estate professionals around the globe. He is a best-selling author for McGraw-Hill Publishing, and his book, “How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate,” tops Amazon’s charts for most sold book to real estate agents. He is the founder of the Next Level® real estate training system The Power Program®, which has proven to help agents double their production over their previous year. Davis earned the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, held by less than 2 percent of all speakers worldwide. To learn more, visit

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