While sex is the more titillating method used, it isn’t the only one.
Another agent I knew would have his mother call other brokers. She would pretend she was considering hiring them to sell her building if she could find something else to buy. Many a trusting agent would anxiously dump their inventory of off-market listings in her lap only to then find them listed by her son a month later.
One of the more clever agents I worked with would align himself with other industry professionals and then pay them a percentage of what he made for access to owners who were having legal issues or thinking of refinancing their property. Unfortunately for the seller, those other professionals made more money from referrals than their primary business and pushed their clients to contemplate selling even if that wasn’t in their best interest.
I can’t neglect to mention the broker who would wine and dine a competitor’s employees in exchange for passwords and access to their databases. I once had an assistant who was bribed by another agent for a copy of my client list. Luckily for me, my assistant had access only to my personal Christmas card list. My cousin Rose, who has a reputation for telling people exactly what she thinks in a very colorful way, made this agent reconsider sales as her profession.
It’s no secret that some brokers will lie, cheat and steal to get into listing heaven. Unfortunately for them, simply getting the listing doesn’t always guarantee a sale. I have yet to meet a broker who was able to use their bag of tricks to force an owner to sell their property when it didn’t ultimately make sense.
So how does an honest agent get listings without crossing the line? Remember The Boomerang Theory: What goes around comes back in your face. Align yourself with a reputable firm. Be sincere, truthful and humble. Nothing can replace experience and a solid reputation.
After all, sellers aren’t dumb. They can spot a phony a mile away. I know one prospective client who took advantage of every opportunity that came his way to “bag” willing brokers.
The funny part was, he didn’t really own anything.
Adelaide Polsinelli is a veteran real estate professional with more than 25 years of real estate brokerage experience. She is senior director at Eastern Consolidated.