By Mark Rodgers

Is the couch in its proper place? What do you think of the décor? Will there be enough lighting?

You work diligently with staging professionals and others to scrutinize every detail of the properties you represent. Why is it, then, that people who are professional in every other facet of their business give almost no thought to what their own office looks like?

Your office is the single greatest space in which to conduct business. This is where you may have your first meeting with clients, where you review offers and deliver advice. You need to be at your best in your office.

Robert Cialdini – probably the most quoted sociologist in the study of persuasion – likes to talk about the time when he worked at a medical clinic in which patients were taking almost 100 per cent of the advice given by physicians, but rarely taking that of the clinic’s physical therapists. So Cialdini analyzed the spaces where both groups dispensed their advice. Turns out that the physicians were speaking with patients in spaces highlighted with evidence of authority – licenses, diplomas and awards.

The physical therapists, on the other hand, met with patients in offices decorated with those crazy motivational posters, like the one with that kitten clinging to a ledge encouraging you to “hang in there!” Yikes. The therapists replaced the posters with their own credentials and guess what happened? Almost instantly, patient compliance with guidance from physical therapists increased 34 per cent.

Here are six ideas to augment your workspace and help you hear “yes” faster and more often:
  1. Hang your credentials. If you have a college or university diploma, post it. Hang your real estate license, along with membership certificates from professional organizations. Nicely framed, such items assure others of your proven expertise.
  2. Display sales and customer satisfaction awards. Were you Realtor of the Year in 2014? Top seller for three months in a row this year? Nova Scotia’s “most trusted” real estate agent? Put up the plaque, get out the trophy and frame the article. All of these are excellent examples of third-party verification of your excellent service.
  3. Keep distractions for kids handy. One of the greatest obstacles to clear and persuasive communication is a distracted parent. That’s why it helps to have items nearby that will occupy the youngsters: crayons and colouring books, perhaps, and Wi-Fi with an easy guest sign-in so older kids can stay busy on social media or the Internet.
  4. Use a digital picture frame. This is a must-have item and it should be loaded to rotate images of your happiest clients in front of their new homes. Then, as the pictures scroll through, you can simply say something like, “Oh, see this couple? That’s Bob and Mary Roy. They had a situation similar to yours, and here’s how we worked through it …” This leverages the powerful persuasion principle of social proof: We follow the lead of similar others.
  5. Have a pair of reading glasses ready. Not for you, but for your buyer. Have you ever heard a client who was ready to sign on the dotted line say, “Oh, I can’t. I don’t have my readers!” Don’t let this happen to you. Have several decent pairs with various powers in a drawer and offer them to clients when necessary.
  6. Keep the marketing to a minimum. Your office should be bastion of professionalism, not look like you’ve got more sponsorships than the Grey Cup Festival.

In today’s market you must use every tool available to help you win the business.

You spend a great deal of time making sure the property is right; now make sure your space is working as hard as you do.

What if I can’t meet at my office?

When meetings or important negotiations can’t be conducted at your office, for whatever reason, establish a home-field advantage elsewhere.

Pick a favourite upscale restaurant and get to know the owners, the wait staff and the menu. Be generous with tips and have a favourite table that you can request frequently. All of this will help you leverage as much familiarity as possible. When your clients hear the maître d’ call you by name, the chef comes out to say hello or the owner stops by your table, that’s impressive and persuasive. People want to do business with movers and shakers. And that’s exactly what you are.

Mark Rodgers is a best-selling author, award-winning speaker and sought-after consultant who says he helps professionals hear yes, faster – accelerating sales, marketing and management efforts to achieve astonishing results. His latest book is Persuasion Equation: The Subtle Science of Getting Your Way, published by Amacom in May 2015. Email Mark.


  1. A rush of hot, spent air just blew into this section below my initial post from a desperate wannabe intellectual who has resorted to copying my writing style in hopes of appearing to be so. Too bad, ’cause I ain’t no intellectual. I just give my thoughts to my five year-old niece, she puts them on paper, and I copy ’em down in this here box and submit ’em. I guess imitation really is the sincerest from of flattery.
    I may appear to be a hypocrite to the hot-air balloon-blower in question, but because I haven’t put fear into the hearts of listeners with my words whilst spouting off at the podium, as this guy has bragged about doing, I can’t compete in the bull-shit hunger games, because…I ain’t no bottom-feeding Dung Beetle feeding off of such dried-out crap.
    This likely TREB past-or-present giving-TREB-a-bad-name-by-default semi-official spokesperson seems to have changed into becoming more and more bothered by doses of his own kind of personal-attack medicine, which I feel obliged to dispense…for free! Speaking of medicine, if he has changed from being a sane voice of reason from over a year ago into what he has recently become, maybe he is genuinely in need of a change in meds. If so, I must then apologize for taking advantage of his weaknesses. If not, age may be doing to him what it does to many of us…cranking up the cranky meter, whereby he is not happy unless he is angry…at me…at government…at the whole world…even himself. Poor devil; I think he should try lithium-bicarbonate…anything to help the poor sole (thet ain’t no mistake pardner; a sole is a sea bottom-feeding flat as piss-on-a-plate fish with both eyes on the same side of its head, one looking up and the other looking at its ass, valued as food with chips, but not valued as food for thought) become happy again.

      • I must agree.

        Here are a few quotes for Alan to digest-

        whole problem with the world is that the fools and fanatics are always
        so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

        Some people seem to like the sound of their own voice. They might be good at talking, but actually have little to say

      • Jim,

        If I had to choose between being on the receiving end of sulking verses subterfuge, I would choose sulking every time — when it has been creatively written with strong emotional overtones by a “dogged truth teller”, because I can always use a good laugh as well as the next person.

        However, I think the main point here in terms of what should be acceptable, is larger than the subject of personal attacks. Silly, super-generalized accusations by pseudo-intellectuals, or anyone seeking personal exoneration for a frailty, by trying to claim that the frailty is actually an affliction that afflicts all who lie down with that certain mesmerizing (monster) method of remuneration known as “commission” is the kind of creative license worthy of theater drama, but not of REM. Simply put, it is selfish behavior which ironically, would be incongruous to the required character of a true advocate!

  2. Mark Rodgers latest book is titled “Persuasion Equation: The Subtle Science of Getting Your Way”.
    If you envision yourself as being a commissioned sales person who wants “your” way with every customer turned client, then this is a must read, because after all, it is all about getting “your” way without wasting time, because time wasted is money lost (at least for commission-chasers), is it not?
    If you want to become a manipulative commission-collecting wannabe-high-roller salesperson of the stereotypical kind who is publicly judged as being same, thus residing lower on the trust scale than a snake’s belly in a wagon-wheel rut, then this should be a must read, because, after all, it is all about what “you” want from the salesperson-client relationship. However, if you want to become a real professional advocate for your customers-willingly-turned-clients due to your obvious product/current market conditions knowledge and your willingness to methodically (thus in a measured fashion delivered at a rate suitable to the intake abilities of your clients) share that knowledge along with an obviously natural altruistic personality untainted by dogmatic adherence to manipulative sales strategies, then forget about trying to psychologically tether and lead folks to where ‘you’ want them to go with learned tactics. Be an industry outlier and actually take the time to educate folks in order to allow them to make informed decisions of their own, whether you immediately benefit financially or not. Professionals do not manipulate; they educate and let the chips fall where they may. If you are not desperate for money (if you are, you shouldn’t be in the business), what’s the rush? It all eventually works out in the wash.
    People talk to others about professionals with whom they have dealt in a positive manner, whilst talking negatively about ignorant low-life money-grubbing shoe-horning phoney-baloney short-term-rapport-building scripted talking-heads who possess little in the way of personal substance (don’t know what the hell altruism is all about, or about how being an altruistic person is a personal reward in and of itself quite aside from the benefits derived as the direct result of positive feedback from others, including a desire to pay you for your efforts).
    Defenders of the commissioned sales culture faith: Pay close attention to the likes of one alias herein who goes by the moniker “Alan M” who has a vested interest in making passers-by turn into customers turn into clients turn into commission-payers under “his” terms, and by all means read Mark’s book (and all other “It’s All About Me” publications)…and memorize those strategies. How else will you be able to take advantage of situations and ignorant folks for quick personal profit (without a professional foundation upon which you should have built ‘your’ business expectations) for “your” self?
    Non-defenders of the faith: Don’t make the common mistake of making being a Realtor all about yourself. You will just become one of the many who fail, or, failing that, you might go on to earn the distinction of being judged by the vast majority of “your” potential marks as being just another sleazy commissioned sales hack. Don’t join in with the crowd and embrace the herd mentality; stand alone and be what the public wants you to be, a trusted advocate and advisor. Be a professional. Defy the odds. The money will come.

    • Brian,

      You use sterotypy to promote your myopic viewpoint, and as such it becomes a tactic — yet you criticize soft tactics as a concept put into practice, by others. By definition, you are a hypocrite!

      In order to continue in the promotion of your tread-bare rant, you feebly strive to connect a form of remuneration to an undesirable form of behavior as being inextricably linked — which is pompous nonsense, but it is also a hard tactic on your part. By definition, once again, you are a hypocrite!

      Your amateurish and overly simplistic view of advocacy transcends worthlessness, when you can’t articulate the concept of “value added” either turning into a positive reality in a trade or being nonexistent — as being what is most germane to the question of REALTOR value.

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