Rules for CORE Agents #23: Don’t be Afraid to be Called “Pushy,” at Least Once

Most of the great real estate agents I’ve worked with have one thing in common: they’re a little, sometimes a lot, pushy.  They’re not afraid to ask tough questions, or make aggressive demands, or put people on the spot.  Simply put, they’re comfortable making other people uncomfortable.

Most of us aren’t built that way.  We are hard-wired to be agreeable and cooperative and likeable. We’re empathic and deferential to other people’s needs. We try to be “nice” to other people in our daily lives, because we want them to like us, and we know they won’t like us if we’re pushy and demanding.  For the most part, those are admirable traits.

Sometimes, though, it pays to be a little pushy when you’re in the business of providing a service to someone else.  That is, you might not be pushy in your everyday life, when it’s just you and your needs that are at stake.  But you need to be willing to be a little pushy when you’re looking out for someone else.

Think of it this way.  If someone hit you with their car and you were filing a lawsuit, wouldn’t you want your lawyer to be a little pushy? You don’t want some milquetoast who’s afraid to step on any toes, you want someone wearing big, oversized clown shoes stomping around on all the toes she can!  Or think about how some of the most timid, agreeable people you know are about their children: you can push them around all you want, but they’ll bite your head off when it comes to protecting their kids.

Now, I’m not counseling you to be a raging sociopathic maniac.  If you’re not a naturally aggressive, demanding person, you’re not going to be able to pull it off. You’ll be uncomfortable and self-conscious, and you’ll probably come across like a jerk.  But I do think that most of us have a lot of leeway to be a little more aggressive in our business.  We can push a little more than we do without actually crossing the line to “pushiness.”  Because we’re so agreeable, we shy away from those tough questions, aggressive demands, and uncomfortable situations even when we should charge ahead.

My point is this: if you’ve never, ever been called “pushy” at least once in your career, then you’ve never challenged your OWN comfort level enough.  Commit yourself to push a little more until you find just how far you can go without turning people off.  And then, when you do finally get called “pushy,” it’s not the end of the world: just apologize, explain that you sometimes get “so passionate” about what you do, and then back off and change the subject. But now you know where the line is, and how far you can go without crossing it.


This post is part of a series of what I call the “36-1/2 Rules for Client-Oriented Real Estate Agents,” a collection of short takes on the CORE concept that I’ve developed over the years of discussing and teaching the system.  We’ll count up to the 36th rule over the next few months, and then the 1/2 rule.  You can get the full list of rules by clicking on the “36-1/2 Rules for CORE Agents” category on the blog – scroll from the bottom if you want to read them in order.