Real Estate Women Dish on Men, Fashion and Closings

The sweat poured from Tim Davis’ forehead as he told some of the most powerful women in New York real estate that they don’t know how to talk to men.

“Women can talk and listen at the same time. Have you ever seen two men do that?” he said. “You need to pause once in a while.”

The towering Mr. Davis, who was once crowned New York’s funniest cab driver, had no trouble eliciting audience participation. “Maybe it’s not that we need to slow down,” Lori Sokol, editor of NY Residential, called out from the audience. “Maybe men need to start catching up,” 

Such was the introduction to behavioral communication for the trade group NY Commercial Real Estate Women on Tuesday eveing at the American Title Insurance Building on Third Avenue. With around 30 women and one man, it was time to move on.

Mr. Davis, a certified behavioral analyst, recalled a client who looked at 60-plus apartments without buying. Many brokers in the audience nodded in recognition. “She didn’t really want to buy,” suggested one.

But he  insisted this Goldilocks was simply the “analytical type,” who was too paralyzed by insecurity to make a decision. “The first objection is always the strongest,” he said, urging salespeople to focus on overcoming that.

Before Mr. Davis, who arrived at the front wearing a $20 shirt and a $50 jacket, Susan Sommers offered the CREW women advice on dressing for success. “You can say a lot without saying a word,” said Ms. Sommers, who advocates that salespeople should dress to make their clients feel comfortable.

Scanning the sea of black power suits with barely a pink collar in sight, Ms. Sokol (herself wearing strappy lamb-skin heels and a cream leather jacket) asked if women have to conform in order to be successful. Retail doyenne Faith Hope Consolo, in a shimmering cream sweater and over-sized pearls, nodded from the back.

Maybe you can put some of yourself in what you wear, Ms. Sommers agreed. But, she added in response to another question, keep your hair out of your eyes and your collar inside.

lkusisto@observer.com