Profile: Pitch a Tent, Make a Sale

August 1, 1997

ROCKVILLE, Md.--Just when you might be running out of steam--and marketing ideas--here's one that might give you a second wind for the fall selling season.

Drive around Rockville, Md., and you might come across a roadside tent pitched on a vacant, for-sale subdivision lot. You won't find lanterns, baked beans, camp songs, or cold coffee served in tin cups here, though. This "campsite" comes with candlelight, a silver coffee service, and recorded piano music, not to mention real estate brochures and contracts. It's Long & Foster salesperson and concert pianist Nancy Zacharczyk's (pronounced za-har-jick) new method to sell vacant subdivision lots.

The first time she set up her portable oasis in March, she sold a lot in 15 minutes. And, she says, the buyer told her that he wouldn't have bought the lot if she hadn't been there.

The 15-minute sale is all the more impressive considering that the property had been on the market with another salesperson for a year with nary a nibble, Zacharczyk says. So how did she sell what no one else could? "I'd just finished a three-month course with my manager, who stressed thinking out of the box and taking the business to the people," she says exuberantly. "Plus, I realized the sellers must really be miffed. So I had to produce."

Since her 15 minutes of fame, the confident Zacharczyk has sold another lot the same way and sees a future in land sales. "I have several more lots down the pike," she says, noting that she'll be pitching her tent again to get them sold.

She's also developing a reputation as a go-getter. A couple who stopped by her tent weren't interested in the lot, but they were sold on her as a listing salesperson. As Zacharczyk recalls, the woman said, "I want her!"

Christina Hoffmann
Senior Speech Writer

Christina Hoffmann has covered real estate and homeownership for two decades, including as REALTOR® Magazine managing editor and’s content manager, with added expertise as owner of a demanding 100-year-old house. She is currently a senior speech writer at NAR.

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