In real estate, every client is different. They have different values, interests, concerns and wishes. For the real estate agent, it isn’t always easy to adapt to every client’s wish list.
However, if you put in place these 4 communication skills, everyone will want to work with you.
Before we start on the 4 communication skills, l would like to give a word of advice. My father used to tell me as a small boy, "Taco, you can’t have the whole world as your friend". It was later in life that I started understanding what he meant. We live in a world of different people with different sets of beliefs, values, interest, religions and characters. With these differences, we are not able to match with every person in this wrold. With regards to the real estate business, it’s important to acknowledge and recognize these differences. It can be an essential choice making fatcor in your day-to-day operations. Hence we are going to focus on the people we do want to work with. And most importantly, the people who we want to make our long time valued customer (LVC) - the clients that want to work with you for the rest of their lives. So here are the 4 communication skills you need to adapt to make your clients want to work with you!
Something that one of my friends used to say me is, "Taco, sometimes you need to SHUT UP!" I’m not going to tell you the same way (let’s stay friendly), but I cannot emphasize how crucial this is. Stop talking and start listening to your client. The only thing you should be doing when you talk is asking questions, but let’s not ruin the other points we want to cover.
When I say listen, I don’t mean sitting across your client and passively listen to his story. The listening part is going to be essential in how you:
- Select your client
With everything your client is telling you, you should make a profile in your head, or start writing it down on paper. Your client will tell you a few important things that will define how you are going to start selling. In short, you are mastering each and every client profile. Is your client dominant? Is he/she shy? Is your client a confident person or is this the first time he/she is selling a house? All this will matter if you want to start working on how you can help your client.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey has a great quote, "Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply". I agree on this. If you have some selling experience, you will know it’s important to communicate in a good and smooth way. However, in order to nail your sales pitch, you must understand your client before you start the sale process. The ones who can master this part will start getting in more clients. If the client feels that you are truly listening and understanding their story, he/she will immediately feel comfortable working with you. It's simpler said than done, so start practicing this and you will see results in no time!
2) Asking questions
You will find that listening and asking questions are your strategies to start rolling in clients. The trick is after every story your client has told you, you already have the next question ready. By asking questions, you gather the following information as many as possible. It’s no secret that the biggest companies invest their money on information about each individual. The more information they have about you, the better they can sell, find and target you. Companies like google, Facebook, Coca Cola and other international companies will do anything to get their information about their target customers.
For a moment think of yourself as a major corporate company and start gathering information about your client. And the best way to do this is to start asking questions. Asking questions has a second advantage. Let's start with this scenario. Have you ever sat in a bar or a coffee shop with a friend and he starts asking questions like, 'Hey Taco, how did you become so successful in the real estate?', or 'Jennifer, can you explain to me how I can get a beautiful dress like what you're wearing now?'
Do you see how the question is asked? If the first question would have been asked to me, I would hear the words, ‘How did you become successful in real estate?' What that means is this friend recognizes my success and is asking my advice for it. This gives me a feeling of appreciation and recognition. Those are two powerful emotions that forms a better impression on my friend even more, and also a great way to get my advice about real estate business.
So it’s not only about the questions you ask, but also how you ask it. Make sure you practice this, because if you ask the right question at the right time, your client will make a decision to work with you, without you even knowing it! For inexperienced sales person in the real estate, you might want to write some questions down before you meet your client. This way you will always have a backup just in case you run out of questions.
Here comes the technical part to your way in getting this client to sign on the line that is dotted. The way you stand, sit, dress, look and talk does have a major impact on how your client analyses you. As mentioned before, you can’t do these all correctly for everybody. However, there are some basics you need to practice to make sure you always show the best version of yourself.
You can definitely compare it with guys flirting with girls. Girls look for one thing and one thing only the moment they lay their eyes on a guy - confidence. It’s the magic word when it comes to your communication skills. If you’re a confident person, people will work with you than all the other stuttering, poorly dressed, low self-esteem agents in your area. Confidence begins with a few important basics you need to master. Quoted from a famous Dutch book I once read, 'you never get a second chance to make a first good impression'. So if you do this right, you are game-on.
A few nonverbal cues that convey confidence once you meet a client:
This is your gateway in connecting with your client. Look in their eyes, but don’t stare. Essentially, it’s the primary tool for establishing connection with others.
This shows you’re in control and have experience in what you do. It's portrays as though the whole world around you could drop down and you would still be moving forward.
Dress to impress
Please do me a favor. Don’t go to an appointment in your jeans and Sunday t-shirt. I like the following quote, 'Dress how you want to be addressed’. People take you less serious if you dress poorly. So make sure you look your best when meeting with people, even if you're on the phone.
Mirror your client’s nonverbal cues
In my experience, this is amazing. If you can master it, you will see great things happening. Focus on your clients nonverbal cues and pay close attention to their body language and voice tone. Level your body language and voice tone similarly as theirs. This will make your client feel more comfortable and see similarity in you. It will make this person like you faster and see you as a friend. However, don’t copy your client’s movement and words to avoid being creepy. Through practice, it serves to be a powerful tool.
Authoritative posture and presence
Stand up tall and straight, and you will give an immediate message to your client. Your client will identify you as someone with authority, energy and lots of self-assurance.
4) Surprise your client
If you want to show you care about your client, you need to be different from any other agent in the market. This means you need to show your care and have the best interest for your client.
My experience is that surprising your client with something they don’t expect works all the time. This can be done in different ways, but one of it includes the information you have about the client. With that information, you have the power to adapt to his/her needs.
Let me give you a few examples from a very simple to a more challenging surprise. An old colleague of mine was working with a client that was crazy about dog clothes. Yes, you’re reading it right, clothes that you can put on a dog. He saw it on her Facebook page, on her twitter account, and she even organized annual events for dog shows. Before my colleague went to visit her, he went to a ‘fashion pet store’ and bought a small gift for her dog. During the appointment, he gave the gift as a small gesture, but the reaction of his client was priceless. She was so touched and even got a little emotional. Yes, it's that simple. It may not work all the time, but at least you gave a great impression.
A second but more difficult example was my own experience. One of my clients called me explaining that he had a condo in the city that he had to sell fast, but the only problem was that he was not in the country. So we had to discuss everything by phone and Skype. I could feel that my client wasn’t comfortable with phone conversation, so I proposed visiting him without any conditions. It was a risk because the trip did cost me money. However, I knew by adapting to the needs of my client, I would do him a huge favor. Without any hesitation, the client gave me the listing exclusively and I sold it in 3 months.
In a nutshell, find the needs and desires of your client and focus on your strategy. If your client says he expects you to contact him soon after a meeting, write him an email right after you leave the meeting. It shows you care and you understand your client.
So stand up straight, shut up, ask the right questions and be ready to surprise your client. Your client list will never look the same again.
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