Effective communication is something that everyone knows about, but that very few people actually practice. Communication in real estate is particularly important because miscommunication can cost you a sale. If you fail to establish yourself as a professional agent, and if you are unable to communicate things to your clients, then you might as well have never bothered.
When you are communicating with real estate clients and prospects, there are three main sources of communication that you must cultivate: listening, speaking and body language. These three factors are terribly important, and if you haven’t mastered the skills, this would be a good time to start.
You’ve probably heard about effective listening before, but did you really understand what was said? Listening means not only hearing what your clients say, but also comprehending their meaning and letting them know you were paying attention.
When clients or prospects talk to you, do you affirm what they say? This means taking their statement, and turning it around into a question or statement of your own. If you are able to reiterate back what someone has said, then you can show that you were actively listening. In turn, this communicates that you care what your client or prospect is saying, and that you value their opinion. A few of the starters for this type of active listening are:
“So what you’re saying isÃ¢Â?Â¦”
“If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re looking forÃ¢Â?Â¦”
“So essentially, you needÃ¢Â?Â¦”
It also helps to go back to prior conversations hours or days after the conversation took place. In real estate, you have to show your clients that you pay attention to what they say and that you do what they ask. You are in a primarily customer-service-oriented business, and following up with clients is a large part of that. Here are a few examples of what you can say to show that you were listening and that you have thought about their question, concern or issue:
“Remember your question? Well, I looked into it, andÃ¢Â?Â¦”
“I was thinking about what you were saying, and IÃ¢Â?Â¦”
Above all else, your clients must have confidence in you, and must feel that you have their best interests at heart.
Effective speech means using your words wisely and communicating your intentions as briefly and as succinctly as possible. It means omitting as many “uh’s” and u”m’s” and “well’s” as possible, and speaking loudly and clearly enough that people understand you.
When you’re conducting a meeting, do you articulate well? Do you use professional jargon and five-dollar words? Do you speak knowledgeably and confidently about your chosen profession – real estate?
You will earn respect and instill confidence by speaking well, and you will also establish yourself as an expert in your industry. People who are educated and who know their market do not use phrases like “that thingy” and “”you know what I’m talking about”. You have to remember that you are the real estate professional, and that you have to tell your clients what you know and show that you know it well.
Further, using proper ettiquette on the phone and in person will show your clients and prospects that you care deeply about your business and that you are professional enough to speak with decorum.
It is estimated that more than 75% of communication is facilitated through body language. How we sit, stand, move and gesture tells others quite a bit about ourselves.
When you talk with clients and prospects, avoid the following:
– crossing your arms over your chest and looking at the floor
– running your hands through your hair or fiddling with paperwork
– shifting back and forth from one foot to the other
– sitting back in your chair
– cracking your knuckles
– playing with your fingernails
All of these actions demonstrate a lack of confidence and interest. Instead, sit forward in your chair, keep your hands at your side or in your lap and make eye contact with whomever you are speaking with. Show the other person that you are engaged in the conversation.If there are two people in your company, divide your eyes between them equally. Use hand gestures sparingly.
If you are able to combine effective use of listening, speaking and body language, you will communicate better and instill confidence in clients and prospects.