So you thought you could memorize a bunch of canned scripts, belt them out, and win the client, huh? Wrong! Being a successful agent means that you need to work on mastering the art of selling, which is based on honest, thoughtful communication between people.
Agents who listen to what prospects and clients want and deliver accordingly always make more money and have less stress than those agents who don’t. It’s just a simple fact of personal communication.
You need to memorize, internalize, and personalize your scripts – but you’re not a robot, and you can’t deliver them like you are one. Being an effective listeners will help you to know if and when to deliver your scripts, and help you to know how to best modify your scripts for each client. Remember to give clients what they want, not what you think they want.
How to Effectively CONNECT With Your Clients Through Better Listening
1: Get out of judgment and into curiosity.
Be absolutely fascinated by your prospect or client’s situation. It’s all about them, not about you. Take notes and use phrases like, “what I hear you saying is…” and, “it sounds like the most important thing to you is…”
Secret: Real estate prospects won’t tell you that they’re not hiring you as their buyer’s agent or listing agent because you didn’t listen. Instead, they’ll just say, “we didn’t connect,” or, “we didn’t hit it off.”
2: Stop multitasking and start focusing.
You can’t be fascinated by a single person if you’re doing multiple things at once.
One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. ~ Bryant H. McGill
3: Take it easy on the “mirror and match.”
Mirror and match phrasing but don’t over do it or it sounds ridiculous! Always have more energy and enthusiasm than your client or prospect does.
4: Ask more questions than you make statements.
Constantly telling someone what to do can sound preachy and egotistical. Ask what they feel is most important instead of being commanding and making assumptions.
5: Actually listen to their answers.
It’s easier to deliver on what someone tells you they want than to guess and try to correct later if you guess wrong. Show that you care about what’s being said by repeating what you heard along the way. For example, “You sound like your biggest concerns are…”
When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen. ~ Ernest Hemingway
6: Remove the words I, me, my, and mine as much as possible.
Replace with those words with you, your, and your client’s name. This eliminates ego and helps you keep the focus on your prospect. Robert Schuller said that, “Big egos have little ears.”
7: Make yourself take notes.
If you have a pen in your hand, you can’t be looking at your phone or surfing online. Force yourself to stay focused.
Turkish proverb: “If speaking is silver then listening is gold.”
8: Make eye contact.
Eye contact shows that you are genuinely interested in the person you are speaking with and that you are only interested in them. Be mindful of looking around at other things, people, your phone, etc. Don’t do your lead follow up while you’re in the car where you can’t take notes!
Secret: You can’t make eye contact via email. A face-to-face appointment is always superior to an email or text.
9: Stop interrupting.
Force yourself to wait two seconds after the other person stops talking to be sure they’re done with their thought.
Secret: Listen for tonality as well as content. Pretend you were about to be tested on what was said. Could you recount the conversation with accuracy?
10: Stop visually and verbally signaling that you’re ready to talk.
When you actually listen, you don’t gesture and you don’t open your mouth in anticipation of jumping in. When you do those things you’re visually signaling that you are no longer listening and that your response is more important than what the other person is saying.
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. ~Stephen R. Covey
11: Challenge yourself to speak less than the other person speaks.
Say what you’re going to say once, without repetitively reinforcing the same thought.
We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less. ~Diogenes
12: Always be positive.
Be of service in all circumstances. Your highest value is most appreciated in the toughest cases.
13: Adopt phrases that SHOW that you’re listening.
Use phrases like, “how do you feel about that?” or, “what do you feel should happen next?” or, “tell me more about that.”
14: Don’t change the subject unless the previous one is resolved.
Changing the subject prematurely shows a lack of interest and lack of attention.
I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening. ~Larry King
15: Stop pre-judging situations.
Real estate is full of made up stories. The only way to know if you’re on the right track is to ask questions and listen to the response. Not asking is disrespectful to your clients and prospects.