We’ve touched on this topic before, but we felt that it bears repeating on a deeper level. Now that spring is in full swing, it’s important now, probably more than any other time in the year, to make sure you sharpen those listening skills, agents!
As we go through the motions of trying to add more listings to our repertoire or helping a new client find a home, we can often forget to actually pay attention to the cues that clients give in addition to following up on those cues with the right questions.
Why is Listening Important?
For one, listening ensures that you don’t miss a step with your client as you go through the real estate process with them. How many times have you come to the negotiation phase, only to learn something new that is detrimental to your selling client’s sale, for example?
Listening instead of just hearing what your client is saying also helps build on that trust that is so important in real estate.
You can also uncover some pain points that may help you and your client come to better agreement on a listing price or will help make the home search go more smoothly for your buying client.
Listen Well: A Cautionary Tale
It’s a classic story that we’ve heard over and over again and serves as a warning for real estate agents everywhere. One couple we know had been interviewing real estate agents to help purchase their first home. The agents, of course, did not know that they were shopping around and went about their business as they normally do.
The first agent the couple worked with seemed friendly enough and eager to help. He shared his credentials with them to show is credibility as an agent, talked up his ability to find just the right homes and boasted about last year’s sales he brought in.
The couple provided a list of exactly what they were looking for. The agent eventually found a few homes that the couple were excite about. One in particular seemed the closest to their dream home, so they put an offer on the house.
While the negotiation period ensued, the couple seemed uneasy. They expressed that they weren’t sure about not having a garage nor felt comfortable about the way the seller was negotiating, point blank. The agent kept playing up other areas of the house and brushing off the seller comment.
The couple eventually realized that they just didn’t like the house and felt slighted that their agent had tried to push them to follow through on the home. They quickly dropped the agent with their explanation, to which the agent was dumbfounded.
They eventually worked with an agent who not only listened closely to what they wanted but also advocated for them. The final sale, just one month later, was more than $700,000.
It just goes to show, by opening your ears along with your mind as an agent, you can truly be a resource for your clients and build trust along the way.
Ways to Increase Your Listening Skills as an Agent
- Clarify with your client what you are hearing. This can be as easy as summarizing what they just said to make sure you heard what they are saying.
- Seek to understand. Don’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to your clients and what they say. Ask more questions with a simple, “Why do you feel that way?” or “What do you hope to accomplish?” The more you ask and dig, the more you will reveal and better help your clients.
- Check out their body language. This is why in-person meetings are so valuable. You can pick up more clues from a gaze, a body movement or a gesture about how your client really feels.
- Don’t say a word. If you think you can get more information out of your client, then give them a chance to express it. When we have a thought or response, we tend to interrupt and jump in quickly. Give it a little silence in case there is more before proceeding.
By listening more to your clients and truly understanding where they are coming from, you will provide even better service to them which can translate to more commissions and more referrals!