Boost Your Business Series: Open the Conversation
Most of your real estate business comes from who you know, not what you know. Unfortunately, many real estate agents and Realtors take this the wrong way, assuming that knowing a large number of people a little bit is better than knowing people well. But in today’s saturated real estate market, being personable and communicative are what will set you apart from the rest. This helps your real estate business grow.
Why is listening more important than ever?
Did you know that the number one complaint clients have about their real estate agents is that they lack proper communication skills?
Even if you’re an excellent communicator with your current clients, you have to continue that level of communication with potential leads, your network, and people that you meet everyday. Why? Because your reputation as a listener, and as an actively engaged professional, will supersede you when someone is considering buying or selling their property.
Thankfully, you have even more chances to open the conversation and really show your network how engaged you are.
3 places to open the conversation
There are three “genres” of communication in real estate today:
- In-person conversation
- Over-the-phone conversation
- Online conversation
You might be worried about how you’re going to shine in all three of these areas. We have a few simple tips that will help you excel in conversation and boost your business. It all starts with listening.
You might be thinking, “I already listen to my clients!” or “I’m a great listener!” But this is about more than just engaging when someone is talking to you about their home needs. Listening to people means actually engaging with what they’ve said – even when a potential home sale isn’t on the line.
Engaging and listening in person
How often have you found yourself at a friend’s party and overheard someone complain about their apartment or current home, then inserted yourself into the conversation to mention that you’re a Realtor? Most real estate agents have, but truly listening means more than just hearing a good opportunity. It means listening to another person’s experiences, interests, and challenges.
Being a good listener in person means:
- prompting conversations
- actively asking questions about other people
- genuinely listening to their responses
- aligning your body language with your conversation
Pulling out your phone or looking around the room isn’t a good way to show that you’re listening. The more actively you listen to those around you, the more personable you will seem to them, and the faster you’ll come to mind when they think of a real estate agent they can trust. Listening deeply in person also offers you the ability to serve people in a way that many people don’t get in their work; don’t take that for granted!
Listening over the phone
Listening over the phone is a great way to really seal the deal with potential clients. Asking in-depth questions about the person on the other line, such as their motivation to move or their timeframe for buying a house. This will show that you’re taking a personal interest in their life. Many Realtors and agents focus on the property they’re selling or on the budget of the person calling. Focusing on the “human” aspects of real estate will separate you from the rest.
It also helps to:
- Follow-up with an email shortly after the call to recap what you discussed
- Call to check in if you haven’t heard back from someone
- Offering honest, personal advice even if it means you don’t get a sale
Texting clients, while still somewhat controversial, may also be a great way to provide another level of communications, especially to younger leads.
Listening to your online audience
“Listening” online is a little different than engaging with someone in person or over the phone. It means engaging in conversation with your social media followers, sending out emails and/or engaging with people who aren’t currently (or soon to be) your clients. Using social media to interact with people is a powerful way to show you’re listening to their interests. It’s also a way to come to potential clients with information that’s curated specifically to them. Email responses, online lead messages, and even retweets or Facebook “likes” can offer great ways to listen to your online community.
It’s also important that you actively engage with people online. Like, share, follow, retweet or direct message things that speak to you and your real estate business. Actively engaging with people also makes them feel connected to you and they’ll often reciprocate. The more people engage with you online (and you engage with, as well) create a sort of social proof, building your authority and reliability in that community. Soon, people will begin referring you to potential clients or connect you with a bigger audience… all because you “listened” to them online!
One last tip: Be yourself
Some may take this advice to mean that they have to be super sociable, or that they have to constantly put themselves out there to make more connections. While it’s important to be actively engaged beyond your tight-knit network, it’s also important to be yourself.
Think about the last time you were having a conversation with someone who wasn’t being themselves; it probably felt fake and like they were playing a role to elicit a specific reaction from you. You don’t want to be that person, especially when your business is on the line.
That’s why creating a personal brand of genuine interest and engagement – across all forms of communication – can lead to greater success for your real estate business.