As an agent, you communicate with people everyday––it’s part of what makes the job so great! But do you ever stop to wonder if you’re actually communicating effectively with your clients? While you’re probably used to working with all kinds of people, it’s still easy to get stuck in your ways when it comes to how you present information to your buyers and sellers. If you aren’t conscious of how you’re communicating, it can be difficult to effectively manage your transactions and relationships. And no matter how long you’ve been in the business, it never hurts to get a refresher on what effective communication really looks like. Here’s how you can check in with yourself to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your client relationships.
Identify Your Strategy Early
One of the biggest communication mistakes that agents make has to do with what method of communication they use with their clients. You might assume that a certain communication strategy will work best for every client, but that’s unfortunately not realistic. Every client has a different personality and different needs, which means that many of them will prefer different communication styles as well.
To make sure that you keep an honest and open line of communication with your clients, it’s a good idea to learn their communication style as soon as you begin working with them. Ask them upfront how they’d prefer to chat with you, whether that be through a phone call, text, email or in-person meetings. This way, you won’t have to deal with trying to catch them on the phone when they’d prefer email, for example.
In addition to learning what method of communication they’d prefer, make sure that you also get to know the client’s general schedule and what time of day they’re most available to talk. If they work, find out their work schedule so you know when they will be unavailable. If they have young children, maybe they’d prefer to talk after the kids go to bed or during naptime. Don’t just assume that your buyer or seller will be available and ready to talk whenever you are, or you’ll likely deal with some miscommunication along the way.
Listen, Repeat, Question
Now that you know how and when your clients prefer to be reached, you can focus on an equally important part of effective communication that deals with what you actually say when you talk to them. The listen, repeat, question model is an effective mode of communication that makes sure both sides get to speak, are heard and understand one another.
Here’s how it works: Let’s say that you’re talking to a buyer about what they’re looking for in a home. They keep telling you about how much they’d love to have a walk-in closet, a three-car garage and a big backyard for their dogs. First, take in the information however you do best. Then, rephrase what they’ve just said to make sure you understand, and follow it up with a question that will move you further along in the conversation. “So, you’re saying you’d prefer a larger house with plenty of space for your belongings and room for your dogs to run around. With that in mind, have you thought about a specific neighborhood or area?” By following this simple technique, you’re showing clients that you hear what they’re saying and are interested in learning more. It’ll keep the conversation moving and everyone on the same page.
Since buying or selling a home is often a stressful time for your clients, you want to make sure that you present yourself as a caring and trustworthy resource through all stages of the transaction. A simple way to open up to your clients and build their trust in you is by sharing personal stories. If your buyer isn’t finding a home they love, tell them about a past client who was in the same situation but ended up broadening their search and finding the perfect match. If your seller had unfortunate results on their inspection, reassure them with examples of other client success stories who at one point dealt with the same thing. Even if you don’t have a real estate story to share, you can likely find an experience from a different part of your life that works just as well. The point is: if you share relatable stories with your buyers and sellers, they’ll be more likely to feel confident in your abilities and hopeful for the future.
Help Them Overcome the Unexpected
Unfortunately, not everything in real estate is rainbows and butterflies. At some point during the transaction, something unexpected might happen to your client that’s beyond your control. It’s important to keep your clients feeling supported during times like these if you want to keep a trusted relationship down the road.
The first step of communicating effectively in these situations is to take in the information before talking it out with your clients. To keep their trust, tell them what they need to know in a timely manner but with as much detail as you can. If a buyer’s offer was rejected, for example, try to understand why the seller chose someone else’s before running to share the news with your client. This will allow you to present the information with accuracy and professionalism.
When you tell your clients unexpected news, be conscious of how you’re speaking. It’s important to be honest but still frame the situation in a positive light so that your clients can be hopeful for the future. If you’re telling your buyer that their offer was rejected, don’t start with, “I’ve got bad news. Your offer was rejected.” Instead, say something like, “Unfortunately, your offer wasn’t accepted, but we can overcome this challenge. There are other great options out there, and I’m confident that we’ll find the perfect home for you.”
At every point in a real estate transaction, from the exciting times to the unexpected, it’s important to check in with yourself to make sure that you’re communicating effectively with your clients. But here at HomeSmart International, we also understand that it can be difficult to manage all of your clients and transactions effectively when there are so many other things to do in your business. That’s why we provide our agents with the resources and support they need to run their business efficiently. From our extensive training that keeps you up-to-date on industry knowledge, to state-of-the-art technology that expedites your day-to-day processes, to an agent services team that is dedicated to helping you when you need it, we’ll take care of the hard stuff so that you can focus on what matters most: building those lasting relationships with your clients. Contact us today to learn more and start transforming your business.