Are you actively listening to your clients?
If you're looking to increase your gross commission, build strong referrals and close more deals. Making this one change could impact it all and more.
How listening Increases Sales
Having built up a highly profitable brokerage from scratch. A large part of my role has been to train new and existing staff on an going basis. Regardless of which role I’m training staff in. One of the first and most important elements I always focus on is active listening.
All agents are trained extensively in how to ask questions. Having obtained their license, they understand the fundamentals of the transaction. Yet the biggest single complaint I hear; is not seeing a listing presentation or closing of a sale go as the agent had expected. This is specifically where active listening comes in and is exactly the reason I chose to focus in on it.
What is active listen
It’s a highly effective communication skill that been used for a long time in counselling and conflict resolution. Yet it is becoming ever more present in the every day business world. It involves focusing intently on the person speaking to you. Using all your senses to fully understand the message they are trying to convey, that means both verbal and non verbal.
Active listening is more than just hearing the words another person is saying to you. It’s about being able to really listen for the small details. Such as a shift in their tone or a quicken of their pace. Which will give an indication to the emotions that may lie beneath the subject they are discussing. Its about looking out for the smallest changes in body language. Or being able to hear what is not being said and add that to the value of the conversation.
Why is it some important in Real Estate
Taken from: REAL: A Path to passion, Purpose and Profits in Real Estate.:
“A wise old owl lived in an oak,
The more he saw the less he spoke.
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?”
– Edward Hersey Richards
If you really want to improve your sales. Your focus should be on building the strongest relationship possible with your buyer or vendor. This goes deeper that offering nice gifts, extras or giving good service. It’s about connecting on a deeper level with them. Where they feel you truly understand them, like you can read their mind. Taking the time to listen to their concerns, spoken or unspoken. So that you can ensure you are providing them with the options that really work for them. Not just a generic go to response.
Ultimately it’s about building a solid and genuine relationship with them. Because no matter how tight your presentation was or how smooth the close you used. By actually listening to your client, you will win out over any amount of knowledge and experience. every time.
If you have ever noticed a newcomer to your local market. Who seems to be outpacing even the most indebted of veterans. There is a good chance active listen is why.
So if you really want to get ahead of your peers, then focus on improving this one skill alone!
How do you apply it
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
– Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
In order to actively listen, you must be 100% present. That means not thinking about:
The next task you have to complete
The conversation you had with someone earlier
Giving your attention to emails, message and other distractions
Drawing a conclusion before the conversation has been started or part way through
Trying to prepare your answer or a come back while the other person is speaking
Yet to truly engage in active listening you need to come from a place of curiosity. With a desire to fully understand what it is the client is saying. Making use of questions that enable the client to talk further on a subject. Or open up on an area the seems to have brief skimmed over at key.
Phrases such as:
“can you elaborate on that?” or “Is there anything else you would like to add?
This is where patience is essential. As engaging in active listening requires you to give the client space once they have finished. To ensure that have really finished and not just paused. Allowing for you to avoid unattended interruptions. It provides them with the space to resolve their thoughts and feels that may be accompanied with the conversation.
By making use of the same words or terminology the client has used and staying away from industry jargon. The client will be feel valued and that they’re feelings have been taking into consideration.
If you are serious about increasing your sales, then building strong and long term relationships with you client is key. You need to stop focusing on the next thing that needs to happen. Begin putting effort into creating heartfelt conversations. Where both parties are comfortable in the knowledge that you are sensing and feeling. All aspects of what the client is communicating and are confident in sharing this with them.
Given that we spend a large part of our time trying to market ourselves or our property listings. If we change the way we connect and communication with the people we value the most (AKA our clients). Start making them front and centre, in return will come loyal, trust and respect. Three essential ingredients needed to increase your sales rate.