Are you still playing the “Me-Me-Me” show in front of your sellers and buyers? If so, it’s costing you thousands of dollars each year.
Do you market your services with a beautiful personal brochure? Do you tell sellers at what price they should list their property because you’re the expert? Do you tell potential buyers and sellers they should work with you because your company is number one? If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you are losing money because you are focusing on yourself rather than building connection by focusing on the seller or buyer.
Virtually all top producers share a common trait: the ability to quickly establish connection with people they meet. If you often hear, “Your services look great, but we will be doing business with your competitor,” chances are you didn’t make a personal connection. If you would like to obtain more listings and convert more buyer leads, establishing personal connection is the name of the game.
When you list or sell a house, you become a member of your client’s family. You discover intimate details about how they live, how they relate to each other, as well as the true nature of their financial situation. When clients select an agent, they normally want someone they can trust with their most valuable asset. They want more than professional competence, however. They also want someone with whom they feel comfortable sharing their lives. In other words, they are looking for connection and trust. Connection is the foundation upon which trust is built. Establishing connection consists of three basic steps: curiosity, communication and commonality.
As an agent, be curious about the people you meet. What recreational activities do they enjoy? What hobbies do they have? How do they like to spend their free time? What is their favorite type of food? Avoid very personal questions until you develop rapport. In terms of your listing presentation, ask the sellers what they have enjoyed about living in their property. Have them tell you about features in their home you might not normally notice as you walk through the property. Ask them questions about the neighborhood. In terms of the types of questions to ask, use “how” and “what” questions. Avoid “why” questions because these put most people on the defensive.
Communication implies a two-way conversation. Some people are reluctant to talk about themselves. A great way to persuade this type of individual to “open up” is to share an interesting story about a local piece of real estate. One approach that usually works well is sharing interesting tidbits about a local “haunted house,” a celebrity property, or something unusual that happened during a showing. Another great source is the tabloids. Nobody admits to reading them, yet everybody sees them at the grocery store. Avoid controversial topics such as politics or religion.
The moment you say, “I’ve done that” or “I have eaten there,” your shared experience or “commonality” forms the basis for building connection. In coaching, the principle of attraction says, “Like attracts like.” People are attracted to work with others who share similarities. You can observe this any time you have a party where new people meet. People will group themselves with those who share similar interests. The cooks and the sports enthusiasts always seem to find each other. To make yourself more “attractive” to more people, make a point of staying up with movies, current events and sports. Take time to read major best sellers or business books. Know who has the best ethnic food in town as well as the “best kept secret” about where to shop. In most cases, a little bit of knowledge goes a long ways in building connection.
When you do hit “commonality,” you can see the connection occur as the other person’s face lights up and his/her energy level increases. Most people are eager to share their passion. At that point, all you have to do is ask “how” and “what” questions and be a good listener. Listening strengthens the connection.
Once you establish a connection, trust is the next step. Trust occurs when you “walk your talk,” and keep your commitments. If you fail to do so, the connection lessens and trust disappears. The result is your business often goes elsewhere. When trust is strong, however, your clients are loyal, they recommend you to their friends, and your business grows and grows.
There’s an old adage that says, “You get what you give.” When you “give connection,” you get “connection.” Connection ultimately forms the basis for all great business and personal relationships. Once people “connect with you,” you are no longer perceived as that “pesky real estate salesperson.” Instead, you become “our real estate salesperson.”
Bernice Ross is an owner of Realestatecoach.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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