How Not to Make Your Clients
and Others Feel Stupid!!
We often say to buyer and sellers there is no stupid question. That’s likely true. Encouraging our clients to ask anything they want, even if they feel it might be a silly question, is not a bad thing.
But there are times when we might do or say things that make our buyers and sellers feel stupid, probably unwittingly. Have you ever done this?
We all know what that feels like…when someone says something to us or treats us in a way that makes us feel stupid, insulted, or embarrassed. It might be a customer service rep on the phone, or someone in a retail setting.
Whether intentional or not, it causes an immediate reaction, which might change the tone of the whole conversation, cause us to stop listening, or simply to move on.
Not something you want a buyer or seller to do!
So what might we do that could result in making a client, a vendor, or another agent feel, well, stupid or embarrassed.
It may a subtle nuance in your voice, or a look you give them without realizing it when answering a question. Body language is powerful, and a subtle eye roll, perhaps, or shaking your head, or not having eye contact when speaking with them could negate your attempt to be positive. The tone of your voice might also suggest annoyance at being asked the question.
Ignoring, or not answering, a question might imply it wasn’t worthy of your response. And simply saying “I don’t know” in a dismissive tone, without an offer to get the answer or otherwise help, could send the wrong message.
Using a lot of our real estate lingo or jargon is another way to possibly make someone feel uninformed.
It’s so easy for us to toss out the words and abbreviations we use every day, forgetting that those we are talking with might not have a clue, and then might be embarrassed to ask us what we mean!
Another way to add insult might be the way in which you respond, or even the way you phrase a question.
Do you ever say these things?
“We already talked about that, don’t you remember?” Possibly any response with “don’t you remember?” has a subtle negative connotation, or the tone of your voice might imply so.
“Why do you want to know?” or “Why do you ask?” at least in the wrong tone, could imply they are asking a dumb question. Like, why in the world would you be asking that?! Certainly understanding the client’s viewpoint has value, but the obvious answer from your perspective may not be so obvious.
And what about the manner in which we respond on an email or a text message?
Without the benefit of our body language and voice tone there is even a greater risk of insulting your client. Indeed, the very fact that you respond via text without being sure that’s ok, or an email, might be insulting since you are making the assumption they want to communicate in the same format as you. It might not be a big deal, but depending on what you say, and how, it could be. How often do we hear, or ask - "didn't you get my message?!"
And how about our use of technology and assumptions we might make about others' use of it!
Not everyone may know what a pdf is or how to create one! Or know about Docusign? Have you ever said…just send me a pdf of your Proof of funds? Or informed a client that you will be sending them paperwork to “docusign?”
Communication in our business is critical, and an important part of building relationships. So don’t make them feel stupid by how you respond, the language you use, or your tone of voice. Even if they ask questions that make you feel that way!