Stop Talking So Much!

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Shore Properties 1005238

Listen More

As energitic, positive REALTORs we can get in the habit of talking more than listening, I sometimes have to remind myself: Stop Talking So Much!

The Greek philosopher Epictetus said it best:

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

How true! So, when working with prospects, customers and clients, I tell myself to follow this advice: "Use your mouth primarily to ask questions."

Contrary to popular belief, the person asking the questions - not the person talking or answering questions - is really the person in control.  After you ask a question, accept and enjoy the pause and silence that precede the response.  Your power, as a REALTOR, is intensified if you're willing to withstand the temptation to barge into the silence that follows your question. 

Remember the axiom, "He who talks first, loses?" Well, that's how you should approach your business, both in signing clients and negotiating contracts.  Basically, when you ask a question, be quiet and this is especially true if you ask a closing quiet and let them sign the contract!

There a reasons why we tend to talk too much;

  • Anxiety. People who are anxious use an avalanche of words to avoid dealing with potential conflict (like a prospect saying "no").
  • Lack of preparation. The less clear we are on any given subject, the more words it will take us to talk about the subject. 
  • Stress. When we are tired we tend to ramble and our ability to concentrate begins to decrease.
  • Lack of a roadmap. Do you know where your conversation will lead before you start talking?
  • Lack of humility. Some people think that everything they say is profound and important.

While some REALTORS continue to hopscotch from problem to problem, yakking away, others quickly get to the core of a customer's problem, solve it and close the deal. I tell myself that it's important to insure I get my point across, BUT, I also have to remind myself: Silence isn't just golden, it's Powerful, use it, and Stop Talking So Much!



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Donne Knudsen
Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA - Simi Valley, CA
CalState Realty Services

Karl - Ok, seriously now.  GUILTY AS CHARGED!!!  In my defense though, as an MLO here in Los Angeles & Ventura counties, I am bound by law, rules, regs and codes to disclose certain things (and the list is getting longer and longer all the time) to prospects and clients.

I have often been chastised by my borrowers Realtors/agents of scaring the holy beejesus out of our clients.  Once again, it is my duty and responsibility to educate and inform my clients and prospects about the mortgage industry, the loan process, available loan products, their requirements and guidelines as well as some of the realities of our market here in Los Angeles & Ventura.

In an effort to fulfill my duties and responsibilities in the manner that is expected of me, it often means I spend a considerable amount of time talking in the process of educating an informing my clients and prospects.

Jun 16, 2011 01:27 PM #10
Howard and Susan Meyers
The Hudson Company Winnetka and North Shore - Winnetka, IL more important words have ever been spoken here.


Jun 16, 2011 03:12 PM #11
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

But Karl. I really love the sound of my own voice!

You are right, of course. Listen generously and speak carefully. Especially in this business where saying the wrong thing can cost. 

Jun 16, 2011 03:54 PM #12
Mike Mayer
Mike Mayer, Broker/Owner - i List For Less Realty, LLC - Lafayette, LA

Another saying goes, "You have two eyes, two ears and one mouth - use 'em in proportion."

Jun 16, 2011 04:06 PM #13
Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate
Kelly Right Real Estate - Hood River, OR
Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs

So, so true! Listening can be a true art form, one that I need to work on more. I just like to talk too much!


Jun 16, 2011 04:10 PM #14
Rosalie Evans
Meritus Group Real Estate - Sioux Falls, SD
The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale

I need to keep repeating this to myself over and over again since I am a natural gabber. Thanks for todays reminder. Perhaps I should bookmark this and re-read it every day. What can I say its hard to overcome set in habits. 

Jun 16, 2011 04:18 PM #15
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Karl, yep, rule of negotiations - he who talks first...and that's why, one should learn the art of listening. After all we want our clients to talk.

All good 'excuses' to talk more!

Jun 16, 2011 05:04 PM #16
Ann Nguyen
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Truckee, CA
Lake Tahoe Truckee Homes For Sale

Karl...I have to constantly remind myself of this golden rule as well. We can gather so much more information and do a better job if we listen more instead of talk :-) Once in a while I run into a client with few words and do have to constantly probe & ask questions to get more info out of him/her.

Jun 16, 2011 05:44 PM #17
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


I have to remember that road-map thing.  I know what I am going to say, but not how I will present the information I have.  So I ramble.  Thanks for reminding me what I should be doing.

Jun 16, 2011 05:57 PM #18
Adam Mallory
eBroker Real Estate 619-566-ADAM - San Diego, CA
Broker, ABR, e-Pro

Very nice post Karl!  Clearly you and I have met the same people: "...that everything they say is profound and important..."

Jun 16, 2011 07:41 PM #19
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

Great timing

I was working on my office and overheard one of my agents working with a client in the next office. . although I shut the door, all I could only hear was his voice. . .I don't think I heard the client speak at all!.  .I made a mental note to speak to him and I will share this article now for an ice breaker. . thank you ! 

Jun 16, 2011 10:10 PM #20
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
Karl, I was thinking about this while watching an interview recently.
Jun 16, 2011 10:23 PM #21
Karl Hess
Keller Williams Shore Properties - Barnegat, NJ
on The Jersey Shore

Tom, Thank you very much.  Doesn't that axiom seem true in almost all negotiations?

Jun 17, 2011 12:55 AM #22
Karl Hess
Keller Williams Shore Properties - Barnegat, NJ
on The Jersey Shore

Cheryl, That is a PERFECT example!!!  Often we see people whose job is to ASK questions, but all you hear is thier endless speculative rambling.  Hmmm, maybe we all could learn something from that.....

Jun 17, 2011 12:57 AM #23
Karl Hess
Keller Williams Shore Properties - Barnegat, NJ
on The Jersey Shore

Fernando, glad I could help and I think you bring up a good idea:  Have a colleague 'sit-in' during a client meeting, not to help with the meeting, but to simply give a critique of what was said an how it was presented.  As a matter of fact, I used to do this type of thing in my previous life of 'head-hunting.' Why wouldn't it work in Real Estate?

Jun 17, 2011 01:01 AM #24
Karl Hess
Keller Williams Shore Properties - Barnegat, NJ
on The Jersey Shore shouldn't be 'about me.' It should be 'about you.'

Jun 17, 2011 01:23 AM #25
Karl Hess
Keller Williams Shore Properties - Barnegat, NJ
on The Jersey Shore

Evelyn, I think the road map thing is important too.  I think good REALTOR's should constantly be asking the question (internally): Where is this conversation going?

Jun 17, 2011 01:26 AM #26
Karl Hess
Keller Williams Shore Properties - Barnegat, NJ
on The Jersey Shore

Everyone else...thank you very much for the comments...they are greatly appreciated!!!

Jun 17, 2011 02:35 AM #27
Sarasota & Manatee Counties FL
SaraMana Properties - - Bradenton, FL - Listings In Paradise

Good advice that I agree with! Thank you for sharing!

Jun 18, 2011 08:23 AM #28
Clint Miller
Real Estate Pipeline, Inc. - Missoula, MT

Wow...seems like I read something like that earlier. ;-) Nice post...well worthy of the feature!

Aug 08, 2011 03:17 AM #29
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Karl Hess

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