Man, those guys are hard to talk to!

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

"Whew, those guys are nice enough, but they are so hard to talk to."   Have you ever made a comment like that about a client, a coworker or an acquaintance?  Most of us have.  You know the type.  "Hi.  How are you today?"  "Fine."  "How was work?"  "Good."  "Have you lived here long?"  "No.

You may be temped to think there is something wrong with you or them, but the truth is it's the questions you ask.   You asked close-ended questions.  I read a book years ago while working on my MBA.  In that book, Conversationally Speaking by Alan Garner, Garner discussed this very scenario.  If you give someone close-ended questions they can answer in one word answers and they have satisfied the question. 

So, rather than saying, "How was work today?" you might say, "What did you do at work today?"or you might say, "Tell me a little about your job."  That opens the door to more dialog.  When working with clients, you want to know them well enough to know their likes and dislikes.  You won't get there with one word answers. 

It may not be that they like or dislike you, it may be how you ask questions.  "Tell me a little more about your needs.  Do you have a specific style of home that you really like?  And, if so, tell me what it is about that home that appeals to you most?  If you could build your dream house, what would it be like?"  Keep the questions open-ended and you'll not only get to know your clients, you'll also get to know their needs. 


Comments (17)

Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

Those closed-end questions can be killer on a conversation, or lack thereof..........."lets give 'em something to talk about" is my motto.

Aug 02, 2011 12:31 AM
Ron Marshall
Marshall Enterprises - Saint Michael, MN
Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire

Thanks, Mike.  I think that I read a book along similar lines many years ago.  And, that is how I talk to clients...just habit now.

Aug 02, 2011 12:34 AM
Doug Bullwinkel
Envoy Mortgage,NMLS ID 6666 - Sacramento, CA
Mortgage Loan Originator NMLS #281609

This can work both ways.  Sometimes when there is someone that you're really not interested in, it's easy to close off the conversation by using closed end answers.

Aug 02, 2011 12:36 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Roger, why do I have the suspicion that anybody talking to you will be involved?  I'm sure you keep them going!!  Thanks for dropping in this morning.  Good to see you!!

Ron, it was an "aha" moment when I read that book.  I suddenly realized that it wasn't the people who were difficult to talk to me.  It was the way I was talking to them.  A phenomenal change from such a little book!!

Aug 02, 2011 12:37 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Doug, that's an excellent idea.  I'll to keep that in the back of my mind for when I run into one of those people.  Very good!!

Aug 02, 2011 12:43 AM
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

I'm taking that as a compliment Mike...............LOL.  Always a pleasure sir.

Aug 02, 2011 12:49 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Absolutely, Roger. 

Aug 02, 2011 12:57 AM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

Yes or no questions get yes or no answers....and if you are just trying to be polite...that is usually also the end of the conversation.

Aug 02, 2011 01:23 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Well said, S & D.

Aug 02, 2011 01:29 AM
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

It's true that some people are just harder to converse with than others. I'll try to be mindful of how I phrase my questions.

Aug 02, 2011 01:38 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Absolutely, Jill.  Every so often I find on of those people that are nearly impossible to talk to.  In those cases I just punt!!  Thanks for dropping by!!

Aug 02, 2011 02:02 AM
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

Mike,  You are so correct on this especially when dealing with our clients. We must ask those questions that create dialog so we can get in their heads and figure out whats really important to them. 

Aug 02, 2011 02:39 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Absolutely, John.  Thanks for commenting!

 

Aug 02, 2011 03:33 AM
Retired Notworking
Tallahassee, FL

I don't have the gift of gab and struggle with small talk. Asking open ended questions is a good way to get conversations flowing. I think it still takes some preparation (have some questions ready) and practice.

Aug 02, 2011 11:43 PM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

That's good advice, Colleen!!

Aug 02, 2011 11:52 PM
Shannon Lewis
Beringer Realty - Champaign, IL
Realtor, Broker - Champaign-Urbana, IL

There's a group called the Active Rain Book Club (http://activerain.com/groups/bookclub) that you might consider joining. This blog would be a perfect post there! I'll definitely check out this book. There was a situation recently where I was working with a buyer and every question I asked was met with a one-word, useless response...I suspect asking the wrong questions was the issue!

Aug 03, 2011 06:42 AM
Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Thanks for the heads up, Shannon.  I will definitely check it out!!

Aug 03, 2011 06:44 AM