As we all have learned our appointments are unique from one potential client to the next and what we have learned is that the listing process can be quite emotional to some if not most of our sellers. Be it a broken marriage, financial reasons, loss, relocation, or some other major change in one's life (I know my list is incomplete). My point here is that we hear many stories from the heart that has already taken some kind of toll on our seller. I have learned from my previous work experience (psychology assistant and crisis prevention instructor) how important it is to be a good listener and thought I share some points that may be helpful to new agents and may be refreshers to experienced agents as well.
Listen to the words and how they are presented. Your seller has more to share than you know but they know this is not the place and person to share this with. They have just met you and are guarded and want only the facts to share. Don't press for details. It is after all none of your business to go into matters that are not related to putting the home on the market or will impact your sale. However, when your client hints matters that are related to the sale of the home let them complete their thought and reproach their statement so that you get the missing fact.
- Use reflective listening. Reflective listening is when you repeat what your client has said in your own words. When you do this client knows you are listening. Simply say an "Uh huh", or "yes" does not show where your head is that moment. And they may take you as someone not interested in anything but their signing and leaving.
- Use empathy. Yep be empathetic. Show that you are sincere and looking out for their best interest. "I understand you're stressed about selling your home and it initially can be a little scary, but that is why I am here."...or something to the like.
- Body language and eye contact. We communicate 90% of our feelings through our body language. Crossing our arms across our chest communicates what? We are in charge. Looking away from our client says what? We are not sincere or we are thinking other things. Pay attention to your body language and eye contact. It helps (and you have been told this many times) to role play and practice you're listing presentations when you can. Get a friend involved, another realtor, family member or practice in the mirror and on tape. Get feedback, review the tape and see where eyes were and what your body language looked like to the other person.
- Along the same lines what is the body language and eye contact of your potential client? The same applies here. Again these speak the first messages of what may be going on. If they appear anxious or are fidgeting in their body language then you need to relax them in your words and body language. (I will expand this one in another blog). Break up the topic matter to calm them. Point out positives about the home and their work on it. Do what you can to distract a little and relax them and then get back to the topic matter. The same may work with anger, frustration, and surprise.
- Proximity or personal space. Remember everyone has their personal space or comfort zone. It is somewhere between 2 ½ and 3 feet by average. You can pick up on this space by letting the client show you first as you tour the home with them or how they position the chairs as you sit at the table. Personal space will impact the stress and comfort of your client. Respect their personal space when you stand and when sit with them. When you are about to show them something or point out something and you need to step close, ask first i.e., "Can I show you this chart".
- Tone, Volume, Cadence. These too like body language will communicate so much as to where you or your client is coming from. Watch your tone it can turn off your client. Volume. Speaks for itself too quiet and you may come across not confident. Too loud and you have scared or intimidated the other party. Cadence is the rhythm of how you speak. People who have been in the service can tell you what cadence is. When you're in the service and marching the leader will use cadence to keep everyone in step. Deliver your message in an even rhythm and emphasize the important words only when you feel you need to repeat something again latter in the conversation that may have been lost or drowned out for some reason.
Hope some of this helps to some degree in your daily contacts. Make little reminders for your self. You will be surprised how many more smiles you may make along the way as well repeat customers and referrals... which we can always use.