At a Loss of Words ? Car Chat Tips to Engage Your Buyers

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty

Kids in the Back Window of a Car clipart

New agents tend to dread the moment that they are working with buyers showing properties.  Not so much the driving around but the fear of loss of words and uncomfortable moments of silence.  First of all know that some moments of silence are just fine ... silence is golden.  Too lengthy of quiet can be uncomfortable so a Realtor needs to learn to keep fun tempo of conversation. 

#1 Rule - do not let the conversations solely be about you.  The best relationship builder is to have the buyers talk about themselves if that appears to be in their comfort zone.  You have to adapt to the type of personality of the buyers so you can respect their communication comfort zone.  Usually even the shy clients begin to relax and the barrier will come down.  You also have to respect different cultures and follow the tempo they establish.  Remember, the more you can get the buyers to talk the more you will learn about them and their needs.  Besides, it is just fun to get to know others.

Sometimes there is a loss of topics to draw upon for interesting conversation.  I have found that buyers not familiar with the area love to hear about history of the varied points of interest in the community.  If they are new to the area, I take them around for an area tour to show off our community and point out the various features like recreation areas, retail centers, downtown area, etc.  I share fun facts like the population growth rate and so on. 

One of my favorite discussions is to visit on the real estate contract.  You know at some point that a contract will be written.  The buyer may not be familiar with what an option period is, earnest money, the need for insurance, etc.  Home owners associations and their restrictions should be covered and how information regarding the subdivision HOA information can be obtained.  What amenities are available in the subdivisions and going by the amenity center should be great information.

During your car time you can find common hobbies, sports you enjoy and even discuss websites for the different schools.  These are bonding moments.  A time you can share a passion you have in common.  After viewing homes you can discuss features they enjoyed, what they liked or not and why.  You can also keep a comparison going of their favorite home and compare it with the next property.  That way it will help them with decisions and remembering what was important.  It helps narrow the selection process.

There is a treasure full of conversation material.  Just remember that talking does not have to be constant.  Allow time for the buyers to visit with one another in discussion.  If there are children along for the trip, if old enough, engage their thoughts and don't forget they are important too.

Car chat is a great tool to help build a client for life.  It is opportunity that should be embraced rather than feared.


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  1. Jim Frimmer 02/03/2009 06:59 PM
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Julie Chapman
DR Horton - Ormond Beach, FL
New Homes Sales Ormond, New Smyrna, Daytona Be


What a great post for newer agents and those of us who don't put clients in our cars every often......

Jan 29, 2009 01:40 PM #1
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Connie, I love car time with my buyers. If at all possible I like them to ride with me. That way I get to know them and they get to know me. You are so right about not making all about yourself, but there is a time to share some of my life as well. I love the thought about the contract discussion. With first time buyers especially that's a great topic.

Jan 29, 2009 01:47 PM #2
Connie Goodrich
Keller Williams Realty - McKinney, TX
CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas

I really do try to arrange to keep us all under the same roof as well.  I just feel that going together really helps you establish that bond as well as learn more about their likes/dislikes.  You certainly do want to touch about yourself, sharing creates that relationship and they the feeling of family. 

Jan 29, 2009 01:51 PM #3
Ursula Lowther
Keller Williams Realty First Atlanta - Covington, GA

I always get them talking about themselves. I learn so much about them this way. Sometimes I even get clues as to what they really want.

Jan 29, 2009 02:00 PM #4
Connie Goodrich
Keller Williams Realty - McKinney, TX
CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas

It also is great to help the husband and wife get on the same page of their likes and dislikes.  Use that time together right after they viewed a home to hammer out their thoughts and compare.  It really get fun when they have quiet different taste in style. 

Jan 29, 2009 02:02 PM #5
Sandra D. Payden
Greg Garrett - Hampton, VA

Hi Connie, these are some great tips - THANKS!!

Jan 29, 2009 02:04 PM #6
Sheldon Neal
Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited - Maywood, NJ
That British Agent Bergen County NJ

Ha ! I LOVE this post Connie !

I think this is the first post I've ever seen on this topic ! What a helpful write up !

Nicely done :o)


Jan 29, 2009 03:04 PM #7
Rick Sergison
EXP Realty of Canada Inc., Brokerage - Pickering, ON
Durham Region Real Estate Blog

Great post and great ideas (except that one that it isn't all about me!)

I am a bit of an amateur local historian and I find that often people are interested on where all the streets got their names (sorry U2) or how each area came to be or how it was 100 years ago, etc. 

Jan 29, 2009 03:47 PM #8
Charles McDonald
Charlottesville Real Estate Solutions - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR®, Blogger, Principal Broker®, Owner

Great pointers! Get them to talk about themselves is critical...

Your friend in Charlottesville 

Charles McDonald

Jan 29, 2009 11:57 PM #9
Kim Dean - McKinney, TX
Simply Texas Real Estate - Broker/Owner

Connie - I agree. I feel that the clients I get to spend ample car time with turn out to be more loyal and closer friends. But, there are those clients who for one reason or another will just prefer to meet you at a property. I don't feel as though we connect as fast. It's great for rapport. Great post!

Jan 30, 2009 03:10 AM #10
Kathleen Lordbock
Broker/Short Sale & Staging Specialist - Crosby, MN
Keller Williams Realty Professionals

People are fun to get to know. Their hopes, dreams, housing needs all great topics.

Jan 30, 2009 02:26 PM #11
Richard D. Ferris - Clermont, FL
Florida State Certified (FHA) Appraiser

Connie - great post.  It reminds me of some funny stories of my broker days.  Now I only do appraisals - but back in the day, I had a couple with me for a 1/2 hour ride out to see a house in a rural area and then back to my office.

They both sat in the back seat and were not very talkative.  I was really tired from a very long day - and I guess I was "zoning" a bit while driving back to the office when all of a sudden, the wife yelled

"WAKE UP!!!!!"

Needless to say it scared the daylight out of myself and her husband!  I assured them I was fine and was just thinking - but I never did see them again....and I don't blame them!  I'll never forget that one!  So a tip to sure you are WIDE awake and lively all the way there AND back!  :)

Jan 31, 2009 11:49 PM #12
Scott Guay
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services PenFed Realty - Ocean Pines, MD
Associate Broker. Ocean City and Ocean Pines MD

Car time is a great time to connect with your buyers.  Good time to listen to what they are saying about the properties they just saw.

Feb 02, 2009 01:07 AM #13
Kristi DeFazio
RE/MAX Advantage - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468

OOh that uncomfortable silence! I love chatting with my buyers in the car. It is a great rapport building time- except when you are lost and trying to find a property!

Feb 02, 2009 03:17 AM #14
Jim & Maria Hart
Brand Name Real Estate - Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC Real Estate

We've found that people want to know everything there is to know about the area.  The more we give them, the more questions they seem to have.

Feb 02, 2009 03:20 AM #15
The Rains Team
Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners - Hoschton, GA
A higher standard in real estate

Hi Connie: Great advice--chatting while in the car is an excellent time to build your relationship with the client and take advantage of the time together to talk about the home-buying process. Also, it's fun learning more about other people.

Have a great day,

Anne Rains

Feb 02, 2009 04:37 AM #16
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

I love your idea about talking about local history and sites.  I ususally have no problems maintaining a running conversation (most people love to talk about themselves and their families) but getting them to focus on what they liked best and disliked most vis a vie the listings shown is most helpful.  I've got to learn to keep a stash of kiddy diversions for the times that I take families out looking.  Keeping the kids well entertained is key to making the tour a success!

Feb 02, 2009 01:16 PM #17
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

Great post, Connie. Initially I was hesitant about having unknown people in my car, but then I simply relied on the fact that I like life and know a little about everything -- and listen to the news and read the newspaper -- so I can start a conversation very easily and let it go where it does.

Feb 03, 2009 12:10 PM #18
Cindy Crutcher
Lawrenceburg KY Foreclosures & Government Owned Properties - Lawrenceburg, KY
Real Estate Broker - Exit Realty Crutcher Lawrenceburg KY

Great post and thanks for commenting on my blog yesterday!  I can't imagine being at a loss of what to talk about with a buyer.  Of course, my Mom said I came out talking, so that could be why I am never at a loss.

Feb 03, 2009 01:05 PM #19
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

I think that if you don't listen to your clients, you will waste a lot of your time and theirs showing them things they don't like.  I use driving time to get their feedback and/or just let them talk to each other.  I learn a lot about how to help them find what they want - by listening.  I just recently wrote a post about that.  Thanks for this good post.

Feb 03, 2009 11:30 PM #20
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Connie Goodrich

CRS ABR (McKinney Realtor)Texas
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