Communicating With Customers a Two-Way Street
The following is about real estate, but it could be said for any product or service you sell. Listening to customers “want list” and learning the reasons why they want what they want will strengthen your communication – and help you close more sales!
Quite often, when real estate agents think about communicating with customers they think of what they need to tell the customers. And, most of the advice written about the subject does look at it from that point of view.
Agents do need to tell their listing clients the truth about pricing for current market conditions, even when those clients would rather hear larger numbers. They also need to have those difficult conversations about condition and presentation.
One of a real estate agent’s most difficult tasks is telling a listing client that they really must do some “house beautiful” work if they expect their home to sell.
In a down market agents must also be consistent in staying in touch with listing clients, even when there’s not much to report. That’s another difficult task. It isn’t fun to call a homeowner and tell them that there has been no interest in their house for the past two weeks, or even for the past month.
But those are all things that an agent must communicate to their client. And communication is really a two way street.
Effective communication, like an effective conversation, involves listening as well as talking.
This really came home to me a few days ago when I spent some time talking with my son’s neighbor when we were all outside watching the kids play. I commented that it was nice to have so many children in the neighborhood so close in age, so they had someone to play with. And then I mentioned that it was fun for the kids to be in a cul-de-sac where it was safe for them to ride their bikes and play catch in the street.
The neighbor told me that it hadn’t been easy to find that perfect location. He said he “went through 4 agents” before finding one who would pay attention to his “want list” and show him the right houses.
He said, “I told them I wanted a two story house on a cul-de-sac, but they kept taking me to see homes on busy streets – telling me how beautiful and well-appointed those homes were.” He related asking those agents what part of his two-item list they couldn’t understand, even after he repeatedly refused to get out and look at homes that didn’t fit.
Finally he found someone who would listen and he purchased the house.
This man had something specific in mind, and he had a good reason why he wanted it. He wanted his children to be safe. But the first 3 agents paid no attention and instead showed him the homes they wanted to sell instead of homes he might want to buy.
Experienced real estate agents know that sometimes buyers choose a home that doesn’t really fit the description they’ve given of the perfect home. But they won’t buy a home that doesn’t fit when there’s a strong reason why they want what they want.
Agents need to listen and pay attention to those reasons why. Agents must ask questions and learn the buyer’s true motivation.
And they need to learn to tell the difference between “must have” and “it would be nice to have.”
Posted: May 10th, 2010 under communication, customer relations, real estate sales, realestate, sales.
Tags: communicate with customers, communication, customer service, listening skills in sales, salesmanship