The Number One Client Communication Mistake | The Zebra Blog

The Number One Client Communication Mistake

Do you ever wonder how some people seem to have such a way with words and have absolutely no problem talking to anyone?  Others, however, stumble and find it hard to engage potential clients in a conversation that is anything more than superficial.

When I think about my own real estate journey over the years and evaluate which agents really connected with me, I can pinpoint a very common theme. Some of them just bombarded me with sales tactics and questions that felt scripted, while others really listened to me and engaged me in meaningful conversation.

If you don’t know someone well, or if you have just met them at an open house, don’t overwhelm them by trying to get them to answer questions. Instead of pushing for answers they may not be ready to give you, you are far better off trying to get their thoughts.

YUP, it is that simple: try to GET THEIR THOUGHTS, NOT THEIR ANSWERS.

Last year I was visiting open houses for the purpose of possibly buying an investment property. I must have gone through over 20 open houses and at EVERY one I was bombarded with questions such as: “Where are you from? What are you looking for? What do you need? Are you working with an agent? Do you have your financing in place?”

Wow, at least let me walk through the home first before you pounce on me!

Many agents have been taught that the best way to get people to communicate is to ask them questions. While there is absolutely a place for that, the best way to get someone to communicate with you is to listen to what clues they are giving you. For example, if I am walking through your open house, before you bombard me with an interrogation you might want to listen to what I am saying.

If I walk in and move quickly through the home, there is a good chance I want to be left alone. Rather than slow me down with your questions, you need to help me speed along with my search. I will respect you so much more if you make it easy for me to see the home without feeling compelled to have a conversation. Instead of asking about me, ask my thoughts on the home, my thoughts on the area, my thoughts on whether I am finding anything suitable for my needs. People will tell you their thoughts far quicker and easier than if you ask them too many direct questions.

During my search for an investment property, an agent bombarded me with questions.

Agent, “What are you looking for?”

I replied, “I am looking for a good investment.”

He quickly snapped back: “This is a great investment; do you want to buy it?”

Talk about too much too soon. What he should have done was find out what my thoughts were regarding a good investment. A simple question like this would have been much better and he would have learned more about what I was looking for: “What are your thoughts on the perfect investment property?”

Had he asked me that question, he would have quickly learned that the property he was holding open was NOT my definition of a good investment. It might be his idea or his sellers’ idea of a perfect investment, but it wasn’t mine. By listening to my thoughts, he would have learned EXACTLY what I thought was a perfect investment property and then he would have something to work with. He would have a clue about what I wanted and then he could help me by offering to send me information on homes he knew that fit my perfect investment criteria.

So, the next time you find yourself asking too many questions, slow down, and try to ask potential clients and current clients what their thoughts are. Here are 5 of my favorite ways to get people to tell me their thoughts.

  • What are your thoughts on __________?
  • What do you think about _________?
  • What thoughts do you have on this issue?
  • If you could plan the perfect purchase (or sale), what would be your thoughts on that?
  • What are your thoughts on how this should be done?

You will be shocked at how much more open people will be with you when you ask them for their thoughts rather than answers to your direct questions. Give it a try. I know you will be glad you did!

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