Real estate is a tricky business. It’s a grind. Many buyers and sellers have a hard time trusting the real estate agents they work with. Clients can also be fickle. A Realtor might put in countless hours helping someone find their dream house only to find out they ultimately bought directly from a seller or used another agent—leaving the Realtor with nothing to show for their hard work.
Some months, you close deal after deal. Other months, you might endure what seems like a never-ending dry spell. Income is impossible to predict.
As a real estate agent, it’s your job to help clients navigate an emotionally charged purchase. Most real estate transactions are tied to significant life events—such as starting a family, losing a job, or deciding to downsize before heading into retirement.
There are even more emotional factors to consider, too.
For example, someone might be selling a home they raised a family in—one they imagined themselves growing old in—and might not be willing to let it go for what they perceive to be a low price. Someone else might be buying a house for the first time—which means they’ll have a million questions and may hesitate to take the initial plunge.
While real estate is a hard business, with the right approach, you can turn it into a lucrative career. Becoming a successful real estate agent starts with managing emotions and earning your clients’ trust. Here’s how to make that happen.
Becoming a Trusted Adviser
People do business with people they like. That’s true in the boardroom. It’s also true when it comes to figuring out which restaurant to go to, which contractor to use for home repairs, and—you guessed it—whom we choose to represent us in real estate transactions.
The best real estate agents position themselves as trusted advisers. Clients believe that their agents are looking out for their best interests—to the point where they won’t hesitate to recommend their agents to anyone else who’s looking to buy or sell.
By becoming a trusted adviser, you can build a real estate engine that keeps feeding itself—and, in doing so, avoid the dry spells that plague many Realtors.
So, how do you become a trusted adviser?
The most successful agents use real estate negotiation skills to make their clients feel comfortable. They know to avoid yes questions—such as, Are you definitely going to make an offer? and, Are you definitely going to sell? Instead, they stick to open-ended questions—such as, What are you looking for in a home? and, How long do you want this to sit on the market?
Trusted advisers don’t force people to act. They just encourage them to start thinking in a direction that ultimately leads to action.
They also know that their clients—buyers or sellers—have many concerns. So they conduct an accusations audit ahead of time, identifying the negative sentiments their clients likely have and preparing to assuage them at any minute.
Now that you understand the basics of positioning yourself as a trusted adviser, let’s take a brief look at how, specifically, you can interact with buyers and sellers to enjoy better real estate outcomes.
How to Deal with Buyers
Imagine you’re hosting an open house, and a young couple seems to enjoy themselves as they walk around their potential new home.
As they leave, many real estate agents ask a question similar to this: What do you think?
Instead, try a slightly different approach and hang a label on it by saying something like this: It seems like you have a lot to think about.
Due to the open-ended nature of the statement, they won’t feel trapped. They’ll do what your statement implied: think about it, and they will even be more inclined to express what they in fact are thinking at the time.
Apply this sentiment to every buyer you encounter, and you’ll uncover more information without pulling any punches.
How to Deal with Sellers
Selling a house is a major decision. To be a trusted adviser in a life-altering transition, tactical empathy is key.
Use statements such as, It seems like it’s hard to move away from a family home or, It’s tough to figure out where you’re going to plant your flag. Show clients you know where they’re coming from.
You’ll also want to avoid yes questions; use calibrated questions instead.
For example, rather than asking someone whether they’re definitely selling their house, ask questions such as, How much does it cost each day to own this property? and, What’s going to happen if you don’t sell this house?
Get them to focus on how hanging on to their house will be a burden. They’ll be encouraged to act.
Consider this as a primer. Ready to take a deeper dive into real estate negotiation skills?
Check out our eight-lesson video course on Real Estate Success taught by former FBI hostage negotiator Chris Voss, founder and CEO of The Black Swan Group, which is based off teachings from his best-selling book Never Split the Difference.