Hello…hello…hello… Is anybody listening?
In this busy, busy world, there may be plenty of times when you feel like you’re in an echo chamber. It seems like there’s always a distracting call coming in, a text beeping or a notification buzzing whenever you try to talk to someone. Besides, let’s face it, a lot of conversations aren’t nearly as fascinating as that text, call, or notification – or are they? Is knowing that your friend’s daughter’s cousin just made the best enchiladas ever or that your co-worker just received your email and will give you his feedback by tomorrow really more important than connecting with the person in front of you?
If you’re me, the answer is super easy because listening to people is my specialty. When it comes to my clients I don’t just want to be a good listener, I want to be a great listener. Listening builds connections and mutual trust. It’s the foundation of our relationship. By listening carefully to you, I am able to identify and solve problems quickly and easily. That’s key to taking the (k)nots out of real estate for you and making your buying or selling transaction go so seamlessly that you rave about it to everyone you know and refer all your friends and family to me when they’re ready to buy or sell a home or business property.
Active listening makes me more engaged in the conversation and increases my understanding of your wants and needs. It also helps me avoid missing any critical information. If a four-car garage is crucial to you, I’ll make sure you see properties that can hold your car collection. I won’t waste your time with anything less – but if I’ve listened properly and know that you’re willing to take on a project and the budget won’t go bust, I may well show you a property that has plenty of room for a garage expansion in a city with a friendly building department.
If you want to build your own communication skills, you’re in luck! I am more than happy to share some of my favorite listening tips with you. Ready? Here they are:
Repeat the important points: To make sure you are both hearing and understanding what someone is saying, paraphrase or summarize what they’ve said and repeat it back to them. “So what you’re saying is, you want lots of windows with mountain views.”
Ask questions: Questions show that you’ve been following what they’ve said and are ready to delve deeper or get clarification on some areas. Open-ended questions that can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” work best.
Spotlight the other person: Pretend there’s a spotlight on the person you’re talking to and give them your full attention. Look at them and leave your phone out of sight. No doodling, sighing, or glancing at your watch. The person you are talking to is the star of the show.
Look for nonverbal cues: Read their body language, especially when dealing with couples. Sometimes people are shy about saying what they really want and if you don’t notice their physical cues you may miss out on something important.
Don’t be a Know-It-All: Be ready to learn something new. Be an equal partner. Yes, I’ve got my expertise, but the person I am listening to has expertise, too. They know what they want, need, and like better than I do. Yes, I want to solve their real estate needs, but how can l meet – and beat – their expectations unless I take the time to really get to know them as a person?
And there you have it! Five simple tips that will help you be a better listener. Putting these tips into play may take some effort, but with a little practice, you’ll find that you’re remembering more information and building more fulfilling relationships.
You may even discover that you like interacting with real people in real-time better than keeping up with all the minutiae of your cyber-life. Certainly, there will still be times when you’ll say “Excuse me. I have to take this call,” but you’ll find a healthier balance that respects both your client and… hey, do you think your friend’s daughter’s cousin still has some of those enchiladas available? Let’s go get some.
I’m Stephen Burchard, The Desert Bowtie Realtor, taking the (k)nots out of real estate.