Being successful in real estate means talking to people, it is important enough to revisit from time-to-time. When you’re speaking with a client, you want to make sure you’re leaving the right impression and positioning yourself as the expert in the local real estate market. Start by removing these six conversation quirks that may be slipping into your conversations and destroying your credibility. If you’re guilty of any of the following, no worries … now is the perfect time to be honest with yourself and fix the problem. As the tried-and-true adage goes, “acceptance is the first step to recovery.”
1. Avoid “biz blab” – This is industry-specific jargon. For example, you and I are familiar with terms such as FSBO (For Sale by Owner) and Short Sale. We know what these terms mean because we live and breathe the real estate industry every day. Chances are your clients don’t. I’m not saying that you can’t use this kind of jargon, but know that every other REALTOR® is cramming their sales pitch full of buzzwords. It’s hard to stand out in a crowd when you’re saying the same thing as everyone else. If you do use industry jargon, be 100% sure your clients understand what you’re saying, and don’t assume that they’ll ask for clarification. They might be worried about looking stupid, but if they knew everything why would they need you?
Fix: If you can’t find the word in Webster’s dictionary, I wouldn’t use it. At least not until you’ve taken time to define the word first.
2. Don’t beat a dead horse – Clichés need to go, because they are generally overused. It might come across as disrespectful to your listener if you don’t “start thinking outside the box.” When someone starts telling me about “boots on the ground” or “moving up the food chain,” I immediately assume they are just regurgitating some training video they watched last week and don’t have any original thoughts of their own.
Fix: Avoid metaphors all together, they are overhyped and don’t make your point any clearer. If you are using a metaphor, make sure it is unique to this conversation and situation. If you’re struggling with this, start by making tweaks to your metaphors. Try at the very least to kick a dead horse instead of beating one.
3. Simple talk is a good thing – I love my thesaurus. It can be fun to try to add new words to your vocabulary. However, a client introduction meeting isn’t the place for them. “Abstain from overindulging your clients with prolixity.” In other words, speak conversationally. if you don’t, you’ll run the risk of offending your listeners by making them feel like you’re talking down to them.
Fix: Avoid words longer than three syllables or seven letters.
4. Avoid hiccups – Technically this is called “speech disfluency.” We all know them better as “uhhh,” “ummm,” “well,” and especially “like!” These are small pauses that most Americans will place in their speech when they are trying to gather their thoughts. These “fillers” can take up to 20% of daily conversation. This is a stalling technique and at best, it’s annoying. At worst, it will make you sound dishonest.
Fix: Do your very best to avoid this, but I’d be lying if I told you this was an easy fix. When you pause, and you should pause in conversation, try taking a breath. That way, your lungs are too busy to make any hiccups. Start recording yourself in conversations and train your ear to listen for them in your own speech. We all have our own unique hiccups. Mine used to be “like” and “well.” You’ll be amazed how often you do this.
5. Avoid upticks – These are speech patterns that imply a question. If you raise your vocal pitch at the end of the statement, you’ve added a question mark. If you’re not careful, you can turn a powerful statement like, “I’ll help you sell this house” into “I’ll help you sell this house?” This sounds like you’re asking for approval from your listener and that you are unsure of your position.
Fix: Stop rolling statements and questions together. You’ll still want to make sure the listener understands your position. So, take time to practice active listening techniques. Take time to ask, “Is this making sense?” or “Are you OK with this plan?”
6. Avoid the “spray and pray” approach – Lots of agents like to throw stats at their clients. This may lead you to blurt out a constant stream of information your client doesn’t care about. Don’t let your ego get in the way. For example, the seller doesn’t want to hear you boast about how many homes you sold last year. They only care if you can sell their home, so make it clear that you’re the REALTOR® who is going to help them.
Fix: Start approaching every client meeting and sales call as a conversation. Get rid of the idea of using a sales pitch. Listen to what your client is saying, identify their specific concerns and needs, and then answer with relevant information.