Starting a conversation is a real struggle for some people. We can easily get hung up on what we’re going to say, or how to avoid that awkward silence. Yet conversation leads to negotiation, which is key to sales, and is vital to both our personal and business relationships. Try these simple suggestions to avoid sounding tongue tied and you’ll start taking command of the conversation.
Avoid “But” and “Why” – Both of these words sound innocent enough, however they are quick to send up red flags in your recipient’s mind. Try replacing the word “but” with “and.” For example, instead of saying “the buyer is interested but wants the home inspector’s opinion first …” try saying the same phrase with “and” instead of “but.” This sounds proactive instead of negative. Likewise, “why” simply puts people on the defensive. Asking “Why did you paint this room yellow?” sounds very pointed. Instead try “What are your plans for this room?”
Be an active listener – Listening during a conversation is always more important than speaking. When the other party is speaking, make sure you are maintaining eye contact and showing visual and verbal cues that you’re still interested in what they are saying. Visual cues include nodding, smiling at jokes or jests, and simply using a slightly forward listening posture (but don’t lean too far; you want to respect their personal space). Verbal cues can include quick responses like “Okay” and “hmmm” or “Oh I agree” and “I see.” When it is your time to speak, try summing up what they said in your own words. This will make them feel validated and will ensure the conversation is being understood by both parties.
Agree before you disagree – Lets face it, rarely do we ever see eye to eye with everything a person is saying. So how do you disagree with someone without coming off as hostile or argumentative? One solution is to try “agreeing” before you “disagree.” Instead of saying something like “I don’t think yellow is the right color for this room while we are showing your home.” Try instead, “I agree, this room would make a great nursery, office or guest room and would probably show better in a more neutral color.”
Try applying these tips to your next conversation. You’ll be happy that you did, because clear and effective communication skills are a must for anyone in the real estate industry.