As a REALTOR, you have
to communicate in high-stress environments — that’s just a fact of working in
real estate. But, if you aren’t careful with how you deliver your message, you
can make things sound worse than they really are.
You have a position of
authority in your trade, with clients who are relying on your expertise. That’s
why you have to be the pillar in the relationship. Like a pillar, you must be
sturdy and inspire confidence in your ability to “hold up the roof” and not
have the entire process crash down around your client.
One of the easiest ways
to ensure confidence is with your words. Constant communication with a client
is important, because your client never wants to feel out of the loop. However,
in the process of keeping their clients “in the loop,” some REALTORS are actually
destroying their own credibility. Usually this happens when they deliver
Unpleasant news is
different from bad news. Unpleasant news isn’t necessarily “bad,” it just
probably isn’t what your client wants to hear. An example of bad news is, “The
seller closed with someone else.” Unpleasant news is, “The seller is dragging
their feet on the paperwork.” Unpleasant news is usually simply inconvenient,
not deal-ending. But if you use the wrong words, your client could think it is deal-ending.
Here is a list of words
that could have a negative connotation and give your clients the wrong
impression. When you find yourself starting to use them, try to replace them
with more proactive words that will assure your client that, despite this rough
patch, they have a REALTOR who is on top of it and their protecting their
OK — If something is OK, it’s never good, and it’s probably bad. For
example, “The meal was OK.” What your recipient hears is, “The meal was
terrible but I don’t want to complain.”
Instead use the word “fine.” This suggest
stability. “My meal was fine.” Now, your food is not the best you’ve ever had,
but it was still enjoyable.
Rush — This implies an emergency. “I’m rushing to get your offer in.” If
you use that with a client, you might have just triggered the following
thinking: “Whoa! Wait? Why are you rushing? What’s wrong? Are we missing
something in our haste?”
Instead try “proactive.” “We’re being proactive with your offer.” Now
it sounds like your client is working with the ace of real estate and you are
getting them in before anyone else has a chance, but doing so professionally while
still being thorough.
Fix — This says something is broken, and your clients don’t want to
hear the word “broken” when you’re talking about their dream house.
Instead try “adjusting.” Adjusting sounds like a minor change, just
fine-tuning things to make sure the process is smooth. You could also use the
A lot — This can make any task seem like it’s going to be insurmountable.
For example: “I have to go to the store, and there’s a lot I need to pick up.”
That could trigger a “Well, there goes my Saturday” response. Or specific to
real estate: “The buyer has a lot of changes to the contract.” This might leave
your client thinking, “Should we just find a new buyer?”
Instead of saying “a lot,” make a list of what needs to get done,
and then provide a roadmap of how — together — you and your client are going to
get this done.
Other word switches to
Instead of changes,
use requests, adjustments or
Instead of issues,
Instead of problems,
use items or opportunities.
Instead of tight
timeline, use aggressive schedule.