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Building Blocks Series: The Psychology Behind Real Estate

Here’s the latest installment of our “Building Block” series which is focused on the foundational elements of building a successful real estate business. Today we’re taking a closer look at the psychology behind real estate.

While keen business skills and sharp negotiating tactics are critical to long term success in real estate, there are instances of the home selling/buying process that require an agent to tap into softer skills to best serve their clients.  For example, homeowners may be faced with tremendous hardship, forcing the sale of a home and putting a client in an uncomfortable and vulnerable position.  Whether its divorce, death, or foreclosure, agents must be prepared to approach these clients with great care, patience and empathy to deliver the customer service these individuals require.

Top producing eXp Realty team Cindi Blackwood and her daughter Ariel recently shared their insights with me during a LabCoat Agents webinar, “The Psychology Behind Real Estate.” We’ve included the highlights of the conversation below but encourage you to listen to the full discussion HERE.

  • It’s all about the people.  Quite simply, we are all just people with deep emotions, fears and anxieties.  The greatest skill an agent can lend to a client suffering hardship is to actively listen to his/her story, be sensitive to the circumstance and respond appropriately.  It is the job of the agent to assess the situation, map out a plan and help clients get to the other side, step by step.  When an agent truly connects with a client, he/she can become so much more effective in navigating the path to success and helping a client through a difficult experience.
  • Words Matter. While most people come from a place of good intention, there are rarely times when suggesting, “I know exactly how you feel” is an effective response.  Consider whatever a client is facing and instead offer empathy. At the same time, avoid finger pointing and aggressively telling a client what to do and how to do it. This behavior will only negatively impact a client, making him or her defensive and resistant to your well-intended suggestions.  Instead, consider your tone of voice and words carefully, deeply rooted in a sensitivity to the situation and your client. Acknowledging an individuals’ unique loss and associated hurt is cornerstone to building a trusted client relationship.
  • Hone your emotional intelligence – Loss is defined as a change in circumstance or familiar pattern of behavior. Grief is the conflicting feelings associated with loss. Often times, clients will feel trapped by their situation.  By helping them see beyond the right now and outlining the steps you can take together to get there, will help a client envision a more positive future. In order to do so, it is important to constantly hone one’s emotional intelligence to authentically engage, connect and support clients successfully. This takes time and patience, and each new experience is an opportunity to gain a deeper level of empathy.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions – Despite the loss, an agent’s job is often to ask the hard questions. Don’t be afraid.  You may actually find a client is relieved to be asked! As an agent, you need to dig deep to get to the truth of the situation and better understand your client’s needs, fears and goals.  In doing so, you are better prepared to help navigate a path forward and offer recommendations on how best to get there.
  • Recognize your skill set and consider clients carefully – With all of this in mind, its incumbent upon all agents to take a hard look at their own set of skills and determine if they are emotionally prepared to work with clients who are suffering a loss. There is no shame in knowing yourself and who you are best suited to support.  However, its incredibly important to acknowledge the critical role an agent serves for those who are forced to sell their home due to a painful personal circumstance.  Those that aren’t prudent in their approach and thoughtful in client acquisition, perpetuate a negative industry reputation that real estate agents are just “salespeople” looking to close a deal at any cost.

In an industry that preaches an “always be selling” attitude and is deeply rooted in the numbers, there has never been a better time to acknowledge the incredibly important “people” aspect of real estate.  By taking a moment to consider all aspects of a client situation and how you can be of service to another in need, you can develop a long lasting, successful and lucrative career.  While clinking champagne flutes may not be the end game of every closing, you may find that the most challenging client journeys become the most rewarding – both personally and professionally.

Randy Carroll is the Strategic Partner and Channel Manager for Chime.