"Ahem...Excuse Me! Are you even listening to me?" One of your most important sales skills
Before you decide to skim this post which may appear at first glance to merely be a story about a local restaurant, please know that it has a valuable real estate message.
I took my family to Red Lobster on Sunday after church. As always, the food was great, but the service was not exactly perfect. For some reason, I have noticed a disturbing trend these days with wait staff - they DON'T WRITE STUFF DOWN.
Is this supposed to impress me somehow?
"Wow, honey, did you notice that the guy didn't write down any of our complicated order? I mean, there are five of us here. If he gets it right, I think we should double his tip."
Actually, I usually tip very well, because I used to be in restaurant management in the mid-90's, so I know how hard the average waitperson works. However, when my order is messed up, I get more perturbed if they didn't write it down. It makes me assume that they weren't paying attention.
Listening is a critical sales skill for ANY service provider, and the same goes for us in the real estate and mortgage industries.
About 6 years ago, I got my very first sale over the $1 million mark. Thankfully, we have had a good number of them since. I blogged about the entire story once, but I don't need to provide lengthy details here in order to make my point. The buyers had worked with me several years earlier, then "put things on hold", then re-surfaced in 2002. It turns out that they had worked with two other agents for long stretches of time, while searching for the perfect place.
They told me that they had always found me to be trustworthy, so they returned to let me assist them. I managed to find the right home on their first visit, and they closed on that home for $1.2 million the next month.
What did I do differently?
I WROTE DOWN her list of needs/wants. Believe me, it was a long list. After combing through all of the listings, it was apparent that there was really just one place that would work for them, and it turned out that I was correct.
I have had countless buyers tell me something along these lines during my career:
"The last agent we tried to work with didn't pay attention to us. She showed us what she thought we would like, rather than what we really wanted to see."
I am happy to state that I have built my business over the past 12 years by being a good listener. Pay attention to your clients! It pays off. I tell home buyers the same thing when we are actively looking - I will honor their criteria until they tell me to make a change. If we begin looking at properties and it becomes obvious that they can't find what they need, I present options. They can raise the price range, or they can change the area of town. Usually, it is the former, but I let THEM dictate this decision.
I have mentioned this quote in the past, and I don't know the source, but I have never forgotten it:
God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. We should listen twice as much as we speak.
Don't be the pushy fool who loses an "in hand" client by showing them the wrong homes. LISTEN (and write it down) and reap the benefits!