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Master the art of listening: How top agents turn leads into listings

Listening is the number one skill real estate agents need to convert leads into clients, according to top US real estate coach Bernice Ross. 

In an industry grappling with inflation and uncertainty over interest rates, the chief executive officer of Real Estate Coach said the ability to genuinely listen to clients is what sets successful agents apart from their competition.

“The question you must answer for your business is: Exactly how well are you listening?” she said.

Ms Ross told Inman there were 10 key benefits agents can gain in a transaction if they hone their listening skills.

  1. Improved communication: Carefully listening to your clients, means you can respond more accurately to concerns, minimise misunderstandings, and avoid potential problems. 

“Whether you’re on a listing appointment or conducting a buyer interview, when you take notes on what your clients say, you show them that you not only heard them but also that what they said was so important that you wrote it down,” Ms Ross said.

  1. Increased trust and rapport: Active listening lets clients know you care about them, which is pivotal when trying to establish trust. 

“Clients feel valued and respected when their concerns and desires are heard,” Ms Ross said.

  1. Better understanding of client needs: Asking questions based on what your clients say is a powerful way to uncover their needs and core values, which can help you tailor your service to each buyer.

Listening and asking questions based upon what your clients say is one of the most powerful ways to uncover your clients’ needs and core values that are motivating them to transact,” she said.

  1. Customised service: By listening carefully and asking about clients’ lifestyles and preferences, agents can provide a truly customised experience that aligns with their unique situations. 

“By carefully listening and asking clients about their lifestyle and what matters most to them, you can provide a truly customised experience to your clients that more closely aligns with their unique preferences and personal situations,” Ms Ross told Inman.

  1. Stronger emotional connection: Real estate transactions can be stressful. Agents with good listening skills can provide emotional support and help clients navigate difficult situations, keeping transactions on track. 
  2. More effective problem solving: Effective listening helps resolve conflicts and misunderstandings quickly and amicably, ensuring smoother transactions. 
  1. Identify key pain points: Understanding what matters most to clients helps surface objections and pain points earlier in the transaction process, and helps increase your value as you make things easier for your clients.

“Digging into what matters most to your clients will help you to understand not only what matters most to them, it will also surface objections and pain points earlier in the transaction process,” Ms Ross said.

  1. Better negotiation outcomes: Knowing clients’ priorities and motivations provides valuable insights during negotiations, allowing agents to advocate more effectively on their behalf.

“Understanding your client’s priorities and motivations can provide you with valuable insights during negotiations about their ‘must haves’ as well as where they may be willing to make concessions,” she said.

  1. More effective conflict resolution: Taking notes during heated moments and reading back what has been written can defuse anger and show clients that their concerns are being taken seriously. 

“If they’re yelling or having a meltdown, ask their permission for you to write down their concerns. Next, repeatedly pause to read back what you’ve written and ask, ‘Did I get that right?’ This normally quickly defuses their anger,” Ms Ross told Inman.

  1. Increased referrals: Listening to clients and delivering on promises not only helps secure future business but also earns referral business. 

“When you listen to your clients, they are more likely to listen to you and trust your judgment,” she said.

“When you also deliver on what you promise, you not only are more likely to gain their future business, but to also earn their referral business as well.”

Ms Ross said to build the connection that will help you convert your leads, you need to build trust.

She suggests using the three Cs – curiosity, communication and commonality. 

Curiosity: Ms Ross said to ask clients about their favourite foods, recreational activities, and what they enjoy most about their neighbourhood. These conversation starters can reveal personal insights and preferences.

Communication: Engaging clients with interesting local facts and stories, even about weird local histories or best-kept secrets, can spark engaging conversations.

Commonality: Finding shared experiences, such as similar hobbies or backgrounds, helps build a connection.

“Listening is the cornerstone of all successful real estate relationships,” Ms Ross said.

“By truly engaging with your clients, you’ll build trust, foster loyalty, and convert more seller leads and buyer interviews into signed business.”

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