Master the art of tactical and empathetic communication

As the real estate market enters a new cycle it's natural for vendors and buyers to feel a little nervous. It's your job to continue to get deals done with all parties walking away satisfied. Top coach Marnie Beauchamp has some top tips to help you communicate tactically so you build trust with your clients and harness the power of their emotions.

The two most critical aspects where an agent needs to not just survive, but thrive, is in listing and selling, right? 

The measure of your success first comes from your ability to convert appraisals to listings and, secondly, your skill in getting a property sold with a happy vendor and buyer.

While it’s not completely obvious yet, and will not happen to the same extent in every market, it’s about to get a bit harder to do both of these things given the economic climate and property industry dynamic. 

So the key question is, how do you maximise your chances of listing and selling and winning more than you lose?

There are four things that matter:

  1. Tactical empathy: Tactical empathy is the conscious influencing of your clients’ emotions for the purpose of building trust-based influence and securing deals.
  2. Mirroring: In this scenario, mirroring is the reflection or replication of your clients words to bridge the gap between the two of you. It helps the client feel as though you are on the same page.  
  3. Active listening: Active listening is being fully engaged, leaning into a conversation, having eye contact, and affirmation through positive head movement, smiling and matching body language.
  4. Delivery – tonality and inflection: Delivery is the way you get a message across, reply or engage in conversation. The same sentence can have different meanings depending on the inflection and tone of your voice. Rather than asking a combative question, you can ask it in a way that is helpful and suggestive if you have the right tone and inflection in your voice.

These are the integral components to communication, negotiation and which influence emotions. 

So it’s your delivery of key information, and the emotions you stir, or not, in potential clients, that create the pathway to your eventual outcome.

To list more and sell more in a downward trending market, you need to take your vendors’ and buyers’ focus off price and place it more on their wants and needs.

You need to tap into their WHY and harness the power of their emotions.

Effective communication is directly proportional to effective negotiation and it is HOW you communicate key points and information to your clients that will ultimately determine whether you have a successful outcome or not. 

Here are some tips and dialogues that can help with this.

Setting up pricing – listing

Start by telling the owner that they’re in a very transitory market and that no one really knows what it will do until it has already done it. 

You can make as many predictions as you want but emphasise that you have absolutely no control over the market. 

Try saying:

  • “Until a property is put to market, we won’t know exactly what price range buyers will see value in.”
  • “We can more accurately determine a price guide in this market based upon buyer feedback, offers, and numbers of inspections etc.”
  • “Our estimates are based upon historical data – so it’s effectively already out of date and is really just an indication of what’s happened recently.”

Let the vendor know upfront that you will use this information to set the starting guide but it’s important that they remain open and communicate on feedback so that you can adapt to the market if needed. 

You don’t want to lose that initial interest as they are the best buyers by far in this market. 

Negotiating a sale – vendors

Offers aren’t as forthcoming or as strong as they used to be. They’ve changed even from a month or two ago. 

Buyers are scared of overcapitalising in a falling market and it’s important your vendors understand this.

Try saying:

  • “Finance is becoming more difficult with the impending interest rate rises and increasing inflation rates.”
  • “It’s important that we don’t sit and wait for a magical figure, which may not be possible in this market. We could be waiting another five years or more for that again.”
  • “The market is like an elevator, always moving. It goes up and it goes down. While we were sitting at the penthouse level life was wonderful! But now it’s heading down and we don’t want to get off in the basement.” 
  • “When you’re a cash buyer you’ll have the same negotiating capacity on the other end – buying and selling in the same market makes it very relevant.”

One of the things that will very quickly come into play, if it hasn’t already, is the perception the mainstream media creates with its headlines.

They focus on the doom and gloom. While agents and vendors have no control over the headlines, they can affect property value.

Try saying:

  • “Time is of the essence – the longer we wait the more chance there is that property values could slide further.” 
  • “If you don’t sell now, what’s your plan B? Are you OK to hold for five years or so? Maybe we can assist you with a rental appraisal?”

Negotiation a sale – buyer 

Tapping into a buyer’s emotions can be as simple as asking them what they love about the property and why they want to live there.

This creates a really solid base to extend upon and reinforce their beliefs and emotions.

Try saying:

  • “If you’re planning to stay more than five years it would be really hard to over capitalise on this purchase.”
  • “If you don’t buy this property, what’s your plan B? Is there another you love just as much or would you consider renting?” 
  • “I can see that this is your dream home and I know you and the family will have many happy years here. So, if it turns out you pay a little over for it in this market, would that really matter once you’re in? I would imagine that securing this property is more important to you at this stage and property always increases in value eventually. This will be your home – not an investment, won’t it?”

Obviously interest rates are a concern for buyers too, but whether they go up or down doesn’t change their need to purchase a home.

So try saying: 

  • “Yes, interest rates are going up, but you still need to purchase right?”
  • “By securing a home now you can capture a fixed rate while they’re still low compared to previous years and the rises happen over time – it’s not going to happen overnight.” 
  • “I know you’re worried about paying too much but if you had purchased a year or two ago that concern would be much more valid. Prices have already dropped markedly so you’re buying at a great time as most of the drop comes early.” 

Every day you put ourselves out there, competing for business and in turn, for your livelihood. 

Make sure that you always put yourself in the shoes of your clients and think about what they’re going through, how they’re feeling and allow them to express their fears. 

By validating and exposing those fears, you have the chance to diffuse them.

Use validating statements such as: 

  • “It seems like you’re scared of over-capitalising.”
  • “It sounds like this property would really suit your needs.”
  • “It looks like you are ready to move forward to the next stage of your journey.”

We can’t control pricing or the market, so it’s important never to promise anything or to discount any offers you receive.

We are not the gate keepers of price. Buyers are, so make sure you value them moving forward and improve your buyer management and communication.

Focus on the clients’ needs and develop a strategy to satisfy their requirements, rather than just focusing on the numbers and you will notice a big shift in your results.

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Marnie Beauchamp

Marnie Beauchamp has over 30 years experience in real estate & business ownership. Accolades include Business person of the year, business of the year & most outstanding real estate agency multiple years. With a passion for hard work, Marnie looks to revolutionise the way agents and agencies work.