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How Best to Relieve a Client’s Stress

Jan 1, 2014

Posted by

Tom Hopkins

My life's work has been to change the image of the stereotypical salesperson into that of sales "professional." Selling real estate is an honorable profession in which you get to help people make Read more

To become the best agent in your area, become adept at putting people at ease.  Be diligent in educating your clients in language they thoroughly understand.  Be meticulous with details and keep them informed every step of the way.  Keep them stress-free.

Selling a home involves many different interactions with clients which eventually lead up to the final transaction.  You must first meet the potential sellers and make a favorable impression -- favorable enough that they decide to list with you.  Then, as you may end up meeting with several potential buyers, you have to make that same favorable impression on them.  You need to work to maintain that favorable impression as the process moves forward.  That may mean keeping their positive opinion of you while delivering bad news, say, about how much a home is worth in today’s market or it may involve using great tact when listing a home that is in desperate need of cleaning or repair work.

There is a certain amount of pressure and stress caused by insecurity in the minds of your potential clients on both sides of the transaction.  People aren’t involved in buying and selling homes every day of the week as you are.  They’re naturally going to be a bit nervous about the whole thing.  After all, the purchase or sale of a home is probably the largest transaction most people will ever be involved in.  Most people fear not being good enough -- whether it’s good enough to get the highest price the market will bear or good enough to qualify for the home of their dreams.  And that feeling of insecurity creates pressure that you have no control over.  However, it’s your professional job to deliver the news without having them “kill the messenger” (or simply stop working with you).

In order to get people to relax with you, your goal is to get them to like you and trust you. You do that by demonstrating your competence and making them feel important.  These are critical components in every potential real estate transaction.  Master the nuances of those elements and you will not only make more sales, but you’ll build a nice big referral business.

Let’s review a few ways to relieve nerve-wracking stress during typical real estate transactions.

1.)  Empathize with them.

Most people want to know, not only that you’re competent to handle the details of a real estate transaction, but that you understand their particular situation.  They want to feel that you “get” them.  Sellers want you to provide your services, yes, but to also understand all of their fears, needs and wants for how the sale will go.  For the individual or couple looking into purchasing a home, the decision to do so is often filled with many varying emotions such as fear and anxiety -- all of which create personal stress.  If they’ve never purchased a home before, they may not know what they can afford, whether or not they’ll be willing or able to take care of a home, or even think about things such as the proximity of schools or shopping. 

When you sit down at the table or desk with prospects, first attempt to relieve that self-induced pressure.  A few nice phrases you can use to help make the transaction process more comfortable for them are:  “I understand how you feel...”;  “I can appreciate your feelings...”;  and, “I couldn’t agree with you more.”  Each of these phrases has been proven to work time and again in building trust.

2.)  Simplify information.

There’s a critical mistake that too many real estate agent make:  They don’t take the time to convert industry jargon into laymen’s terms.  The terms “disclosure,” “appraisal,” “escrow,” “agency,” “good faith estimate,” and “qualifying ratios,” for example, are probably not in the typical seller’s and buyer’s vocabulary -- at least in relation to real estate transactions.  A lack of understanding of these words or terms can create confusion, fear and definitely increase the amount of pressure a potential client is feeling.

If you don’t thoroughly cover the financial aspects of a real estate transaction and make everything simple before you attempt to close a listing or a sale, you’ll find business more challenging for you than agents who

do take the time to simplify the learning process for clients.  Think about it.  Would you say “yes” to a home before you knew how much it was really going to cost you?  Of course you wouldn’t.  You must invest the time in breaking the money aspects down to give your clients a very clear understanding of what they’re agreeing to.  People need to know exactly, almost to the penny, how much it’s going to take to move into that home before they feel that the pressure is off and it’s the right thing to do.

3.)  Review details.

When you get back to the office after showing a home, it’s so important that you get your potential buyers to come inside with you.  Try this little sentence, “John, Mary, why don’t you just step in for a moment and let me jot down some of the details on that home which you liked best so you’ll have something to consider.”  This gives them the feeling that you are going to provide them all the pertinent facts and figures; and then they are going to go on home and plan to call you back after they sleep on it.  Well, that may possibly happen, but on the other hand, they may feel a need to say “yes” today after you’ve given them proper and professional help in the nice, warm, relaxing mood you’ve created for them.

4.)  Discuss comparables.

Few people understand how homes are priced.  Most people think that their homes are worth the same as the neighbor’s even if they don’t have any of the neighbor’s upgrades. You’ll hear them say, “It’s the same floor plan and lot size.  They were built at the same time and we paid the same when we bought ours.”  Have a set of comparables for another neighborhood to use when demonstrating how pricing works before showing sellers the comparables for their home.  When they’re seeing the value of their own home they’ll be more emotional than if you’re discussing someone else’s property values.  Once they have a clear understanding of how the process works, they’ll find it easier to accept what you have to say about the value of their property.

5.)  Slow down.

When preparing to show a home to a prospective buyer, use the following sentence to help ease them through the process of making a decision.  “John, Mary, let me begin by thanking you for contacting me.  I hope we can consider today somewhat exploratory --meaning I would like to further analyze your needs, show you some homes that might fit those needs and get some feedback from you about them.  I don’t think we should hurry through this.  I want you to take

your time and be comfortable with the process.”

What you’re doing here is the opposite of what most people in real estate say.  Too many of them are saying, “We’ve got just the right home for you.  I’m just as sure as I can be.”  Because this is a statement of fact, it could very well create unnecessary stress for the buyer.  On the one hand, they probably hope you’re right ... yet on the other, they don’t want to feel pressured to make a decision right away because you believe you’re right.

6.)  Act like a lamb.

Allow the buyers and sellers to lead you to their understanding of what they want to have happen in the transaction.  Become an interested introvert.  That means you’ll guide the conversations -- not dominate them.  You’ll ask a lot of questions to draw out exactly how they feel about the transaction and how they hope it will proceed.  Even if you’re the best agent on the planet, if you come across as domineering, people won’t want to do business with you.  Be smart ... be humble.

In My Experience

Looking back at my real estate career, I realize that being more introverted than extroverted was a large part of my success.  The people I worked with at first never had any idea that I was (fortunately) the top person in my office.  Oftentimes when closing a transaction I would consciously work to slow down my pace to ensure they understood everything they were agreeing to.  I believe that’s the reason I had very few transactions ever fall out of escrow.

You are as successful as you are because of the level of service you provide to other people.  Having a “service orientation” will greatly help put people at ease.  Demonstrate ... or even say ... “I’m here for you.”  Or, “It’s my job to help you make the best decision for your needs and then to handle all the necessary details so you can go back to living your normal daily lives without added stress and pressure.”

The selling style that is going to work today involves radiating the professionalism of a highly skilled artist, a pro, but delivering it with a sensitivity and a caring that lets prospects know that making the best decision for their needs is what you’re all about. That’s how you relieve tension when working with the biggest asset in your clients’ lives.