As published in Scotsman Guide's Residential Edition, December 2008.
Have you ever wandered into a real estate office and tried to get past the receptionist — aka, the gatekeeper — to find the Realtors who often need what you have to offer?
Once you’re finally inside those golden gates, what will you say to introduce yourself to the Realtors you came to see? Will you have rehearsed some standard one-liners? Or will you fumble for the right words to impress them?
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There are two problems here. First, you’re not made of the same ingredients as all other brokers. You’re you. You have your own personality and your own way of communicating with others using your own words and body language.
The second problem is that when you fumble for words, nothing good usually happens. It is as important to practice what you’ll say to a Realtor as it is for a football player to practice running through tacklers. Practicing and planning conversations will keep you from fumbling when you get into the real game.
You can transform your communication weaknesses into strengths by taking three steps:
1. Understand personality types: Find out who you are by taking a personality assessment. There are several out there from which to choose that will tell you a variety of qualities about yourself, such as:
Do you get your energy from the world around you? If so, you’re most likely extroverted.
Do you process things internally? This may mean you are an introvert.
Becoming familiar with personality types also will help you make some educated guesses about Realtors or prospective clients, which can help you understand how to approach them. It also can help you determine how to best work with people in your own office.
Familiarity with personality types helps you assess your dialogue with the other party during and after the conversation. Questions you can ask yourself include:
How do they seem to be processing what you’re saying? Are they responding with high energy? Or are they more patient, thinking about how they want to respond?
Did you get your point across? If you and your prospects are talking at the same time, are you really communicating?
Is there a failure to communicate? Does it frustrate you if a client takes too long to answer a question?
Have you failed to communicate well with this type of person in the past?
Who gained the most from the conversation?
2. Interpret body language: In addition to learning about personality types and verbal-communication styles, you also should learn to recognize and interpret body language.
It requires practice not to rush into judgments. If you misread a prospective client’s body language, you can lose the account.
3. Prepare your conversations: Plan your conversation in advance. Develop open-ended questions and thought-provoking statements, and give yourself a point of retreat or negotiation.
No matter what your style is, write down your questions for quick reference, if needed. If you need to look at your notes during a conversation, just ask politely if the other party wouldn’t mind you going over some questions you wrote down. Getting permission is never a bad thing.
In addition, take advantage of continuing-education courses in the mortgage field. You should also take advantage of courses in interpersonal and business communications.
No matter what your role is in the mortgage industry, you’ll always need to speak to people. Practice, practice, practice and then practice a little more.
Robert Nolan has been in the mortgage industry for more than 15 years and has held a variety of positions before starting IvyStone Consulting Group in early 2007. IvyStone uses proven psychological assessments such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicators to help management find the right candidates who will fall within a company’s hiring profile for hiring loan officers.
Nolan can be reached at (770) 309-7199 or via e-mail at email@example.com.