Last Updated on July 18, 2023 by Luke Feldbrugge
Gentle persuasion skills for real estate agents can make all the difference in the short term, as you are trying to sell a home, but also in the long term as your real estate career develops. Anyone can shout their message from the mountaintops, but the ability to really listen to customers and understand what they need can win the day. Persuasion is a skill, but it’s also a discipline. Successful real estate agents practice this discipline. Training and experience can help you develop better persuasive skills over time.
If you’re an introvert working in the real estate industry, you probably know a lot of this already. You’ve been developing the gentle art of persuasion your whole life. Extroverts might be more challenged by some of these soft skills. They can feel like you are holding yourself back when you really just want to help people. Especially in real estate, where making the wrong decision can be a major disaster for the foreseeable future, decisions can involve a lot of anxiety. A good agent knows when an aggressive approach to real estate purchase decisions can be counter productive.
“Gentle persuasion succeeds where force fails.” – Aesop
1) Friendly Gentle Persuasion
This is probably part of your method already, and it’s about establishing rapport. Friendly gentle persuasion could almost be called small talk, because it’s the back and forth that you initiate during a party or a get together. What do you do? Do you have kids? What are your hobbies? All of these questions help establish common ground that, if it weren’t about real estate, might spark a friendship. Creating this rapport can help build trust, aid in communication, and give you the opportunity to get to know an individual and potential future client. For example, if you and a client are both passionate about baseball, it can give you a common language to use, and a familiar frame of reference.
This is important in your interactions, as you know, because it’s a conversation that has nothing to do with buying or selling a house. However, it has everything to do with communicating on a human level. On the trust side, if this person has similar experiences, or you know the same people, the trust will flow naturally.
2) Networking: Essential Gentle Persuasion
This can be a natural result of using friendly gentle persuasion, because if clients like and trust you, they will tell their friends who are in the market. This may be the most gentle way to persuade someone to hire you as an agent – getting referred by someone they already trust. It’s like an automatic stamp of approval.
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3) Gentle Persuasion Includes the Art of Listening
Listening may be the most underrated, overlooked and ignored gentle persuasion skill. It’s sort of the opposite of aggressive sales techniques. A good listener is rare. Some are born as good listeners, but most people become that way because they have worked at it for a long time. People described as having great communication skills are typically good listeners.
To really understand your audience, you have to listen without preconceptions about what they are going to say. You need to listen between the lines. Sometimes what you are hearing is only part of what they are saying. Finally you need to listen purely, not seeing it as an opportunity to prepare your response. Answer questions, by all means, but don’t rush to the answer. There may be more to the question than it appears.
On the client side, few of us experience true active listening, and when we do it’s encouraging. Someone is actually paying attention to what we say, what we want, instead pursuing their own agenda. It just feels good to be listened to. The act of listening itself is persuasive, but it also informs us as agents so we can address the real client’s needs. It is key to career success and effective communication, especially for new real estate agents.
4) Empathy and Gentle Persuasion
Empathy is often the direct result of good listening skills. If you train yourself to listen, you will develop the empathy you need to understand your clients’ needs and preferences and respond accordingly. Sometimes, empathy helps you read between the lines of what your clients are saying and what they really mean. If you are giving a presentation, empathy helps you read the room. Although it’s a little hard to define, empathy is one of the hard skills that makes you a good salesperson. And if you get better at it, your clients will see it right away.
If clients see you as empathetic, you won’t need to “hard sell” them. They are also more likely to take your advice during negotiations. Likewise, if you are perceived as being non-empathetic, your relationship with clients will suffer.
5) Body Language Speaks Louder than Words
Most real estate skills, at some level, are aspects of the umbrella term “ good communication skills.” Being able to read body language is powerful interpersonal skill that is directly applicable to negotiations. Reading your clients’ body language will help a great deal when you are talking with them (and especially when you are taking them through open houses). And in negotiations, look for the “wince” factor when people start talking about prices. People’s faces tell you a lot, and sometimes their social cues tell a different story than their spoken word.
When working with a couple on a house, the body language between them is also a great source of information.
Body language, of course, works both ways. You communicate a lot to your clients through your own body language. Maintaining direct eye contact, for example, is important, especially when trying to persuade them. Posture, also, can tell them a lot about how engaged you are in the conversation. Even something as simple as a smile from you may help clients make decisions about their next home.
Like friendliness, kindness is effective gentle persuasion, and a great way to kick off the start of your client-agent relationship. People pick up rather quickly if you are a kind person or not, and we like and trust kind people. They make us believe the best about ourselves and our future. For example, if you only say kind things about the previous owners of a house, even if there were problems, it says a lot about you.
Kindness is not just an attitude. It’s also actions…the actions a good real estate agent takes throughout the house hunt and closing. There are lots of opportunities to say kind things and be kind to all parties in the transaction. They make the whole buying process less bumpy, and clients will turn to you if conflicts arise. You will be seen as the safe port in a storm.
7) Follow Up
This one may seem like a standard business practice – and probably should be – but follow up is often overlooked. We get busy with a million things as real estate professionals, and we forget to follow up. Follow up, on any number of things, is a good idea because it sends a message to your potential buyers that:
- You are paying attention to the project’s progress.
- You care enough to communicate.
- You are willing to go the extra mile.
- You are grateful for their business and the relationship.
If you just follow up on major milestones, such as the closing, you are missing opportunities. Did the client’s pre approval come through? Drop them a note of congratulations. Did the inspection come through clean? That’s another opportunity to follow up. Follow up can be even more important if the process hits a snag, such as an unanticipated lien on the property or necessary work being postponed.
The good news is that because follow up is an overlooked technique of gentle persuasion, this is a way to have your real estate business stand out from your competitors. Follow up shows clients that every next step in the process is as important to you as it is to them.
8) Use Gentle Persuasion with Confidence
You still need to exude confidence even when you’re using gentle persuasion skills. Ever talked to a technician, like a mechanic or electrician, who really seemed to know their stuff? You worry less because you believe your problem is in good hands. It’s the kind of persuasion that is so understated that it’s almost invisible. If your confidence in your real estate process is strong, it comes through and affects all communications. There are a lot of technical real estate transactions in the buying process – escrow, points, title insurance, etc – that most clients may slightly understand. Showing your confidence using your skills throughout the home buying or selling transaction, especially during negotiations and on closing day, will alleviate a lot of anxiety for your clients. They will trust you to handle the details that are in your area of expertise.
Join Homes for Heroes and be the Agent Heroes Want
If we at Homes for Heroes had to pick one facet of gentle persuasion that is central to our operations, it’s gratitude. Being thankful is what started our journey more than 20 years ago. We set out to thank all our community heroes and we have given back more than $100 million in Hero Rewards® savings.
Simply register online and select a date for your introduction session with a member of our team. When you join Homes for Heroes, you can begin thanking your local heroes by serving their real estate needs, help them save on their transactions, and become the real estate agent your local heroes want.