How good of a listener are you?

Take this test to find out! On your last listing presentation or buyer interview, did you:
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Build connection and rapport by inquiring about your client’s lifestyle and what matters most to them?

Understanding your client’s concerns begins with careful listening, which in turn forms the cornerstone for building rapport and creating trust.

For example, rather than doing a “listing presentation” where you focus on your CMA and the services you and your company provide, do a “listening consultation.” Ask questions that uncover what matters most to your clients in terms of their lifestyle, where they live and what is motivating them to buy or sell in today’s market.

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Inquire about your client’s wants, needs and desires in terms of the house they were selling/buying?
An important component of effective listening is “digging deeper.” While you could ask closed-ended questions that begin with the words, “who,” “when” or “where,” these questions generate very little information.

In contrast, open-ended questions that begin with the words “how” and “what” generate much more detailed answers.
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Spend more time asking questions than explaining your services, the facts about the market and why the client should work with you?

Rather than doing a “listing presentation” where you focus on your CMA and the services you and your company provide, do a “listening consultation.”

Ask questions that uncover what matters most to your clients in terms of their lifestyle, where they live and what is motivating them to buy or sell in today’s market.

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Allow your client to talk much more than you did? 
Ideally, your client should be speaking at least two-thirds of the time. In fact, if you’re asking great questions, your clients may end up talking up to 90 percent of the time.
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Take notes on what your client had to say? 
When you write down what your clients say, you send a powerful nonverbal message that what they're saying is so important that it was worth writing down. Your clients will feel like you have listened to them and heard what they had to say.
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Ask follow-up questions to clarify what your client said?
Attentive listening, coupled with asking clarifying questions, is one of the best ways to combat miscommunication.
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Make sure the client understood what you were saying by asking, “Is this clear?" or "Does that make sense?"
When you’re dealing with a complicated process with hundreds of pages of contracts, disclosures and loan documents, miscommunication and misunderstandings are common.

Always make sure to ask, "Was that clear?" or "Does that make sense to you?" Never assume that just because clients are sitting there quietly that they are clear on what you’re saying.
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Avoid interrupting your client when he or she was speaking?
A primary reason agents interrupt others is they are focused on what they will say next. In contrast, when you ask questions and write down what the person says, you’re focused on capturing the answer to the question. You're also less likely to interrupt the client.
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Maintain eye contact?
People judge your honesty based on whether you do what you say you will do, if you’re forthcoming about problems as they occur in the transaction, plus how well you maintain eye contact and keep your body language still.
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Avoid a “me” focus where you talked about yourself, your accomplishments and other statements as opposed to focusing on the client?
Avoid a “me” focus where you talk about yourself, your accomplishments or how much your clients love you. To see how often you use “I” or “me,” do an “I” and “me” audit on one of your print marketing pieces or on a Facebook or Instagram post.

Better yet, record a client meeting (with their permission, of course) to see how much time you spend talking about yourself. To break this habit, replace the words “I” and “me” with the word “you.” This shifts the focus from you and makes it about your client.
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Avoid using jargon such as CMA, PMI, DOM, prelim, etc.?
Like any industry, real estate is packed with terms and jargon clients don’t recognize. Examples include types of agency, specialized terms for mortgage and title (joint tenancy, grant deed, promissory note), common abbreviations such as CMA, DOM, MLS, PMI, plus the alphabet soup of real estate designations (GRI, ABR, CCIM).

When you use any of these terms, always ask if your clients are familiar with the term, and if not, explain what they mean.
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Concentrate on what your client had to say rather than on what you would say next? 
A primary reason agents interrupt others is they are focused on what they will say next. In contrast, when you ask questions and write down what the person says, you’re focused on capturing the answer to the question.

You are also sending a powerful nonverbal message that what the client is saying is so important that it was worth writing down.
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Refrain from criticizing the seller, the seller's property and other agents, or making negative comments about anyone?
Silence is golden. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything. Never criticize any of the principals in your transaction, the other agent, any affiliated service providers, the appraiser, contractors, inspectors, etc.
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Answer the client’s questions truthfully and directly?
People judge your honesty based on whether you do what you say you will do, if you’re forthcoming about problems as they occur in the transaction and if you answer their questions truthfully.

Focus on being a conduit of information who assists your clients in giving the data they need to make the best possible decision about their home sale or purchase.
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Admit when you didn’t know the answer to a question but offered to research the answer and get back to the client as soon as possible? 
It’s OK to say, “I don’t know.” When you don’t know the answer to a question, let the client know that you will check with your office manager (or other resource) to get them an answer as quickly as possible.
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You got {number correct} / 15 answers correct, your score is {percent correct} / 100
Not so good. We hope you'll learn more about best practices to improve your listening skills.
You got {number correct} / 15 answers correct, your score is {percent correct} / 100
Well done! We hope you continue to work on your listening skills.