Build Rapport, Get in the Door: Part 2

Building rapport

Last week, in Part 1 of Build Rapport to get in the Door, we shared how real estate agents must go into every prospecting conversation with two things in mind:

  1. Take on the persona of another person. In other words, like an actor, you’re playing a role. So, you have to step outside of your self-perceived limitations, striving to be both engaging and, charming.
  2. Be prepared before calling. Bring energy to the conversation by pumping yourself up, just like an athlete might do before a big game. Importantly, we reminded you that people (i.e. your prospects) senses fear, which makes it difficult for them to trust you.

Today, we share tips that will go a long way to help you be a better conversationalist, and improve your chances of getting in the door.

As you’re dialing remember one important lesson: You’re not the start of the show. The person on the other end of the phone is the star of the show. It’s not about you, it’s about them.

To that end, here’s what your prospects will be looking for during the conversation:

  • They want to be entertained!Before you begin dialing, relax, loosen up and proceed with an attitude that it will be a fun, rewarding experience for both of you. Even if your previous call was a disaster, go into the next one thinking it’s your first and ignoring what happened on the previous call. How can you be a more entertaining and engaging caller?
    • Prepare for the obvious questions so that you sound comfortable and relaxed. For example, if your expired-listing prospect goes on an angry rant about all the agents who are calling to bug him/her, you can have fun, and even be a little self-deprecating: “I’d be angry too. I work with real estate agents, and I wouldn’t want them calling me.” Perhaps you’ll get a chuckle by being empathetic and real. And making someone laugh can go a long way towards building trust.
    • Ask awesome questions. Show that you’re interested in what they have to say and probe with great open-ended questions. Keep going deeper with each question.
    • Tell stories. Every salesperson should embrace one essential truth about building rapport and trust: FACTS TELL, BUT STORIES SELL. People love stories, and everyone has a story to tell. Stories break the ice, and we all need icebreakers. “That reminds me….”
  • Your prospect must feel as if they matter. Remember that you’re talking to the star of the show. So, how do you make someone feel like they matter?
    • Mirror what they say so that they know they’ve been heard, and understood.
    • Try your best to relate to their situation. Instead of being a salesperson on the hunt for the next deal, be someone who is there to help the prospect out, and who has likely gone through a similar situation in selling their own home.
    • Empathy rules! The Harvard Business School did a study some years back showing that the number one reason salespeople did not sell more was a “lack of empathy” with their prospects. Makes sense, because the definition of empathy is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” But always remember: you can’t fake empathy. Don’t say “I understand,” unless you truly understand.

In your effort to build rapport through the art of effective conversation, you might fall into a few traps:

  • In your zeal to close the deal, you do not allow them (the star of the show) to openly share their thoughts, concerns, and feelings.
  • Unprepared, you might allow an awkward silence to creep into the call, suggesting that you don’t know what you’re talking about (mostly because you’re not talking!). Have your scripts handy (or fully memorized) so that you’re never at a loss for words.
  • You go off-strategy. The prospect’s job is to get you to veer away from your strategy. You need to control the flow of the conversation, without dominating it.

Again, the point of these last two posts is simple: your goal is to get in the door, to get face to face with your prospect. Because face to face is where the magic begins.

Good luck.