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I want to start this article by letting you in on a little secret: your client doesn’t care if you have 1,500 friends on Facebook if you can’t sell their house. In real estate, we get to meet people through many different channels whether through social media, or at an open house or outside of church or through our kids’ school. No matter how many people we meet offline or online, the bottom line is that we only get paid on how many of those people we convert into sellers or buyers or what I like to call “aggressive referrers.” What good does it do to throw money at marketing if you are not converting the leads you are generating effectively and efficiently? If you are a broker or a team leader, it can be very frustrating to dedicate time, money and resources towards generating leads for your agents only to have those leads NOT convert into business.

It seems today that most seminars and training classes are dedicated to myriad different lead generating ideas and we at HSA Home Warranty certainly do a great deal of that as added value for our clients. I would like to share with you a small piece of what may be the most important part of the training I do for agents and brokers. The following excerpt from my seminars focuses on proven lead conversion strategies that have been working both offline and online for decades and maybe even centuries! There are 7 Keys to Conversion Success as far as I am concerned and here is a detailed explanation of one of them called “Listening to Understand vs Listening to Respond.”

I must admit, that I have been guilty of listening to respond instead of listening to understand on many occasions (just ask my wife). If you are like me, it is easy to find yourself watching the other person speak, waiting for them to take a breath so you can jump in with all of the great things you have been waiting to say. Problem is that instead of listening to what the other person was saying, we are formulating in our head what we want to say and never truly hearing or understanding them. That is what we call listening to respond as opposed to listening to understand. So here are some great reminders as to how you can improve your conversion rate, close more business and who knows, maybe even improve your relationship by “Listening to Understand vs Listening to Respond”:

1. Choose to master your own emotions so that you can listen. I know you are very excited to tell your prospective seller how you have the perfect marketing plan to sell their house or how you have the perfect house for your buyer, but you need to slow down and relax and listen to your client because they are going to share with you everything you need to know to convert them into a closed transaction.

2. Know that the other person is interesting and set a goal of learning what makes them so.

3. Remove your filters – be aware of what you already believe about this person and let it go. This is a big one. We certainly know by now that we cannot judge a book by its cover. Just look at how casually all of these dot-com millionaires and billionaires dress these days.

4. Ask thoughtful questions that show that you are paying attention.

5. Move the conversation forward.

6. Challenge the person to talk about what they are thinking and feeling.

7. Restate what you heard – the words, the feelings and the beliefs – and seek confirmation that you heard correctly. This is a crucial step in moving down the right path with your buyer or seller.

8. Think before you speak (and not while you are listening).

If you are interested in getting the other 6 keys to conversion success, as well as any information on the FREE “Winning Listings and Converting Buyers” seminars, ask your local HSA Home Warranty representative or visit us on Facebook at Also, if you want to find out how to generate more business by creating “aggressive referrers” you can email me at Find out more about HSA Home Warranty at

Burke Smith is the Chief Communications Officer for HSA Home Warranty.