Here at REBAC, we often talk about the importance of building rapport with the buyer. A successful deal depends on establishing a positive interpersonal relationship with clients. But what if your agents and buyers have very different ways of communicating? Understanding and adapting to various communication styles is central to making the buyer-agent relationship work. Here are some styles commonly encountered in the field, along with suggestions on how your agents can adjust their own communication styles to complement those of their clients.
Emotional communicators tend to focus first on how they feel about a situation. When faced with a life-changing event, such as buying a home, emotions can influence their decision-making. Be a good listener and a reassuring presence throughout the process, and avoid anything they may perceive as putting pressure on them. They may need some additional encouragement, but knowing that you’re there for them can help put emotional communicators at ease in a stressful situation.
Meanwhile, direct communicators just want the bottom line. They work best with someone who can synthesize the details into a few key points. Determine which factors matter most to them and address these first. While direct communicators often make decisions quickly, their singular focus sometimes results in blind spots. If there are additional elements they haven’t considered, present these in a way that relates back to their primary concerns.
Conversely, buyers with an analytical communication style want all the facts. Present them with toolkits, fact sheets and statistics (ABR® designees, see REBAC.net for resources) and be prepared to answer questions. Agents who position themselves as the go-to source for their buyers’ information needs will easily win an analytical communicator’s confidence in their abilities.
Social communicators value personal connections above all else. They feel more comfortable with agents who treat them more like friends than business clients. Make these connections by relating stories and anecdotes, and avoid formality. When sharing facts about properties or markets, be sure to emphasize how this information affects the buyers’ personal lives.
The first buyer consultation session is the ideal time to get a feel for your buyer’s communication style. After all, the purpose of this meeting is for buyers and agents to get to know one another and assess whether they’d like to work together. Goals, plans and feelings are natural topics of conversation in this setting. Advise your agents to pay close attention to what the buyer is saying, as well as how they’re saying it.
When working from scripts, modify responses to suit the buyer’s particular communication style. For example, when asked, “All agents have access to the MLS, so what is the advantage of working with you?” answer an analytical communicator with a focus on hard numbers: years of experience in their market, number of transactions and knowledge of data on their preferred neighborhoods. With a social communicator, emphasize aspects like working with buyers as a team and looking out for that buyer’s specific needs and wants. Being prepared with a few small script adjustments will result in more successful partnerships with clients.
Need more suggestions for fostering a positive interpersonal relationship with buyers? ABR® designees will want to check out the March issue of Today’s Buyer’s Rep, which will look at ways to successfully navigate the process of working with challenging buyers.
Marc Gould is vice president, Business Specialties, for NAR and executive director of REBAC.
For more information, visit www.REBAC.net.