By Julie Escobar
There’s no doubt that savvy sales pros today have figured out that they key to long-term relationships and referrals in this business lies in the ability to COMMUNICATE effectively with clients, customers and colleagues. For some folks however – the capability to STOP TALKING is just not in their repertoire. I was fortunate enough at a young age to learn from my mom that “God gave you two ears and one mouth in that proportion for a reason –listen at least twice as much as you speak!” Not everyone was so lucky though. That’s why I asked communication specialist and speaker Rossi to share a little of what he’s learned along the way with all of you this week.
Here’s the inside scoop on our chat…
Q: Hey Rossi – nice to meet you! One of the most vital skills that sales professionals today need to fine-tune is communication. What are some of the best practices you’ve found in today’s market for agents eager to continuously build a book of business?
A: Hey back Julie – great to be here. I’ve got to say the number one best practice is to develop great Listening Skills. It’s amazing really – while most major universities host classes on public SPEAKING – did you know that only twelve offer courses in LISTENING? Ask any great salesperson out there though and they will be the first to tell you that hands-down — listening is more important. Not just as salespeople but as parents, colleagues, friends and family members – we’ve got to get better at learning to listen. And guess what? It takes PRACTICE!
Q: I agree – but really — how do you PRACTICE listening?
A: I teach a skill that I learned from Steven Covey called “capture communication.” That is to successfully be able to repeat back what the last person said to their satisfaction before you say what you want to say. Instead of just practicing what you want to say! In fact – that’s what most people do when they are in a conversation with someone else – instead of really listening and paying attention to what the other person has to say – they really are just going over in their head what they want to say next! (Did you know that we talk to ourselves at a rate of more than 1200 words a minute?) There’s even a trick to knowing when someone is practicing that “internal dialogue.” They will look down and to the left.
However—IF you are FOCUSED on making sure you are listening intently enough to what the other person is saying so that you can repeat back what they say – you automatically shut off the internal dialogue. In turn, what you are doing is complimenting the sender (the other speaker) and showing greater respect which is ALWAYS a good thing in building relationships! When you repeat back their words and ask for clarification and qualification it allows you accurately know whether you have misheard or correct what they have misstated. Then it’s important to do what is called TRACKING – and that is to, once you’ve clarified what you’ve heard – to put people right back on track in the conversation to where they were. These two skills are amazingly effective in communicating and sales – but they do take practice!
Q: Great stuff to know! You’re asked to speak a lot about what people should STOP doing in order to leverage their success. Can you give me your favorite “STOPS?”
A: Sure – I guess my favorite “STOP” would be Passive Marketing. That is doing those things that you spend money on where you simply can’t monitor your results. Things like ads in newspaper and yellow pages. There’s no way to monetize those results. In truth, active marketing is less expensive. Those things you participate in that can be monitored and you can track results. It’s time to get back to the basics.
I’ll give you an example. I had a client who was a charter fisherman in Alaska. He spent thousands on TV, radio and magazine ads – but nothing in a database management and contacting or staying in touch with the people that he took out on charters. In fact – he had spent a fortune on beautiful windbreakers that had his logo and website on them and he kept them in the closet – I told him – “Here’s a tip– hand them out!” Put your information where people can see it – spread the word, talk to people, build relationships.
It’s funny, I asked 3,000 people to define “work smart” – and no one could give me a definition. So I defined it—“Doing the basics better and more often than anyone else.”
Here’s an interesting fact. In 1994 TIVO came out – and it was great right? You could watch TV when you wanted instead of when other’s wanted you to. But the folks behind TIVO marketed it in a “here’s what we have, here’s why it works and here’s why you should buy it” sales strategy. Enter their competitor – the DVR. The masterminds behind this product changed it up. Their marketing strategy started with the WHY it’s perfect for you in today’s world, then how it works then how to buy. The results? They outsold TIVO 6,000-1!
Real estate is very similar. We’re always attempting to sell real estate as the product first instead of finding the WHY – which is the person with the “why I need to move” need such as the house too small, having a new baby, leaving the area, downsizing, etc. If someone has the why – they will buy. Get REALLY GOOD at asking those open ended questions to uncover the “why” and the sales process gets exceedingly easier.
Q: Negotiating is a MUST have in today’s world. Your thoughts on how sale pros today can be stronger, better and more courageous at this?
A: Salespeople need to better understand the power of non-selling. Again – learning to best ask for the “why” when communicating. Then we are no longer in the business of selling real estate – we are in the business of Managing the Behavior of those who Buy and Sell.
Q: And finally your best advice for a brand new agent just trying to get started in this business?
First don’t TRY. In fact eliminate TRY from your vocabulary. The word “try” actually tells the unconscious mind that you don’t have to do something. I’ll give you an example – Raise your elbow. Now – TRY to raise your elbow. You can’t do it – it tricks the brain into not doing whatever it is you need to do.
Secondly, get out of judgment mode and get into curiosity. Keep learning how to uncover the WHY, how to listen to what your customers and clients are saying (there’s great clues there as to what they really want) and practice the art of Non-Selling.
Thanks so much – it was great learning from you! If you want to learn more about communicating more effectively with your clients – you can find Rossi online at www.RossiSpeaks.com or connect with him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RossiSpeaks. While you’re there check us out at www.facebook.com/ProspectsPLUS and send us a shout out!
To learn how to effectively reach out to you customers and sphere AND be able to track your results – contact us today at 866.405.3638 or visit us online at www.prospectsplus.com.