Just like almost everyone else in the United States, I’m walking the tightrope between worrying about coronavirus and outrage over the recent murder of another Black person by the police and the continued violent response by police against protesters.
The question is: What should we do? How should we express our own feelings about what is going on in the United States and, at the same time, balance that with the need to represent homebuyers and sellers, as we do all need to continue to earn a living. It almost seems as if our any posts about new listings or IG stories about home tours are completely incongruous with the current national plight.
I don’t necessarily have any answers, and I definitely do not have a panacea, but I do have some suggestions for how agents can tread lightly until we all get our bearings again.
5 Tips for Communicating with Buyers, Sellers, and Prospects During Tough Times
Here are 5 tips for communicating with buyers, sellers, prospects, and anyone in your sphere of influence during tough times.
- Be a good listener. The first step to being a good listener is to be silent. I know a few people who I call occasionally and I cannot even get a word in on the telephone. A poor listener is so self-absorbed that they don’t even realize that they are not engaging others in the conversation. Don’t be that guy (or gal)!
- Express empathy. Empathy is the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives and to use that understanding to guide your actions. As George Bernard Shaw pointed out, “Do not do unto others as you would have them do unto you—they might have different tastes.” Empathy is about discovering those tastes. Salespeople are notorious for not listening. To be good at expressing empathy, you need to be a good listener.
- Don’t be tone-deaf. A tone-deaf person is insensitive to the feelings, needs, and concerns of others. If a person were jobless and having trouble making a mortgage payment, it would not be appropriate to show up in your new Mercedes, as an example. Carefully consider your words and actions (both online and offline) to make sure that you show sensitivity towards the feelings of others.
- Provide tools and resources. Before you sit down to make a call, consider the types of tools and resources you can offer. Perhaps the person you are calling is having financial trouble and needs advice or information about forbearance or certain business loans (such as PPP or EIDL). Or, perhaps you would like to suggest a good lender for refinancing. You can even provide a list of charitable organizations for those who want to get more active in protesting racial inequality.
- Do not sell. This last one may seem counterintuitive, but being available, and being a sounding board in conversations via telephone or face-to-face is what your main goal should be. In my experience, if you stay on the phone long enough, the recipient of your call will ultimately turn the call to your business or work anyway. So, there is really no need to bring up the topic on your own.
How to Effectively Use Social Media During Tough Times
Since I mentioned it earlier, I wanted to say a little bit more about effective communication on social media during tough times. It’s about the 5 tips I’ve noted above. And, it is also about careful consideration of whom you might alienate with extremely strong opinions. If you want to express a strong opinion, do you care whether you lose followers, friends, or prospective clients as a result?
At the same time, you definitely want to embrace current events. To ignore them, would seem tone-deaf and insensitive. I personally struggled with the best way to express my thoughts. Since I love to read, I decided that I would put together a list of 30 books (one per day for the next month) that relate in some way to social justice and racial, gender, and religious inequality. My thought is that if I get one person to read one new book that changes their thinking in some way, then I have accomplished something.
Best wishes for continued good health to all.