After my various seminars, many people approach me at the end and praise me for my direct communication, and for communicating clearly the steps that need to be done when negotiating with motivated sellers.
Some Real Estate investors, and especially the newer ones, sometimes come up to me and shake their head and lament, “I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to talk to a homeowner the way you do. I understand everything as it’s laid out in your training materials, but I don’t know if I know how to speak to a homeowner to be effective in getting my point across.”
At first, I get urge to tell them that if I can do it effectively with my thick Croatian accent, then they should have no problem doing it (even if they have an accent). But I skip saying that, and I move on reminding them about something important. First of all, confidence in communication with others mostly comes with experience. But above all, one of the most important things to remember in communication: we were all given two ears and one mouth for a reason. We, as Real Estate investors, need to listen TWICE as much as we need to talk.
A vital skill in becoming an effective communicator is the ability to listen. Listening skills are not typically taught in school, and sadly, it’s a largely undeveloped skill in many people. We need to engage in “active listening.”
Listening is much more important than waiting your turn to speak. Active listening is more than hearing and looking at the person as they speak. It includes paying real attention, and focusing with the intention of understanding and responding appropriately to the party speaking. It is a powerful skill that needs to be learned and practiced. You will gain more respect and esteem through listening rather than through talking, especially as a real estate investor speaking to motivated seller and/or distressed homeowners.
One important element of listening is the ability to attend. Attending is the process of focusing in on a message with the ability to filter out others that are distracting. It is to be able to focus on what the person is saying, and filter out all the other things that may be happening at the same time, which can be very difficult at times.
I have found that often, when visiting with a motivated or distressed homeowner, there are numerous other things going on that can really test your ability to attend. It may be a loud television or video game going on in the background, or crying babies, or barking dogs. If that is the case, very politely suggest the physical distractions be addressed to help draw focus on the conversation at hand.
Physical distractions aside, another of the biggest distractions to attending is our OWN desire to talk. This is important – remember this last point!! Control your urge!
The desire to talk is so strong that while the other person is talking we are often thinking about what we are going to say next, and waiting for an opportunity to speak. As we focus on what we are going to say or interject, our attention goes from what the person is saying to our own thoughts. What happens then? You stop listening and you don’t hear what they say!!!
Although appearing to be interested and attentive, we can easily be distracted by our thoughts or something else that may be happening at the same time. At that point, perhaps we do fall into merely hearing and not listening. Our mind’s attention has drifted onto other things and is no longer intent on understanding and responding. The mind functions seven times more quickly than it is possible to speak. Therefore, the mind needs to be slowed down and focused on what the person is saying, and not pay attention to other irrelevant thoughts or distractions.
Now, you should stop and read that last paragraph one more time – it is that important, believe me! And then… here’s another important point…
The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and to be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them. When people feel that you have really listened to them, you will gain their respect and they will value and give you the credibility to speak.
Think about how you feel when you sense someone is really listening to what you have to say. It makes you feel good, you feel understood, and more connected to the person who is listening. The fact that they are interested causes you to feel cared for. Keep this in mind when you are on an appointment to visit with a motivated or distressed homeowner, and you will find your message and offer of assistance being received much more readily.
And remember, the more skilled Real Estate investor you become, the more people you’ll be able to help, and at the same time build more wealth for yourself!