Many top agents will tell you that to have a successful career in real estate, you must be on top of your game when it comes to knowing your market, having impeccable negotiation skills, and without saying, exceptional people skills.
There’s plenty of training and focus on building sales and marketing skills, however, there’s one skill that’s often under-rated. It just doesn’t get talked about much, yet in almost any given situation, it can make a world of a difference.
The skill I’m talking about is called empathy. By plain definition, empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another being is experiencing from within the other being’s frame of reference, or to keep it simple, put yourself in your client’s shoes.
In real estate sales, having empathy can make all the difference in whether a client gives you repeat business or refers you to their network of friends and family. When you empathize in an authentic and meaningful way, you increase openness and trust with your prospects and clients. It’s all about forming the building blocks for a strong relationship between you and them, and also builds your reputation as an agent who works in the best interest of your clients.
A simple way for any agent, whether you are starting out, or have been in business for years, is to understand the various stages of the homebuyer’s journey from the perspective of your client. It goes much deeper than the technical understanding of the various components of a typical transaction. Rather, it is a measurement of your client’s feelings and emotions.
Depending on the stage of where your client is within their journey, their emotions can range anywhere from feeling like they’re “on top of the world”, or ready to jump off the rooftop. Any agent experiences emotional reactions from clients through the normal course of a transaction, but the better you understand where your client is coming from, the better you’d be able to handle and diffuse the situation.
The homebuyer’s journey resembles a rollercoaster and it is charged with emotions.
Finances & Location
This is when your client comes to a potential decision to move. It usually involves a review of their finances and goals and deciding where they want to live and how much they could afford.
Emotions: Can range throughout the process, but generally positive at the prospect of starting new.
Whether your clients do their own online searches, or if you guide them, this represents a positive experience where buyers generally get excited by seeing the possibilities that are out there in the market.
Emotions: Generally happy and excited to start exploring the market
This is the stage where you start narrowing down the properties they’ve seen and you are helping them through making a decision. This stage can be somewhat overwhelming as many factors and variables can enter the discussion. The more variables and choices, the harder it becomes for your clients to process and choose.
Emotions: Typically sensitive, confused or overwhelmed
This is the infamous offer and negotiation stage. Most clients will enter the process with some degree of confidence, but that can quickly deteriorate as you get into back-and-forth negotiation scenarios. This can be, by far, one of the most stressful parts of the journey. Emotions run high and it doesn’t take much to set them off. How people will react to different situations (for example, a low-ball offer) will vary, however, you can pretty much guarantee that at least one of the parties will show a negative reaction during this stage of the process.
Emotions: Very stressed, sensitive, assertive, sometimes angry
“Congrats, you’ve got yourself a house”. Despite any pain experienced throughout the process, this is where the tensions start to relax and your client will gradually put the past behind them and shift their focus on the future. It’s a cause for celebration and most people will celebrate the outcome, regardless of how painful it was to get to it.
Emotions: Happiness, relief, optimistic
After a short celebration, it typically sinks in that your client only has a few weeks (or days) left to get an overwhelming amount of tasks done. The celebration is definitely over and it is all-hands-on-deck to manage and organize everything that’s needed for the more. Emotions in this stage can run very high as your clients not only feel overwhelmed, but also feel displaced from their daily routine. Even after they move, everything they’re used to (down to minor things like where they keep their cutlery) becomes disruptive and annoying.
Emotions: Overwhelmed, nervous, stressed, angry
So there you go! The rollercoaster. The better you can understand, anticipate and empathize with your clients, the more successful you’ll be, and you’ll likely save yourself some stress as well.
MoveSnap can help your clients significantly reduce the stress associated with moving. We help agents leave clients on the high note they experience when they’re looking forward to new beginnings in their new home. Find out more on our realtor page.