One of the foremost challenges for any real estate professional is the art of establishing rapport with prospective clients. It’s widely acknowledged that, when initiating contact with a potential client, a real estate agent has a mere 10-15 seconds to leave a lasting positive impression – a brief window to lay the foundation of rapport.
But what exactly is rapport? In the real estate realm, rapport is the cornerstone upon which close, meaningful relationships are built. It’s that innate connection that forms when you encounter someone you genuinely like, trust, and whose perspective aligns with your own.
For real estate agents, particularly those excelling at the top of their field, interactions with prospects are a daily occurrence. The majority of these interactions involve individuals who are, more often than not, complete strangers. Building rapport with these prospects is crucial for steering the conversation towards a successful outcome.
While some may find establishing rapport in person more straightforward, phone prospecting, especially when employing lead generation and CRM platforms like Vulcan 7, lacks the luxury of an initial face-to-face meeting. Thus, the challenge is to swiftly forge connections over the phone.
So, how can you commence the process of building rapport when most interactions occur with strangers, primarily over the phone? This can be particularly daunting when reaching out to new expired listings, individuals who are likely feeling highly frustrated, if not outright angry, due to their inability to sell their property. Moreover, they may have already received a barrage of similar “expired” script-laden calls that morning. To stand out, it’s essential to make a rapport-building impact before even dialing.
The key to achieving this lies in meticulous preparation – taking the time to understand the client’s needs, their property, and the dynamics of the real estate market. In addition to these foundational steps, there are behavioral techniques that can further enhance your ability to establish relationships with strangers over the phone.
Here are some expert tips to consider when building rapport with prospective clients in the real estate industry:
1. Embrace Authenticity:
While real estate scripts hold value, don’t simply recite them verbatim. Instead, internalize the script, making it your own, and deliver it in your unique tone. By being open and sincere, you can establish meaningful connections, steering clear of the perception that you are merely delivering a rehearsed pitch. If you have a role-playing partner, practicing your internalized script daily can help you become more comfortable with it. Internalizing your script also frees you to listen more attentively and ask more engaging questions.
2. Mirror and Match:
Behavioral research indicates that mirroring and matching, which involves replicating someone’s voice intonations, inflections, and speech rate, can build trust and establish rapport. While you can’t mirror body language over the phone, you can certainly adapt to your prospect’s communication style right from the outset, starting with mirroring their greeting.
3. Strategic Pauses:
It’s not typical to pause during a phone conversation, especially when you’re eager to capitalize on a contact. However, this can inadvertently convey that you’re not truly listening. To maintain a natural conversation flow, identify points in your script where a pause can be strategically inserted. These brief pauses create opportunities for key points to resonate with the prospect.
4. Voice Modulation:
Research shows that a downward tone in your voice conveys certainty, authority, and trust, while an upward tone may evoke doubt and skepticism. Your voice is your primary tool for communication and persuasion over the phone, so pay close attention to your tone.
5. Pacing and Enthusiasm:
Initiate the conversation with genuine enthusiasm. Leading with authentic enthusiasm is more likely to encourage the prospect to follow your lead. People can often discern when someone is being insincere, so be sure your enthusiasm is genuine.
Recording your conversations with prospects is a valuable self-improvement tool. It allows you to identify any language quirks or habits, such as excessive use of filler words like “uhm” and “you know.”
In conclusion, building rapport over the phone in the real estate industry may pose challenges, but by incorporating strategies such as mirroring, strategic pauses, and voice modulation, you can effectively bridge the gap. As we’ve emphasized in previous blog posts, shifting your focus from “making the sale” to “making a difference” in the lives of your prospects can significantly influence the tone of your voice and play a pivotal role in establishing essential rapport during initial client calls.