Connecting for the first time with potential buyers and sellers can be uncomfortable for both parties: You and them. Today’s world is full of scary news of untrustworthy folks and quick-to-destroy-reputations social media posts. Because of this, many real estate professionals have become a bit leery of how each interaction will go. “Will this be the ideal client who knows what they want and is prequalified? Or, will this be one of those clients who require extra time and effort (and caution)?” You never know until you get involved with them. It’s your job to focus on putting your best foot forward to make everyone you meet feel comfortable—even though you may be uncomfortable doing so. The most successful agents always enter a new relationship with a connecting strategy that begins with a laser focus on the customer.
Why are we uncomfortable meeting new people? Everyone has a certain degree of insecurity about themselves. It seems to be human nature to wonder if we are smart-enough, thin-enough, fast-enough, likeable-enough, if we’re dressed appropriately and so on. Most people believe that there is something they lack, an area or two of deficiency. This is where our insecurities originate from. This list of “not-enoughs” can create emotional deficits that make us fearful to reach out; fearful of being found out. Whether real or imagined, each of us hopes to put our best foot forward when meeting new people. We also hope that no one will discover our perceived failings.
Insecurities can become barriers to really connecting with others. This is because insecurity directs our attention inward instead of outward. When attention is directed inward, we become self-focused whereas connecting requires an “other-focused” approach. Meeting someone for the first time requires us to reach out, be vulnerable, and even risk rejection, regardless of the insecurities we may feel.
As a real estate agent, you are no different than anyone else in that you do not like to feel uncomfortable. However, the very nature of the profession requires that you embrace emotional risk and become exceptional at connecting if you are to be successful. The willingness to reach out, embrace risk, and resist the fear of uncomfortable feelings is not enough. You must be equipped with numerous, proven ways to connect with others in order to become what I call a SalesMaker™. SalesMakers develop high skill levels in how they connect, communicate, and close. These skills play a significant role in determining who they get access to and who they do not. SalesMakers do more, earn more, and achieve more than those who do not constantly develop their skills.
High performing agents keep their focus off their insecurities and instead are on the lookout to find a client’s comfort zone and hot buttons, then remain there. The flip side is true too. Average agents tend to seek out their comfort zones when opportunities arise to meet new people. A perfect example of this is at social gatherings and networking meetings. We attend networking meetings for just one reason: To make new contacts that could turn into new leads for business. Yet within seconds of entering a room full of strangers, the first thing a typical salesperson does is look for someone they know. Why do they do that? Because of a natural tendency to gravitate toward what is comfortable rather than risk rejection by someone new. Often it is a combination of insecurity and incompetence in the connecting strategy that keeps them from forging new relationships.
Do you connect easily with others? For me, I must work at it, consistently. After a lifetime in sales, I’ve met very few people who have a natural ability to connect with everyone, everywhere, all the time. The ability to connect with customers and forge relationships has to be developed.
Who do you know that is good at connecting with others? If you had to paint a picture of what a good connector looks like, how would you illustrate their personality? Outgoing? Likeable? Sincere? Easy to get along with? The list of attributes of a great connector can be long, but a SalesMaker doesn’t have to have them all to connect successfully with their clients.
Whether you see yourself as a natural at connecting or someone who needs to work at connecting and building relationships, the good news is that connecting is a skill that can be learned. Whether you are new to real estate, or consider yourself a seasoned seller, you can benefit from tried and true connecting techniques for converting conversations into dollars.
I struggled to connect early in my sales career. If you ask me today if I consider myself a good connector, my answer is yes. Today I am comfortable and confident in my ability to meet total strangers, connect emotionally, and get them to follow me financially all in the first meeting! I am highly competent in my connecting strategy, but I still do not consider myself a natural connector. In fact, it took me years to develop the skills to connect quickly on a cold call or first meeting with someone.
I am not unlike many SalesMakers I have met over the years who consider themselves more introverted than extroverted. An introvert is someone who may be a private person, who processes inwardly more than outwardly. In contrast, an extrovert is very outgoing, sociable, and often considered a “life of the party.”
Many of the best SalesMakers I have known are more reserved, quiet types who are solid from the inside out. They defy the misconception that all great connectors are outgoing extroverts who easily make friends and were born that way. On the contrary, great SalesMakers know how to turn their “connector switch” to the “on” position when a social situation arises, or a sales connection needs to be made.
What are some of the qualities within SalesMakers that make them great connectors? Great connectors are comfortable with themselves, comfortable with others, and have the ability to leverage that comfort in ways that help them to increase their influence. Learn to leverage your connecting strategy through actionable steps. In doing so, you will connect quicker with clients, close more sales, and create more meaningful, lasting relationships that are beneficial to your financial future and the satisfaction of your clients.