No doubt being a real estate investor, flipping houses, collecting large paychecks and running your own business as an entrepreneur can be, not just lucrative, but exciting as well. Hey, if it’s not exciting, then you should probably be doing something else! And while excitement is certainly contagious, at times, it needs to be managed. It’s natural to want to tell everyone about all the resources you have at your disposal to be a major player in your local real estate scene. But it’s also easy to forget one of the biggest tools you must cultivate to develop true real estate success: the ability to listen.
There’s a saying that the most powerful person in a room is the one who says the fewest words. There’s a lot of truth in that notion. Have you ever sat down with a distressed seller and just launched into your pitch about how you can save them realtor fees and close quickly? Did you forget to stop and listen to find out what their actual need is? Perhaps by letting them do most of the talking, you’d learn that their biggest concern is not being able to afford the new roof and foundation repair that they know the house will need next year and are already planning their exit.
Or perhaps you’re meeting with a private lender whose primary concern is safety of capital because their stock portfolio just took a big hit. If you immediately start emphasizing the 10% fixed rate return, you wouldn’t understand his true needs and might lose out on a great opportunity.
As a properly trained real estate investor, we know the array of tools we have to meet just about every need of sellers, buyers and private lenders. However, it’s not until we learn to listen that we know which tool works best in each situation.
Another reason to talk less and listen more is that listening builds trust. Without a doubt, clamming up and letting the other person talk about their troubled property, inability to find the right home for their family or their meager investment returns is one of the greatest ways to build trust. And when someone trusts you, they’ll want to work with you.
As real estate investors, we must remember that while houses are what make our businesses run, we are ultimately in the people business. Whether seller, buyer or investor, the FortuneBuilders business model is not solely about flipping houses but about satisfying needs and solving problems for people.
The next time you meet with a customer, practice the ‘art of the listen‘. Ask a question and let them answer it, taking as much time as they need without you saying a word. You’ll obviously get some information you can use as leverage for your negotiations, but more importantly you’ll build trust and rapport and know exactly how to make the real estate transaction work for all parties.