communication skills for real estate agents

Perfecting Communication Skills in Sacramento Real Estate Involves the Truth

communication skills

Sometimes agent communication skills are akin to crickets.

Everybody in the world has their own way of perfecting communication skills. For some, it involves sticking their head in the sand and hoping someday it will all go away. Avoidance isn’t the best solution in most situations. Certainly not in Sacramento real estate, which is whipping by at a fast pace today. For myself, I try to include a bit of humor when I’m working on my communication skills. The trouble with that, though, is not everybody shares the same sense of humor.

A buyer called yesterday to say he was obtaining a preapproval letter to get a $100,000 loan. I asked how much was he putting down? $300,000? Well, that got a big laugh, but unfortunately, it’s also pretty close to reality.

Trying to interpret how a response will be received is the first key to good communication skills. I’ve counseled agents who were really upset, mad, to the boiling point, furious, and I suggest they type an email, detailing all the reasons why they are angry. Then, delete everything but the smallest of words and the shortest of sentences. Be as clear as possible by stating the facts and then ask for a resolution. Don’t deter from the truth. Not only will this diffuse the emotions, but it will bring the real problem into focus.

The second key is don’t try to change other people. Because you can’t, nor should you. When a buyer’s agent, for example, does not return paperwork or otherwise ignores communications, it’s a tricky situation when I find myself as the listing agent having to explain to the seller that the other side has not responded to our requests. Sellers seem to think we listing agents can club those guys over the head, but it doesn’t really work that way. Further, not every agent responds in a professional manner in this industry.

Agents also tend to turn to a bazillion excuses as to why they let their business slip through the cracks: emotional issues, health issues, deaths in the family, vacations . . . all those things the rest of us call getting through life. Or, they use the California motto: Dude, I flaked.

They want to be cut some slack. I can understand that. But I also have a responsibility to my sellers to keep the parties in contract, and you have no idea how many contracts expire because buyer’s agents do not return documents. My third suggestion is to always stick to the facts. I look at this way, it’s the email I will produce in court.

I feel in some ways I should share my expectations of other agents at the beginning of transactions to please respond to emails, voicemails and text messages. That would go over like a lead balloon. They would find it insulting because they don’t believe they are lacking communication skills. Still, it’s a struggle when agents vanish in the middle of a transaction. But this is the way real estate works with about half of the population. When you close as many transactions as I do, you see all sides of Sacramento real estate. I take responsibility for my own communication skills, and I keep the interests of my sellers forefront. But the truth is while we can’t always choose the agents we to into escrow with, we can choose our own responses.

I would not want anybody to say Elizabeth Weintraub wasn’t direct and truthful or failed to respond. Well, one agent objected to an email last week. I pointed out the number of times I tried to contact her. Making a joke, I called her response: crickets. She did not “appreciate” the word “crickets” and while it is true there was no singing or chirping involved, there was also no response. Besides, to be completely correct, the sound you hear from crickets is called stridulation, created by rubbing their top and bottom wings together (not their legs, like some people believe).

How Sacramento Listing Agents Show Sellers They Care

New Listing Sacramento Homes for Sale.300x200Sacramento listing agents worth their salt know that they need to keep sellers informed during the entire listing and sales process, but some agents get sidetracked and forget. I don’t know if it’s agents who are easily overwhelmed or too busy or what the deal is but I hear common complaints from other agents’ sellers. I don’t call these sellers; they call me. The story is often the same. They say they are unhappy with their listing agent and want to know if I will help them. You betcha. I’m sorry they are upset with their present situation, but hey, I’ll help.

I imagine as we move into the colder months, I’ll get more of these calls. We are facing a tougher winter market for Sacramento real estate than in previous years. Some listing agents will undoubtedly run out without a jacket and freeze to death, leaving their dazed would-be sellers to scrap for themselves. The days on market are growing and listing agents can no longer suggest list prices ahead of the curve; it’s got to be the perfect, just right, Goldilocks sales price in order to sell. Further, sellers deserve constant information about the market and what’s happening or they might drop that agent like a hot potato.

Some Sacramento sellers look at me like I’m “a gift from heaven” because I report feedback from showings and I keep them in the loop. I’m not a gift from heaven, I’m just doing my job as a listing agent. I never lose sight of the fact that the listing is not my home. I’m a temporary guest, visiting for a small period of time, and in the picture to perform a function to the best of my ability.

A seller in Elk Grove called yesterday to tell me how blown away she is with my performance. She did not know how a professional listing agent operates, she said, until I took over her listing. In my short association with her, she says we’ve had more showings, more offers, and she’s been kept informed every step of the way. I call her, I text her, I email her, depending on which form of communication is appropriate for the message I need to deliver.

Another seller in Placer County I met with a few days ago is asking me to take over the listing of a home because the seller was not promptly informed that a break-in had occurred. Apparently, some thug broke into a vacant house and removed furniture. The seller alleges that the listing agent was informed by a buyer’s agent that items were missing earlier in the week, and that the listing agent delivered the news to the seller a few days later — not on the day the agent found out about the theft. There’s got to be more to this story, but I don’t know it. I couldn’t imagine forgetting to let a seller know that something awful had happened.

Communication is key. Not just when things are going well but also when they’re not. Good news, bad news, as Sacramento listing agents, we need to constantly keep our sellers informed. Even if it’s just to say, hello, we haven’t had any showings, but let me tell you how many people have looked at your home online. Or, here’s a market overview from your area.

I say if a Sacramento listing agent goes to the trouble to get the listing, she needs to work that listing. Why work on something else when all you need to do is sell what you’ve got?

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