Welcome back to Brilliant Talks, our free coaching program for real estate agents. Let's discuss what to prioritize for the coming year. Brian Curtis will join us for this discussion to discuss NLP (neuro linguistic programming) and how we can communicate more effectively with others.

The market has shifted. We see some local real estate markets doing fine, while others are not. Even the media is going back and forth about whether the market is going to crash or not, or whether the mortgage rates will climb up to 10% or come back down to 4%—it’s crazy! No one knows what is going to happen.

But what we do know is that we are currently in a transition where, if you want to succeed in this industry and make a career as a real estate agent, it takes more than just having a license and being able to get to the house in 10 minutes—as it did in 2021. You and I are going to have to work on improving our skills and actually do the work.

One of the most important skills we need to hone is how we communicate.

Work on reframing the situation for your potential clients

Most of us, buyers, sellers, and agents alike, have this thought: “Man, I wish it was 2021 all over again.” We remember the easy sales, how fast we could sell our properties, and the very low-interest rates. But here’s the thing: 2023 won’t be the same.

So, how can agents convince buyers and sellers that despite the high-interest rates and the increased number of days their property will be on the market, now is still the best time to buy or sell? Reframe the scenario.

Despite being a hot market in 2020 and 2021, there are still drawbacks, particularly for buyers. Yes, mortgage rates are at an all-time low, but you also pay $50,000 to $100,000 above the asking price because the competition is fierce. Plus, you probably waived all inspections, shared the burden of the closing cost with the seller, and didn’t get to look properly at the home because there were about a hundred people waiting in the yard for their turn to look at the property.

Yes, the rates are at 6.5% now, but you can negotiate a better price for the house, and you don’t have to waive inspections. You can even take a breath and look around for homes that will suit your needs. A lot of buyers are reluctant to buy because of the mortgage rate, but guess what? Being a homeowner is still a more advantageous position than renting. 

When you own a house, it gives you the flexibility to do whatever is in your best interests. You can decide to keep it, sell it, refinance it once the interest rates go down, or even get some extra income by renting it to others. If you are a renter, you’re just kind of hoping for an “ideal” situation.

Reframing the scenario is a skill that salespeople and businessmen need to succeed. It is a great way to convince your potential buyers that if it is what they currently need, the best time to buy is still now.

It’s the same thing with selling. Sellers feel discouraged about selling their homes because they don’t want to let go of their low rates to buy a home that will be financed at a higher rate. Learn how to get to the heart of the issue and ask them what their motivation is to buy.

People are going to have to sell—some will get divorced, others will get married, have children, have their kids move out, want a bigger or smaller space—all these things are still true today. There’s just less demand for it.

Work on how you can market your skills and reassure potential or current sellers that you will do everything in your power to help them get what they need—find a buyer for their property and get them the best deal possible from it.

Neuro Linguistic Programming

In the middle of the 1970s, Richard Bandler and John Grinder introduced NLP to the world.

Together, they started researching the careers of influential "change agents" in the fields of therapy, psychology, hypnotherapy, and linguistics. They had a keen interest in human behavior.

Through their studies, they came to understand that there is a "structure" to all human experience and behavior. Our individual "mental maps" of what is happening at any given time are subjective, just like our fingerprints, and each one of us has one. Thus, the official definition of NLP by Richard Bandler is "the study of subjective behavior."

So what does this have to do with buying or selling real estate?

Some of the best communicators are great at influencing people and convincing them to either believe in a specific thought or idea or to do something (such as buy a product or service). 

NLP is a science that explains how to persuade others to like you enough to listen to you, answer your questions, and take action. It is not magic to manipulate people into doing business with you.

The best way to do that is by building rapport.

Building Rapport

Most of us believe that the best way to build rapport is by finding a common ground with someone and building from there, and that is true. It works, but it takes some time. How do you build rapport when it is your first encounter—say, the first phone call to a new online lead?

1. Mirroring and keyword backtracking

This sounds easy, but it requires paying attention to the person you are talking to, and actively listening for their speech patterns. Mirroring means literally doing as they do. If the person leans in during the conversation, lean in a bit as well. When they scratch their chin in deep thought, scratch your chin as well.

This subtle mirroring of body language sends subconscious signals to the other person that you are paying attention to them. On a neuron level, it makes them think you “look” like them—and people like people who are like them, that’s just how we are wired for survival.

The same is true for keyword backtracking. If you call a lead and they say “Hello,” the first word you should say isn’t “Hi”—it is “Hello” too. When you notice that the other person says “awesome” or “dude” a lot, incorporate those words into your script.

Like mirroring, it produces the same subconscious signals that make them like something more (and a little bit more instantly).

 2. Avoid saying “You’re Wrong”

Nobody likes being told they are wrong. Even if you already have a rapport established, this could break that rapport. Try saying “Close. But it is actually…” instead of outright saying “No, no, no, you’re wrong.” 

Isn’t it easier to be wrong when you are told you are close to the right answer?

 3. Earn the right to ask tough questions

People like talking about themselves. Get them to talk about themselves as much as you can. Especially if this is your first call and your goal is to get them to schedule an appointment soon.

Ask them questions about their motivations for buying/selling, what they do for a living, and all those discovery questions—the Who, What, Why, When, and How.

This discovery process also helps you identify how you can help them better, know what their motivation is for buying or selling a house (which you can remind them of when the transaction gets a bit rough, as it tends to be for real estate transactions), and get to know clients better and build actual relationships.

It is helpful when it comes to the follow up and nurturing process, and you can engage them more effectively and let them feel cared for and valued as clients and as people.

If you are looking for coaching to help you with the follow up process and improve your communication skills, we do one-on-one and group coaching. We help our fellow agents identify what to work on and improve in their scripting, tonality, and overall communication skills, and provide practical tips, strategies, and practices that will help them level up their follow-up game.

In a nutshell…

People do business with people they already knowlike, and trust. In 2021, we weren’t able to build relationships—the market was too busy, and we all didn’t have the time. Now that the market has cooled down and we are more or less back in a normal market, we all have time to breathe, work on our skills, and focus on building relationships with our past clients, sphere, new clients, and leads.

Right now, agents who are not invested in making a career in the real estate industry will find it difficult to succeed. But if you are the type who builds relationships, is good at it, or is at the very least serious enough to be willing to learn it, 2023 is going to be the year for you.

If you missed this session, we have the replay up on YouTube. And if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me. I love hearing from you, and as you can see in the replay, I am also learning from others. Let’s keep helping each other thrive in this industry. Cheers!