6 Communication Skills the Very Best Agents Have Mastered

The highest producers out there aren’t just expert real estate agents — they’re expert communicators. In a relationship business like real estate, how you present yourself and convey information matters just as much as how well you know the market.

In a recent Side Masterclass, top producers shared their go-to tips and techniques for better client communications. If you’re looking to strengthen your communication, here are six key skills to focus on. 

1. Adapt your communication style to each prospect

You may love chatting with people who use sweeping hand gestures and get animated when they talk … but when you’re talking with prospects, you need to push your own preferences aside. For a deeper connection, you have to be willing to meet your clients where they are.

“I pay attention to the speed at which the person I’m talking to speaks,” said Zac Bacon, founder of Quantum Real Estate in Roseville, CA. “If they’re really high energy, I know I need to turn it up a notch to meet them. If they’re a little more quiet, I know I need to slow things down.”

Try to match not only your prospect’s energy, but their preferred learning style. Said Dan Dodd, founder of Inspire Real Estate in San Francisco: “Some people are really analytical and want to look at spreadsheets and data. That’s not me, but I make sure I have the tools to provide them with that. It makes my eyes hurt, but I know it’ll work well for them.”

“Just because someone’s nodding along doesn’t mean they’re really comprehending everything you’re saying,” added Christina Woo, founder of Canopy Realty in Mountain View, CA. “Be disciplined about pausing, checking in, and making sure you’re on the same page.”

2. Listen more than you speak

If you’re the one doing most of the talking, you’re not really connecting. For a more balanced conversation, try asking open-ended questions that encourage the prospect to open up.

“Open-ended questions get people talking,” said Dan. “I can just stop and listen. This is particularly helpful at the beginning of the conversation, because I can get a feel for how they communicate.”

“Always go a couple layers deeper,” suggested Zac. “Respond with: ‘Oh, tell me more about that.’ Getting to the root of what they’re looking for is a great way to connect, because if you’re not providing what they’re looking for, then why are you here?”

3. Focus on the nonverbal

Research suggests over 50% of communication is nonverbal — meaning how you act matters just as much as what you say. 

Dan once secured a client and long-term referral source primarily through smiling. “I say hello to a lot of people with a big smile on my face. It’s my calling card. I met this woman at the dog park who was kind of standoff-ish at first when I would smile at her, but over the course of a couple weeks, she started engaging more. A year later, she told me she was looking to sell her house. I listed it, and she’s been a referral source ever since.”

“The little things matter,” said Zac. “Keep your hands out of your pockets, make eye contact. If they’re using their hands a lot when they speak, you can match that a bit.” 

Both Dan and Zac recommended “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It” by Chris Voss, former FBI hostage negotiator, for more body language tips (more on the book here).

4. Break the pattern when necessary

If someone’s really not engaging with you, try switching gears. Radically.

“If someone’s body language is really closed off, I’ll try and get them to laugh,” said Dan. “Or say something completely off-topic. It gets them to stop, think, and engage in a different way.”
 

5. Listen to what’s behind the words

Christina recalled a time she was working with a couple that was trying to purchase a single-family home and kept losing out to other offers. The husband, frustrated that their on-market condo was not receiving the same buyer interest, started yelling during a meeting.

“He needed to be heard,” said Christina. “He needed to know I understood his frustration. If I’d said something about staying calm and doing deep breathing, that would have just frustrated him even more. So I brought my energy up to meet his. I told him: I agree, this is terrible! But we can’t create less inventory in the condo market. How can we work together through this frustrating experience?”

It worked — Christina’s client felt heard and calmed down. But had Christina tried to deflect his anger, she might have missed the underlying reason for his outburst: He needed to vent and feel understood.

6. Be authentic

People are drawn to confidence and passion, but they don’t love being pitched all the time. Who you are outside your work matters more than you might think.

“So much of my business comes through being authentic with other people, whether through leading the PTA or being the team manager for my kids’ soccer teams,” said Christina. “People will look at me and think: She always lets us know who the snack parent is for soccer. She’s probably going to be very on top of the details with a real estate transaction, too.”

For access to a broader prospect pool, find unique ways to engage with your community that extend beyond real estate. 

Dan hosts an event at a pumpkin patch every October. “I get 70 to 80 people each year who come to the event and bring their kids,” he said.
Zac runs trivia nights with his lender. “It’s a great way for different clients of ours to actually get to meet each other,” he said. “And it reminds people: Hey, you’re special. It’s not just about the transaction; we actually want to spend more time with you.”

Prospects want to know the person they’re getting into business with — they want to see the real you. If you present yourself authentically and hone these communication strategies, you’ll be able to forge deeper relationships with clients from the get-go.

For more tips and tricks, sign up to watch the full Masterclass on-demand here.

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