The average real estate agent has more conversation partners per year than non-agents. That must be true.
Last week, we averaged over 157 conversations per day, give or take. Some were routine arrangement-making conversations, but other conversations were more complex and required advanced preparation – in effect, a conversation about a conversation. We talk so much that there are some days where quiet time doesn’t come until our head is on our pillow.
A real estate agent is almost always in a conversation, either with clients or attorneys, or with colleagues from their own firm or from another agency. There are conversations with appraisers and lenders, with company management and management companies, and with developers, with marketing and social media experts, with doormen, taxicab drivers, perhaps a co-worker at the front desk. And don’t forget conversations are still happening with family members when we’re back at home.
We wondered if being a skilled conversationalist is a prerequisite for success in the real estate industry. It certainly can’t hurt, but is it at least slightly less important than it used to be?
The human race is transforming the way we communicate. Perhaps for the sake of speed and efficiency, so we can get in as many conversations as possible, more and more of our human-to-human interaction is done through text messaging. Most people have ongoing text conversations with a dozen or more people on a daily basis. Our team has a pinned text conversation with all of our clients, and in most instances, we communicate several times per day during that client’s property search. It’s fast and efficient, but it also keeps everyone involved in the loop and the chain serves as a record for our pervious communications.
Seemingly, we’re trending toward a less verbal future. Facetime and other apps like Zoom haven’t been around for very long, and they made a massive impact on the way business is conducted all around the world, especially during the pandemic. Twenty years ago, technology like this seemed too good to be true, even far-fetched. It’s here and it’s amazing, but will it be relevant forever? Younger generations are seemingly getting more and more comfortable using non-verbal forms of communication. Our own kids and the younger members of our families almost seem squeamish at the thought of having a lengthy phone conversation, especially with strangers, but even with their own friends. They’d rather text or “snap” with each other. It’s almost like today’s youth is conserving the use of their 5 senses. They could have a live, face-to-face conversation with someone who is 5,000 miles away, but instead, they’d rather “shoot over” a text.
In 10 or 20 years, the vast majority of the world’s workforce will be comprised of humans who prefer to communicate non-verbally. Who knows, by then we might be communicating telepathically. But until then, minimizing the importance of verbal communication would be a big mistake. A real estate agent should always be able to use their voice to effectively communicate and connect with their clients. Buyers and sellers often decide who they’ll hire as an agent based primarily on how comfortable and confident they feel after their initial conversation. Human intuition, instincts, and “your gut” still count for something. If all of our decisions were completely data driven, based on numbers, symbols, and statistics, we’ll become a little less human as each day passes.
Buying and selling property is almost always an emotional decision. Some of our clients agonize over these decisions for days or weeks or even months at a time. They need comfort. They need reassurance. They value our professional experience when emotion and sentiment and indecision take hold. Imagine helping someone through that exclusively through text messaging. When buyers and sellers can eliminate emotion from the equation, then and only then will it be safe to eliminate verbal communication from the process.
Barring a sudden and massive shift in the way real estate is traded today, your agent should be a skilled conversationalist. In fact, you can and should still judge your agent based on how effectively they communicate, and that includes all forms of communication.