As a professional REALTOR®, you should always be ready to discuss Real Estate. But, don’t be a boor.
“Hi there! I’m Jack Smith with ABC Realty! Are you folks in the market to buy or sell within the next 30-90 days?”
Ugh. Get away from me, Jack.
Guess what? The world is sick and tired of salesy slicksters.
Instead, you should be working on establishing a reputation as a Trusted Real Estate Expert, and conducting yourself like a professional.
Have you ever met a family physician at a party, and all of a sudden, they’re handing over their card and inviting you to come in for a check-up? You’re trying to get away from them, and now they’re following you around. “You know, I think I ought to take a look at that mole on your neck!” ⚕️
No? This hasn’t happened to you? Yeah, me neither. Because physicians are professionals.
You should conduct yourself like one, too.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to strike up conversations about Real Estate with people you don’t know. You should!
But it’s more natural and far more effective to initiate a conversation about something else entirely, and let it come around more naturally to “what you do.”
If you have a hard time striking up a conversation with people you don’t know at a social gathering, try using the FORD method.
FORD is an acronym for Family (Do you have any siblings?), Occupation (What do you do for a living?), Recreation (What do you like to do for fun?), and Dreams (Could you see yourself doing that professionally?).
Note: The “Dreams” part of the acronym is NOT usually a conversation starter, but it’s a topic that might be appropriate to use later, as you get deeper into a conversation.
“Appropriate” is the key word. For example, you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger at a party and ask them, “Do you have any siblings?”
However, you might mention to a person that the crazy guy on the dance floor reminds you of your free-spirited (drunken?) brother, wait for a response, and then you might ask if they have any siblings.
Hey! You’re having a conversation!
The FORD Method is a research-backed way to build rapport with people, by asking questions, and then really listening to their answers. Next, you will comment on their responses and ask follow-up questions.
Being adept at small talk is an excellent skill to have to meet potential new clients. Showing interest in the other person will lead to more in-depth conversations, and the subject of “what you do” will come up very naturally.
Unless, of course, the other person is a complete narcissist and only wants to talk about themselves. If that’s the case, move on. Those people are toxic. ☠️
Once you’ve gotten started on a conversation, it will usually proceed quite naturally. It’s the starting part that is hardest for most people, including myself. But, I’ve found that if I push through that initial awkwardness, most people appreciate you striking up a conversation because they were probably feeling the same way!
Just remember “The FORD Method.” After you’ve practiced this skill for a while, you’ll get good at it, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly conversation starters come to mind.
This is a skill that takes practice, just like anything else.
Next week, we’ll talk further about how to have productive Real Estate conversations, the first important step in nurturing prospects to become clients.