Start a Dialogue
You'll encounter all types of buyers and sellers during your real estate career — not just different personalities, but people who enter the market for different reasons. Basic categories of buyers and sellers include growing families who need larger homes, seniors who want to scale down or live in a one-level residence, people who might not want to move at all but are forced to do so by job relocation or a downturn in their available income. You'll work with investors who are buying rental units, people looking for vacation homes, and people who want to buy a piece of land to build on now or hang on to until a later time.
People you work with don't always tell you their motivations for buying and selling real estate. This is not necessarily because they're being evasive, but because they don't understand the steps you must go through to find what they are looking for. It's up to you to interact with clients in a way that uncovers the facts you need to know to do your job.
To succeed in real estate you will also need to be a careful listener. Does your mind ever jump ahead of the conversation? This happens to most people, often because we can't wait to get our point across to the other person. In real estate, it sometimes occurs when an agent thinks he has to get out all of a preformatted spiel about himself or the property he's showing. He's focusing on what he'll say next instead of listening to the person he is with, who might be trying to describe the perfect property for her needs.
Remember, unless they are relocating to another area, your sellers can become buyer clients. You can even work with sellers who are moving to another area by finding them a real estate agent at their new location — and asking that agent to pay you a referral fee when the transaction closes.
Pay careful attention to people when they speak to you. If you're nervous or the type of person who forgets details, keep a pen and notebook handy and jot down comments about important aspects of the conversation. Stay alert to even casual statements that might provide insight to a person's wants or needs.