By Gino Blefari
For the past few years, I’ve shared my experiences and research on the importance of leadership. Here’s one thing I’ve learned during this ongoing project: As leaders, we lead by how we act but we also lead by what we say. Our words convey the “why” behind all that we do.
An iconic example can be found in the words Winston Churchill selected to rally Great Britain during World War II:
“We shall defend our Island, whatever the cost shall be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields, and in the streets. We shall fight in the hills….we shall never quit.”
Now to be sure, I wouldn’t expect such soaring rhetoric to be used during a listing presentation, at a recruiting interview or while conducting an office meeting but clearly we can all improve on how impactful our words can be in our everyday, professional lives.
And speaking of language … whether you are leading or inspiring first-time buyers, empty nesters, anxious home sellers, your associates, real estate teams or management teams … the words you choose will determine whether others will follow your “lead.”
For this reason, I enthusiastically suggest that every manager and every agent look to further develop their communication skills so they’ll be better equipped at “Creating Real Estate Connections,” a slogan that also happens to be the notable title of former Realtor.com CEO Allan Dalton’s insightful book.
I just finished reading “Creating Real Estate Connections,” and as someone who has read literally hundreds of real estate and business books, this publication stands alone in challenging “industry clichés” and offering alternative advice for communicating with consumers and clients.
The book is co-authored by Allan Dalton –named by the National Association of REALTORS® as one of the 25 most influential thought leaders in the industry—and Gee Dunsten, the former President of CRS. Along with 20 present-day mega-producers, Dalton and Dunsten share their perspectives about what to do and, just as importantly, what to say in order to create real estate connections within local communities. My own early real estate sales career was positively impacted by Allan Dalton’s powerful language from his 1990s cassette-tape series. I diligently listened to his advice and used his language with sellers and buyers … and still encourage agents to do the same today.
This book represents the ultimate balance between the so-called “high tech” and “high touch” communication techniques and is amazingly creative and progressive.
After reading the book, here are the four premises that I found most powerful:
- Language determines success. Every cent of our income is influenced by the language we select and many of us have fallen into the trap of imitating counterproductive industry phrases, clichés from decades past. We must ensure that our communication is a match for what is expected from our forward-thinking brand promise.
- Find the common, uniting threads. While everyone talks about the importance of niche or segmented marketing, this book argues that we need to devote more attention to “desegmenting” market. We must identify commonality across wider groups of consumers and most specifically, among local homeowners.
- Communication is essential for the listing/marketing side of a transaction. While the first point of contact on the buyer side has been delegated to major listing portals, there is no need for this to happen on the “listing/marketing side” of the transaction. To ensure we remain that first point of contact on the home seller side, we must employ better strategies and enhanced communication skills, elevating our relevance in order to create meaningful real estate connections with local residents.
- Differentiation doesn’t equal distinction. While we all constantly hear about the need to differentiate, we overlook the importance of being truly distinctive and misunderstand the true difference between the two concepts.
So, what’s the message? This time, it’s more of a mission: I respectfully challenge our entire industry to carefully examine the way we communicate our immense value. Too often, consumers do not fully grasp the extensive benefit we provide and it must therefore be our chief objective to more skillfully convey exactly what we do. Through better communication like the kind championed by Dalton, Dunsten and others, we’ll help generations of real estate agents find greater success now and well into the future.