Running behind today?
Feeling like you’ll never get done with that to-do list?
Always playing catch up?
Wishing there were a few more hours in each day, or maybe even another day added to the week?
If we’re able to understand exactly how these questions would make someone feel, that’s and example of empathy. Empathy can be a valuable instrument in our business. It can aid us in finding common ground with our clients, can help personalize our communication, and can help our clients remember that we’re human too.
Empathy is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions.” Feelings of empathy allow our clients to get more comfortable with us on a personal level. In business, and especially in the sectors of the real estate industry, clients are often introduced to new and unknown individuals, and must immediately begin performing a business transaction with these “strangers.”
In the home inspection industry, for example, a home buyer typically meets their inspector for the first time at their prospective new home, and almost immediately enters into a business transaction with them. They must immediately accept the inspector as a competent authority figure, quickly develop a relationship with them, and almost immediately pay them money for their services. Many business transactions follow a similar trajectory. And while this may be a painless process if you’re buying a sandwich from someone behind a counter, the addition of larger sums of money (as happens in the many individual transactions involved in buying a home) makes this a more important, and possibly a more contentious, transaction.
Quickly developing an empathetic relationship with our clients is a relatively painless way to help things work more smoothly in our business. We have all met people that possess the ability to make anyone they meet immediately feel at ease in their presence. We quickly feel relaxed and trusting in the presence of this person who, up until a few minutes ago, was a complete stranger. Some people have an inborn ability to exude empathy: we easily feel a connection to and a comfort with them. The rest of us have to work hard to develop this type of relationship with others, especially with our clients.
Countless books have been written on this subject. However, for our purpose here, we’ll distill it down to a few important facts:
The easiest way to explain empathy is that we should simply be human: be a kind and caring individual instead of simply a robotic salesman. It’s easy to get caught up in the familiar routine of our job, concentrating on our responsibilities and providing our client with the product that they paid for. But, by occasionally breaking out of “business person mode” and speaking with them as someone who is genuinely interested in them, their feelings, and their concerns, we can develop empathy and a level of trust that will help to grease the wheels of our business transaction.
By being human, and acknowledging that we understand the situation that our clients are going through, we become a person to our clients, and not just somebody trying to take their money.
No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.Theodore Roosevelt
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