Getting Personal: How to Work With Different Personalities

by J. Marshall Pearson

Communication Preferences

Another part of one’s personality in today’s digital age is the communication preference between the client and agent, as well as between the agent and any number of people involved in the transaction. That includes not only personal interaction between parties, but also the logistics involved.

Walsh knows that communication is of the upmost importance, and that good communication begins by knowing a client’s preferred method of communication.

“One person may never want you to call and only text, while another may feel comfortable having a phone conversation but doesn’t like texting,” he says. “You can’t be afraid to ask what their preferred communication method is.”

Walsh recalls a deal he closed with a client who ran the back-end of a large Web service; his customer, being someone who constantly communicated electronically, felt more comfortable forgoing telephone conversations and sticking to email and text messages exclusively.

“The only time I interacted face to face with the client was when we signed the listing agreement and when we signed the closing papers,” he says. “That was how he wanted to communicate, so we just did it that way … you have to mold yourself to the way that [clients] want to communicate. All people have different styles, so I figure out what each client’s style is and serve it to them that way.”

Black believes that, by listening to her clients and reading between the lines during early conversations, she will understand how they, as individuals, receive information.

“[That] is really important in this process,” she says. “They need to be able to trust me and to hear what I’m telling them, especially in a hot market like this. There are ways that people learn and hear things that make a big difference in our ability to work together.”

While the vast majority of agents are able to adapt their style for each client, there is the occasional relationship that fails. For agents, it can be challenging to admit that they may not ever work well with a client, especially because their living is dependent on commissions. Furthermore, all agents take pride in their work, and in a client-service industry like real estate, it can make the decision to not work with a prospective homebuyer or seller very difficult.

“[It’s] all about trying to understand who they are,” Walsh says. “It’s always better to realize when you are not going to work well with someone and maybe pass it off to someone who can give them what they need. Sometimes, truly taking care of the client is making sure that someone else takes care of them.”

Bomba utilizes a technique he has named the “toothbrush test.” Upon first speaking with his clients, he makes a decision – if he believes them to be the type of person who would involve the store manager when buying a toothbrush, he will make the tough decision.

“I used to just figure it out as I went along,” he says. “But now, if they fail the ‘test,’ I will disengage myself at that point.” As an agent who sold 102 houses this past year, his technique appears to be successful.

No matter what, the clients need to be happy with the price and how their agent communicates with them through a stressful and complicated process. By exceptionally grasping their clients’ personality and catering to that, deals will close and referrals will be generated.

“It’s not just about finding a new house or condo or a place to live. It’s about a lifestyle,” Black says. “Whether it’s shortening a commute, or gaining an extra room or office that will enable the client to be home more … I find out how people think.”

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