As a sales professional, you are representing New Home Professionals to our valued clients when you work with the sales staff in communities. With this in mind, if you are an agent who plans to be placed in more temporary positions or qualify to interview with a builder, remember that it is important to be respectful of the agents time, and support them by refraining from being too “chatty.” Listening is one of the secrets to success.
If you are wondering if you might not be listening enough, consider the following questions:
- Are you doing most of the talking during conversations?
- When others are speaking, are you listening, or planning what you will say next?
- Do you find people becoming distracted while you speak? For example, looking at their phones, or fidgeting.
If you think you might be too chatty, we have some helpful advice. Below are ten tips to improve your listening skills:
- Maintain eye contact – eye contact keeps you focused on the conversation at hand and shows the other person you are interested.
- Focus on using inviting body language such as uncrossing your arms, and turning your shoulders so you’re facing the person speaking. Use your body to show your interest and concern such as nodding your head.
- Avoid thinking about what you’re going to say next. Try not to get ahead of the speaker by finishing his or her thoughts in your mind before the person is finished speaking.
- Participate in active listening by encouraging the speaker with nods and affirmative words.
- Paraphrase and repeat what you heard when it’s your turn to talk. Don’t interrupt – interrupting is a clear sign of not listening.
- Ask questions or request examples for clarification and to get a better understanding of what is being said.
- Stop doing other things — fidgeting, texting, reading, etc., — while someone is speaking will be considered rude.
- Focus on content, not delivery. If you find yourself counting the number of times someone clears their throat, touches their nose or says uh, your attention is not on the subject matter and you need to refocus more on the message.
- Ask open ended questions. Open questions allow for access to further dialogue. For example, the speaker might say, “I don’t like my hair” The listener might respond, “What about your hair don’t you like?” or, “Tell me more about your feelings regarding your hair”
- Pay close attention to a speaker’s body language – posture, eye movement and facial expressions. This will give you cues to the meaning behind the words being spoken and what he or she is really trying to convey.
Agents will appreciate that you are listening to them and be more likely to request you back or recommend you for an interview. Remember, if you listen and ask questions, they’ll think you’re a brilliant conversationalist without you needing to say much.
For more tips on becoming a top candidate for a full time position with a home builder, view our other blog posts or visit monthly agent classes.