Building rapport is one of the biggest keys to becoming a dominant listing agent.

And who doesn’t want more listings? This should be at the top of everyone’s business plans for the second half of 2023. It should be at the top of your 2024 plan. It should be at the top of everyone’s plan because listings create market share and more recognition. 

You’ve heard the terms “list to last” or “list to exist.” That’s because listings run the real estate market from a business perspective. 

The tactical side is important— analyzing the market and knowing the comparables inside and out. But building rapport and making a connection with the client is equally important. And if you don’t have the skillset or the training to do that and they don’t feel a connection to you, then you might lose listing business.

So today, I’m sharing the best rapport-building techniques that are going to show you off as the expert and the person that should be handling the sale of one of their largest assets. 

#1 – Build a Local Connection

How are you connecting locally or connecting personally with the prospective client? And this isn’t, I like fishing. Do you like fishing” or, “I’ve got kids. Do you have kids?” 

Instead, aim to connect to the local market (and in turn, the client) on a deeper level. A few examples of how to do this include:

  • I just sold the home up the street. 
  • My mother grew up a block away from you.
  • My cousin lives over here. 
  • I went to high school in the neighborhood.

How are you building a local connection around real estate sales expertise? Because that’s what consumers want. They want you to be their expert. They want to be treated like the client, not like a friend.

So how are you building that local connection that shows you know what’s going on in the market and how are you building that personal connection? To start, look at how you can connect to the area:

  • What sales activity do you have locally? 
  • Is your team selling homes in the area? (If you’re on a real estate team, that’s a great way to lean into it.) 
  • Is your brokerage or your firm selling homes in the area?

Sales resumes do matter in these situations. So figure out your local connection, and take it from there. 

#2 – Ask Questions

Number two, are you asking enough questions? 

  • Hey, what’s important to you about the agent that you’re going to hire? 
  • What’s going to be most important when making that decision?
  • What’s important to you about making this move? 
  • Where are you going to next? 

Ask all the right questions, so you know their situation. The agents that don’t pre-qualify their listing clients before they go meet them are missing a huge opportunity to show off their professionalism and preparation and to build rapport. 

Most salespeople talk way too much. Asking more questions, and talking 20% of the time instead of 70% of the time, is going to help you build rapport. 

You want that person to feel in control, and we know the person that asks the most questions controls the conversations. (Thank you, Phil Jones.) 

#3 – Pay Attention

After you ask a question, actually listen and pay attention to what they’re saying. Take notes. Put the notes in your CRM, and make sure you know their kids’ names, their wife or husband’s name, their significant other’s names, and even the dog’s name.

Make sure you’re paying attention to those things because it doesn’t work out well when you forget one of the people’s names at the appointment or when you’re talking to them. It’s happened to me before—don’t make that mistake. And don’t be afraid to ask. Say, “Hey, what’s your wife’s name, by the way? What’s your husband’s name by the way?” 

You’re going to be able to build more rapport and come off like you actually care about the people. So you want to actually listen to what they’re saying, why they’re moving to an area, or why they’re thinking about selling. 

When they tell you that, it gives you something to bring them back to throughout the negotiation and sales process. Bringing people back to their motivation is really important. Listen, take note, and make sure you know the ins and the outs of the situation, because that’s going to show you care.

#4 – Be Honest

This may seem obvious. However, this is the difference between a good agent and a great agent. 

There are too many real estate agents out there who will tell people anything so they get hired and the contract gets signed. That is bad business, period. No question about it. 

When you tell people all the facts, all the data, and you present it in a non-confrontational way, you’re telling people what they need to hear to make a move. So when you show them all the sales data, when you show them homes that are sitting on the market right now where they’re priced, it gets them there on their own, and it’s a collaborative process. Instead of, “Oh yeah, you want $XXX for the home? Sure,” without doing any research. 

A lot of our agents will do that. It’s called buying the listing. And I’m not saying you’re always going to get the price right. What I’m saying is to do your research and show people all the information because that’s what an advisor and a guide does. 

#5 – Give Them Something to Take Home

Give every client and prospect you meet with some take home information. Make sure they have something to walk away with or reference back to. I’m a big believer in bringing the printed out listing presentation so I’m not fumbling around with an iPad or a computer. Some people do well with a digital presentation—I don’t. I want to give them something I can leave behind, reminding them how great we are. 

When you leave, chances are, they’re going to go through and read that whole thing. And when you leave them something behind that is professional, detailed and explains all the reasons you should be hired as the listing agent—and the other agent doesn’t—you might have a competitive advantage there. 

Think about this: when you go to buy a car, they give you all kinds of take home pieces. Real estate is no different, and you’re selling them on your services, not the automobile. So make sure you give them a leave behind package. 

#6 – Follow Up

More importantly, follow up when you say you will. There is nothing worse than an agent who says, “Yeah, I’ll call you Monday,” and they totally forget about it because they didn’t use their CRM or they didn’t set a reminder. 

People want proactive agents. They want people that are going to be proactive in selling their homes. And you should be treating your business the exact same way. Follow up when you say you will. 

If you say you’re going to call them on Monday, you better call them on Monday. Make sure they know how much you want their business and how focused you will be on getting the home sold. These are all really key things here—follow up and show intent to win their business.

#7 – Do your research

This might seem obvious, but do your market research. Know the market stats and be ready to discuss the data and intel. If your preparation is two minutes before the appointment and you don’t know the sales stats, or you don’t have notes written down, you’re leaving yourself hanging out to dry. 

The more information you have, the more you’ll come off as the local expert. So I would over prep—proper preparation prevents poor performance. You’ve heard me say this many times. That preparation will help you win more listings. 

Follow these steps to build rapport. The kind of rapport that serious and motivated sellers want, which is the rapport of someone who’s ready to do business, is focused on their needs, is making a connection and knows what they’re talking about.