In the world of real estate, effective communication can make all the difference between sealing the deal and missing out on a potential client. While having a wealth of knowledge and expertise is crucial, understanding the significance of social cues and harnessing them to your advantage can elevate your success. I learned this valuable information from “How to Read People,” an episode of the Influential Personal Brand Podcast with Vanessa Van Edwards.  

Studies have shown that communication is not just about the words we speak; it encompasses a wide range of cues, including nonverbal gestures, vocal delivery, verbal choices, and even visual imagery. In this article, we’ll explore the four ways we broadcast our cues to others, and how mastering these cues can project warmth and competence—which ultimately leads to more sales.

The Four Ways We Broadcast Social Cues

Communication occurs through four different types of cues. Combined, these cues help individuals understand and interpret the meaning behind the messages being conveyed. The four types of social cues are:

  • Nonverbal cues: Nonverbal cues are about 60% to 90% of our overall communication. They hold immense significance in conveying emotions and intentions. For instance, if someone says “I’m fine” but then holds a very angry expression, we know they are not fine. In other words, we give more weight to nonverbal cues. These cues are expressed through gestures, facial expressions, posture, movements, and even subtle eyebrow raises.
  • Vocal cues: How we deliver our words is another essential aspect of communication. Vocal cues are the pace at which we speak, our cadence, volume, and pitch. 
  • Verbal cues: Verbal cues refer to the actual words we choose to articulate our thoughts and ideas. 
  • Imagery cues: Imagery cues involve the visual aspects of communication. This includes the colors we choose to wear, the props present in our background, and even our profile pictures on social media. These visual cues provide immediate impressions of who are as people.

The Charismatic Traits: Warmth and Competence

Once we are aware of the four different ways we display cues, the next step is to understand what we should look for when we meet someone in person. Breaking down their cues in a way that helps us interact with them effectively is key. Think of highly charismatic individuals—the people we are drawn to and love to be around. They are purposely sending off the following cues.

Warmth: Creating an Inviting and Trustworthy Atmosphere

The first trait is warmth. Charismatic individuals exude warmth, openness, collaboration, trustworthiness, and likability. They create an inviting and welcoming atmosphere that encourages engagement and connection. Think about someone you know who possesses great charisma—they make you feel comfortable and at ease in their presence.

Competence: Displaying Power and Knowledge

The second trait is competence. Charismatic individuals also display competence, power, efficiency, impressiveness, and productivity. They are capable and knowledgeable, giving others a sense of confidence in their abilities. 

When we encounter highly charismatic people, we naturally want to engage with them, have conversations with them, and even aspire to emulate their charisma. We are drawn to them because we believe their charisma will “rub off on us.”

Projecting Cues as Realtors: The Key to Closing Deals

As Realtors, understanding the importance of these cues and traits are crucial. While many agents possess remarkable skills and knowledge, they may struggle to close deals if they fail to project the right cues. It’s like having a car but no gas to move it forward. To excel as salespeople, we must grasp the significance of cues in communication.

The Importance of Cues on Social Media

Cues go beyond face-to-face meetings and extend to our social media presence as well. It’s crucial for Realtors to ensure that their social media platforms effectively communicate warmth and competence. Warmth can be showcased through relatable and likable content, such as sharing lifestyle-based photos or stories that evoke positive emotions. Competence, on the other hand, can be demonstrated by providing market data, research, numbers, and proof of expertise.

Social Media Inspiration: Jason Cassity’s Blend of Warmth and Competence

Need some social media Inspo? Check out Jason Cassity. He has a great mix of warmth and competence. If you scroll through his feed you’ll see: 

Warm social media posts can revolve around showcasing your purpose and the “why” behind choosing real estate as a career. These posts create an emotional connection with your audience, highlighting your authenticity. On the other hand, competence posts focus on displaying the tangible results of your career. 

Put another way: competent posts make us want to achieve things, while warm posts make us feel things. By sharing both warm and competent posts, you can establish trust and reliability with your audience, as they get a glimpse of your purpose and see the concrete outcomes of your work.

Both types of posts are crucial because, as a consumer, it is essential to have the confidence to say, “I can trust this brand AND I can rely on this brand.”

Ever been at a listing appointment where you felt it went perfectly, but the client still chose another realtor? Chances are, this happened because we overlooked some crucial cues. So, how can we identify the right cues?

Identifying and Addressing Crucial Cues: The Lower Lid Flex

One significant cue that often goes unnoticed is the lower lid flex. It happens when someone slightly hardens their lower eyelids as if they’re trying to see something better. This natural biological response happens when we are intensely focused and seeking additional details. During a conversation, if a person’s brain transitions from listening to doubting or scrutinizing, their lower lids may flex. This is the single most significant cue that sales professionals tend to miss.

When you notice the lower lid flex during a listing or buyer appointment, it’s essential to pause and ask questions. Take the opportunity to address any doubts or uncertainties in the moment. Ask questions like, “Does that make sense?” or say, “Let me explain something else here.” 

By doing so, you can capture any doubt or skepticism and prevent it from escalating into a future rejection. It’s important to note that the lower lid flex doesn’t necessarily indicate skepticism but can also point to intensity and focus. By stopping and addressing it promptly, you can proactively address any concerns and increase your chances of success.

Learning from Shark Tank: The Vocal First Impression

A prime example of recognizing and addressing cues can be seen on the show Shark Tank. Any successful entrepreneur who pitched on the show would observe when a shark hardened their lower lids, indicating doubt or concern, and then promptly address those concerns during their pitch. They would say something like, “Kevin, I see that you’re skeptical. Let me provide you with more data to alleviate any doubts.”

But an interesting case is the inventor of the Ring doorbell, who appeared on Shark Tank to pitch his billion-dollar idea. However, he completely bombed! Despite having a groundbreaking idea, he failed to convey competence or warmth in his delivery. As a result, all the sharks decided not to invest. So what happened? Ring is a billion-dollar company, how did he bomb this pitch? 

The very first 10 words out of your mouth are incredibly important for your vocal first impression. Your audience is listening for confidence cues. When we hear someone who is anxious, we don’t want to “catch it.” One common way we unknowingly convey vocal anxiety is by using a question inflection on statements. For instance, in the Shark Tank pitch, the owner of Ring said, “It’s Jamie? I’m here to pitch?” The upward inflection at the end of the statement created a sense of questioning, leading the listeners’ brains to scrutinize further. Whether it’s in person, over the phone, or in a video, it is vital to end the first ten seconds on a “down” tone, signaling high confidence and leaving a positive impression.

Leveraging Cues to Close Deals, Win Clients, and Create Connections

Understanding and leveraging the power of communication cues can have a profound impact on success in the real estate world. By recognizing nonverbal, vocal, verbal, and imagery cues, Realtors can effectively convey warmth and competence, establishing trust and reliability with their audience. Being attentive to cues such as the lower lid flex and vocal anxiety allows for the proactive addressing of doubts and concerns, preventing potential misunderstandings and missed opportunities. 

It is crucial to continuously develop and refine our communication skills in order to deliver a compelling and confident message right from the beginning. Through mastery of these science-backed communication skills and strategic utilization of cues, Realtors can elevate their ability to close deals, attract clients, and create lasting connections in our industry.