Coach Clau­dio Encina tack­les reader ques­tions on im­prov­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, in­clud­ing the awk­ward price re­duc­tion con­ver­sa­tion.

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Clau­dio Encina

Many agents don’t un­der­stand that words have the power to make or break a sale at any stage.

Q. How can I get my ven­dors to ac­cept an of­fer in a slow mar­ket? I feel they’re start­ing to lose faith in me. Ray­mond In­drawan, Win Real Es­tate Mul­grave Vic­to­ria

Not many agents put much thought into the words they use when pre­sent­ing of­fers to ven­dors. They don’t seem to un­der­stand that words have the power to make or break a sale at any stage.

You could have ven­dors ex­cited about an of­fer and ready to go ahead, then say one wrong word. The sale comes to a screech­ing halt and you aren’t even sure why. The ven­dor stalls. They back-pedal. They want to think it over. What hap­pened?

I see it hap­pen all the time. You have to work out why this of­fer is an ad­van­tage for the ven­dor rather than for your own self-in­ter­est (com­mis­sion).

Some­times our di­a­logue can cre­ate neg­a­tive emo­tions. You cre­ated doubt about the ben­e­fits they would re­ceive from the sale. They got scared and put up a quick de­fence bar­rier to keep the sale from go­ing any fur­ther.

You see, words cre­ate pic­tures in our minds. Those pic­tures then cause us to have cer­tain emo­tions – ei­ther neg­a­tive or pos­i­tive.

The goal of any­one in sales, or any other po­si­tion where they need to per­suade oth­ers, is to cre­ate only pos­i­tive emo­tions with pos­i­tive men­tal pic­tures. Neg­a­tive men­tal pic­tures cre­ate fear or cause peo­ple to raise de­fence bar­ri­ers against what­ever you’re of­fer­ing. Be care­ful in be­ing too ag­gres­sive, push­ing hard on an of­fer, as this can cause peo­ple to lose in­ter­est in you. Be­fore you know it, they’re think­ing about us­ing an­other agent.

The key to clos­ing ev­ery op­por­tu­nity is to elim­i­nate fear in the minds of your ven­dors. It works like this: Words cre­ate pic­tures that cre­ate emo­tions. Peo­ple make de­ci­sions emo­tion­ally, then they de­fend their de­ci­sions with logic. So it’s crit­i­cal to clos­ing that you un­der­stand how to elim­i­nate neg­a­tive emo­tions and cre­ate pos­i­tive ones. Ven­dor em­pa­thy is the fastest way to win­ning more sales!


I feel I need to level up my cold-calling prospecting skills on the phone. Any tips? Neil Car­rasco, McGrath Liver­pool

The first 10 sec­onds on the phone can make or break that call. Many tele­phone sales op­por­tu­ni­ties are lost be­cause of poor open­ing tech­nique.

Never say, ‘How are you?’ to a stranger. This ap­proach is not sin­cere. The prospect doesn’t re­ally care and cer­tainly doesn’t have time to lis­ten to a story. They may put up re­sis­tance im­me­di­ately be­cause of this open­ing and then ex­pect a sales pitch. You dig your­self into a hole and now you have to dig your­self out be­fore you try to re­gain the at­ten­tion of the prospect.

Give re­spect to the prospect you are calling and try to avoid ask­ing a ques­tion that is in­tru­sive, di­rect, and too per­sonal. Be po­lite. Don’t fluff the open­ing line. It should sound clear, pos­i­tive, and strong.

When a po­ten­tial cus­tomer calls you, the voice he or she hears should be en­thu­si­as­tic and ready to serve. When you are mak­ing the call, the same proves true. A poor open­ing line will surely dim your chances of a pro­duc­tive con­ver­sa­tion.

Re­mem­ber, you may be calling this per­son at your con­ve­nience. Never say, ‘Is this a good time to talk?’ Why? Be­cause gen­er­ally the prospect will say ‘No’.

Prac­tise say­ing who you are and know what you do. Know your ‘mes­sage’ and ‘out­come’ from the call. Also, un­der­stand that your lan­guage can cre­ate a level of in­flu­ence and per­sua­sion on the prospect. Think about ‘Seeds of thoughts to plant that can cre­ate ac­tion’. Fol­low these guide­lines:

1. Be con­fi­dent 2. Be as­sump­tive 3. Use sen­tenced word

state­ments 4. Be ac­tion ori­ented 5. Speak in the present.

Here is an ex­am­ple: ‘ Hi, is this …? This is (your name)… I’ll only be brief. We just sold (x) just down the road from you, and some of your neigh­bours who aren’t think­ing of sell­ing are cu­ri­ous to know where their home sits on the mar­ket based on the re­cent sale. Would it be help­ful if we were to pop in while vis­it­ing some your neigh­bours this week or next week to give you an up­dated mar­ket as­sess­ment?’

Sin­cer­ity, po­lite­ness and brevity, com­bined with a solid knowl­edge of your mar­ket, are the mak­ings of a suc­cess­ful sales call. Fol­low these tips and watch your sell­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity rise! 

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