Sixteen months ago today, I embarked upon a real estate career. It meant I had to lessen the amount of time dedicated to my writing, but I see it as a temporary sacrifice to ease the financial burden of being a one-income family for so many years.
As I’ve traversed along this new path, I’ve often thought of how much parenting and selling real estate are similar.
Everyone is Different
Just like no two children are the same, no two clients are the same. Each client, like each of our children, is motivated by different needs and has a different personality. As parents, we must tailor our parenting styles in order to meet the needs of our individual children. It’s important to learn how to effectively communicate in a way that works best for individual clients so that you can best help them find a home and make the transaction go smoothly.
Listening is Vital to Success
“Silence is Golden” should be every parent and every real estate agent’s mantra. This is something I struggle with every day. As a mom, I have all this life experience to share. As a real estate agent, I have all this information to impart.
In her article, “Worst Mistakes Parents Make When Talking to Kids,” Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D. lists talking too much and not listening as two problems that lead to ineffective communication. Active listening also plays a huge role in helping clients through the home selling and buying process. How can you truly help a client if you haven’t first listened to their goals and needs? Greek philosopher, Epictetus, once said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” This is wise advice, which is similar to what the book of James reminds us of: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry..”
Listening is equally as important as being heard.
It’s been my experience that many people don’t understand a real estate agent’s role or the buying or selling process. It’s not hard to explain it at the first meeting so they comprehend what will happen start to finish.
Setting expectations is important when dealing with children, too. If I ask my daughter to wash the dishes, but don’t explain that I expect them to be fully rinsed and stacked in the dish strainer and for the sink to be rinsed out afterwards, who is truly to blame if I walk into the kitchen half an hour later to a pile of clean dishes stacked in the grimy sink?
Taking a few extra moments at the beginning to set expectations will save a lot of trouble down the road.
It All Comes Down to Faith
I’m sure there are other ways that my roles as real estate agent and mom are similar. The nice thing is that as I improve my skills in working with clients, I can also transfer those skills to improve the relationship I have with each of my kids. In the end, however, I truly believe everything comes down to faith:
- If I ask for God’s help, He will provide it;
- If success is in God’s plan, He will make it happen;
- If I open up my heart and mind to listen, He will provide direction.