Viewing by month: May 2012
We are fast approaching that time of year again when temperatures drop and our immune systems become more susceptible to niggling colds, flus and viruses. As real estate professionals we remain on the go throughout the year, constantly trying to strike the ever-important balance between personal lives and the chase for leads and conversions. Most of us manage to maintain our well-being despite the juggling act; however the onset of winter often requires a little more self-care to ensure that our physical and mental health stays in check.
Here are some simple tips to keep your mind, body and soul toasty this winter.
1. Rug up
The notion that keeping warm can reduce susceptibility to colds was debated for many years until 2005 when researchers discovered an empirical link between body temperature and common cold symptoms. In a study entitled ‘Acute cooling of the feet and the onset of common cold symptom’, scientists from the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University found that keeping one’s feet and nose warm reduces the likelihood of catching a cold. They further recommended that the best precautions for avoiding a cold are to wear a warm hat and keep your feet dry.
Therefore it is important to keep snug this winter. Though you may not always be able to don a cap there are plenty of other items you can wear to keep your body temperature up including coats, jumpers, scarves, gloves and warm shoes. In addition, wearing clothes made of wool, cotton or fleecy synthetic fibres should help.
2. Maintain a healthy diet, including extra H20
Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and drinking lots of water will go a long way to keeping your energy levels up and your sinuses dry this winter. Eat a broad range of foods, including plenty of fresh and seasonal fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and minimise saturated fats, processed foods and organic meats.
It is also important to remember to eat breakfast, which will kick-start your metabolism and give you energy for the day ahead. Small and regular snacks such as apples, oranges and almonds will help you sustain these energy levels throughout the day and reduce the likelihood of engaging in unhealthy eating habits.
In addition, if you want an extra boost for your immune system consider taking supplements such as B complex, Zinc and Vitamin C and/or herbal extracts such as Echinacea Goldenseal and Grapefruit Seed. However, only take such after having first consulted a competent health care or nutrition professional.
3. Minimise stress and get rest
Several studies have established a link between high stress levels and cold and flu susceptibility (for example, The New England Journal of Medicine’s 1991 study: ‘Psychological Stress and Susceptibility to the Common Cold’). As such, you should make a conscious effort to minimise stress through working reasonable hours and by getting an adequate amount of sleep per night.
You should also look to identify activities that aid your personal stress relief. These might include exercise, yoga, social interaction or even figure painting. The important thing is to ascertain what works for you and then put aside some time each day to incorporate the activity or activities into your life.
4. Be diligent with hygiene
As a real estate practitioner you most probably meet several different clients throughout the day. As such, it is likely that you also shake a lot of hands. Though you probably don’t think about it, shaking hands is one of the perfect ways to ensure that you pass on viruses or take them on from someone else.
Therefore, frequent hand washing is one of the best protections against viruses. As you probably won’t always have immediate access to soap or water, consider purchasing a small bottle of hand sanitiser, which you can whip out of your pocket whenever needed.
These are just a few things you can do to strengthen your body’s immune system, so that you can stay healthy, happy and energised this winter season, positioning yourself to achieve real estate success.
For most real estate organisations, the two most valuable assets will be agents and clients. Therefore, it is crucial that you, as a real estate professional, nurture your client relationships to maximise both productivity and profitability.
The truth of the matter is that you most likely already employ interpersonal skills in your day-to-day relationships with family and friends. However, transferring and applying these skills to client interactions may sometimes require a little more conscious thought.
Here are four simple tips for developing professional interpersonal relationships that will, if implemented correctly, help you increase not only client satisfaction but also better ensure repeat business and referrals.
1. Ask questions
One of the most fundamental aspects of relationship-building is making other people feel valued. When you take the time out to show interest in a client through asking questions you automatically move yourself closer towards building trust and rapport.
Asking a prospective client something as simple as “what do you want your home to say about you?” can get them talking not only about their property wants but also their personal interests. The insights gleaned through such conversations can potentially help you understand their needs and expectations as well as identify mutual interests – something which can be very helpful in developing empathy, and gain trust.
2. Maintain eye contact
None of us feel comfortable when the person we are talking with won’t look us in the eyes. In such instances, one’s natural instinct is usually to presume that the person is dishonest or disengaged, and therefore potentially untrustworthy or unreliable.
As a real estate practitioner, you will often have to work from the outset of a pitch to dispel suspicion, particularly with prospective buyers. Given such, maintaining eye contact can become an integral aspect of enabling agents to mitigate client worries and suspicions.
3. Show personal interest
You should always make a conscious effort to take a personal interest in your clients. As already noted ask questions, but also use your body language and vocal tones to convey a genuine interest in the individual.
Furthermore, make a point of remembering clients’ and prospective clients’ names. The simple act of remembering a client’s name and pronouncing it correctly, even when not in a professional capacity, will indicate that you value them and may ultimately set you apart from competitors.
4. Listen effectively
Listening to your clients properly is undoubtedly as important as speaking to them. Effective listening encompasses paying close attention to both verbal and non-verbal communication, including your client’s mannerisms, facial expressions and body language. In doing such, you will get a clearer picture of their thoughts and feelings and can thus respond accordingly to meet their needs.
Effective listening also entails encouraging your client to express their viewpoints fully and completely, and showing genuine interest in what they’re saying. Even if your client frequently digresses or is long-winded, it remains important to maintain interest and stay attuned to what they’re trying to say so that you can help them properly.
The bottom line
When you communicate interpersonally with clients you help them understand your business better while at the same time learning more about their needs. Despite sometimes being time-consuming, developing your interpersonal skills will help contribute to meaningful and long-lasting relationships with clients, and ultimately enhance your success as a real estate agent.
In the era of globalisation foreign investment has, more than ever, become an integral part of a nation’s economic stability and development. Australia is no exception, with international buyers showing great interest in our country’s lifestyle, natural resources and educational institutions. This fact, together with Australia’s diverse multicultural composition, has increased the necessity for real estate agents to develop their intercultural communication skills.
While real estate agents generally become very strong interpersonal communicators with English speakers, they do not necessarily always learn how to adapt their communications methods to the needs of overseas clients. As such, they can fail to maximize the value of prospective sales and clients.
The key to effectively communicate with someone from another culture is contained in first understanding that you will need to be both more conscious of and strategic with your messages than you may usually be.
You should also make a point of proactively seeking out information about the person’s background – where they come from; what language they speak; their traditions and customs. Such information will make it easier for you to ascertain their expectations, barriers and eccentricities, which in turn will enable you to cater your communications approach to them.
Next, cultivate and demonstrate tolerance. You should always be prepared for the possibility that cultural differences may cause some communication problems, and be willing to be patient and calm, as opposed to hostile and aggressive. Responding to questions or concerns should always be done in a clear, slow and even manner, which will help to diffuse intensity and reassert control over the situation.
Another simple way to ensure that your dealings with foreigners are conveying your intended meaning is to be as direct as possible. Try not to use large words if a more straightforward term exists. Also, attempt to construct short and concise sentences – an approach that commonly increases the power and impact of messages.
In terms of language it is also best to steer clear of ambiguities, innuendos and implications. The English language uses conditional words such as “may” and “could” more than most languages. To your foreign client/s, words like these could very possibly mean “will.” Again, keep your messages direct, clear and obvious and you stand a much better chance of pushing through a sale.
As technology, trade and economics continue to bring the world even closer together opportunities for foreign investment in the real estate market should continue to increase. Therefore, it is important for you as a real estate professional to consistently employ effective cross-cultural communication techniques when speaking to prospective overseas investors. In doing such, you stand a greater chance of maximising your success as an agent.
For professionals across many industries, it is often the case that once qualifications in a certain area have been completed and an individual progresses into employment, a good deal of time then passes before further training or education is undertaken. While the knowledge and know-how that can be developed through experience in a role is highly beneficial, it also remains important for real estate agents to continue their external learning once established in a job.
There are a variety of different topics that can be advantageous for agents to consider, ensuring that they remain up to date. These can include evolving and advancing technologies, new methods of marketing, different approaches to the sales process and the like.
Educational forums on many of these subjects will present agents with new ways of thinking and doing things. Once learned, it will then be up to the individual agent as to whether they decide to incorporate these perspectives into their approach. The important thing is that they are positioning themselves to better understand the various tactics available to them.
There are a variety of different real estate training and education resources available to real estate agents. CENTURY 21 Australia, for example, regularly conducts seminars across the country, designed to keep agents up to date with the very latest in real estate sales techniques and technologies. Most successful agents find that by taking the initiative and engaging in such educational opportunities where possible, they are usually able to ensure that they remain up to date and maintain a competitive edge over other agents in their area.
It must also be said that when considering new or developing ways of doing things, real estate agents should recognise their own personal strengths and what they do well. With this in mind, agents can then make an informed decision about whether to incorporate newly learned skills into their repertoire of tactics, or to stick with their tried and true methods.
Regardless of whether real estate agents decide to apply the knowledge they acquire through training or not, the important thing is that they remain up-to-date and informed on a consistent basis throughout their careers. And in today’s world of rapidly advancing technologies and emerging theories on sales approaches, there can certainly be some tangible benefits for agents who take the time to maintain their education.