Modeling a successful sales person is a good idea, after all they are obviously doing things right. How about you invite them to lunch and “pick their brain”. How did you become so successful? What would you do in this situation?

Recently one of my agents invited me to lunch. I had a great meal. From the moment we sat down he filled me in with his activities, nonstop! The next day I called him, thanked him for the lunch and asked him what he had learned from me? He thought about this for a moment then said, “nothing”. As he started to get the point, he commented that he did not realize he was talking too much and that he hated it when others did the same to him.

The enthusiasm with which some agents share their market knowledge with their clients may be nonstop, and become overwhelming. What is intended as education by the agent may be perceived by the client as dominating or taking control of the conversation. Do I want to work with this agent; I can’t get a word in edgewise!

It is so important to ask questions and listen (listen, listen!). Conversation must be a two way street. We need to probe for information about the clients building or requirements and also the why’s. Why are you selling or moving, find out what’s important to them. We need their criteria, budgets etc. but we also need to understand their motivations and concerns too.

Also in your interviews and conversations take a break, let the client think. Brief periods of silence are OK and even encouraged, especially during a meal or when showing properties. In presentations probe with questions, then remain silent giving the client time to think about their reply. Don’t “talk” too much!

Silence should be used purposely and it is also considered one of the strongest negotiating tools. After you have made your point, look directly at the other party, smile and wait. The longer you wait without saying anything the more uneasy the other person will become. If the other party makes an offer or presents a term you don’t like, say nothing, sit back and wait. Eventually they will say something to break the silence. It’s said, “he/she who speaks first loses”.

In negotiations most people feel uncomfortable when conversation ceases, and they start talking to fill the void. Almost without fail, they start whittling away at their own position.

Learn to appreciate the time for silence.

Ed Smith serves as Regional Director of Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT Long island Metro and Mid-Atlantic Region, is a Real Estate Broker, Commercial Continuing Education Instructor, Corporate Trainer, Speaker and Author; he may be contacted at or