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What does it take to be successful in real estate? A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors asked thousands of real estate professionals what skills are the most important to success in real estate. The survey reveals that the number one skill considered most important for success is "people skills". Eight six percent (86%) of all respondents rated people skills as the top skill followed closely by self-motivation at 84%, negotiation skills at 73%, problem solving skills at 73%, sales and marketing acumen at 50%, cultivation of a business network at 42%, financial acumen at 30%. The lowest rated skill considered important to success in real estate was the completion of higher education with only 14% of survey respondents finding a college degree to be of any importance.

So what exactly are "people skills"? The term is often used broadly to describe how well we get along with other people. Also called 'soft skills', these are patterns of behavior and interpersonal interactions that demonstrate likability, relatability, acceptance, trust. Here are tips for improving your people skills to gain success in the real estate industry.

Make a Great First Impression
Studies have shown that judgments are often made within seconds of meeting someone. In his best-selling book Blink, author Malcolm Gladwell asserts that this is a result of an unconscious process he calls 'thin-slicing'. Humans have evolved to assess situations and other people quickly out of self-defense. Accordingly, first impressions are often about helping people feel at ease. Author and speaker Vanessa Van Edwards is a behavioral scientist. Her research indicates that the first thing we look at when meeting someone is not their eyes or face but their hands. Without even realizing it, we are looking for whether the person we are meeting has a weapon. Van Edwards says that when someone has their hands in their pockets, other people react with uncertainty. They can't quite put their finger on why, but they can't be sure of their safety. Body language is key to making a great first impression. Show and extend your hands when you meet someone. Shake hands. Face people directly and confidently. Align non-verbal (body language) with the warmth of your verbal greeting.

Be a Good Conversationalist
Most people love to talk. It's your job to get them started. Be a conversation catalyst by asking questions that allow your clients or prospects to talk. You don't have to be the life of the party or have all the best jokes. You just have to know how to keep the conversation going. Look for topics that you connect on and dig deeper. Ask great questions related to their real estate interests. Try to connect with the positives of their real estate quest. Help to build excitement for their purchase or sale. Typically, people are more interested in themselves than in others. Don't be that person as a sales professional. Don't go on and on about yourself, other clients or crazy experiences.

Be an Active Listener
Show interest in what the speaker is saying. Non-verbal cues such as eye contact, nodding your head, smiling and stopping all other action tell the speaker that you are listening. Active listening means that you are concentrating on what is being said and not thinking of what you are going to say next. We can all tell when others are not really hearing us. If you are being an active listener, you are trying to find what is being communicated not just what is being said.

Show Empathy
Empathy is our ability to recognize and share the emotions of others. It involves both recognizing the emotion or situation of someone else from their perspective and sharing in that emotion. It's the ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes. Empathy helps the real estate sales professional uncover motivations or problems that the prospect can't really put their finger on or articulate. As a real estate professional, you understand many of the objections and conflicts that go along with a transaction. You've experienced many before. However, you can't assume what is going on in your client's head. You have to try to see things from their perspective to understand what is really driving their behavior so that you can help them move toward the sale. This is empathy.

People skills are the greatest indicator of success. The great news is that all of these people skills can be learned, developed and improved. At Joseph James Real Estate, we are always looking for a good "People Person". Do you have great people skills that help you succeed in real estate? Fill out the form below and let's talk!

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