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Decoding the Doubletalk: 5 Ways to Hear What Clients Really Mean

January 29 2015

trulia decoding doubletalkCustomer confusion is all too common in customer service—especially in real estate. The harsh reality is that we don't live in a world where we all mean what we say. Sometimes, to give the best client experience you have to jump the high-hurdle of learning to "speak their language" even when they aren't great at communicating.

Here is a list of ways to make sure doubletalk doesn't kill your deal and tips to help you get to the bottom of what your clients actually want and need.

1. Make Them Show and Tell

The power to Google is a very real one. Anything you are going to discuss with clients can (usually) be found online. Go the extra mile during or after every chat to find a reference point for the things you discussed and send it in a follow up. This ensures both you and your clients can make sure the "apples" you're thinking about aren't actually "pears" to your clients.

2. Produce Something

In the same spirit of Googling, don't be afraid to create. Your conversations will be a lot safer (and easier to reference) if you and your clients generate something as a result. Some great ideas we've seen work are Google Docs for sharing showing notes, buyer surveysbuyer surveys and listing surveyslisting surveys, and listing marketing plans.

3. Table the Tangents

Tangential talks can ruin an agent-client relationship in a flash. If you and your client can't seem to stay on topic, make an agenda that's focused on outcomes for your meetings. To make sure that you're actually resolving the most important issues at hand, don't just list topics on the agenda. Focus each agenda item on either a question or action.

For example, instead of listing "Inspection" a better agenda item might be "Develop inspection preparation checklist" or "When will the inspection take place?"

4. Play It Back

If you don't follow up your conversations with documentation, you're making a big mistake. One easy way to protect you and your clients from misunderstandings and the dangerous doubletalk is just to send a quick e-mail that covers your conversation and conclusions.

5. Decommission the Distractions

To decode the doubletalk you're guaranteed to run into you need a fresh brain. Make sure you have at least 15 minutes in between client meetings or tasks to clear your head and prep. You can't decode anything if your brain is full of the past five conversations.

In the same spirit, try to engage your clients face-to-face, via video chat, or at a time when they can completely focus on the conversation at hand.

This article was originally published on the Trulia Pro blog. You can find the original version of this article and many more tips about communicating with clients herehere.