Times are very different right now. The world around us has slowed down, which makes it a perfect time to connect with your sphere. But it’s also important to know exactly how to connect. Senior Vice President of Brokerage, Chad Dumas, explains why we should be communicating with compassion and empathy.
With whom you should connect
You’ve probably heard this a lot, but I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to connect with the people in your sphere. There’s no right or wrong way to approach making these phone calls, but the biggest thing is to be authentic, just be you. The people who are in your sphere are the people you already have a relationship with, so if you were to call a family member or friend, you wouldn’t go off of anything scripted, you’d just have a conversation with them.
How you should connect
Make all communication about them—have a conversation focused solely on the person on the other end of the phone. Make sure to ask them how they’re feeling and how they’re doing. Give them an outlet and a chance to talk with someone other than one of the people they’re quarantined with. Also, approach the conversations with compassion and empathy.
Some people in your sphere might be struggling, whether it’s financially or emotionally, and we should approach them with lots of compassion right now. Try to understand what they’re going through. Some folks may have been laid off, some may be working from home and it’s less than ideal or some may be having challenges homeschooling their children. We must approach people with compassion. Make sure that it’s genuine and that you care about them.
Empathy is the ability to understand what someone else is going through or what their perspective is. Right now, there are two well-defined perspectives out there: the people that feel the stay-at-home orders are the right thing to do, and the people that are ready to get back to a semblance of normal life again. Whether you personally believe that one way or the other is the right course of action, for the sake of your phone calls, don’t press your viewpoint on the other person. What’s more important is that you work to figure out the other person’s viewpoint and understand it, because their perception is what’s important in that moment. Their perception is real to them and could be based on things that are happening in their life. We have to be there for them and try to understand what they’re going through.
Use Ninja techniques in these phone calls. Ninja teaches you to make FORD phone calls: family, occupation, recreation and dreams. Right now, folks are getting plenty of family time and they may not be getting much occupation time or recreation time, but more than likely, they’ve had plenty of opportunity to dream. In these phone conversations, listen for the pain and pleasure points and figure out how to get them to dream. An easy question might simply be, “What’s the first thing you’ll do once the stay-at-home order is lifted?” “What have you missed most over the last 30 days?” “If things remain the same for a while, if you could have one thing back or if you could change one thing, what would it be?” Give them an opportunity to really dream and sometimes that dream will tell you about a real estate need as well. Remember, that’s not the purpose of the phone call, but sometimes that will come up.
A Word of Caution
While this is a great time to build relationships, there’s also potential to destroy a relationship if you’re not careful. Be mindful about becoming too opinionated on social media. Any time we’re in an election year or there’s a crisis, it’s easy to take a hard stance, but being very vocal about that stance can potentially destroy a relationship with someone that just happens to have a different viewpoint. That’s where the empathy comes in, it’s important to attempt to understand what everybody is going through. Bottom line, the agents that make the time to connect with their sphere during this shelter-in-place will come out of it better than ever!