CHALLENGE: Consumers are demanding better and more empathetic service from agents… and they’re prepared to shop around until they get it!
SOLUTION: Agents who have higher emotional intelligence understand client needs and are more equipped to build genuine and long-lasting relationships.
What is emotional intelligence (EQ)?
In simple terms, emotional intelligence is your ability to recognise your own emotions and manage them, and to understand and influence the emotions of others.
The concept of emotional intelligence has been around since the mid-1990s, but over the last decade it has become an integral part of business and management training, and a key predictor of robust leadership qualities.
People who are emotionally intelligent display a strong aptitude for self awareness, self regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.
How can EQ help in real estate?
Strong emotional intelligence is one of the best tools you can have as a sales person.
A purchase, for a buyer, is essentially an emotional decision. As a sales person, your capacity to understand the emotional motivations of your buyer, and to empathise with them, can improve your ability to meet their needs and close a sale.
Real estate agents with high emotional intelligence are more aware of their own emotions and display more patience towards buyers. They can better regulate their emotional input into the sales process, making buyers feel more comfortable, and often they have more highly-developed social skills.
Can you improve emotional intelligence?
Whether or not people are born with emotional intelligence or they can learn it is a topic that has been discussed and debated since the concept was established. While some say your EQ is quite firm, and has been conditioned through the experiences that shaped you, others argue a person can learn to be emotionally intelligent.
Regardless of which side of the fence your opinion lies, it is widely believed people with some level of emotional intelligence can learn to at least improve it and understand it better.
Emotional intelligence training has become a hot ticket item for people in senior leadership roles in the corporate sector, and for people looking to work their way into those roles.
Training helps professionals better understand the principles of emotional intelligence, assess themselves and their abilities, and offers mechanisms and strategies for improving in areas like self-awareness and empathy. It also makes the skills associated with emotional intelligence training more practical by helping people understand how they might apply them in common workplace situations, or in this case, sales settings.
Emotional intelligence training specifically for real estate is only just starting to be honed and to become popular. But finding a course that is tailored to our industry, our processes, challenges and client needs, can ensure you get the best results.
The skills you learn in training will also be transferable to other fields should you end up leaving real estate. Improving your emotional intelligence is an investment in enhancing almost any career.
What to look for in emotional intelligence training
Like many areas that can improve business performance, it will come as no surprise that all training for emotional intelligence is not equal. While some training providers have built robust, evidence-based courses, others offer cheap, online fixes that, more-often-than-not, are pure common sense and leave you no better off than when you entered your credit card details.
When assessing a course, look for all of these elements:
- A registered training organisation, preferably with some external accountability for the quality of its courses.
- A teacher with relevant experience or qualifications — view their profile and keep an eye out for experience in business, psychology, sales.
- A reasonable fee. If the course is $50 for a whole day, likely you aren’t getting highly-qualified teachers.
- A face-to-face option. Emotional intelligence is one of those subjects that is better to be learned face-to-face, when possible. In this case, learning from a screen can mean you may not get as much out of the course.
- A course with a practical element. Learning about the principles of emotional intelligence is useful, but putting them into practice and understanding how you apply them in your day-to-day settings will be so much more valuable. Practical elements might include practice assessments, role playing or self assessment (or assessment of others).
A quick activity
While often during training you will begin with a self assessment so you can identify a benchmark for your emotional intelligence, it can be really helpful to have explored your own EQ before attending training.
Likewise, if you don’t have access to training for any reason, a self-assessment can at least help you become more self-aware and determine areas you need to work on in order to improve emotional intelligence, and in turn, your capacity to apply it in your work.
There are so many self-assessment tests available, from long ones that take hours, to short, ten question quizzes. If you’re really interested in getting some more accurate answers, try a longer assessment where similar questions are asked several times in different ways, as this may provide a more useful insight.
Harvard University has done the homework for you and selected several good options to choose from, with the first on the list a 45-minute questionnaire that is definitely worth a shot. Try out some of the online emotional intelligence self-assessments.
Once you finish a test, make sure you do some more research so you really understand what the results are telling you and how you can use the information to improve.
The verdict: Emotional intelligence training — quality training — is well worth the investment, it will pay solid returns for as long as you are working, and years after, as you continue to navigate a world of emotional human beings.
In real estate, is it something we should be looking at more, as it can underpin an effective move from a sales to service focus and enable us to better and more genuinely connect with our clients, which motivates us to produce better results.
Our partner at ACOP offers a face-to-face Leadership and Management Diploma, which, among other useful units, also explores emotional intelligence and sets you on a path to improvement.