Why empathy trumps all else in real estate

Relationship building is an important skill to have in any sales role. For agents, the ability to understand their clients’ emotions and experiences is integral to building long-lasting relationships and ultimately winning business. However, this skill does not blossom overnight. This is a long-term strategy, one that successful agents can reap the rewards of over their entire careers.

A successful real estate business is built on the strength of these relationships. Here are three things to keep in mind next time you are client facing.

We talked to Brett Greensill, a principal at L.J. Hooker, about the importance of empathy in building relationships with clients.

1. Build trust

“Real estate is a human business, a relationships business – people to people,” said Mr Greensill. “It’s that connection, that genuine spark, that makes magic out of dust. If you can do that, as well as all your systems and processes, on balance you’ll be more successful.”

Agents spend a lot of time interacting with their clients, many of whom are going through one of the most intense emotional experiences of their lives, so establishing trust is important.

Be mindful of clients who are new to the property market; they will need an agent who can act as a trusted adviser and confidant. Agents who build trust, listen to their clients and empathise can build long-lasting relationships. When it comes time for the clients to buy or sell again, you will be first in their minds.
Your relationship with them does not need to end once the transaction is over; you can maintain trust through social media interaction.

2. Property is emotional

Buying and selling property is emotional. If a property fails to sell at auction, feelings of disappointment and defeat are common. It’s in these moments that the opportunity arises to show your clients you understand how they feel. The sense that you’re working together can be a powerful motivator for both client and agent.

Mr Greensill added, “If it doesn’t sell under the hammer and you’re just ‘about the business’ at that very raw and emotional time, you’re not really making a friend for life – a client for life – at all.”

3. Be supportive; it pays dividends

Mr Greensill believes that word of mouth recommendations based on supportive experiences have the biggest effect on business.

“Let’s fast forward six or 12 months’ time: the client is saying something like ‘Remember that auction where we had that really difficult time, but the agent held my hand through it and it was great because we sorted it out in the end?’” he said. “They will never say ‘He said it was just part of a process’, they’ll always talk about the experience – their journey. And if they repeat that, others will want that too and that’s how you’ll grow your business.”


  • Property is emotional
  • First impressions count, with 60% of Australians moving house every 3+ years. Be the agent of choice first time around for future benefit
  • Word of mouth is a powerful referral tool; make sure when clients talk about their property journeys that they talk about you positively

Originally published by Domain Group

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