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Use Emotional Intelligence to Enhance Your Real Estate Career

Within the last decade, emotional intelligence has been recognized as a defining characteristic of effective leadership and business success. Today we know that emotional intelligence is not only important, but it is also the critical trait that distinguishes successful people from the rest of the pack, especially at the highest organizational levels.

Before we dive deeper into emotional intelligence and how you can use it to enhance your real estate career, let’s clearly define EI.  Emotional intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions in a judicious manner. Essentially EI is the ability to be level-headed and on point regardless of what’s happening around you.

As you consider that, it becomes readily apparent that emotional intelligence does not necessarily correlate with a high degree of intellect. Emotional intelligence helps us manage our moods and prevents individual emotions from driving business behavior. It enables you to perceive the reactions of others and sense the mood of the room. This allows us to manage or even prevent conflicts, facilitate collaboration, navigate sensitive situations, and communicate more effectively. Emotional intelligence has a lot to do with getting results. Without it, success in real estate is more difficult if not impossible.

Here are some steps you can take to develop emotional intelligence that will positively affect your business.


Listen More … Communicate Better

I don’t mean listening for a few seconds while thinking about what you’re going to say next. I mean listen, ask, listen, ask, listen, make sure it is crystal clear what the client is trying to say to you.  In some cases, we interpret things much differently than someone intends, so being able to clarify what someone is trying to communicate is an important skill. When asking questions, your clients should feel that they are receiving extraordinary service. Questions should be conversational and delivered with a friendly, inquisitive tone. Find out about their life, their day, what is important to them and how a new home will affect their children, school, extracurricular activities, and their pets.

Be Genuine … Be Present … Be Yourself

Clients are intuitive, they know. They interpret everything you say, your body language, your suggestions — either as an agent who only cares about the paycheck or a genuine, gifted professional that is dedicated to delivering an extraordinary real estate experience.  Your ability to be compatible with your clients’ personality is a strong sign you are tapped into your emotional intelligence.

As real estate professionals, we should be working towards really understanding ourselves. Be clear about our aspirations, our strengths, and our shortcomings. Additionally, we should learn to connect with ourselves in a way that brings out your best qualities. This builds physical and psychological resilience which pushes you to hit your set goals.

Be Humble … Be Appreciative

You sell over three million dollars of inventory per month? So what? Clients only care about how they feel while you are helping them. You are in high demand, closing multiple transactions every month and can’t give them the time to write a hand-written notecard or remember their daughter’s name?  That’s a miss. You just might be overlooked when they decide to sell in five years. When I sold my first shopping center, I was driving an old beat up used Mazda. I pulled up to meet the client I had acquired through cold calling, and they were driving a Mercedes. I knew one thing for sure, I could help them find the property they wanted better than any other agent. I knew this deep down because I had taken the time to get to know my client, and I knew them and their needs like the back of my hand.

Be Confident … Be Prepared

Take time to find out who you are as a real estate professional — what you stand for, what is your passion, what your niche is, what geographic area you service and what areas you refer out.  Know your market, yourself and your limitations, and you will dominate your area and triple your business. “What area do you service?” the buyer asks. “Everywhere. Where are you buying?” This answer shows you are spread too thin. And you risk losing credibility if your website, social media, and references don’t reflect the buyer’s area.


Be Empathetic

There is a difference between commiserating, pretending to know what another person is going through, and having genuine empathy for your client’s situation.  It’s a fine balance between acknowledging their issues, concerns, and challenges and not getting sucked into them. You are the person who feels their pain, but you can also turn around and solve their problems by providing answers and solutions and guiding them through difficult times.

Evaluate and Adjust

We should all be asking for reviews from not only our clients but also our peers. Understand the value of a negative or constructive response.  Sometimes clients take the opportunity to share their concerns about a transaction only after receiving a third-party request for review. Read it over, think about it, and decide how you can do better next time. This will help you earn more money and close more business.

If you are looking to learn more on how to better develop your own emotional intelligence, pick up Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ at your local bookstore. If you want to talk more with me or the leadership team at Tru Realty … send me an email to or call the office anytime at 480-327-6700.

About the Author

Sarah C. Richardson is one of the preeminent leaders of residential real estate in Arizona. As the CEO and founder of Tru Realty, she is responsible for both the daily operations and oversight of the multiple growth strategies that the brokerage carries out. Sarah launched Tru Realty in 2010 as a way to serve a marketplace that was seeing a shift from auction centric fix/flips to an MLS flow. She is now rethinking the way her brokerage uses technology to better serve clients and agents alike.


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