Why emotional intelligence is important in real estate


I recently acquired a new client that was looking to purchase a new home. This buyer was a very experienced investor and was looking to purchase a home for his personal residence. A comment made by him made me think about emotional intelligence among real estate agents. He told me at one point about a previous real estate agent he had worked with. This agent set him up on an auto search and spammed his email constantly. At one point, my client unsubscribed because it became an annoyance to him. He appreciated the fact that I took the time to find properties that actually met his needs. Why didn’t the previous agent to their client or understand or sense that this client was looking for something different?

This got me thinking. While I do, on occasion, set clients up on these searches, everything is based on my clients needs. Real estate is not supposed to be easy. So taking the easy route is not always the best option. I began to wonder how much time agents spent trying to understand their clients needs. This is where emotional intelligence comes into play. Years ago, before Emotional Intelligence became the hip word, I penned this article for NAR’s YPN Lounge which I realize now has a ton to do with emotional intelligence.

So…what exactly is emotional intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence as the ability to:

    • Recognize, understand and manage our own emotions
    • Recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others

In practical terms, this means being aware that emotions can drive our behavior and impact people (positively and negatively), and learning how to manage those emotions – both our own and others – especially when we are under pressure.

Why does it matter as a real estate agent? To help you understand and to be completely transparent, I have included results of a EI test I recently completed.

What I know about myself is that I am pretty self aware of my skills and how I am often perceived by others. I constantly evaluate myself and try to improve in areas that I am lacking. Which is ultimately why I decided to take this test. But one thing I have always been great at, is reading people. I can walk into a room and often sense what others are feeling. I am a long time “people watcher”. I have spent so much time over the years simply observing others. Now I can often tell whether someone speaking to me is truthful, comfortable, or irritated. I spend more time listening to my clients vs trying to sell them something. My clients like this about me. I listen and I remember what they say to me. I remember how they react when they are uncomfortable. This helps me serve them more effectively.

But too many salespeople focus on closing a sale, rather than on forging a relationship with prospective clients. The ability to connect and create long-lasting relationships is at the core of emotional intelligence. A agent who enters the relationship “with the mindset of doing service” will more often make that all-important emotional connection. As agents, we need to be going out of our way to match a customer’s needs, making ourselves available and taking personal responsibility for anything that happens, especially after the sale has been made.

Self awareness is probably the most important piece when it comes to EI. Each agent has a unique style, but if they’re unaware of it, they can’t gauge the affect they have.

I at one time taught a scripts and objections class to agents. I challenged each agent to answer my questions as if I was actually a customer. Just so others in the class could hear other possible answers to commonly asked questions. I would then give them scripts or responses that I would use. But I always suggested they practice with other people and change their responses to their own style. The thing that has always been true about real estate is that you can rarely predict how everything is going to play out. You need to be able to adapt and stay true to yourself. When we use very scripted sales pitches, we lose some of our authenticity.

Potential clients are generally able to notice insecurities or insincere language in their dealings with agents. The most effective approach is to learn everything you can about the client and their needs before you meet with them. Forget the script and speak from the heart about what you do and what you can offer.

Emotional intelligence means genuine wins over faking it every time. Thats the one thing I know about myself. I can’t fake it. When I am not being myself, its written all over my face. Its impossible for me to be completely confident when I faking it. Trust me, I have completely blown it in the past trying to be someone I am not. You have to be able to accept who you are. When you do that, everything makes more sense and gaining that new client just becomes easier.

I am aware that some find me to be weird. I have a hard time talking about myself and my own experiences outside of my occasional scribbles. I am often told by people that I meet, that they can’t figure me out. I sometimes read to far into people and make perceptions about them based off the vibe I get from them. Humans in general seem to have a lot of walls up these days. Myself included. I struggle with trying to figure them out and letting them in at the same time. Inside I am still that awkward, shy girl, from my youth.

As agents, we need to know our emotions. We need to develop self-awareness—the ability to recognize feelings as they happen.We must learn how to manage our emotions. Unless we learn to manage our emotions we will constantly be battling feelings of gloom and distress.We must learn to motivate ourselves, learn emotional self-control, and delay gratification…..becuase our world is so unpredictable. If we are going succeed in real estate and our lives for that matter, we need to learn to recognize emotions in others. We need to develop empathy. We need to be attuned to what others want or need. And we need to develop our emotional intelligence so we are capable of healthy relationships….with our clients and in our personal lives.






17 year real estate industry veteran. Broker Associate at BRIX Real Estate. Real estate speaker, trainer, and strategist.

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