How to Sell More Real Estate With This Little-Known Framework

Before you can learn how to sell more real estate, you have to first earn the right to sell.

You're not ready to sell, until you deeply understand your clients, connect with them and know their real problems.

Only then can you begin to solve their problems, influence their decisions, and ultimately sell to them.

In this podcast episode, I have author Christine Miles on the show and she is going to walk us through the simple framework for learning how to listen to what is said, but more importantly what is not said. To see what is not only on the surface, but lies beneath.

Here’s what you’ll learn

  • Why learning how to listen properly matters and what it’s costing you to not update your skills
  • The critical difference between active listening and story gathering
  • How to use the Listening Path framework to understand, connect, influence, solve and sell
  • The six most powerful questions you can ask to uncover your client’s hidden problems
  • How to earn the right to solve your client's problems and ultimately sell to them
  • How you can use Story Selling as a tool in your sales toolkit 

Jennifer: If you want to learn how to sell more real estate, you've got to learn first how to genuinely connect with people, how to influence people, and most importantly how to solve their problems. But you can't solve problems that you don't see.

Well in today's episode, I've got Christine Miles on the show who is going to break down exactly how to do this through a process called transformational listening. By the end of this episode, you're going to learn when working with clients how to hear what is not only being said but even more importantly what is not being said. You're going to learn how to see what's not only on the surface but what's underneath it and once you know how to do this it is going to transform how you show up, lead, influence, sell, and ultimately succeed in every aspect of your life.

Christine welcome to the show. I am so excited to have you here after reading your book What Is It Costing You Not To Listen. While I was reading it had so many aha moments where I was like oh yes yes yes and I think that my audience is also going to get so much value from kind of listening to this episode so welcome to the show.

Christine: Well thank you for having me and I appreciate that you read the very nice book.

Jennifer: Yeah no it was I'm gonna make my whole team that I work with read it. It's a game changer I think. Real estate agents are always asking me you know how can I sell more, how can I influence people more, how can I get people to make decisions it all starts with learning how to listen properly and put properly in quotes because I think like there's so much misunderstanding and sort of myths around what listening properly actually is and how it can help you sell more, influence more, help people make decisions, lead, all of the things. So before we get into all of that good stuff why don't you kind of quickly tell the listeners sort of who you are and how you got into doing what you do?

Christine: Well, I'm Christine, Christine Miles. I live in the Philadelphia area for those who are interested in where I am in the market so to speak. So I'm in the Philly market. Yeah, so how did I get into this? So here's the first tip I'll give to your listeners, we all have a story as I said in the book we know that because Oprah said it, and if Oprah said it it must be true.

And I bet that for most of your audience members that their interest in what they're doing now in some way shape or form started just like mine did which is at a very early age. Fundamentally that whatever passion or purpose mine started from my childhood. I grew up with a mother who had mental health issues that stemmed from the loss of her mother from childbirth. So my mother was this very exuberant, warm, loving, kind of charismatic, lit-up-the-room woman who had this deep pain that nobody saw.

Jennifer: Right.

Christine: In reality, to some extent, we're all in that boat. That's we're all faking it as I like to say and this was just she just talked about it and wore it and it was known. So my job was to understand that dichotomy of spirit and it you know there was some responsibility and that that wasn't easy but the gift was I did learn to listen properly and differently at a young age.

Jennifer: So that you didn't even know that that's what you were doing when did you discover the difference between like listening properly and just hearing?

Christine: Well, so this was you know one of the rare things about my childhood as screwed up as it was in so many ways because you know you don't study psychology unless you come from some level of crazy. So we all know that we fix what's broken.

Jennifer: FYI I studied psychology too.

Christine: That's the secret they don't tell you when you enter you need help is what they mean when you go to school. Help yourself first so you can help others. So there was a lot of language we had a lot of conversation it was not an elephant in the room that my mother had this depression and anxiety and other things going on it was talked about and so there was a language of listening in my family not just in terms of what was expected.

So it probably didn't look that different for me but in high school is when I started to know that I was getting I was known for not what I did but more for how I showed up and it was more how I cared and paid attention to people so that was one thing. And then when I got out of undergraduate and I started working as a home-based family therapist so I've lived a version of the realtor's life because I've not I've seen the houses and it's not always fun what you say.

Jennifer: I thought you were talking about the therapy part of it because we all feel like therapists too.

Christine: You are because there's a different level when you enter somebody's home it just is so you're it's such a personal sale. That was my sales training when I went into people's houses I took a job that wasn't quote sales I could have you know got a sales job.

I took a therapy job thinking I wasn't selling and then I went on 22 and I have to convince them I can be their therapist never more selling did I do. And the reason I was successful and I was trained by clinicians who were very successful and well-known people through the Children's Hospital of Philly I stood out because I had this listening thing. They called it joining they called you know what say that again in the therapy world, they call it joining. How do you join with the family quickly create that bond and kind of leverage who you are with them so that you can influence them right that's probably when I started to get language around it.

Jennifer: Nice and then how did you like how did you come to write a book how did you put a framework around it tell me a bit about that kind of process.

Christine: In 2010, in particular, storytelling profoundly came onto the landscape we have to be able to tell a story and I believe in that as you can see from reading my book I believe stories are a powerful way to sell but I was like the world's getting it wrong because you don't know what story to tell unless you've gathered the right story first right yeah so I did a lot of like a tug of war to get organizations in particular to pay attention they weren't ready for it I always snuck it in right and it was also that storytelling wasn't getting adopted because it's really hard unless you know how to gather a story first and that gets a lot easier. So over since that time I started honing in on how to make this tangible for people and to really help them learn the skill in a very simple you know transformative way right and when the pandemic hit I thought the world's ready to listen about listening right and so I better get busy I wrote the book in the spring of 2021 pretty quickly and launched it in October.

Jennifer: I love it there's a quote or a line in this book that I highlighted because it really really stood out to me and I want to use it as a bit of a jumping-off point you say here that listening differently is hearing not only what is said but also what is not said seeing what is not only on the surface but what lies below the surface and that to me sums up the whole skill of what kind of transformational listening like you call it is versus attentive listening so let's kind of start with that so how are people traditionally taught to listen which is that attentive listening and how does it differ from transformational listening.

Christine: well again I so appreciate that you're bringing this up because there is a big difference and I'll even go back a step kind of go back to the beginning most of us have zero years of education on listening zero I mean I'm a prime example master in psychology from a pretty good school if I do say so myself I was trained by world-renowned clinicians never had a course on listening to my family was my upbringing so elementary schools high schools colleges nothing's paid attention you may get a course in a sales training or in executive coaching you know uh program something like that or a workshop where they'll do attentive or they call it active listening how do I actively listen to you which is like I'm going to show you I'm paying attention exactly and I'm going to do behaviors that will help you feel heard or feel paid attention to I might get more out of that than I would have if I hadn't done that so it's a step in the right direction.

Jennifer: right better than nothing.

Christine: but it's what to do and not how to do it and so it's things like let me make eye contact let me look at what you're doing well, first of all, that's very American of us to think that eye contact is a solution to problems because culturally that's not the way the world thinks or operates what I see may not be what other people see because we're not no we don't know what to look for right it's also let me repeat what you said okay that feels good until you just repeat it without understanding it that's a different problem.

Jennifer: so my husband does that yeah.

Christine: let's talk about all the time the kids can repeat the words but not the meaning yeah so it's really about finding the meaning and that's what's transformational because when you find the meaning in the conversation it's a discovery people are bought into you in a different way because you understand them and that's what leads to the influence that's what leads to the ability to sell more connect more do more with them because the trust of you understand me is what sells.

Jennifer: Well it's you get me maybe even more than I get myself and probably more right and when somebody feels that way how can they not want to you know a. spend more time with you we work with you you know it's the one thing that I think stands between those who um have those connections with people and those who try to get them by like following that active listening process which I almost feel like it's so known and overdone that people know when it's being done to them and they almost it feels disingenuous do you know what I mean.

Christine: yeah and I would say that a lot of people don't even know what's happening because it's just so bad it's like it's a bad movie right I mean it's and when I anybody who's putting effort it is going to be ahead of the game so because I, unfortunately, you said it earlier like it's a problem we don't know we have because we're told to listen not taught we've been listening all our lives it's like kind of like saying you're walking wrong you know well I've been doing it my whole life I'm doing something right I'm still up on two feet right but in reality maybe your hips off a little bit or maybe something's wrong and you don't know it until you fix it and then you're like wow yeah so um so if you're thinking I'm trying to actively listen to this will be a lot easier for you because you already know it's something you need to pay attention to.

Jennifer: right and um one of the things that you talked about and I and I said this to you at the beginning of our conversation before we started recording was one of the like outcomes that I wanted for this episode was for the listeners to understand how important it is that they get this right and that they learn this skill because it truly is the difference between like either not making it at all or having a mediocre business and having a like a thriving business where you literally can't keep up with it and I think I think sometimes the easiest way to kind of connect those two dots is to like to talk about what are the consequences of not listening right like what are we losing what are the opportunities that we're losing by not learning how to listen in a transformational way.

Christine: well so I I think it's you know how do you empathize with that right and understand it and I I would encourage everybody to just take a moment and think what is the experience I feel and have when someone doesn't listen to me in an important sale or an important conversation do you want to go back for more do you go I'm never dealing with that person again like that visceral you know when you're really not being hurt understood and it's like I don't want more of that that doesn't mean that's not cake right cake makes me want more at least for me wow that's that's not what that is so when you understand well what would I you know what I feel is lousy after something like that and that makes me not want to go back that's what you're inadvertently doing to your own customer base without knowing it because intention and impact here have nothing to do with one another right we go in we go in for the impact we want to and we try to pay attention and what what I know is even with good intentions it doesn't work because you can't go you know what we call the listening path is the solution which is into the conversation you wouldn't go hiking in the woods without tools or supplies in your backpack for two weeks that's crazy right I need food I need water I need tools same with conversations we go in completely unprepared and we fail and we're not going to notice we fail because we don't know what good looks like as you said we don't know what failing looks like because it's death by a thousand cuts it's not a gaping wound guess what they just don't call you back guess what they just come to business with you guess what the next person's down the line they just go to that person or they just go maybe not now it's the land of indecision right the land of.

Jennifer: so death by a thousand I always said death by a thousand paper cuts I I love that saying because it's so it's not one big thing that happened right that made them not decide to want to work with you it's like it's a bunch of little things that over time they just get this feeling that you you either aren't interested or don't know or understand you know where they're coming from how they feel but I think the even bigger opportunity is again when people don't even know themselves that there's something and you are able to uncover that when you're able to do that they have such a aha moment of oh my gosh you get me better than I get myself and now you're like you're invaluable to me right like I I can't move forward without you in this process and that's sort of where I would love for every single you know human to get to in life and so what are some go ahead.

Christine: let me say something about that for you because so one of the things I know is that and I could not agree with you more because when you that's the gift of understanding you helped me realize something I didn't even know I don't how am I going to go forward without you I wouldn't you're seeing something I didn't see and that could feel like a lot of pressure to those who that's a foreign language too and so one of the reliefs I want to give you is that your listeners are that it's okay if you don't figure that out on the first path. The tools that and the and the way to listen transformationally is to know that when you use the tools that will eventually come and you don't have to be right or mystical about it like you don't have to be able to walk in and hear what isn't said with the customer and then where the client and go there you go it's the process of the conversation that gets to the discovery and the tools do the work so that there's not even empathy by the way because some people are like I don't know I don't have that level of empathy they look at me they look at you they look at their friends their wives where that woman's empathetic I don't know how to be right I know well that's because we're expected to be empathetic and then listen when in fact flip it when you go in to listen and you properly I like what you said empathy follows not the other way around.

Jennifer: the other way around well and I'm living proof of that like I always thought of myself as not a very good listener I had to work really hard um and then I mentioned this to you I got certified as a coach and discovered just how bad I was and and it was a it was such a frustrating process for me because I was like just give me the roadmap just tell me what the the tool is tell me what to do what questions to ask and every time I would get in a especially in a one-on-one coaching situation I couldn't put it all together I couldn't put the listening to what they were saying thinking about what I needed to ask them next to get to the underlying like it just felt like I and I couldn't write notes at the same time my brain just couldn't do it all and I was like I can't do this I'm not good at this but it was over time being put into the same kind of situations over and over and over again where now it's like it's almost like my hearing tunes into some things and is able to tune out the other stuff it's almost like when you really like listen to people you can kind of tune out the noise and get to the root of what the real problem is the more you get good at that the faster you're able to do it but my lord does it take to practice.

Christine: well it does and so and I am an athlete by background and um you know I wasn't a natural athlete most people laugh at that when they see me now but that's only because I practiced a lot right so I was I willed myself into athleticism it wasn't gifted to me um but when you have the right coach and the right tools it's a lot easier to do it well so I learned to play golf when I was in my 40s I was in a motor vehicle accident when I was 28 a longer story I really learned how people struggle with understanding what they can't see because the people that loved and cared about me had a cervical spine injury could not see what was wrong everybody's like you look great and I was in like a level nine pain right a version of my mother's experience just not emotional physical and so but so when I finally could hit a ball again I was so thrilled and I thought I'm an athlete I can hit a ball well golf is a little challenging to hit a ball even for someone who I had done it a little bit before but the first coach gave me a complicated way to learn golf and I didn't get any better I just got more frustrated and then I got a coach that went there's five things you need to know let's just go over those and I went I can do five well I do four really um but you have to do them all you have to do them consecutively like you can't just do one right and then expect the swing to work so that's a little bit what you just described I think why it would feel complex right because you took all the pieces and you figured out how to bring them together which is what opened up the the insight right most most listening isn't taught that way that's what I believe we're doing very differently which is there is a system to this there are foundational tools that need to be used in combination for that to happen and the the combination of those will bring that to you in a more efficient way.

Jennifer: right I love that so before we get there let's start with like what are some of the things that people do um that really hinder listening and understanding what are some of those like bad habits that we've developed those listening inhibitors so to speak.

Christine: yeah well the the brain is one of the there's two great enemies of listening the the primary one is our brain it's a superpower you talked about all these things that were going on in your head right that's our conscience you made it conscious you were what's the word you were consciously incompetent and one I don't know what I'm doing right well that's that's the first place to get to confidence yeah competence right unconscious incompetence isn't where you want to be so so you have to you have to realize that first you have to realize where you need to go um and but the brain is in overdrive telling us to do everything but listen because we have our own story going off in our brains right our own I this house is beautiful it meets all the specs that they told me they wanted you know I have this is perfect you go in with all your own story and then they're telling you and you're like it doesn't match your brain's going to contaminate their story for example right that's one um rehearsing what we say is another inhibitor like what I'm not sure what how I'm in a response so I'm thinking about my response you said that I didn't know what question asked you were rehearsing the question yeah how can you listen and rehearse at the same time it doesn't work that way yep but here's one of the biggest enemies of listening which is experience and knowledge the more you've seen the same problem over and over again the more you know how to fix that problem the less you're likely to listen.

Jennifer: so true so true.

Christine: yep so when you're listening you're a you're on a broadway stage and you've done the show 500 times but that audience hasn't seen it before so you're singing or in this case listening as if they've never heard it we need to listen like a five-year-old we need to listen like a like a broadway actress that has not been in the show before right we have to kind of let go of all of our preconceived ideas about what might or might not be happening even if it feels like a repeated situation that's and it's a sales trap to rush to solving and solutioning even if you know the answer and experience and knowledge make us want to fast track that even more now telling you that isn't enough but knowing that is helpful that alone will not prevent you from doing it um you need the road map but that knowing that i'm gonna i'm about to problem solve i'm about to sell i'm about to try they're not ready until people feel understood understanding someone even if you think you already understand really helping them feel understood is what earns you the right to sell to connect to influence to to do all those other things all.

Jennifer: yeah exactly I um that is such an I think that plays out whether it's in a work situation you know in a relationship situation it's so relevant to like you don't get to solve the problem and I think so many of us just want to fix things right we just want to get it fixed and kind of move on and get to the end result that we're looking for and again I think we self-sabotage.

Christine: well and I also say and I'm gonna I'll preface this with you you can bleep this but you're not an asshole if you want to help.

Jennifer: I won't delete that that's all good good.

Christine: so I believe most salespeople not all but the majority are there to help are they there to make money do your listeners get joy out of finding the right property?

Jennifer: of course they do.

Christine: yes it feels great but that's not all it's about.

Jennifer: no.

Christine: purposeful purpose-driven work you know that's not what this is about so yeah I see the solution I want to help you that doesn't mean you were ready and I learned this as a therapist because people used to come into my office and you know by 28 years old I had a decent amount of experience right and so they go how I go how do you want me to help you and they'd be like I want you to help me solve this and I want you to help me do this and I'd be like okay and then I'd start telling them right and guess what they do they'd start arguing with me about why they couldn't do the very thing they asked me to tell them to do yeah and I went this is a sales trap yeah even if sometimes the person rushing to solve is the one that's asking for the help and that's if we take that bait it's clickbait we go down that rabbit hole we're going to go down a rabbit hole of no that's a rabbit hole to know.

Jennifer: right oh I love that so much that like it's yeah so how do we like how do we get out of that um that that trap how do we get out of that rabbit hole in terms of like how when we come into any situation with somebody what are the things that like I believe in the book um you talked about like your subconscious and the stories that we have our own stories that kind of affect our actions that then affect the person that we are trying to affect did that make sense.

Christine: but we're that's what we say that our story contaminates right the whole situation so so one of the things so two things one is based on what I just said understand this about human beings nobody likes to be told what to do.

Jennifer: right even though we think we want to be told because it feels easier.

Christine: it does but we don't human nature is to resist being told yeah okay so that's what I said even when people say tell me they don't necessarily mean that right you've understood first and you'll see you'll feel the difference from people because they'll add they'll it'll be a different feeling when they're ready for you to really tell them if they come in and say tell me what house you think we need to tell me where we need to go whoa whoa whoa slow that train down.

Jennifer: right yes yes.

Christine: and the second is to understand this whether you're selling you know a home a property talking to your kids talking to your spouse talking to your parents talking to someone in the grocery store the Uber driver you are always listening to a story whether that story is 10 seconds or two hours it is a story and so you talked about the road map and it is I've realized recently the irony of being one of the most directionally challenged people on the face of the earth that there is I have created a literal GPS for listening to its kind of so ironic but that this is the only map that makes sense to me is that you need to know where you are in the story to know how to navigate where you are.

Jennifer: Okay that is like I have to literally let that process for a second you need to know where you are in the story basically to know like exactly how to move forward in the story and is that you need to know where you are in their story or even your own story or both.

Christine: well so now oh that's a good question I love that question very so so yes and one story at a time first know their story then know your story so that when that happens you're at a different level of listening now you're in the movie and directing the movie at the same time so that's a different level but you're saying something very important which is there's a lot of stories going on but right now I'm just talking about the story of your customer your client your partner your child.

Jennifer: right so you're you need to understand sort of where you're at in their story and where they are.

Christine: yeah so so that's one of the first that's the primary tool on the listening path okay so why do we call it the listening path it's the path to understanding not just let me listen to attend or pay attention or be active but listen to get to the insight or the understanding.

Jennifer: so I think because I'm sorry to interrupt you can we maybe just like high-level outline what that listening path is so that because this is my brain trying to like where are we now on the path so yes if you just give us a high-level overview of it and then we'll dive back into that.

Christine: that's perfect so as I said you don't go hiking in the woods without those tools or supplies right one of the things you would need if you were going on a two-week journey is you'd need a trail map right otherwise you going to get lost okay and when we go when you go anywhere now we have this thing called a GPS that shows us exactly where we are and how to get there right so the path is that main path to the story okay the path of their story the path of where you need to get them and just like movies right so that's the backup right what's the main thing we're doing we're outlining that path and then there are tools on the path that help you get to the understanding.

Jennifer: gotcha okay.

Christine: and in the book, I talk about the five primary tools and then we also do what works well beyond those where there are lots of listening tools that you continually put in your backpack and you go from novice to expert right so the book and the last third of the book is called the listening path which has those foundational tools okay.

Jennifer: gotcha yes.

Christine: the math is the first tool the second are what we call the stops or the milestones so that's a tool and they're they co-mingle because the stops are on the map right so why are they stop well it's just like a movie there are stories right when we watch a movie and.

Jennifer: is it like different paths that the story can take or is that kind of what you mean?

Christine: there's usually a story arc is what they call in Hollywood right there's an arc to the story you read in a book there's an arc to story yeah there are many stories all of the hero's journey that's right and most people will say it's really beginning middle and end right okay so are you in the middle of the movie are you at the beginning of the movie or at the end of the movie where are you sales filter too by the way you'll start to qualify in and out whether people are serious about buying when you figure out where they are on the path.

Jennifer: gotcha gotcha okay so but we talk is 201 stops is 202.

Christine: that's right and those stops are important because when you know where you are you start to know what questions to ask right okay but we talk about the stops being for because there's a beginning a struggle a tipping point and a new beginning yeah when you're selling what you know in the real estate market the new beginning is they have a new property or house right right yep that's the new beginning you want them to be in the struggle where they're looking for that and can't you know because that's where you come in you get to be the tipping point to get them to the new beginning right now but if they're already like at their new beginning they're not going to buy right you know they're just kicking the tires and they want to go to some open houses so most people start in the middle of the movie they usually start with some version of the problem we need a house with four bedrooms three bathrooms and a backyard with a pool right that they're they're talking about the need but that's really not necessarily the problem right right what happens in your conversations with people what they start there and then what do you do you you find out more don't you.

Jennifer: well I always joke buyers are liars because of what they say and I tell them that like I would literally what that was part of my like introduction onboarding process I would say I have a saying and its buyers are liars so everything that you tell me today 50 of it is going to be true and 50 of it is not going to be true and my job is to help you kind of become a true storyteller and not tell them you know the things that you think you want are not the things that you actually want.

Christine: because reality comes in right it's like when you're you're upgrading your house and you're like I want this bathroom and that until that you get the price tag.

Jennifer: you get the bill.

Christine: well and so you said something so important there because this is what happened this is the other reason why people fail at listening is that while we're wired to learn in stories and we are this is through just evolution right this is how traditions were passed down and so forth we're not wired to be good storytellers so with the story the person talking or the storyteller confuses the listener from the moment one because they don't know where they are in the movie you liars are liars but they think they're telling you the truth don't they yeah because you know where they are in the story yes it's your job to guide them on the path and that's what we mean about the listening path and being a listener is about guiding them to their own story.

Jennifer: right helping them see their own story.

Christine: and find their way without getting lost on all these side trails.

Jennifer: and without you telling them where they're at right they've got to discover that on their own through your help obviously.

Christine: well so yes and no because right what you're doing is you're telling them where they are you're saying look I know you mean it but right you don't know what you don't know we're still in the struggle right you're very clearly orienting them to you think you know the solution but you couldn't be more wrong you are firmly in the struggle and everything that you think you know is about to be disrupted and you're going to learn that's not at all what you think and so I'm going to show you that we're in the struggle and we're going to figure out what you really want after what you think you want right.

Jennifer: yes totally and I think it did actually help to give them that awareness of even if they didn't see it yet at least they and then eventually they were like oh yeah you were right like they did remember it after the fact right so it was helpful to just even open their eyes to it.

Christine: yeah and I you know I might say to a client you know what they say tell me I might go well you're not ready for you're not there yet right you're still trying to figure out where the conflict is and where the problem is where so when you keep people when you know where you are on the map of the path you'll help others be with you and that slows them down and helps them stay focused so you don't chase squirrels from the past.

Jennifer: well and that's like such a complaint that I hear from agents all the time is that they feel like they're chasing squirrels and they're going in a million different directions and like they can't affect change to get them on the right path to the destination.

Christine: that's right so knowing where you are is a huge part of that.

Jennifer: yeah so that's so map stops what was what did you call the third one.

Christine: next word well is the compass okay so that's what we call the six most powerful questions so there are six questions on the compass that questions if they're the only questions you ever asked you'd get more than you ever were with any specific questions it's hard to convince people of that but we show them all the time because when we teach people how to listen differently we restrict them to only those six questions and they're like I can't do it and then within a day they're like I get it.

Jennifer: Well and again my audience doesn't know that we talked about this but before we started recording I was telling Christine that like I have a laminated two-page list of questions that I like I needed as my toolbox when I was starting to learn how to code people and like two pages laminated front and back so if you had just given me six questions oh my god I would have loved that that would have been heaven compared to what I had.

Christine: well and even two pages isn't a lot relative by speaking but it's just too much for your brain to comprehend because now we're back to the golf lessons you tell me 20 things versus tell me four and I'm in a different boat so the questions are the reason they're called the compass is that they're guaranteed to get you back on the main path.

Jennifer: Love it!

Christine: Okay so let the compass do the work and orient both you and your
customer, in this case, we call them the hiker as the person that's telling the story um is that you're guiding them back to the path and so these are the questions that journalists use great interviewers use um a therapist use so they're pretty basic everybody tells you to ask open-ended questions it's very hard to do for most right we're fact driven so here's one of the most powerful questions you can ask and it relates directly to the map take me back to the beginning.

Jennifer: so true because that question helps the listener or the person that's in the story your client start to orient themselves of where they're at right.

Christine: that's right and most people don't start at the beginning no you start the problem I need a house and you're like no buyers or liars and you're like let me see you get here.

Jennifer: yeah take me back to the beginning.

Christine: take me back to where'd this started take me back to the beginning think about when you watch a movie if you catch it 20 minutes in and have never seen it before what happens?

Jennifer: you're confused.

Christine: who are the characters what's involved where did this start what you can't get you can't get crowded and you're you know whoever you're watching the movie with you're bugging what was that about you know?

Jennifer: how did we get here?

Christine: and so if you know that you know that most people start with the struggle the second stop not the first question is just take me back where did this start and then shut up and they'll tell you because their beginning is their beginning you might find out that even more later but you're starting at least in their minds where they think this began right.

Jennifer: and so take me back to the beginning love that so that's one of the questions what else.

Christine: so I'll go through kind of clear what happened next okay okay there are four situational or fact questions there are two feeling questions so the next one is a feeling question which is how does that make you feel or how did that make you feel now I this is a very personal sale you're in I believe no matter what you're selling you need to be asking feeling questions but the more personal the sale the more you better be asking the feeling questions.

Jennifer: right well and it's so true because the feeling things like that's the root of it right this is like somebody's home it's the most important thing like around that feeling of belonging and grounding and safety the feeling questions are so important when you treat it as a transaction that's when you're going to lose people right when people feel like you you know said at the beginning heard connected you understood

Christine: And people buy emotionally regardless of the sale this is particularly because it's such a huge investment and they will live their lives here yeah uh so and by the way they also want to have an amazing experience if possible buying the home of their dreams because it sucks when it's not fun like it's stressful but it's supposed to bring you like joy yeah yeah so how does that make you feel okay then here's tell me more yep tell me more and by the way I encourage your listeners to start listening for these questions they'll see them that they're used all the time people are like they're going to know I'm saying that I go don't care and no they no, they won't I'd love to have a common language where everybody knows they're being listened to in a compelling way right that's a better world so and then so tell me more than it's and this is another version of tell me more that's almost imperceptible in terms of it's verbal but not really it's when you're really listening you're encouraging the talker to tell you more through the it'll happen naturally.

Jennifer: right interesting!

Christine: you've done that throughout the course of us talking you're nodding you know it's there right and then last but not least is another feeling question which is how it sounds like you feel so it sounds like you feel the kitchen's the most important house part of the room in the house for you or it sounds like you want separation like you feel like you need some privacy so you better have your own office whatever that that feeling is yeah.

Jennifer: yeah I love that so you're saying it sounds like you feel and you're specifically repeating something that is related to how they're feeling about something not how they think about something.

Christine: correct and you're naming the feeling by the way it doesn't matter if you get it wrong

Jennifer: Okay people worry about that.

Christine: well so you sound frustrated right no I'm not frustrated I'm angry great you just told me how you actually feel perfect I didn't have to be right I had to care right I'm like this it sounds like this is you know you're really happy about this no I'm not really happy about or yeah I'm thrilled oh you're thrilled another level okay great right so it's not this is where it's uh it's not about being right it's about being with them and and and and guiding them to their own emotions.

Jennifer: gotcha and so one of the um I'm taking a bit of a detour here one of the things that I noticed in my own coaching with people is I'll often ask a question and when they're stuck and they don't even see it they'll answer with I don't know um and that would always like to cause me a roadblock I don't know where to go from here with I don't know but one of the tools that I was given that has actually like it sounds so stupid but I will often say well if you did know and it's like that's a key that unlocks something and then all of a sudden they do have the answer but it's like the pressure of needing to know they couldn't find it but the second that door got unlocked it's there so that was a tool that I use that has worked really really well and it works with my kids I use it with them all the time well if you did know what.

Christine: it looks like hypothesizing.

Jennifer: right exactly!

Christine: so the other things that'll work tell me more yeah more about not knowing it's okay how does it make you feel right I feel terrible because I feel like I should know and then you open up another dialogue as well.

Jennifer: right um okay so just those questions take me back to the beginning um and what happened next tell me more.

Christine: how's it make you feel?

Jennifer: how's it make you feel? What was the other feeling question?

Christine: it sounds like you feel.

Jennifer: it sounds like you feel and the other nice thing about that one is it does do a little bit of that reflecting back thing which is a part of that attentive listening or whatever which it bugs me when people do that to me because I know what they're doing but doing it that way it just sounds more like I don't know genuine or something like it actually.

Christine: I have to make a guess yeah I'm gonna try to at least take a stab at it like oh so you know I'm gonna take a genuine stab I just want to put the relief out that you don't have to be right it's really you know it's really more about just seeking to understand what the feeling actually is and people will tell you um nobody's ever said to me by the way how dare you ask me how I feel it's always like they just tell me you know they just you know it's the most um difficult question at first for people to want to ask that no one will notice.

Jennifer: and so I know I can already hear right now um a question that i'm sure people have got is I get this all the time where they'll say I don't know how to start so not so much when they have a client um i think that one feels a little bit more kind of tangible but what about the situations where they're trying to connect with somebody to and not for the purposes of getting them as a client but ultimately that's hopefully the end result um but you know how do they connect with somebody in a setting or in a situation that isn't directly real estate related they meet somebody you know in the change room I use this example all the time because i got more clients in the change room at my tennis club than any other location and they were always like i don't know how to start conversations I don't know how to like get to that place where i start to form a connection so are there any tools that you can use that help you get into their listening or into their story questions that you can ask where you're given the opportunity to sort of build some of these skills.

Christine: yeah um well there are lots of ways to do that so one is you know what you do is what we ask each other all the time right um so so what do you do oh I am a doctor uh you know okay, for example, all right take me back when did that start like how young were you when you wanted to be a doctor right beginning question you know oh I was seven ohs really no tell me more then you're just going back to their story that's one way it's just too that's very discombobulating because most people don't you know they go oh you're a doctor what kind of doctor where do you work and it's all fact fact fact fact you get to know somebody when you go back and say when did that begin right how young were you when that began.

Jennifer: right I love that that's such a different like approach angle on it than just getting fact-based answers which then feels like you're like firing off questions and it's not like conversational driven from there whereas like oh my god tell me how did you get started you know one of my kids has thought about that tell me about your journey kind of thing.

Christine: yeah and really go way back to the beginning think of that movie that usually our purpose shows up very early in our lives and so you know I had a lawyer sitting one time I knew I wanted to be a lawyer at eight because my parents used to like talk business my grandmother owned a like consignment store with it was all home stuff it was well beyond her year like before her generation right and he all the lawyers would they always talked about the lawyers would tell her no and I wanted to be the lawyer that told her yes right it's like so the other side of that and this is also in the book um is that you need to listen to yourself and understand your own purpose and so to me a lot of people can hang up a shingle and say they're a real estate agent that doesn't mean they're good at it.

Jennifer: right so true!

Christine: because I think a lot of people the attraction is making my own hours live my lifestyle make a big sale and they don't realize how hard it is and then that makes it harder for the really committed and good ones to differentiate themselves and so what makes you different or special about why you do this is also a way to start I'm much like I shared with me like I often will say something like people says what do you do and I go well we teach organizations how to listen transformatively my belief is I have one-word understanding I believe when you understand yourself and others differently then that changes all your results it elevates everything right and now we're in a different conversation now they know who I am and then I might go back to my beginning and tell my story.

Jennifer: right and so on that listening path so once we figure out you know
where they are in the journey what those stops are we've got the compass with the question of what comes after that.

Christine: so what comes after that is exactly what you just did which is the flashlight so I appreciate that you just

Jennifer: you didn't do that on purpose

Christine: people think about like when I say flashlight they think about reflecting and while there's some reflection it's really more of a summary okay so how do I know I know that there's a map it's like imagine you're summarizing a movie right you would say well the plot began here and you would say there were two k you know there was this character and that character and that's what they were doing and then you would move to the struggle and the problems and you'd summarize that and then you'd move to this point and summarize that and to wherever you are in the story and when you do that in 10 to 90 seconds summarizing both facts and feelings then your flashlight let me show you the trail we've walked together let me show you what important things you've told me facts and feelings so that I know we're in the same place that's what the flashlight does that's what you just did you didn't share feelings but you shared the summary of what we talked about

Jennifer: so it's kind of like like you said a recap basically um and how important is it to like to talk about those like or to reiterate that kind of facts and feelings that got discovered is that a critical piece of it.

Christine: it's really critical and here's why you want to differentiate yourself the most powerful story you can tell someone is their own and when your flashlight when you use the flashlight this is your opportunity to be the storyteller to them about them.

Jennifer: so you're the storyteller of their story

Christine: correct you just told me your story now I'm going to tell it back to you right it is incredibly powerful this is really how people come to their own conclusions because you're shining a light on what they told you they're not They're just talking right now you're shining a light on what they said and they're hearing it for the first time and it's like wow to you that you heard all that and wow to me I didn't realize that so a flashlight is very powerful because we don't that's a lot of what we don't do and I'm not talking about repeating I'm talking about surprising tell me your story imagine some stranger walks in the room and you just had a client or customer and you told that story to the new person so they knew exactly what you heard that's how this looks.

Jennifer: right instead of the repeating back it's not a repeating back and so in that process are you like providing any of your own insights into the story or are you just reflecting back what the story is

Christine: not yet you're just reflecting back now you want to do that in a meaningful way that doesn't mean you can't paraphrase right or interpret but you want to be careful that you don't contaminate it and that takes us to the next tool right we're inevitably going to contaminate it because our brains are the enemy of so again it's not about getting it right here's what's going to now you so you've walked the path you have the map you go to the four stops you've used the six questions the compass to stay on the path you've gotten all the story and now you're flashlighting you're reflecting it back you're summarizing it and then you go I'm going to make sure I didn't contaminate it so you get out your water filter because you want to remove the contamination of the story and you say let me see if I get you did I get you right.

Jennifer: so that's the question you ask after you do the summarization is did I get that right i is that accurate.

Christine: yeah now I'm gonna change that language a little bit because we do tend to say did I get that right or is that accurate and that's all fact what I want to make sure of is that you connect with the human and the feelings I learned this from a gentleman named Mike Bosworth who wrote solution so in the 70s and 80s for xerox very powerful methodology he talks about that one of his books that there's situational awareness and there's people awareness and do I get you are both.

Jennifer: right and so is that the actual question is do I get you?

Christine: it's really I call it a prompt and here's why I call it a prompt because it's I'm going to prompt you to tell me whether you got me or not and that prompt you're going to respond in a few ways one is you're going to say you get me and you're going to mean it you're most often this is what happens yeah you got me but let me tell you all the things you didn't get right beautiful by the way because now they're protecting you and they're telling you everything you quite missed and they're now they're like now they're telling you no I want you to understand this now you know you have them right.

Jennifer: right I love how you flip the script on that doesn't view that as oh I totally missed the vote on that one now you're getting a whole new map with a whole new set of tools.

Christine: it doesn't matter like they're telling you more that's awesome here's what happens I think in what you're trying to help the audience not get and we call that the urban dictionary and in sales there's a very bad word associated we will just say grin fudge okay for the think of the audience um you can look it up the urban dictionary it's in there I wrote about in the book but that's when someone tells you yes but means no it's really a sales term for you know what you know f off I don't want to see you again I'm not I'm not even going to take the time to tell you why you don't get me because you didn't connect with me enough.

Jennifer: right interesting.

Christine: people are polite where they don't want to tell you so they'll just say yeah yeah I'm gonna I'll be back in touch right you just got an urban dictionary.

Jennifer: gotcha and that means what like where did you go wrong or do you not really know?

Christine: well you want to pay attention because what you can think is I just gained a customer when really they're just out shopping for another agent right for one or yeah you sort of understand but not really and they're not gonna they haven't they don't trust you enough to tell you so you want to pay attention to are they telling you more when you ask do I get you are they really sincerely yep you got me or are there are do you feel like what are your little spidey senses up that maybe there's more.

Jennifer: it's like they're giving you platitudes or whatever.

Christine: yeah we're just not used to paying attention we're used to saying oh you know yeah we're in a good place no you have to watch it it's like somebody walking down the hall and you go how's your day going and they go oh I'm doing great and you're like you found out later that they had a fight with their spouse or they're miserable and they just gave you the urban dictionary right we do that all the time we have to look for that and when we get that water filter out and we really get somebody now we're getting closer to really being able to shift and building a connection that we can start to sell and problem solve and otherwise.

Jennifer: that makes so much sense um and knowing so is there anything at that point when somebody does respond that way that you can do to kind of I don't know course correct save go back.

Christine: I do it all the time because I just know that sometimes people don't think you really care enough to really want to get it right so there's that there's politeness there's you know sometimes I'll be on like a Zoom call like this I'll be like hey so-and-so how are you doing and they're like yeah I'm great you know and I go well that doesn't sound good like I that that didn't match for me and then they just go blah.

Jennifer: so you call it out.

Christine: totally call it out or if I were if I summarize if I use the flashlight and I see your face going I go wait a second I don't think I got that no no no you got me I don't think so what did I miss take me back what did I miss I'm not lying.

Jennifer: I like that approach I actually remember using that with a guy one time I was like well that wasn't um I think I said to him well that wasn't genuine and he he was a lawyer I did end up doing a lot of work with lawyers and he appreciated that I called him out on the like yeah.

Christine: it's actually it's a verb in our when we teach this we help people pay attention we have a card we're developing a game that we're working to it so and the gamification and I mean a board game, by the way, okay it's very tangible so you see the tools and people are like they love the urban dictionary because it's like I they're in meetings I just got the urban dictionary like they start to see it you know start to see it changes the game.

Jennifer: Okay so that's the whole path correct.

Christine: that's the found foundational tools on the path yes that's how you start to transform how you listen we also could talk about one other tool which is a foundational tool which is the footprints which are now I'm on the path with you I don't need to wait till the end I can ask little moments where I reflect feelings or facts along the path um.

Jennifer: so that's sort of in the moment while they're in the story you can use that tool to just kind of show that you're engaged in and hearing them.

Christine: what you just did right there is a mini reflection yes we call those footprints because sometimes the person talking is going to get ahead of you or fall behind and you want to make sure you're staying step in step.

Jennifer: gotcha I love that and so at what stage do we earn the right to solve people's problems and provide advice?

Christine: well I think when we earn we earn the right when we've truly understood and gotten them okay and we have to think about how big or what are we what's the ask right so have I earned the right to tell you you don't really want a kitchen for this much or that much you know or this neighborhood isn't as important as you thought versus you're not even in the right category of the house like there are different levels of earning the right but the way to do that is to make sure you are reflecting and summarizing and telling them their own story asking if you get them and if you don't get that urban dictionary now you've started to earn the right.

Jennifer: interesting I love it and so one of the other things that you talked about in the book that we didn't really cover is what's the difference between story selling and storytelling.

Christine: well they can be used interchangeably the the difference is I think what people you know if you have to tell somebody something the best way to tell them is with a story right it's just the best way to sell it and stories don't have to be 20 minutes they can be 30 seconds right you know you said i um i had a lawyer that and you gave that example that's an example of how you tell a story to make a point um the good news is when you learn to listen through gathering a story you're already becoming a storyteller so we're building that muscle the first story you're telling somebody is their own so you're just a storyteller now you know the components of the story when you start to language things that way you bring people along in various ways on the path and so you don't have to give them all the facts you make the point that they might not they might sit in their car and go I didn't even know what she said to me but something's clicking i bought an um a mini cooper several many years ago now and I was an accident victim and you know people and I'm tall and five nine and people are already in the mini cooper for I loved it was right but i saw I got the one the club men and then they had the countrymen which was the bigger version and I thought well this has got to be safer right so I called my guy and I go I was like damn it I bought the wrong car right not yet and I called him and I said so I saw this countryman and what is this a lot safer and blah blah and he goes no the airbags are the same but this is the same I'm like who is this guy he's not trying to sell me this car and I'm driving on my Bluetooth and he goes I go okay well I appreciate it thanks he was waiting to hold on a second however I had a customer who was on route 30 and 113 last week she somebody pulled out in front of her she got clipped she walked out of the car he ended up in the hospital for three you know two weeks whatever and she was fine unscathed I go and he says okay let me know if you need anything I thought about what a perfect so he knew it was an accident perfect story if you tell me about the airbags if he'd told me all the safety features that weren't what he told me is a woman who I wanted the story ending that she had yeah now the car unscathed very powerful guess what I bought the car.

Jennifer: and so I think where it's so funny how you like you know when I gave the lawyer example I didn't even realize that that was what I was doing but I do that a lot and so I think when we hear all about this like storytelling concept it's you're right it is like all the rage I think people think they have to be bigger more elaborate stories than they do um I think it can be literal just little quips of things that just help people connect the dots on things but how do you go about or do you or should you kind of go about building up a library of those little stories that you can use like is that something you should be intentional around and like deliberate about.

Christine: so yes it's the answer to that 100 and it's not the first step because what I can tell you is that I fundamentally believe and have proven throughout my career with others and myself that you will sell more just by listening than any story you ever tell.

Jennifer: I love that!

Christine: yeah so do the simple stupid as they say.

Jennifer: you know simple stupid.

Christine: and we we do as we you know one of the things you have to that makes you what we call an expert listener or transformational listener is the ability to tell stories along the path to bring the hiker along but that's a more advanced skill right so so if we look at kind of the wheel of how do you evolve to be a real conversational guide and a listening guide start play start learn the notes of the piano right yeah you can you know you can sound pretty good at the piano if you really learn the fundamentals right you're not an improvising yet so so I would say less is more but we call that the rope well now we're getting into more advanced tools because the stories help you really stay connected on the path and bring somebody over difficult obstacles those little moments help that happen but that's definitely a more advanced skill and one you're too at risk of telling too much if you go there first.

Jennifer: well and if you don't build the muscle first of learning how to just shut up and listen right it's like you you only earn the right to start telling the stories once you've mastered the ability to get really good at listening and uncovering what their story is what their problems are etc before you need to have kind of like tactics and strategies yeah I love it is there anything that we didn't talk about that you think oh man I wish we'd covered this topic this would be really helpful.

Christine: um one of the things that I want to caution uh your listeners about is using the words I understand okay so because like as someone who's been in the business and career of listening when someone says to me I understand never do I feel less understood oh so true.

Jennifer: interesting I love that.

Christine: so this is where the tools do the work so if you tell me if I tell you my story and you go yeah I understand I'm like you don't understand by the way don't even take my order at a restaurant that I want this on the side and no onions and this like without repeating what I actually ordered and why it's important to me like I'm an ice fiend and so I ask for extra ice I know every time whether that server's going to bring me extra ice.

Jennifer: and how do you know?

Christine: because they don't see that I care about it I can tell because I'm so like crazy about it I want extra ice like in water whatever um.

Jennifer: I just want extra ice.

Christine: coming back they're used to hearing light ice it's the opposite of what most people want it's so so I just have I now have enough cues that I just can tell the ones that go look at me at the x-ray yep and they and then they feed me cups of ice as I put them better I'm not that you know so so it the words I understand don't do it because they're devoid of any real concreteness to.

Jennifer: it feels like a platitude thing right?

Christine: yeah and I think it's genuine most of the time but it doesn't convey understanding the only way to convey understanding is to use your flashlight and tell the story they just told you and ask for the do I get you with your water filter there's where understanding happens anything you knew it all right up to that point you 100 get it all you don't do that they're not going to feel understood you've just lost an incredible opportunity right so so be aware in our personal relationships as well under the words I understand don't mean the second thing is and this is more of an advanced tool is interrupting is a very powerful form of listening.

Jennifer: I do that all the time.

Christine: but not to talk.

Jennifer: right oh I do that.

Christine: but in something and again now we're getting into more advanced tools but I will say that we think interrupting is a bad thing interrupting to talk or just tell is bad if you interrupt to understand that's a different matter.

Jennifer: oh I love that distinction.

Christine: it takes learning the fact I'm getting I'm this is a little bit of a teaser right it's you need to do the foundational tools first.

Jennifer: of course!

Christine: before you go into these more you know leveled up like as I was a field hockey player back in my earlier days and I went to a camp with an Olympic athlete um and she made us hit blades of grass in the summer in August for 30 minutes in the afternoon a day for a week and I went you know we're all like why are we hitting blades of grass well this woman could kill the hockey ball and bowl by the end of the week my drive was insanely better.

Jennifer: right right.

Christine: without ever touching a ball she knew the discipline of just doing the simple playing of those notes on the piano will escalate your skills so focus on those foundational tools but understand there's a lot more you can add to over time that makes you even more expert listener I love it.

Jennifer: I love it this has been one of my favorite conversations for sure of 2023 but maybe even of my entire podcast I can't like stress how much of a difference I think this can make in people's success um if they really learn how to listen properly um and kind of adopt this transformational listening versus just active listening or you know listening to sell something essentially so if people want to get your book which I like everybody listening should read this book it's so it's I said this to you at the beginning of the call it's really well laid out it's easy to read um I had so many aha moments there's exercises in it like I just thought it was fantastic so tell yeah listeners where they can get it.

Christine: I like I do really like to make complicated things simple so I think that's important as it's good I'm dyslexic you know I've learned later in life and so that you know that's what's hard right is things can be so complicated so I hope I'm glad it was more simplified it's on all the major outlet's Amazon for example and I believe people should get it in the form they want so it's audio kindle softback hardback.

Jennifer: oh so it's available in all those... that's amazing!

Christine: yes because you know you like you mentioned your listeners are they're listening to books they're not reading right as long and you can speed it up we've tested I think it's like 1 15 because before I start sounding like a chipmunk because again we want to slow down we you know we try to we seek to understand first so right up and you can find me um at on social media The Listening Guide.

Jennifer: The Listening Guide, so everybody... remember, this is Christine Miles the book is called What Is It Costing You Not To Listen and your Instagram is what again The Listening Guide

Christine: The Listening Guide just put them in front of it

Jennifer: gotcha we'll help you become a listening guide and you can follow me as the listening guide all right I love it.

Jennifer: and did you say you're making a game like a board game.

Christine: yeah so we have the um the one we use with within our facilitator workshops yeah ready um all those tools from novice to uh expert hiker uh and then we're working on the junior game for schools our mission is to change the paradigm to flip it to instead of just talking telling knowing to educate kids and adults but particularly kids at an earlier age I mean there's no education on this and no I'm not a skier necessarily I skied a little bit before my accident but I know anything you try to do at five versus 35 45 55 is a lot easier so let's just get there.

Jennifer: they're sponges absolutely honestly Christine thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing all of these nuggets of wisdom and I sincerely hope that people get your book read it and more importantly start to learn to implement it in their lives thank you so much.

Christine: well thank you and let us know if we can help.

Jennifer: I appreciate it I love it all right there you have it folks I hope you enjoyed this episode and I really hope that you read the book I genuinely believe that learning how to perfect this skill is the key that can help you unlock more success in your real estate business but also honestly in all other important relationships in your life as well.

If you are enjoying the show I would greatly appreciate it if you left me a five-star review on Apple Podcast and remember to those who are listening that the more you learn the more you're going to earn but only if you're actually implementing what you're learning.

Until next time.

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