Hommati Logo

Download the App

Choosing the Right Words: Know What to Say and What Not to Say to Clients

Go back
Choosing the Right Words: Know What to Say and What Not to Say to Clients


In any type of business, sales especially, choosing the right words is key to success. If you do not know what words to use and what words to avoid, at least broadly speaking, the odds are good your business will not last long.

Today we are going to give some actionable tips for word choice when it comes to dealing with clients. While the focus will be from a realtor's perspective, much of this advice could apply in almost any other field as well.

Tip #1: Most People Want Friendly but Not Intimate

When interacting with a client, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is acting too casual. While this may be an option for clients once you have dealt with them for a bit, it is a bad opening move with newcomers.

People like friendly salespeople but with some distance added to the mix. You do not want to act like an intimate friend or relative. You are a stranger; now convince them you are a nice, well-intentioned stranger.

As for specific language to avoid, there is too much that would qualify to cover in this one point. As a rule, avoid language you would not use except among close friends and be careful with anything crass, like cursing or talk regarding sex.

Tip #2: You Are There to Serve

Sales can be an odd role. On the one hand, you are obviously there to convince people to make a decision they might not make on their own. On the other hand, you are not the one with much control.

In sales, most of your language should be couched in an understanding you are there to serve your client. You want to help identify a product (in our case home) that fits their needs. Then you explain why it is a strong choice.

We suggest guiding phrases, "I think you may like...", rather than assertive ones, "You will love this...", as the second may seem forceful. When in doubt, make suggestions, not demands or assertions.

You do not need to beg to clients, but they are owed (or at least expect) respect. In playing the role of respectful servant and guide, you are better able to build trust, convey key information, and land a sale.

Tip #3: It Helps to Be Prepared

If you are looking for words to push away a client, "I do not know" can do a lot of harm. At least in big ticket sales like real estate, clients often put a great deal of trust in those who are helping them. They expect some expertise.

While you cannot be expected to know everything, researching common questions your clients may ask can do a great deal of good.

You also want to keep aware of the market the client is buying or selling into. Are there alternatives to the choice they are interested in? Talk about them at key moments where the client may be wondering whether the current choice they are considering is a good idea.

Tip #4: Have Your Pitch Ready

This goes hand-in-hand with the tip above, but you need a sales pitch if you want to sell a customer on anything they do not already want.

You do not want to sound like a cheesy car advertisement that just ignores key negatives of what you are selling. You need to sound knowledgeable, trustworthy, and competent.

One way to do this is by memorizing a sales script or outline. You want to be able to effortlessly convey key information a client is going to want to know.

The trick is to not sound robotic. If a client interrupts or asks a question you are not prepared for, you need to roll with it. Be polite, do not panic, and try to address them as best you can; do not skip over the question because of your script.

Tip #5: Honesty Goes a Long Way

If a car or vehicle has a major issue, and a salesperson never mentioned it, would you trust them once you found out? For most people, the answer is no.

One of the key things people look for in salespeople is a knowledgeable person able to identify "landmines." By that, we mean customers want to know important information that it would feel like a disaster to make a choice on without knowing.

There are people who will buy homes, cars, and other big-ticket items in need of repairs. Those who do not are only going to be mad and may even take legal action if you hide the state of what you are trying to sell to them.

If you point out the downsides of a given option, you build trust. This can not only benefit you in the short-term, as you try to convince a customer of what option works best for them, but it also helps your long-term reputation.

Tip #6: Clients Should Know Your Name

If you are in sales, you want your clients to know your name. An initial "Hello, my name is..." will not be enough for the average customer to remember you by name.

There are a few ways you can try to help a customer remember you naturally, without it feeling strained or annoying. (The first is to have a business card, but we will not focus too much on that, as it is beyond our topic today.)

One good strategy is to always introduce yourself by name on the phone. A simple, "Hello! It is [Name] from [Company]." can do real good if you end up having to call them a few times over the course of your business relationship.

If your work is in person, it can be harder for it to seem natural. One good strategy is to ask them to mention your name if they choose to contact your company.

This strategy is nice because it helps both parties. It will make it easier for them to contact your company about your past dealings and help them remember you by name.

Tip #7: Convince Them You Matter

When many clients and potential clients first meet a salesperson of any kind, they get annoyed. More and more, Americans do not seem to like being overtly marketed to.

The good news is that a salesperson can (or at least should) do more than that. As an example, realtors have a whole list of advantages over trying to sell homes without one. If a client is skeptical, talk about what your advantages are.

In essence, you want to be perceived as helpful rather than annoying. You are not a walking advertisement. You should be an asset to the client.

This feeds well into much of what we have already talked about. Present useful information the client wants to know. If the typical pitch seems to annoy them, then cut it down and focus on being more informational.

Tip #8: Dazzle Without Being Annoying

Does your business offer interesting features many other businesses lack? Or maybe you know about some interesting fact or feature on the thing your client is interested in? Mention it!

For example, at Hommati, we offer 3D virtual tours of the properties we have on offer. This is a feature many customers would not expect or even think to ask about. At the same time, many will use it once informed.

It may not always be possible but it is a good idea to have at least a few pieces of information you can use to surprise the client in a positive way.

The nature of what you can offer will depend a lot on what you are selling. The history of a location, the way other people have been excited about similar things lately—the specifics matter less than making it seem exciting and positive. 

Tip #9: Avoid Controversy

The odds are quite good that you will have many clients with different life philosophies than you. Many will vote different than you and even those that do not will have nuances to their philosophies that you will not be in agreeance with.

Now, on occasion, some assumptions might be safe to make. Their car may bear political bumper stickers or they may flat out mention a political topic. That is alright, but you still need to act with care.

Unless you know a client very well, the safest bet, if topics like politics or religion come up, is to take a neutral tone. Allow them to lead the conversation and do not push the envelope beyond things they have already made clear they believe.

Now sometimes these topics have to come up. For example, some people may want to live in an LGBTQ+-friendly neighborhood or in an area that leans conservative.

If you must discuss things like this, stick to only the facts until you have a clear read on where the client stands. Then you can expand, at a very slow pace, into discussing the issues to the level of detail they desire.

Choosing the Right Words Can Make or Break a Sale

That covers some of our go-to tips for choosing the right words with clients. In summary, be respectful, helpful, and avoid being an annoyance. The key is preparation and there is nothing wrong with practicing in the mirror or shower to nail your lingo and cadence. 

If you are interested in buying or selling a home, we would love for you to contact one of our agents. They are experienced in all the above and can help you nail down a good deal, whether you are buying or selling.