Mastering the Art of Non-Verbal Communication in Real Estate Sales

Man and woman on the couch communicating non-verbally

Talking the talk is one thing, but a great real estate agent isn’t made with words alone. In fact, it’s actually the non-verbal communicating you do that can matter the most.

Let’s look at a study from the University of Pennsylvania for proof. According to the findings, a whopping 55% of our communication is done via body language. And another 38%? That’s vocal — meaning the tone and inflection that come across when you speak. Only a mere 7% of our messaging is actually conveyed in the words we use. 

What does that mean for you? Basically, it says that a great sales pitch or a foolproof listing presentation can only get you so far in this game. The real success? That comes from mastering your non-verbal communication skills — as well as how to read your clients’.

How to Communicate Better Non-Verbally

As an agent, the best non-verbal approach you can take is one of mirroring. Try to match your body language and tone of voice to that of whomever you’re speaking with. This puts them at ease and allows them to better connect and relate with you. It also promotes better focus and retention, as there’s less tension in the air.

You should also:

  • Listen intently. Just listening isn’t enough. You need to listen deeply and show genuine interest in what’s being said to you. Make eye contact, ask questions, and take notes — both mentally and physically. Your goal should be to understand the message behind the words. What is the client trying to tell you? What is their ultimate intention with those words?
  • Watch your facial expressions. Even the smallest of facial movements can tell a story. A furrowed brow, a crinkled nose, or a bite of the lip can all indicate there’s hesitancy at work. Conversely, a smirk or a raised eyebrow can show humor. Make sure your facial expressions are conveying what you truly mean in any given situation.
  • Be aware of your eye contact. You don’t need to make intense eye contact 100% of the time, but don’t avoid your client’s eyes or stray too far from their faces for long. This gives off a distant air and makes you seem distracted, unfocused, and sometimes even bored.
  • Purposefully place your hands. Your goal is to seem comfortable and at ease, so your customers feel the same. If your hands are on your hips or your arms are folded across your chest, it seems closed-off and anxious. A better choice is to let your hands move freely as you talk or, if that feels uncomfortable, hung loosely at your side. 
  • Stand up straight. Watch your posture as you communicate with clients. Stand straight and tall, but be careful not to be too rigid or formal. Avoid slouching or leaning too much, as this can appear lackadaisical — like you’re not confident in your abilities or you’re not taking the situation seriously enough.

You should also be careful with your fingers. Pointing a finger — especially directly at someone — can feel very aggressive and disrespectful, no matter what words come along with it.

Reading Your Clients’ Body Language

It’s also important to understand what your clients are saying non-verbally. 

Are they comfortable or uncomfortable? Are they listening or distracted? Are they understanding what you’re saying or do they need additional explanation? Body language, facial expressions, and non-verbal cues can all clue you into these answers.

Here’s what you can look for:

  • Fidgeting, wringing their hands, or adjusting their clothes. This means they’re uncomfortable or anxious. Take steps to put them at ease.
  • Direct eye contact, face-to-face positioning, closed-leg stance. These indicate that a person is comfortable and relaxed. Try to mirror them.
  • Squinting eyes or furrowed brows. These moves might indicate the person is unhappy, frustrated, or confused. Be sure to inquire further. 
  • Crossed arms or wide stance. These are usually protective moves, allowing the person to distance themselves from you. It typically means they’re averse to what you’re saying or how they’re being spoken to.
  • Real versus fake smiles. When the client smiles, is it real or forced? A real smile usually leads to crinkling around the eyes and nose. If their smile isn’t impacting their full face, they’re probably faking it — and might not be as happy as they seem.

If you spot any worrisome facial expressions or gestures, don’t call them out on it, but ask how they’re feeling, what they need, and how you can help. Show that you’re tuned in and understanding, and that you genuinely care about their experience as a buyer or seller.

Another Way to Impress Customers

If you’re looking for another way to instill confidence in buyers and sellers, refer them to a mortgage lender who will take care of their needs just as you would. Get in touch with Embrace Home Loans today to learn more about how we can help.

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Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.