Good Journalistic — and Realtor — Technique (vs. Parent of New College Student)

Good journalists — and Realtors! — know that the key to eliciting information is to pose open-ended questions rather than closed-ended questions.

So, savvy listing agents debriefing Buyers’ agents ask, “What did your client like most/least about the home?,” not, “How did the showing go?”

Similarly, Buyers’ agents trying to better understand their clients’ purchasing criteria are better advised to ask, “What features in a home are most important to you (and why)?,” instead of “How many Bedrooms and Baths are you looking for?”

Settling for “Yes” and “No”

Of course, every rule has its exception(s).

Exhibit A: communicating with a now very far-from-home young adult (in this case, my son) who just started college.

Then, the key to eliciting a response is framing close-ended questions — presumably via text — that can be quickly answered with a “Yes,” “No,” or “Maybe.”

Sample queries: “Did your classes go OK?”; “Are you set with money?”; and “Are you getting enough sleep?” (fortunately, all answered with a quick — and very succinct — “Yes”).

P.S.: I believe kidnappers use the term “proof of life.”  🙂

See also, “2 Unmistakable Signs That Your Kid’s Leaving for College Soon.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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