This article was originally published in Real Estate Agent Magazine Twin Cities, written by Charity Malmberg, Founder and President of Trademark Title

We live in a world surging with data. A world of jobs solely dedicated to collecting and analyzing trillions of gigabytes of information. As a small business owner and team leader, it can be overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to utilizing the information we have or read about.

But data doesn’t have to be confusing numbers, crushing piles of information or competing statistics. Sometimes, the best data is created by our own inquiries.

As I continue to write through Erik Therwanger’s Dynamic Sales Combustion, we’ll use his take on Unparalleled D.A.T.A. (Discovery Info; Action Info; Tactical Info; and Accountability) tweaked for the real estate business, so that you have a straight-forward and simple doorway into using data for your business.


As real estate professionals, most of the data we have will come from our own research of the industry, buyer/ seller trends, market values and so on. But what we can often overlook is the data that lives and breathes right in front of us: our clients.

Erik’s first D in D.A.T.A, which stands for Discovery Info, is all about the information we learn about our clients.


Therwinger points out something we all know, but often overlook, people like to talk about themselves. According to recent studies, self-disclosure triggers the reward center of the brain! This means that, for many people, talking about themselves is like eating a good meal; it’s enjoyable.

Therwinger shares that during his time in finance, many of his colleagues already knew exactly what they wanted when entering a meeting with new prospective client—they even brought along the paperwork they hoped the client would sign. Why? Because it had the biggest payout. They didn’t take the time to truly learn who their clients were and what their needs and challenges were. They didn’t take the time to listen.

As an agent, think how much time and energy you can save down the road if you get to know your clients’ needs, desires and challenges upfront. If you go in with assumptions or a goal to find a home or sell a home as quickly as possible, you’re probably not going to be the kind of agent that leaves a lasting impact and truly meets your clients’ needs. The key is obvious; enter as a listener.


Listening starts with asking the right questions. And, as Therwinger points out, it’s more than just what you ask; it’s when. A great starting point for starting discovery conversations is Therwinger’s three simple techniques.

  • Interview
  • Identify needs
  • Uncover challenges

Before asking what, you can do for your client, get to know who they are as a human being—interview them! Learn about their careers, passions, personal goals, family needs. Then work your way into questions that identify their needs and desires. Finally, start to edge into the challenges and obstacles they face and hope to overcome. Remember to write down what they tell you and come armed with a professional fact finder sheet*!

As their foremost partner in finding (or selling) a home, the main solution you have for your clients is finding them the perfect fit, whether home or buyer. But finding this perfect fit is probably impossible unless you start the process with good questions and an open ear.


Like any sales profession, our fight to win over clients doesn’t start with a 0-0 score. We’re coming from behind. Unfortunately, too many people (yourself included, probably) have experienced a salesperson who just wanted to make the sale and didn’t take the time to get to know you. So, it’s no surprise that so many of us have a negative stigma associated with sales.

But you don’t have to fit that stigma. You can be different. You can be the agent who truly takes the time to discover who your client is and how you can truly help them.