Selling property is not about selling property!

Posted by on August 25, 2010 in Blog | 0 comments

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As a Management Consultant and behaviourist, I was asked to write an article for Property Professional Magazine. This is why selling property is no longer about selling property!

Being a property professional is, believe it or not, not about selling property. Well it is if you have a short term approach to what it is that you do. I f you have a longer term view (generally referred to as a career view) then you view what you do somewhat differently. You are not in the property business; you are in the people business!!

And this raises the question, “What do you know about the People Business”? C’mon, answer truthfully! We all have the perception that the world would be a much simpler place if everyone could just be normal – like me!! The first thing you must learn about the people who traipse through your show houses and view your online ads is that what they are about to do is spend money they don’t have on something they really want, but can’t tell you exactly what it is they really want! How many variations of 3 bedroom 2 bathrooms are there? And how do you know which one your prospective clients want? To get into the “people business” you need to get into their heads – a bit like a mentalist. Here are 3 tips to help you do that.

Move like you mean it.
The main reason why so many e-mail and text messages are misconstrued is because the reader does not have the benefit of being able to juxtapose the message against body language, tone of voice, eye contact and facial expressions. Your chief task when interacting with people is to make absolutely sure that your movements are congruent with your voice and with the house you’re showing. Because people rely on visual cues more than they do on verbal ones, you might even want to go so far as to “dress the part” of the house you’re showing. People don’t buy houses remember – they’re looking for a place they can be themselves in. They’re looking to you to show them homes where they do that, and they expect to see themselves through you when showing a house. Get to know your prospects and make sure that you match not only their physical needs (size, location etc) but also their emotional needs. Walt Disney World provides a seamless experience – you should do the same – without the silly costume!

Emotions Rule!
I’ve mentioned earlier that more homes are bought on emotion than on rational thinking. You need to go beyond thinking about the nearest school and shopping malls when trying to match the houses on your book with the homes your clients are looking for. If the long-held assumptions of “location, location, location” were true, then people will not be looking to move out of the city to its fringes and live on golf estates. There are new emotional rules to follow.

This means you’ll have to ask them lots more questions about themselves when you first meet them! For example, you may like to find out if they like going out for dinner (this could influence location), if they are outdoor sports people (for this they’ll need a big garage to store their bikes etc), they may be wine lovers (think cellar space). You then want to find as many emotional connections when showing them the house.

Let’s look at the latter example. Why not have a bottle of good red wine open and ready to serve them some as they view the house? You’ll be creating an immediate emotional connection and get them to engage their core senses while in an unfamiliar environment. From a psychological point of view people crave comfort and the familiar. When you make an effort to provide this immediate sense of belonging and comfort you put them in the shoes of the “owner” rather than the house-shopper intruding on someone else’s house.

Lingo Longer.
Very often we talk ourselves out of a sale by trying too hard. I’ve seen realtors sell a house and buy it right back! The third “mentalist” skill is to understand that the language we use has a very real influence on our buyers. It is important to use affirmative language – words and phrases that will re-enforce the selection of the particular property as the right one for the buyer.

Talk about the home your clients are viewing as though it is already theirs. Use the present tense rather than the future tense. Allow them to visualise themselves going about their day-to-day lives in this inspirational setting. People buy houses they aspire to living in. Use positive language to create vivid images of the lifestyle in the new home. When sportspeople were asked to visualise their peak performance and attach present-tense words to it, their brains released endorphins, serotonin and adrenalin akin to the actual performance. Their minds (as with everyone) could not distinguish between what was real and imaginary. You can use the same principle through the words you use. It should be easier since your clients are already immersed in the experience and will not need to visualise the environment. You’ll just have to create the immediate vocabulary.

Using these three emotional triggers will make closing the sale easier and will form the foundation for connecting with people and understanding that property is actually the people business.

Erik Vermeulen is an international Keynote speaker and corporate mentalist. He helps companies better understand their employees and their customers through understanding their behaviour. He can speak at your conference and facilitate behaviour workshops to make you a property mentalist. Contact him at or on 083 603-7119.

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