03 Jan THE PRINCIPLES OF BUYER PERSUASION: PART 1
How many of you believe that persuading a buyer to buy your property is a matter of sheer luck? We know Real Estate Agents do not. How many of you actually believe that with the combination of chance and charisma, you’ll get an offer to buy a property in no time? Let’s set the facts straight: persuasion is a science. It does not involve elements of magic, luck, or destiny. It involves influence as the main factor towards persuasion.
People behave in specific ways but there are only a few who actually understand what’s going on in their minds that make them act or react in certain ways. Persuasion, just like all other forms of behaviour, also has a cognitive process. The brain is hardwired to respond but only in the right conditions and with the right techniques. So if you’re looking forward to selling your property, here are the principles you need to know about persuading buyers to take a second look at your property.*
Principle 1: Reciprocation
Buyers feel that they are indebted to those who do something or give something to them.
It’s a known technique for vendors to offer something for free to get one foot inside their target audience’s door. But simply offering something for free simply doesn’t cut it nowadays. The key is offering value. People are receptive when they get something that they feel is relevant to them. In the case of selling a property, that thing that you want to give out may not always be a gift. What about a property makeover or a property renovation for the purpose of maximising the sale profit?
Even property presentation is a science nowadays. The elements of form and function work together to create appeal and value to your target audience. By renovating or styling your property before it hits the market, you are actually doing your target market a favour and a service: showing them the potential of the property.
Principle 2: Social Proof
Buyers seek affirmation of their course of action from their environment, most especially their peers.
At the onset of a decision-making process, buyers are uncertain about what to do. This explains why they narrow down their selection options by using filters. These filters often represent a summary of what they need and what they want. But when they cannot decide even after using these filters, they consider factors in their environment to make a final decision.
The decision to use factors in the environment is normal: undecided buyers need a guide to validate their options. So as a Real Estate Agent or vendor, how good is your social standing? What do people say about you? Have you established yourself as an exceptional seller among your target clients?
In the context of a property makeover, one form of social proof is showcasing completed projects. But these are not simply projects. These are projects that are actually completed and got sold above market. In this case then, it is important that you, as a seller, work with the most credible property makeover specialist in your area.
Principle 3: People and Consistency
Getting potential buyers to commit verbally or nonverbally is a function of value, attitude, action, and age.
People strive to honour their commitments. It’s a value held important by most people – both sellers and buyers. While there’s a grey line between seeking for a verbal or a non-verbal agreement for a buyer to actually buy a house, honouring a commitment may be seen when people who express interest in property inspection times actually show up, when they agree to a private inspection and actually turn up, and so on.
Potential buyers do not want to back out of their commitments especially when there’s enough indication for them that the property is what they want. But how do you even elicit that desire for your property? In the language of a property makeover, there’s such thing as a target audience. The target audience make up a collective profile. From this profile, their needs and wants may be identified, their lifestyle uncovered, and even their income projected. The result: with the help of a property makeover specialist, you’ll be able to identify value-add renovation work on your property.
We’ve only scratched the surface of the persuasion principles here. In the next installment, we’ll cover the final three principles and see how each of those work hand in hand with property selling and property makeover.
*Dr. Robert Cialdini, a Psychology and Marketing Professor at the Arizona State University, is the author of the books Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, and The Small BIG: Small changes that spark a big influence. He is the proponent of the principles of persuasion being discussed in this article.