• Buying a home is an emotional ordeal.
  • If you can purposefully build an emotional crescendo in the process, you can better emotionally engage your clients.
  • Give clients permission to be expressive, make entry into the home a “moment” and talk in terms of anticipated memories.

Would you agree that homebuyers make emotional decisions and support that decision with logic? That would make sense, given the life-changing nature of a home purchase — it’s an emotional ordeal!

Our richest experiences in life are accented by strong, positive emotions. Think of your wedding day, of a vacation highlight or the moment you walked through the front door of your home for the first time. We associate the best experiences in life with positive emotions.

So what if we could more purposefully build to an emotional crescendo in the homebuying process? What if we could help customers enjoy both the process and the finished result by becoming more emotionally engaged?

We can. And we can do so by paying close attention to the customer’s “emotional altitude.”

Emotional altitude measures the intensity of positive emotional energy at any given time. It is the task of the sales professional to keep their client’s emotional altitude at a high level.

Anticipated memories

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner and founder of behavioral economics, suggests that we think of our future in terms of “anticipated memories.” We look forward to specific moments that we will embrace and enjoy.

When a prospective buyer considers a new home, he or she will typically do so with an eye on the features, design, plan layout and yard dimensions.

But wouldn’t it be far more powerful if they approached the purchase by paying attention to the positive emotions associated with anticipated memories?

The emotionally neutral salesperson

Here’s the problem: Too many salespeople approach the showing of a home as an exercise in logic and analysis. They quote square footage and bedroom count and features, but they fail to engage the customer emotionally. The customer takes his or her emotional cue from the salesperson and responds in kind — emotionally neutral.

Think about a test drive of a brand-new car. The smell is heavenly. The dashboard is cool. The power is amazing. The speakers are awesome. Internally, your emotional altitude is sky-high. Externally, you are all logic, analysis and business-like.

Why the contradiction between what you feel and what you show? This happens because we are afraid to outpace the emotional energy of the salesperson we are dealing with. That salesperson is typically professorial, fact-based and emotionally neutral; we adopt the same approach.

Releasing the emotions

Think of it this way: How would the showing be different if you were selling a home to your sister or to your best friend? Wouldn’t you feel a greater freedom to approach the viewing from an emotional perspective? In all likelihood, the collective emotional altitude in the room would be much, much higher.

This is precisely what needs to happen with all of our clients.

To be clear: I am not advocating some kind of syrupy, sappy bawl-fest during the process. But I am suggesting that the elements of joy, excitement, anticipation and appreciation be given room to be expressed.

Here are three ways to enhance your client’s emotional altitude:

1. Make the entry to the home a “moment.”

Too many salespeople walk their customers through the front door with absolutely no appreciation for how special this moment can and should be. This could be one of the more important moments in the customer’s entire life!

Stop talking! Pause for a moment and allow the customer to take it all in. If they hate it, so what? They’ll tell you and you can move on. But if they love it, wouldn’t you want them to express that joy?

2. Give them permission to be expressive.

Your customer has never been through a training session on how to walk through a home. So give them a lesson. Tell them it is OK to express their emotions and opinions, whether positive or negative.

Sometimes a prospect simply needs permission to express what is happening in their minds. Ask them the direct questions: “Tell me what you’re thinking right now.” “Do you love it? Do you hate it? Talk to me.”

3. Talk in terms of anticipated memories.

How will this particular prospect live in this particular home? What will their life look like? What are those specific moments in the future that will bring great joy?

The more you can get them to mentally move in, the stronger the chance of a deep connection to the home.

It is time to start showing a home the way the customer wants to see it, and selling the home the way the customer wants to buy it — with their emotional altitude sky-high.

The burden of sustaining emotional altitude rests on the shoulders of the sales professional. You are charged with protecting the energy and sustaining the positive vibe in the sales process.

A quick test of where your energy needs to be at is to simply ask yourself: “Would I want my customer to adopt the energy level I have right now?”

Another way to put that: “Do I have enough positive energy for myself and my customer?”

To be clear, this does not mean you need to be some sort of frantic, over-the-top, hyperactive freak. You don’t want to come off like a Jack Russell terrier who got into a case of Red Bull.

But you do need to radiate positive energy and you need to sustain that throughout the process.

Your customers will take their emotional cues from you. Give them the opportunity to become emotionally engaged in the experience of viewing a home. And give yourself a chance to change their world!

Jeff Shore is the founder of Shore Consulting. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook

Email Jeff Shore.

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