6 principles of persuasion every real estate agent should master

Small favors such as critical market data, other consumer freebies can pay dividends

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mephotoBy ANDREW GALE

Dr. Robert B. Cialdini wrote a book called “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.” It’s one of the most respected books on the subject and used by marketers all around the world.

Reciprocity

The theory of reciprocity is that as humans we naturally want to return any favors given and pay back when we owe. Another way to look at it is treating people as they’ve treated you.

Some ways we can apply this to real estate:

  • Sending a handwritten thank you/birthday card
  • Mentioning local businesses on your blog
  • Featuring local businesses on your website
  • Giving your best clients gifts (Spoil.io is awesome for this)
  • Taking your favorite clients out to dinner

Using these tactics will not only make your clients more happy on average, but the theory of reciprocity states that this rule can spur unequal changes. People may agree to perform a substantially larger favor (e.g., giving you a referral) in return for your initial small favor (taking them out to dinner).

Commitment and consistency

The theory of commitment and consistency is people want to stay consistent with their words and beliefs. They will go out of their way to make sure that they follow through with what they say and convey. The more public the commitment, the more effective and motivated the person will be to make sure they complete whatever was said.

A great way to execute this principle is having people sign up for free-of-charge materials on your blog/website:

  • White papers
  • Local event guides
  • First-time buyer guide
  • Seller guide
  • Investor guide
  • Distressed property guide
  • Awards on your real estate fliers

The idea here is to get them starting to receive emails and information from you. This gets them used to working with you before you’ve ever done a thing. In their mind, though, if your content is good enough, you’ll already have massive value built up before that first phone call.

Social proof

This is one of the more popular conversion rate optimization techniques you’ve probably seen around the Web many times. Social proof helps people make a choice by making the decisions easier by seeing that other people are doing it, so that has to mean something. You’ve seen this around the Web most likely when you’re about to sign up for something and it says something along the lines of “Join 1,000+ of your peers!”

You can use this to your advantage on your real estate website with:

  • Volume sold
  • Testimonies
  • Awards
  • Showing off your Facebook page if you have a good amount of fans
  • Showing off your Twitter if you have a good amount of followers

Liking

Simply put, people are more likely to say yes to you if they’re similar to you in some way. Most people want other people to like them, and we also like people who show that they like us.

To use liking to the best of your ability, try some of these traits:

  • Familiarity — Building a relationship with someone over time via email is an easy way to use the theory of liking. Just make sure that your emails are intended to bring up a positive emotion when sent out.
  • Similarity — We like people who are similar to ourselves and why wouldn’t we? We’re awesome.
  • Shadowing — When with a client, naturally mimicking their body language can develop a rapport.

Authority

From the time we’re little we are taught to respect authority. Our parents are the authority when we are children, and the law/government/bosses/etc. become the authority as we get older. Experiments have shown that people who display authority often get compliance.

  • Place of business — Ever done a listing presentation at someone’s house? When you do this, you’re entering their world. If you can get them to come to your office to do it, you’re in an authority position and environment more likely to get what’s needed.

You’re already naturally a community leader as a real estate agent. Using the principle of authority just makes sure that you’re displaying it and using it to your advantage.

Scarcity

If you’ve ever seen a countdown timer on an e-commerce website, they’re using the principle of scarcity. In e-commerce, it’s not real. Lucky for you, in real estate it’s 100 percent real. People automatically give things more value if they’re less available. If there are fewer resources and not a lot of time, we want it more. This is because, in general, things that are difficult to obtain are typically worth more.

  • Use the “average time on market” number — If houses usually sell in 30 days and you have a buyer looking at a house that’s been on the market for 20, they have to act fast. It’s your job to make sure they realize the very real scarcity.
  • How many houses for sale in the neighborhood — If there is only one, it could potentially be another year before this neighborhood gets another listing up for sale.
  • Market is rising — Every day a house is not bought, the market is coming back and you could end up paying more for a home.
  • Loan rates rising — We already hit record lows. Who knows where it’s headed next?

In real estate, scarcity is very real, and you can use it to your advantage, not as a scare tactic but as a realist. Everyone has clients who have literally lost their dream home because they failed to act or put in an offer too low. Remember that you can actually help them by showing the scarcity.

Andrew Gale is the founder of FlyerCo.com, an innovative, easy-to-use real estate flier creator online. Passionate about all things marketing and startup related.