STEP 3: GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS
If you’ve built it, will they come? Certainly likability will help you
win over some hearts, but just being the nice guy won’t get you to the
closing table. You eventually need to get down to business.
Another 2008 study from Baylor University—this one conducted
by Chris Blocker, an assistant professor of marketing—suggests the
value of taking an adaptive selling approach. In other words, take
your clients’ preferred communication style, values, emotions, and
needs into account in how you serve them. “The agents who are the
most successful tend to look for ways to meet [prospective clients’]
individual psychological and emotional needs in the sales process,”
Don’t be afraid to have a point of;view.
Blocker’s research, which tested various approaches in real estate for
turning leads into clients, shows agents are most e;ective when they
not only adapt to their client’s style but also look for ways to make
clear, explicit suggestions that advise a specific course of action.
“The agent who o;ers expertise instead of ‘here’s a stack of things
to look through’ tends to have a higher success rate,” Blocker says.
For example, say you’re working with Judy, a buyer who is stressed
out about not living close enough to her job. Weave those concerns
into your discussions with Judy. If a house she’s considering is closer
to work and has a great space for her to work from home, talk about
how those factors might reduce her stress. “Help prospects see
themselves in that home and neighborhood,” Blocker says. “Speak
their language and pull at their heart strings.”
Watch for turnoffs.
Housing data, sales scripts, and incentives can all be useful tools to
a point. But relying on them too much can actually backfire, according to Blocker’s research. “There’s a tremendous amount of housing
data available,” Blocker says. “Too much information can sometimes
cause people to ‘check out’;” or feel overwhelmed, particularly if the
information is presented with no explanations or recommendations.
If you o;er a packet of information and they actively consult it, they
may want more. If they shove it into their bag and never refer to it
again, they may not be information-oriented.
Buttering people up with incentives—like an o;er to discount
your commission—may not be e;ective either, the study found. “Ba-
sically, you’re trying to appeal to the client’s wallet, and that can be
a turno;,” Blocker says. “They don’t want to feel pressured to make
And while sales scripts can be a useful guide to navigate various
client situations, they can potentially undermine those interactions.
Relationships are complex. People have unique personalities, life
histories, and goals that don’t fit into one boilerplate script. So be
flexible enough to go o; script and tailor your presentation to indi-
vidual clients, Blocker says.
A considerate gesture can go a long way—and it doesn’t have to cost
money. Recommend a great contractor or painter who will o;er a
good price; take the time to ask how someone’s doing after a surgery
or family death; or refer their teenage child for a job. Gratitude is a
powerful emotion that makes others want to reciprocate.
“After receiving a benefit, people feel a deep-rooted psychologi-
cal pressure to reciprocate,” according to a 2009 Keller Center study
on gratitude by Robert W. Palmatier. On the other hand, the study
says, “the failure to repay obligations can lead to guilt.” As the saying
goes, “You scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours.”
To feel gratitude, others need to feel that your actions and con-
cern for their well-being are sincere and not selfish or commission-
motivated. So, by all means, seek opportunities to reach out. But do
it simply for the wonderful bond you’ll create. ■
What’s the Keller;Center?
Much of the research cited here is from
Baylor University’s Keller Center. The center,
established in 2007 with a donation from
Keller Williams Realty Founder and Chairman
Gary Keller, focuses on factors that in;uence
home buying decisions, as well as real
estate and small business marketing and