According to Webster’s Dictionary influence is “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.”
At its very core, real estate is the business of influence. And that was precisely the topic KW MAPS Coach and behavioral expert, Kate Patulski covered in her breakout session, "Master the mind, master the market" on Saturday. "As an agent, it’s your job to influence the decisions of your clients to help them make the best decision possible to meet their goals," she said.
But there’s a challenge: buyers and sellers aren’t pragmatic and decisions often don’t come easy. What’s happening? According to Patulski, when a buyer or seller has trouble making a decision, it’s because their mind is circumventing their efforts. It’s not that they don’t know any better; it’s that they need to be influenced.
So what might happen in your business when you master the art of influence? You’ll help clients self-discover the hang-ups that are blocking their decision making power. When you do that, they get the added benefit of knowing that they were in control of the decision.
How do you do it? Patulski suggests starting with the Five Psychological Principles: The Law of Reciprocity, Social Proof, Liking, Authority and Scarcity. Here’s how to put them to practice.
The Five Psychological Principles
Law of Reciprocity: Reciprocity means to give and take. When someone gives something to you, our brains our wired to return the favor. The Law of Reciprocity might play out in your real estate business in the form of uninvited first favors. This is when you offer to do something for someone before they ask. For instance, in a listing consultation, you might tell the seller that you will bring them a list of the homes that sold for the most in their area before asking them to list with you. With a buyer, you might offer to bring a list of homes to the next meeting - no strings attached.
Scarcity: Scarcity is about supply and demand. People automatically assign more value to things that are less available. Putting scarcity into action is actually quite simple. For example, you might only work with a select number of buyers a month. When you bring your buyer into the office, or show them your current list of clients, you might say “oh, wow, you’re in luck, I only take six buyer clients a month, and there’s an opening.”
Social Proof: Generally, people tend to follow people who are similar. And in an uncertain situation, people will follow the actions of others around them. If you farm a particular neighborhood, social proof might be a good tool to show people your value. Have your clients record video testimonials and send them to their neighbors. Did you help them sell faster than the average days on market? Or did the seller get 3 percent higher than their list price? Leverage those wins to win more clients.
Liking: The more people like you, the more influence you have. Of all the five principles, liking is the easiest to understand, but it’s also the easiest to mess up. Liking only works under positive circumstances or associations. It's also easy to take liking to the extreme. For instance, what you wouldn't do is walk into a client’s home, look at an art piece and go on a ten minute tangent about your favorite artist. When you use liking, always remember to keep it about the business. Subtly include it in your conversation with the client, but keep the focus on getting the buyer or seller to hire you.
Authority: As children we are taught that anyone in uniform is good and has authority. They can be trusted. Because it’s the basis of our unconscious thinking, things like titles, clothing and automobiles will influence a clients’ perception of you. Though Patulski was quick to point out that while good, they aren’t always necessary if you can nail liking, social proof, scarcity or reciprocity.