“The ‘fight-or-flight’ instinct and emotional reactions are part of the old brain,” says Asher. “The rational part of the brain or ‘new brain’ focuses on facts, logic and more complex matters.”
Practical Tips Gained from Scientific Research
Asher’s research found that people respond to six stimuli that can “wake up” a buyer’s or a builder’s “old brain” to get a response.
1. Me! Me! Me!
People are naturally inclined to think of themselves first, says Asher.
“From a practical point of view, don’t start your sales presentation the way most salespeople do, talking about their performance or their company’s track record,” says Asher. “The presentation should be all about the listener and should be based on your understanding of their needs.”
If you can get a builder to talk about his business and his homes, you’re developing a closer relationship from the beginning.
Asher recommends that real estate agents research the builder or their buyers on LinkedIn, Bloomberg, Facebook and CrystalKnows so they can understand their personality before meeting them.
2. Simple, Easy-to-Grasp Ideas
“No matter what you’re selling, keep it simple,” says Asher. “No one needs to hear a lot of jargon.”
3. Beginnings and Endings
Always begin every presentation with a bang and end that way, too, says Asher.
“You should start by telling them what you’re going to tell them and finish by telling them what you told them,” he says.
4. Clear Contrast
If you can show you’re different than your competitors and have a unique sales proposition, your message won’t resonate with your audience, says Asher. His company, for example, is the only global training company where every trainer is a former CEO of a tech company. If you don’t have a differentiator like that, Asher suggests evaluating why you do what you do.
“Every company can describe what they do and how they do it, but if you can develop a ‘why’ that connects with your buyers or a builder, you can reach people better,” says Asher. “For instance, there’s a pest control company in Detroit that says their ‘why’ is to save the planet. They do the same thing as every other pest control company, but they stand out because of that ‘why’.”
Simon Sinek’s TED Talk “Start with Why” provides the perfect explanation of the importance of being able to clarify your “why.”
“Your old brain sees pictures and stories more easily than words, so it’s better to have great pictures and videos to wake up the brain rather than a two-page write-up about your services,” says Asher. “This is why videos have taken over on so many websites.”
Asher says your videos and photos should be self-explanatory, so that viewers can understand the message without needing to read words.
To generate emotion, Asher recommends telling a story that relates to the buyer or builder and is personal to you.
“For example, you could talk about another builder you worked with and what happened,” says Asher. “It could be a story like this one I tell: ‘Last year we worked for a company like yours, where sales had become stagnant. We did an aptitude test on each of their salespeople and were able to determine that they needed fewer salespeople. Their gross margins went up 70 percent.’ ”
The point is to make the buyers feel like they are part of the story, says Asher.
Shortcuts to an Emotional Connection
Asher says he’s identified as many as 50 shortcuts that Realtors can use to make an emotional connection with a builder or a buyer.
“Our brains are complex organs that work hard and use a lot of energy, so it’s helpful to be aware of ways to make connections more easily,” says Asher.
For example, he recommends asking “How are you feeling today?” instead of “How are you?” to deepen the sense of connection.
“There are five words that wake up the brain: feeling, imagine, you, because and their name,” says Asher. “People pay more attention when they hear those words.”
People are also naturally biased toward someone who compliments them. Asher suggests always finding a way to compliment someone when you first meet them, such as telling a builder, “I love the houses you’ve been building.”
Bringing a gift or some small item to the builder or buyer can trigger a “reciprocity bias,” in which the recipient wants to do something for you in return.
“People are also biased toward someone they find physically attractive,” says Asher. “While you can’t change your looks, you can be well-dressed, have good posture, look professional and smile a lot to improve your appearance. Smiling and using someone’s name can go a long way toward having potential customers find you likeable.”
While you may already use some of these techniques, brain science to back-up your natural instincts can encourage you to use them more effectively when selling new homes.
Michele Lerner is an award-winning freelance writer, editor and author who has been writing about real estate, personal finance and business topics for more than two decades.
She writes for regional, national and international publications in print and online for a variety of audiences including consumers, real estate investors, business owners and real estate professionals.
Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Urban Land magazine, NAREIT’s REIT magazine, National Real Estate Investor Magazine and online at Bankrate.com, HSH.com, The Motley Fool, DailyFinance.com, Insurance.com, Fox Business, MSN, Yahoo, Investopedia.com, MoneyCrashers.com, GetRichSlowly.com and in numerous state and local realtor association publications.