Real estate is a great industry for demonstrating the importance of the first impression in a sale. Without the Wow! Factor, many buyers will dismiss an otherwise great property. Just as it is early in a love affair, attraction is an emotion, and emotions take our breath away. Emotions sell.
Emotion and attraction won’t always close the deal, but they will certainly open a robust conversation!
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Two Sales Vets Lookin’ To Buy
I recently returned from a week in Madrid where, after speaking at the innoCos Summit, I spent the next five days with my brother, Tom, looking at real estate investment opportunities. We walked about 50 kilometers around Madrid’s El Centro district, checking out pisos en venta, flats for sale.
It’s interesting being on the buyer side, especially when sales consulting is my business, and since my brother has devoted an entire career to selling real estate.
Upon leaving each property, we assessed the property’s pros and cons, as well as the seller’s strengths and weaknesses… as a salesperson, marketer or both.
And here’s where the plot thickens.
Brother Tom not only enjoyed a great career selling real estate, today he remains active in investing, buying, improving and then re-selling properties. So he’s trained to take the emotion out of a deal… most of the time.
On Day 3, he and I walked into a flat, and it… absolutely… seduced… us.
Both of us.
During the first few seconds, our jaws were virtually hanging open. What a gorgeous place!
Oops! We didn’t want to show our enthusiasm to the seller, now, did we! So after those first few seconds, we both put our poker faces back on. But the hook had been set.
That’s because emotions are spontaneous.
Emotions are different from feelings. Feelings are the thoughts we have as we reflect upon our emotions. Emotions, on the other hand, in virtually every professional psychologists’ view, are spontaneous. They’re immediate.
Even though we humans are supposedly the most consciously developed species, we’re almost always unaware of our emotions as we experience them. We don’t consciously think about them until moments later… or hours later… (or perhaps in the case of un-evolved heathens, never. But I digress).
Emotions are animalistic, primal. Emotions protect us. Emotions are nature’s way of focusing us, as cavemen and cavewomen, on dealing with the sloth that threatens us.
And emotions also focus us on things that attract us… like that irresistible guy or that breathtaking woman; like that hard-to-believe statistic that piques our curiosity; like that kitchen-living room that would be a great place to entertain.
Like the perfect cave for this Neanderthal.
Caveman Theory For Today’s World
Dale Carnegie may have lived in the past, but he’s a lot more recent than the Stone Age. In fact, most people think his writings are timeless, and I find this quote universal.
Carnegie said, “When dealing with people, let us remember that you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.”
So even after Brother Tom and I closed our mouths and put our game faces on, the attraction of this flat still had us. Yep. We were tailoring our words in a pre-negotiation, of sorts.
We had been attracted. Seduced.
This place was… beautifully decorated. Halogen lights pointed at a piece of artwork, yet there was enough space to leave the rest of the decoration to our imagination. I could see a bonsai plant in the corner and a Happy Buddha on the coffee table, even though…
… it wasn’t for us.
This place was not what we were looking for!
We had come to Madrid with a list of criteria, a check list, and this flat only ticked half of the boxes. It wasn’t until we sat down later and had una cerveza that we referred to the check list and said, “What were we thinking? It’s got charm, but, really… it doesn’t work for us!”
For starters, it was… a cave!
It was an interior flat, meaning it had no street view. The natural light was muted through windows that looked out at other interior windows of adjacent flats. Hence, the blinds would normally be drawn.
This also meant that there was no street view. When in Rome, do like the Romans. When in Madrid, feel like los Madrileńos. This could’ve been a flat in Vancouver or Singapore.
What were we thinking? The fact is, we weren’t, at first. We were experiencing emotions.
And emotions cut both ways.
Compare that charmer of a flat to a place we visited later that afternoon. As we walked through the courtyard, it felt like Rio de Janeiro. As we got out of the lift and walked through the hallway, it was wide, with lots of natural light. But then…
… then… when the agent put the key in the door and opened it… my first instinct was to turn around and run!
The place was a mess. The shades were down, and it was dark. The bathroom was being used for storage. The furniture in every room reminded me of my grandmother’s!
“OK, we can go,” was what I was thinking.
But Brother Tom didn’t let emotions get in his way. He saw the place without the existing owner’s possessions everywhere. He saw four large window-balconies facing the street. He saw an ideal room distribution.
He opened the blinds. He looked at the wall structure. He envisaged the kitchen and the living room with the wall between them knocked down.
He could see… that the place actually fit all of our criteria.
All I could see was darkness and clutter. But really, once I got past the emotion of the first impression, I realized that this flat ticked all our boxes.
And yet, it had been on the market for a year. The owner had recently reduced the price months before, and still no action.
Perhaps the previous prospects hadn’t gotten past what I almost didn’t get past in those first few seconds.
Instead of being seduced and attracted, they were probably, like me, repelled… in spite of the great building and entrance, great room distribution and four windows looking out on a pedestrian street that had all the character of El Centro.
It took a lot of rational thought to see the real potential of this place.
Now, let’s go back to the charmer of a place we visited earlier in the day.
It had been on the market for only a few weeks. The owner had received several offers, yet he was holding his price. Reportedly, one of the prospective buyers had made a second offer, which was much closer to the asking price.
Sales is a multi-step process.
Sure, prospects need to feel listened to. They need to feel understood. They want to be engaged, and they want to feel that they contribute to the ultimate solution.
Sure, I’m a big proponent of the engagement phase in a sale. This is where great salespeople will spend a lot of time with the buyer. This is where trust is earned, and trust is the biggest component of a sale.
But the moral of this story is seduction.
Early in a sale, buyers need to be seduced. Early in a sale, emotions sell.
If your buyer is not seduced early on, if the customer’s breath is not taken away however briefly, if curiosity is not piqued, well then, the engagement phase might never even happen.
At best, the buyer will politely finish the meeting, and then later be hard to reach. At worst… they’ll turn around and run!
So early in a sale, don’t neglect your prospective customer’s head, and remember that you’ll have to later address their rationale. But in those first few minutes, in those first few seconds, try to identify their hot buttons and go after their heart, as well.
What are your ideal customer’s hot buttons?
How can you open a conversation in a way that suits your ideal buyer’s style, yet also takes their breath away?
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I help sales teams improve their performance by putting the “love” into the sales process. The tools and techniques vary, but the mindset is simply a heart-set. Contact me here if you’d like to set up a call to discuss your sales challenges and winning the hearts of your marketplace.
You can also check out my book, A Sale Is A Love Affair – Seduce, Engage & Win Customers’ Hearts. It was the Number 1 New Release in Sales on Amazon in February.