Reaching homebuyers the natural way: 5 truths about emotional decision making

Jennifer BaileyArticlesLeave a Comment

Did you know that 95% of decision-making is unconscious?

The most obvious example of this is breathing, or even parking your car in the same spot at work every day. But what about more serious decisions, like a marriage proposal… or even, buying a house?

In a study by Harvard Professor Gerald Zaltman, it was found that customers actually make most of their purchasing decisions subconsciously. That’s because our decisions are not ruled by logic, but rather emotions. In fact, it was found that people who have a brain injury or who have difficulty generating emotions are incapable of making decisions at all.

This is why we humans benefit so much from meditation or prayer, which enables us to focus on our emotions while gaining logical clarity; but also why we have a difficult time making conscious decisions, especially when we are thrown into a lot of information and decisions at the same time – giving us shell shock.

Homebuyers may feel overwhelmed and inadequate when they aren’t prepared for what’s ahead of them – from committing to an agent, to choosing between neighborhoods, the financing process, and signing the closing paperwork.

So, what can agents do to help the homebuyer through this difficult time? Real estate professionals should be marketing to buyers by appealing to their emotions, providing value, and becoming a resource through all the confusion and stress – both before, during, and after the transaction.

5 Truths about Marketing to the Emotional Homebuyer

1. The buyer is the hero, the agent is just the guide

Goodhearted real estate agents all want to be the hero for the homebuyer. But while your transactions make you the hero to your family, your agency, and yourself… remember that you are merely the guide for the buyer. And in their world, they are the hero.

In every story and in every movie ever written, there is a hero, who has a problem, who meets a guide that helps the hero solve their problem so that they can win the day and be transformed.

For example, in Warner Bro’s live-action version of Aquaman, the super dreamy Arthur Curry is in big trouble when his half-brother Orm tries to kill him in the Ring of Fire until the strong and beautiful Mera comes to his rescue, helps him escape, find the trident and then eventually… become the Ocean Master which saves a ton of lives. You can see from this very simple example that without Mera as his guide,he would have never achieved his potential.

Be the Guide, Not the Hero

The homebuyer is the hero of their own story. But agents have a unique opportunity to be a resource and a helpful guide who can celebrate with their clients after they’ve won the day.

2. Consumers perceive new information by relating it to something else they understand

When you are trying to memorize someone’s name, how do you do it? By visualizing someone (or something) else with the same name, right? That’s because we live in a subconscious world that is controlled and ran by things we know and understand.

For example, if you are trying to sell a new kind of all-day breath freshener that is new to the market, you might help the consumer remember what it feels like to have freshly brushed teeth. Or even better, help them remember a time when they had coffee breath during a meeting (don’t lie, we’ve all been there!).

With new homebuyers, it may be more difficult to help them understand everything that will happen during the buying process. This is where the agent, as the guide, can come in and help homebuyers absorb the information in ways they can not only understand but remember. We can do that through emotional language, stories, and even metaphors, parables, and allegories.

“No matter how radical a new product is, it will always be perceived initially in terms of some frame of reference.”

– Gerald Zaltman

Here are some examples of metaphors that are often used to help consumers understand the housing market and buying process:

  • Red hot housing market
  • Selling like hot cakes
  • Riding the knife edge of record low mortgage rates
  • Selling a home yourself is no cake walk
  • A smooth sea never made a successful sailor

Here’s a video that’s totally worth watching about how the brain receives information and how to activate the brain to receive information:

3. Everyone has fears and anxieties

Seasoned agents probably know this the best, every single person is dealing with something that keeps them up at night, and they are on a journey to try and solve it. By understanding what those problems are, agents will be able to equip homebuyers with solutions.

While there are plenty of stressors when buying a home, like taking on too much debt, a large downpayment, qualifying the loan, finding the “right” home at the right price, inspections, and moving boxes…

But there are deeper fears and anxieties at work beyond finances and finding a moving company. Zillow’s new ad campaign “The Journey” hits it hard with all the feels, and says: “Change is hard, but it’s worth it. See how Zillow can help you throughout your journey.”

4. The human mind is built for puzzles

When was the last time you sat down and did a jigsaw puzzle? If you haven’t, you seriously should. According to this strange thing called anatomy, there are apparently two sides of the brain – and playing different kinds of games can stimulate different parts of the brain.

“Puzzles play with words, numbers, shapes, and logic in a way that impels us to uncover the solutions that they hide,” Danesi says. “We are thus engaged in a mental hunt for something, much like a detective in mystery stories or a scientist looking for the reason behind some phenomenon,” he says. “Puzzles are small-scale versions of this ‘quest for understanding,’ even though there is nothing new at the end of the hunt when a solution is uncovered. It is the hunt itself that is likely to stimulate various areas of the brain that involve discovery and a sense of satisfaction at once.”

– Marcel Danesi (University of Toronto)

So, believe it or not, going through the maze can actually bring some relaxation. We are built for understanding complexities, finding solutions to our problems, and enjoying “the quest” so to speak.

Here are 5 things you can do to stimulate the gamer in every buyer:
  1. Give them homework: surveys, house ratings, reading materials, credit classes.
  2. Ask them hard questions and dont be afraid to get a little personal. Someone needs to do it and you know its not going to be their lender.
  3. Break the process down into steps so they know what to anticipate and can “play along”
  4. Have them research the neighborhoods they are interested in and identify parks, schools, shopping centers that they might like
  5. Start a pinterest board with features that they want in a home

5. Bad Memories are Easier to Remember

Hippocampus. There’s a new word for your dictionary. It’s the part of the brain that stores your life episodes, and it’s also where increased brain activity can be triggered by negative emotions, like fear and sadness.

There’s only one takeaway here, and that’s to make sure you give your homebuyers a good experience. Every real estate transaction is unique, and there is no possible way to control the many facets that can push and pull the experience for the buyer; but what you can do is continue to be their trusted ally, putting them first in every situation and giving them the best experience with you, their guide, that they could possibly have.

This goes without saying, but it can make a huge impact on your marketing as well. The majority of people (8/10) will go elsewhere if they read a bad review of you online, and customers who do have a bad experience are 2-3 times more likely to write an angry review than happy customers will be to write a positive review.

Appealing to emotions, providing value, and becoming a resource

It doesn’t take much to reposition your thinking and becoming a true resource for your clients. Because despite the problems we all know exist, the real problem is not finding value in your marketing activities, but finding marketing activities that create the value.

And when we talk about being the first agent to get the referral or the call, we all know that it’s not visibility and word of mouth alone – it’s a dedication to amazing customer service and being a guide for your clients time and time again. Because visibility isn’t in the eye of the consumer, its in the heart.

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