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Influence Your Clients with Sticky Ideas

September 22, 2014
From Loan Officer Daphne Tapp

From Loan Officer Daphne Tapp

How can we retell every detail of a long joke, complete with punch line, but struggle to recall the vision statement of a company – even our own? What is it about business communication, written or spoken, that keeps an idea from sticking in our minds? Is it too dry? Too complex? Too obscure? Yes. Yes. And often, Yes!

The best selling book, Made to Stick by brothers Chip and Dan Heath, suggests that getting consumers to change behavior, such as switching brands or providers, requires changing what they think and feel and opening their minds to something different. They have several suggestions for making your “ideas” stick in the mind of your target audience so you can gradually change their opinion and perhaps their buying habits.

Sticky ideas are visual, clear images.  The authors use the term, “concrete” when describing good business communication.  Use words that paint a picture in the reader or listener’s mind. In real estate, that may be describing the ease of getting you on the phone as a lighting-fast response. Or describing educational resources as a 10-point checklist or a Homebuyer’s Toolkit.  When it makes sense, use words that create a positive image in your client’s mind.

Ask for small changes, not dramatic ones. Most people don’t like to make big changes in their lives too fast. By asking for small, incremental behavior changes, you allow clients to stay with what’s comfortable for them while gradually moving them toward something new.  One example may be the use of technology. Some customers want to continue to meet in person and talk by phone only. However, you may be able to nudge them toward more timely electronic communication by requesting their email or mobile phone numbers and texting them bits of information while remaining completely available through their preferred communication channel as well.

Use stories. Sometimes as you try to build credibility, it seems quoting hard numbers is the most effective way. 100 homes sold. 10% over the asking price. 100% satisfied customers. However, consumers don’t connect with numbers. And in today’s world when data is so accessible, and often contradictory, your homebuyers may be suspicious of those very numbers and discard them.

Telling success stories can be a better way of making the idea of your skill and credibility stick. It uses the first suggestion – providing visual, concrete examples – with another proven technique… create emotion.  Let’s face it… most people don’t get emotional about things, they get emotional about people and experiences. So tell them stories about others you’ve helped in buying or selling a home. Share details about the joyful occasion when your sellers’ house was sold or the buyers’ offer was accepted. Your credibility can be illustrated in outcomes that don’t require numbers.

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