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6 Principles of Influence for Real Estate Pros

06/26/2015 01:08 pm ET | Updated Jun 26, 2016

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As a real estate agent or broker, you have to persuade people to become your real estate clients and to trust you with the biggest purchase of their lives: their home. That is no small task, but if you know the principles of influence and understand how to apply them ethically, you can become the go-to agent in your area.

Here's an overview of these principles (developed by Robert Cialdini) and how they can be applied in your real estate business.

6 Principles of Influence for Real Estate Professionals:

Pillar #1 - Reciprocity:

As humans, we generally want to return favors, pay back debts and treat others as they treat us. According to the principle of reciprocity, this can lead us to feeling obligated and to offer concessions or discounts to others if they have offered them to us. This is because we're uncomfortable with feeling indebted to them.

Use this strategy to drum up new business by offering a complimentary, in-depth CMA or sending email alerts to your potential clients when their neighbors put their house on the market. Give them something of value before soliciting your services.

Pro Tip:
Customize and use this easy-to-customize guide to provide value for sellers: The Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Home.

Pillar #2 - Commitment (and Consistency):

We have an ingrained desire to be consistent. For this reason, once we've committed to something, we're more inclined to go through with it.

Show interest and secure an initial commitment from your potential clients (e.g. getting their house organized for pictures or signing an exclusivity form). Follow up regularly to create a sense of consistency early on, then build on it.

Pillar #3 - Social Proof:

It is within human nature that we often mimic the behaviors of those around us as social proof that we are in the norm or doing things right. This principle relies on people's sense of "safety in numbers."

We're particularly susceptible to this principle when we're feeling uncertain, and are more likely to be influenced by the people we perceive to be similar to us. Build rapport with potential clients by asking open questions and connecting over similarities, then use the trust you've established to make real estate suggestions that are relevant to your lead (e.g. advising that the first step for all first time buyers is prequalification).

Pillar #4 - Liking:

We are more likely to be influenced by people we like. Likability comes in many forms -- people might be similar or familiar to us, they might give us compliments or we may simply trust them.

People are more likely to buy from people like themselves -- from friends and from people they know and respect. Provide potential clients with relevant testimonials (e.g. offer testimonials from first time buyers to potential first time buyers) and encourage your existing clients to talk about your services on social media.

Pro Tip:
Use this free Testimonial Template to create an online portfolio of 'social proof'.

Pillar #5 - Authority:

We feel a sense of duty or obligation to people in positions of authority.

Highlight well-known and respected customers, cite your credentials and years of experience, use comments from industry experts and talk about impressive research or statistics. Things like well-produced brochures, professional presentations and sharp business clothing can lend authority as well.

Pillar #6 - Scarcity:
Things are more attractive to us when their availability is limited or when we stand to lose the opportunity to acquire them on favorable terms. People need to know that they're missing out if they don't act quickly.

Use urgency to garner clients. For example, you can highlight the possible urgent consequences, like a drop in potential sale value, for clients who are delaying the process of selling their home.

Make sure that you understand your target audience and that you know why you want to influence them. Think about your ultimate objectives and decide which principles will be most beneficial to you and your real estate business.

What principles resonate with you the most?