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How to motivate your buyers and sellers

"The market has dramatically changed in our area. Buyers are hesitant to make decisions, vendors are holding off putting their properties on the market. How can we get some activity going as we head into 2018?”

Julian O'Dell
Julian O'Dell image

Julian O’Dell

JULIAN SAYS: It is clear that we are in a ‘make it happen’ rather than a ‘wait for it to happen’ market at present, certainly in many parts of the country. I expect 2018 to present severe challenges for traditional estate agents.

Motivating buyers and sellers becomes a key skill in challenging conditions. One dictionary definition of motivation is, “To provide somebody with a reason for doing something”.

2018 start line imageWords often associated with motivation are: prompt, drive, move, inspire, stimulate, influence, lead, persuade, activate, impel, push, propel. All require proactive energy from one person to another.

Consider the applicants you have registered in the past few months and the current stock of properties your office has. Do you understand what is motivating those customers and clients?


In the current market many home movers are confused and uncertain. They are obviously concerned about what the future holds – so it is important that estate agents are able to create the situation where people are influenced and make a decision to commit to a move.

In reality, some buyers in some parts of the country are currently highly motivated through fear, that they may miss out if they perceive that it is a rising market, whereas in other areas buyers are not sure whether they should be committing at this time.

Motivating your buyers and sellers becomes a key skill in challenging market conditions. Do you have it?

Customers are drawn to estate agents who have impressive knowledge and “Know things they don’t know” and to those who demonstrate exceptional competence in the way they carry out their role and who, as a result, have an air of authority which creates respect and trust in the minds of those customers.

So firstly, think of what knowledge are you sharing with your customers that may make them choose to make a decision sooner rather than later. Do you have you a compelling message as to why buyers should buy now in your area or why vendors should sell sooner rather than later?


Human beings have two major motivations; to gain reward and to avoid loss. We may go out to eat to gain reward. We buy insurance solely to avoid loss.

Time and time again, studies have proven that human beings are far more motivated by the avoidance of loss. Ask yourself what will be the penalties involved in not buying or selling now in your area, or in the near future and make sure customers are aware of them. Are we expecting price rises, or do we expect a surge in customer demand, are lots of other people buying, is there likely to be less or more choice of property as time rolls on, will an increased supply occur as investment landlords offload?

‘Disturbing’ your customer to action is a key skill. Remember all customers have a problem which made them think about moving. The issue is that some customers are not sufficiently educated by their agent on the seriousness of that problem they face.

There is an old adage in selling – “Emotion creates motion” – in other words where there is an underlying emotion, people will move.

Home movers act to achieve a goal and/or to avoid a penalty – for example, people are driven to move by the goal of giving their children a better lifestyle/safer environment or by fear of financial loss. Equally, house buyers may have a goal of making their life easier by living closer to work or to an ailing relative, or by the penalty of not seeing their grandchildren grow up or by continuing to live next door to noisy neighbours.

If a negotiator can establish the perceived penalties and/or goals behind the possible house move, he/she can use that information to “disturb” the customer to act by employing questions such as:

“What will happen if you miss out on that property…?”

“What will the implications be if house prices do fall by 10 per cent next year…?”

“I would hate to see you reach a situation where…” “Are you confident that you will secure a better offer than this one…?”

“How would you feel if…?”

“What concerns me if you don’t increase/accept the offer is…”

“What would the problem be if you hadn’t found a buyer before the end of January?”

The best estate agents are recognising the need to be salespeople rather than simply dispensers of information. Motivating and disturbing customers and clients are skills which will ensure some agents will survive and thrive while others come up short.

Julian O’Dell is founder of TM Training & Development.

December 8, 2017