When prisoners are up for parole, there is one surprising factor that has a huge effect on the likelihood they’ll be released. It has nothing to do with the potential parolee’s ethnicity, behavior, or length of sentence or the severity of their crime. In fact, it has nothing to do with the prisoner at all. The phenomenon, explained in detail in this New York Times article, shows that early in the day, people tend to have an easier time making decisions, while later in the day, they delay them due to what’s known as decision fatigue. That means parolees with the earliest appointments are most likely to find their way to freedom.
There’s a lesson in there for you and your agents: All those newsletters and emailed listings are making potential buyers tired and possibly delaying their purchases. On the surface, these emails make sense. They feel so helpful and supportive. They help agents stay top-of-mind. With each deployment, agents are throwing a strand of spaghetti against the wall in the hopes that just the right listing will stick at just the right time. But the last thing your buyers want—the last thing any of us want—is: One. More. Email. Even one that potentially contains a picture of their dream home.
What buyers want more than anything else is a better life. Even buying a house (something that may start off as exciting) ends up as just another thing on their to-do list. Clients may ask for certain things, but what they really want is just to be done with it. So instead of giving them more to-do items and cluttering their inboxes, agents need to take tasks off of their plates. Take pressure off.
As a broker, you can help agents see themselves as advisers and, therefore, empower them to remove items from buyers’ checklists. That means learning every detail of what a buyer wants and personally presenting only the most appropriate homes. That way, buyers don’t feel burdened by the effort of applying their wish list over and over again. Home buyers often get overwhelmed by choices and may decide to stop looking because it just feels like too much to deal with alongside all the other stuff going on in their lives. Like the parole board that doesn’t want to risk sending the wrong person back into society, buyers will put off their decisions for another day.
If your agents are having trouble understanding how to make it easy for buyers to buy, try these contrasting examples. Apple has made it remarkably easy to spend loads of money at its stores. You can walk out with a $2,500 computer in under eight minutes. I know this because I’ve done it. On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Nordstrom Rack. I made it through the mountains of clothes and after spending way too long trying everything on, I had filled a whole shopping cart with items I was ready to buy. But then the line. Dear God, the line. It was just so long; I couldn’t handle it. I was no longer willing to endure all the hoops they were making me go through to give them my money. I abandoned my overloaded cart and they lost what could have been a $2,000 sale. If they had taken a simple lesson from Apple or even Chick-Fil-A, they would’ve had two or three clerks with Square credit card readers walking down the line and checking everyone out in 10 minutes. Think of it this way: People work to make money so they can buy things to improve their lives. The last thing they want to do is work to spend money.
A frenemy is a business-breaker that comes disguised as a friend. An agent’s drip campaign (even when it fits the broad stroke guidelines a buyer has asked for) is the ultimate frenemy. So many real estate pros have become dependent on them, but they are not what you think they are. They will kill your sales. Don’t give buyers another item on their to-do list or another email in their inbox. Instead, teach agents to take on the role of an adviser and take everything they possibly can off potential buyers’ plates. Make it easy, easy, easy for buyers to buy.