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Becoming your own real estate agent

This article was written by Emouna Lilti, work psychologist and career coach

Commercial jobs have a lot to teach us in the field of human psychology and in the art of persuasion. We have therefore decided to put them in the spotlight to reveal some of the well-guarded tricks of the trade and help you understand how to apply those during your job interviews.

Hiring a new employee involves a real risk for the company. 

This is why, as a candidate, convincing a recruiter is not always easy.

From a certain point of view, the situation is similar to a sales process. Indeed, in order to be chosen, you have to present yourself in an advantageous way, orient your arguments, answer objections and engage your interlocutor as far as possible in the process.

Real Estate Agent: Presenting a property in its best light

Have you ever thought about the challenge of selling a property?

In many cases, buying a home is a long-term financial commitment with varying degrees of risk. The anxiety-inducing potential of the situation makes buyers particularly cautious. Moreover, some properties are rather difficult to sell because their condition leaves something to be desired. So how do real estate agents manage to finalize sales?

Technique n°1: Don't leave the order of the visit to chance

Real estate agents often take the client into the most advantageous room, because they know that first impressions are important.

In psychological terms, this is called the primacy effect. In addition to being better remembered, first information modulates the overall evaluation of a situation. Thus, arriving after a positive anchor, the defects of the good will be perceived as less serious than if they had been presented first.

The other technique consists in ending the visit with unexpected assets (a balcony or a cellar not mentioned in the offer, for example). After the visit, the client will tend to remember the final surprise effect easily. This is what psychology studies call the recency effect. So, it is better to end the visit on a high note.

How to use these two biases in an interview?

Structure your pitch by integrating these two effects to be sure to make an impression.

  • Start with your best arguments. For example, instead of reciting all your experiences in chronological order, talk directly about a recent internship you were passionate about. 
  • If you have an important point to make, put it in the conclusion. For example, consider ending with two or three points that appeal to you in the offer

Technique n°2: Help the client to perceive the potential of the property

Some properties, although full of assets, are difficult to sell because of their poor condition or because their decoration is too marked by the previous owner. Real estate agents know that they cannot count on the immediate love of their clients.

To counter this difficulty, they use techniques that allow clients to perceive the potential of the property.

Home staging, for example, consists of erasing the decorative style of the previous owner and creating a neutral and minimalist atmosphere that allows the client to imagine himself in his own decor.

In other cases, the agents insist on the prospects of transformation of the property and the benefits expected in the future. "With a slight restoration the house will regain its cachet and be worth much more than its price" or "By having a terrace built here, the view will be breathtaking."

This technique can be more effective than one might think, as envisioning enviable prospects can totally change the vision of the property and convince the buyer to sign.

In fact, according to a recent study by Stanford University, we have a bias called "preference for potential". This means that a property or a person whose future seems promising may seem more attractive than when its success has already been proven.

Isn't that amazing?

How to use these two effects in an interview?

  • Knowing too many details about yourself makes it harder for the recruiter to evaluate you. Eliminate the story of your food jobs or the exhaustive list of all your hobbies. Limit yourself to topics that will help the recruiter to project you into the position.
  • If you have little experience, dare to share your vision, your motivations for the future and your hopes for achievement. For example, mention the subjects you would like to work on or the departments you would like to join in the future. You will be perceived as a promising profile and capable of delivering excellent results.

Technique n°3: Push the customer to commit

Some clients tend to hesitate for a long time or flip-flop at the last moment. Real estate agents must keep them engaged in the sales process to avoid losing them. 

Not easy, is it?

Suggesting that the client schedule a second visit or mentally invest in the preparation of the work are two ways to get them to take the first step. This first effort sets in motion a process that can lead to a purchase.

In fact, studies on commitment mechanisms show that once the first effort is made, it is difficult to go back. The brain, which seeks to maintain the coherence of our actions, activates several mechanisms to push us to reinforce our investment.

How can we use this effect in an interview?

Push the recruiter to invest mentally in your application by asking questions that will force him or her to project you onto the position. For example: "If I am selected, what would be the first assignment you would give me?", "What aspects of my profile indicate that I will adapt to your culture?" The effort he or she will make could be seen as the beginning of your future integration.

So, will you try using these tips in your next job interview?

If you want to know more about cognitive biases of recruiters, check out our dictionary!

To go further:

S. E. Asch, « Forming impressions of personality », Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, vol. 41,‎ 1946

Tormala, Z. L., Jia, J. S., & Norton, M. I. (2012). The preference for potential. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103(4), 567–583.

Robert-Vincent Joule et Jean-Léon Beauvois, La soumission librement consentie : Comment amener les gens à faire librement ce qu’ils doivent faire ?, Presses Universitaires de France, 1998 

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