The Psychology of Fence-Sitters
Last week I attended Tom Ward’s teleseminar, “Learn How to Increase your Business in 2009” and there was one thing he said that really struck a chord with me. He said, “People will challenge your facts.” He said it without much follow-up, but it grabbed my attention because this is exactly what many of my own Real Estate and Mortgage clients have been quite frustrated over lately.
A great example of this was relayed to me by a client a few days back. He had received, what he reported as being, “an angry email” from a purchase prospect who was replying to an email blast that he had sent out a few days earlier regarding great rates and this being a great time to buy… yada, yada, yada. Here is what the prospect wrote to my client:
Everyone always says that NOW is the best time to buy. Why? Because transactions earn YOU money. Tell me one time during the past five years where you said it was NOT a great time to buy and I will have enough respect to NOT consider this just another sales pitch.
Ouch! Did you just cringe? How would you respond to such an email?
Not being a Loan Officer myself, I had a completely different perspective about his email and I felt that I knew exactly where this prospect was coming from. You see, the vast majority of us “outsiders,” regardless if we have bought a home, refinanced or invested in a dozen properties, still have no bleeding idea what you do, how you do it, why you do it or really how it ALL works. Our trust has been obliterated. We feel like we must take the scraps given to us by the media and make sense of it all and that makes us perturbed and yes, a little bit feisty.
What’s most important, especially in today’s climate, is your ability to answer to your customers’ FEARS. It’s being able to step out of your own shoes, you know, the ones that have been in the biz for 10+ years, experienced the cycles, answered to the same objections for the umpteenth time, heard it all, seen it all before shoes, and slip into your customers’ loafers for a moment and remember there are basic, psychological components at work when you are engaging with fence-sitters or those who challenge your facts. Fear can be paralyzing, it can also cause us to act unusually combative at times.
Helping your customers to move through the fear…
Name the fear
As soon as you feel someone is having a tough time moving forward, instead of asking your customer what might be holding them back and inadvertently putting them in a defensive position, suggest a few reasons why others have had cold feet. Then briefly explain how you were able to help them through that fear and how they benefitted in the end. Basically, you are sharing a case study, a cure and most importantly, empathy!
Show me, don’t tell me
Be ready to present your case in a professional manner. I’ve seen some wonderful examples of this with my own clients who combine mortgage presentation tools from various sources like Loan Toolbox, Mortgage Coach, TBWS or Top of Mind Networks with various media applications like Jing Project, Camtasia, Go To Meeting, and You Tube. I think it was Stephan Lubinski of TBWS who recently said, “We are a nation of voyeurs.” Boy, ain’t that the truth! Statistics show that 65% of the population consists of visual learners. More proof why you simply can’t afford to assume that your customers “got it” when you told them the 1st time, the 2nd time or the 3rd time.
Remaining personable, accessible and real with your customers is a huge key to helping them move through their fear. 90% of the Mortgage Professionals whom I have coached have fessed up to the fact that after their initial conversation with a prospect, there second communication is inevitably conducted via email.
It’s important to view these folks no differently than your own family. If your brother, cousin or grandparent were feeling a bit of hesitancy about refinancing or buying a home and you knew that it was in their best interest, wouldn’t you call them and leave them a voicemail every other night? You’d likely tell them that you were being persistent because you cared about them and knew how important this decision was for them. You certainly would not send them a salesy email, would you?
Why not be this transparent with your customers, too? Call more, try video emails, invites to LinkedIn and Facebook, invite them to meet you for coffee or at your office…bring them into your world, show ’em you’ve got nothing to hide.
You might be thinking, ‘Man, nobody told me I’d have to become a psychologist when I got into this industry.’ Well, you certainly don’t have to know the difference between cognitiveand emotive therapy, but you do need to have the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, show empathy and expand your patience.
And, if you receive an email like the one my client did, see it as a fantastic opportunity to help someone through their fears and really experience what being a “Trusted Advisor” is all about.
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