Anyone trying to make a point will try to “sell” you on the idea. Try to make you agree. Try to make you fear the consequences of disagreeing.  That’s how sales works. That’s how politics work.

Our clients deserve better than that.

In 2017, I attended Harness Your Negotiation Power with Buyers through my professional association. Some of my fellow exclusive buyer’s agents and I were dismayed to find out that negotiating with buyers was actually tactics to get buyers to agree to write offers. In short, manipulation into a purchase decision.

Since this is so against what we stand for, let me warn you about these tactics. They are state of the art in my profession!

If a buyer is on the fence about making an offer, do one of these two things:

  1. Sell the reward. “Wouldn’t you want to have this living room before Christmas?” “Isn’t this just like what you said your grandmother’s house was like during the holidays?” The trainer explained to us that studies show that most people have an image — most from childhood– of what they want a home to be like. Find that out and use it.
  2. Turn up the pain. “The interest rates are going up.” “Prices are just going to keep going up.” In this case, fear of loss is invoked. I hear this constantly when my clients are around listing agents. Those agents bombard buyers with unverifiable statistics and overstated trends like, “Everything is selling over asking price.” “No one is buying with a home inspection.” We know this is not true because all our clients always have home inspection and some buy for under asking price. But, it is true that many properties are selling over asking price and some properties are selling without home inspections.

There is no point in discussing the objective truth of any of these statements. They are there to create an emotional need to rush a financial decision. Who benefits? The agent, who will get paid by the job; for them a fast sale is more money per hour.

We know better. Allowing clients to make a decision they are happy with gives us referral business that keeps us fat and happy.

 Our clients deserve better than that. Consider yourselves warned.

Gaslighting*: Where sales-speak borders on gaslighting is when hyperbolic “fact” gets thrown around by agents (both buyer agents from dual agency firms, as well as seller agents.) So, if you hear the talk of “everyone knows that everything sells on the first weekend, you just can’t have a home inspection.” “No one has ever lost money in real estate in Newton” (Really! I heard that one from Newton agents — over and over — when I worked in a Newton buyer brokerage!)

This kind of talk makes buyers feel confused, powerless, and more inclined to buy in order to get it over with. It is an increase in the turning up of the pain tactic. When manipulation turns into gaslighting, it makes a person doubt their grip on the facts of the matter. This is a different type of manipulation that I wrote about Monday on my personal blog.

What to do?

Look for hyperbole: Always, never, everyone knows, no one ever… Absolute statements about something as mushy as human buying behavior has to be wrong some of time.

Trust your intuition. Have you seen things that allows you to see holes in all this hyperbole? You didn’t get to a place in life where you can buy a house in this competitive market unless you are a successful adult. You are not crazy. What you see is real; it is a very difficult market, but that does not mean that you must give away all your rights to spend a lot of money on an old house.

It is not about being right. Since the recession ended, I’ve been hearing the litany of woe from house-hunters and gloating from sellers among my friends. You’ve probably heard it, too. When the market changes to a seller’s market. The buyers are certain that they could not have bought any other way. The sellers are sure they got a killing. Sometimes I probe and poke at the assumptions, sometimes I don’t. There is no real point to being right. What matters is that we know the statistics and we also know what we have been able to do for our clients. Source

* Gaslighting is when someone uses tactics to make you question your own judgement. It is named after a Hitchcock thriller from 1944.