Elite AgentMindset and Personal DevelopmentOPINION

Michelle Bowden: pushy or persuasive, which agent are you?

It can be a fine line between persuading a prospect to sign on the dotted line and pushing them into it. Here, persuasion expert Michelle Bowden explains why you want to avoid the latter and how you can use the Predisposition to Persuade measure to assess if you’re at risk of forcing your client’s hand.

No one likes a pushy salesperson!

Think about the last time someone coerced you into a decision you didn’t want to make.

Maybe it was a meal in a restaurant or choosing a holiday destination.

A few hours, days, or weeks later, you felt this overwhelming sense of regret.

That sense of regret is called buyer’s remorse.

It’s that feeling that you’ve done the wrong thing or made the wrong decision, and you want to reverse it.

Buyers’ remorse is thought to stem from the cognitive dissonance that occurs when a person must make a difficult decision between two similar options, such as two equally successful real estate agents.

In real estate, buyer’s remorse can happen when a vendor lists with you, and then they second guess themselves and change their mind in preference of a different agent.

It can also occur when a buyer pays too much for their home.

In 2023 a CNBC article reported that 72 per cent of recent homebuyers in the US had regrets about paying too much. 

In recent years, the hot seller’s market prompted buyers to go above and beyond to snap up their prospective homes.

As the real estate market cools a bit in Australia in 2023, some buyers may feel the same. 

What do you need to consider?

The more pushy or manipulative the salesperson, the higher the chance for buyer’s remorse.

It’s easy to be pushy (without meaning any harm) when you believe you are the best choice for a vendor.

I urge you to consider whether your vendors could describe your approach as “pushy”.

And if you think there’s any chance, work on your skills starting today, so you feel proud of yourself and your sales process.

My definition of persuasion is to “induce to undertake a course of action or embrace a point of view by means of argument, reasoning, or entreaty and where there is a measure of freedom in the decision-making process of the stakeholder.”

The important thing to note in this definition is that for you to be persuasive rather than pushy or manipulative, there must be a level of freedom in the decision-making process of your stakeholder.

They can’t feel coerced, pushed, or tricked into doing something they don’t want to do.

Your predisposition to persuade

There’s a cool psychological measure called the Predisposition to Persuade (P2P)It’s all about how driven you are to change people’s thinking or behaviour. I often describe your P2P as your ‘care factor’ or how invested you are in changing the person’s mind.

People with a high P2P are driven to change people’s minds – no matter whether the matter is of high importance to them.

Whereas people with a lower P2P are less driven to persuade others.

Your P2P can affect how manipulative or pushy you are. You may have realised that the higher your P2P, the more likely you will be seen as ‘pushy’. 

Ideally, you want to be somewhere between these two extremes.

Where your drive to persuade comes from  

Your P2P is, to some degree, innate (a quality you were born with), and to some degree it is learned.  

Some common reasons you may have a higher P2P score:

  • You are passionate about the issues or challenges in your workplace.  
  • You trust your ability to persuade others, so you are more likely to be driven to persuade. 
  • If you are unfazed by conflict or have rarely experienced it, you will feel confident in your ability to persuade and be more likely to attempt it.

Some common reasons you may have a lower P2P score:

  • You may not be passionate about the issues or challenges in your workplace.  
  • You may not feel confident in your ability to persuade others, so you adopt a more easygoing persona at work until you are spurred into action. 
  • Conflict avoidance is a trait closely associated with P2P. A prior experience of conflict or ‘ruffling of feathers’ when attempting to persuade others may make some people less driven to persuade in general.

How to improve your ability to persuade

  1. Get passionate. Don’t fake it. Clients are clever and know when you’re putting it on.
  2. Emotional intelligence. Work on your relationship-building, connection and communication skills so that you trust your ability to persuade rather than manipulate others.
  3. Read people. Cultivate the skill of reading your audience so that you can ascertain whether or not the person’s mind can be changed and only convince when there’s a point to it.
  4. Serve your audience. Resist desperation, even in a falling market. The best salespeople make people feel good, go above and beyond, communicate brilliantly, and generally serve others.
  5. Top up your techniques. Learn some linguistic tricks for managing conflict, so you trust your ability to manage objections in a win/win way.

If your vendor feels they were lured, tricked, or pressured into listing with you, they will likely experience buyer’s remorse once the deal is done, and you’ll have a very unhappy customer on your hands.

Over the past few decades, I’ve been privileged to witness thousands of people move from pushy and aggressive to functional and effective.

And the great news is that anyone can improve their ability to be more persuasive. It’s just a matter of knowing the little things to tweak or change about your style and then doing them.

Happy persuading!

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Michelle Bowden

Michelle Bowden is Australia's expert on presenting persuasively in business. She's a best-selling, internationally published author of How to Present: the ultimate guide to presenting your ideas and influencing people using techniques that actually work. For more information visit michellebowden.com.au