Some of you may know, but for those who don’t, I study history. Graduate-level Trans-Atlantic History of business and technology to be exact. My undergraduate, long long ago, was international marketing, so when I decided to go the humanities route in graduate school, business and technology seem to be a good transition from my previous academic and real life careers to my new history pursuits. “So, what’s in it for me?” you ask? Good question!
My current research is on an Austrian Psychologist, Dr. Ernest Dichter, who is considered to be the father of motivational research. Dichter knew Freud in Europe and when he came to the US just prior to WW II, he brought with him Freud’s psychoanalytical approach and applied it to business. Dichter is credited as being the mac-daddy pioneer of applying Freud’s theories to marketing and business.
In a nutshell, he took marketing from describing a product in its most transparent and practical way to evoking a primal need or desire, ala Freud. No longer did you market soup by saying “oh, it tastes great and has lots of vitamins”. The new approach would be to sell soup so that it would take you back to sitting with mom in the kitchen as she cooked fresh soup on the stove, filling the home with luscious smells (I’ll leave out the mom-Freud thing for our discussion here).
Dichter’s career was prodigious both here and in Europe. He created the phrase “Put a Tiger in the Tank” for Exxon, consulted on the original Barbie and literally 1,000s and 1,000s of other household products. Seeing the Freud in Exxon’s slogan and Barbie is not a far stretch, nor in all the rest of Dichter’s work.
How then, would Dichter advise us to market real estate or real estate services? He’d have us reach the deepest bottoms of our target clientele’s psyche. Do they want to buy a 3 bedroom 2 bath house on Main Street or are they looking for something deeper? Security? Prestige? Sex? What is it? Here in Miami, the advertising firms for condos have motivational marketing down pat. You don’t see much, if anything, of the actual condos on the billboards. You see beautiful models at the spa, doing yoga, on the beach in the most stylish of teeny garments. They are selling the DREAM, not the condo. And it WORKS! The sizzle, not the steak.
The next copy you write for a listing, or to reach your sellers, keep Dr. Freud and Dichter’s theories in mind. Reach the client where they feel it, instinctively. Not in their head, you can’t win much in the real estate game with just numbers and facts. You have to evoke a compelling, irresistible offer that fulfills their innermost yearnings….
When I bought my first house in Coral Gables, the Realtor was offering a set of note cards with a hand-drawn rendering of the historic home on the front. This SOLD me! I was now going to live in a home that had such history that there were hand-drawn note cards! It reached a deeper level in me than just being a beautiful home (which it is). What is your client’s hand-drawn note card? What do they seek or desire more than just a dwelling? Figure that out and you’ll know a whole lot more about what they REALLY want!
Freud, magician, madman or genius? What say you?
steak thanks to TheBusyBrain. I apologize now to any vegetarians and vegans!