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Want to Know How to Influence Buyer and Seller Behavior?

Influence aka manipulation

influenceBoy that word “manipulation” sure sounds evil, doesn’t it? Implying that people can be influenced (or as I like to refer to it as for fun, “manipulate”) gets people in a tizzy, but guess what? All marketing studies, tactics and implementation involve influence of others and it’s not evil, it’s a simple understanding of the human mind. Don’t you want to know how your spouse’s mind works? Don’t you want to better understand your buyers and sellers? Would you read this entire article to learn tips on how to influence your buyers or sellers?

Studies show:

A variety of studies reveal a human behavior called “mere measurement effect” which “demonstrate that merely measuring consumers’ purchase intentions changes their subsequent purchase behavior.”

For example, a study of Canadian blood donors that were surveyed asking if they would donate again in six then 12 months showed increased blood donations at a significant rate.  A 1993 NYU study showed increased purchase rates on cars and computers by asking a buyer’s intentions.  Neat, huh?

How to use this in real estate:

The measurement effect is not a new concept- the marketing world has been privy to it for ages and there are some simple ways to implement this in your real estate business:

  • After a closing, send your standard questionnaire and include questions like “would you use [insert agent or brokerage here] for your next home purchase?” or “will you contact [insert agent or brokerage here] at least 60 days before your next purchase?”
  • While touring homes, ask your buyer questions about their intentions like “you said you like the home and you’d like to make an offer, do you intend on making an offer today?” or “I remember that you enjoyed the game room in the last home, do you plan on building shelves on the west wall?” The second question does imply intention to build shelves, not buy a home, but it does influence a decision to point out the obvious likes or dislikes of a purchase.

Will you use the Mere Measurement Effect in your practice? If you read this whole article, was it because you were asked about whether you would in the first paragraph or because the title was in the form of a question (hence measurement, hence influence, hence manipulation)? What other questions can Realtors ask to aide purchases?

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Darlene Anderson

    October 29, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    I think this concept really works. My team partner & husband will let the buyers know ahead of time that he’s going to ask them to purchase each home he shows them. That way he prepares that buyer that may find the first home is the one for them but feels like they just have to look at 20 others to make up their mind. He lets the buyer know that if they feel the first one is the one they may loose out while looking at the other 20. I’m not quite that brave so I tell them we can only keep two homes on the list at a time and I do not give them the info sheets on any except the two they choose at the end of the day. If we go back out those two stay in the mix. It has shortened the time I work with buyers.

    • Hilda Porter

      October 30, 2009 at 12:11 pm

      I love your idea but some clients want to look at the flyers and make notes so that they can remember the homes. What do you say if they ask for a flyer of each home or they pick up one inside the house.

  2. Tom

    October 29, 2009 at 6:26 pm


    Great article! The use of professional persuasion or influence approaches in real estate can bring success to agents who study and implement these scientifically proven techniques. Thanks for helping to make agents aware of these important tools.


  3. Darlene Olivo ABR

    October 29, 2009 at 10:00 pm

    This is good!! Give me more!!

  4. Matthew Rathbun

    October 29, 2009 at 10:18 pm


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