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Motivational selling – finding the pleasure and pain



Sigmund Freud coined the term “The Pleasure-Pain Principal” which is as simple as it sounds.  We are biologically programmed to seek pleasure and avoid pain.  We are internally motivated and drawn toward that anticipated pleasure and repelled by anticipated pain (unless you are a masochist, but that’s a different blog entirely).

Some of us are more drawn to pleasure, even at the risk of pain, and some of us are move averse to pain, even if we miss out on the pleasure. Understanding your client’s TRUE motivation will help you tremendously to provide an exceptionally satisfying real estate experience.

A few Examples of The Pleasure Principal In Real Estate (seeking the GOOD)

  • The home will make me look good to my friends
  • The home will make me feel safe
  • The home will be a good investment
  • The home will make me feel good about myself
  • Selling my home will allow me to move on to X chapter in my life
  • Selling my home will give me $ in my pocket
  • Living in the home will be a beautiful experience

A few Examples of The Pain Principal In Real Estate (seeking the BAD)

  • If I don’t buy this home, I might miss out on a good deal
  • When I buy a home, my family will no longer be crowded in too small of a home
  • If I buy this home, I won’t worry about the safety of my children while they play
  • If I buy this home, I won’t worry about the quality of my children’s education
  • If I sell my home, I won’t have creditors breathing down my neck
  • If I sell my home, I won’t be burdened with this huge financial commitment
  • If I buy now, are prices still going to drop? Meaning I’ve over-paid?
  • What if the roof leaks?

The challenge is that most people are not always conscious of their true motivation.  They might tell you (and believe) they are buying a home based on a logical review of the market, stats, etc. but subconsciously, they really think the home is cute.  You have to play detective to best determine if they seek pleasure or if they avoid pain.

Pleasure Seeker Signs

  • They drive a fancy car
  • They want to buy the most they can afford
  • They focus on how the house looks, furniture placement, etc.

Pain Fleer Signs

  • They are obsessed with the market and where it might be in six months
  • They are very analytical about data, stats and information
  • They are very interested in insurance and tax rates

By observing and analyzing your clients, you might be able to best understand their true motivation.  Then you can speak the language that will resonate best with them.  If they are more motivated by pleasure, focusing more on pain avoidance is not going to matter to them.  If they really are more motivated by mitigating pain or the risk of pain, furniture placement is not going to be on the top of their list.  Play the detective and look for clues.  I bet you will be able to better get to the base issues with your clients, even if they don’t know what they are, by determining what most motivates them.  Once done, you can “cut to the chase” quicker in finding their dream home and resolving issues.  Unleash your Freud!


Unrelated Geo-Bonus: uses Foursquare data to see what location is trending, very cool app!

Janie has been in the development, construction and real estate industries for over 20 years. She began her career in commerical construction and has slowly worked into all of the related industries and added residential properties to her resume 7 years ago. She is currently the co-owner of sister companies, Papillon Real Estate and Papillon ReDevelopment (a construction and project management firm). Janie blogs for The Coral Gables Story. In her "free" time, she is a graduate student of Atlantic History with a focus on the history of business and technology. She is a lover of geo-anything. She loves the story.

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  1. Ken Montville

    August 11, 2010 at 8:51 am

    It’s always tough deciphering the “code” buyers and sellers use. I like to be able to take what they say at face value but experience has taught me that I can’t.

    One of my all time favorites is when a potential seller calls to ask a Realtor to come over to “Tell me what I need to do to fix up the house because I’m thinking of maybe selling in a couple of months or so.” Translation: “I’m ready to put this bad boy on the market and you better come over with all the charts and graphs and valuations. If you come over with a decorating plan, you’re not getting the job.”

    • Janie Coffey

      August 11, 2010 at 8:57 am

      Yes, Ken, we want to take them at face value, but often cannot. Emotion (normally pleasure) often overrules logic, but no one wants to admit that. Buying a Porche is a prime example. When you really try to clue in to not just what people are saying, but how they are reacting, where they are focusing, etc. you might be able to better deduce the true “hotpoint”

  2. Mark Jacobs

    August 11, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Great Post Loved the information

    • Janie Coffey

      August 11, 2010 at 2:06 pm

      hi Mark, I’m glad you liked it and hopefully we all pay a little closer attention to the signs from our clients…

  3. Ken Brand

    August 11, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Nice reminder, there are cues, and clues, for those with eyes, ears, and conscious awareness. Thanks for the nudge.


    • Janie Coffey

      August 11, 2010 at 2:06 pm

      thanks Ken! PS where is your smiling face?

  4. Liz Benitez

    August 11, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Excellent advice. I work a lot with rentals right now and find that this is the case with them as well.

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Business Marketing

“House has spark” – burning up the MLS with typos and other bloopers



The year is starting a march toward its natural ending, friends…and it seems a few real estate careers may be also. This week I found some real head-scratchers in local real estate ads and the MLS.  However, I get submissions from all over the U.S., so no one is safe from the eyes of  the Blooper Scooper. Check out these blunders:

Do You Smell Smoke?

“House has spark” (Apparently your real estate career isn’t the only thing going up in smoke.)

“Big pep area in kitchen” (Is that the cookie jar where Mommy Dearest stashes her uppers?) 

“Dull Viking ovens” (Methinks there’s something in the cookie jar that will perk up those dull Vikings.)

“Large greenhose in back” (Large, naked Jolly Green Giant in yard.)

“Mush added to this house” (Was that the overflow from between your ears?)

I Think I See Flames

“Beautifully remolded guest” (Another cosmetically-altered Barbie hits the Hollywood party circuit.)

“Enjoy a drink poolslide” ( Hell, if the pool is sliding, I’ll need a whole pint of Jack.)

“Each bedroom has own bedrooom” (Hello-o-o, Alice, how are things down there in the rabbit hole?)

“Separate pod to build GH” (That should please my pea-sized buyers.)

“Play room for the kiss” (Something tells me this is the back seat of a ’67 Chevy.)

Still Smoldering…

“Ideal for gusts” (That’s great…if you want to live in a wind sock.)

“Impaccably detailed” (Incredibly challenged)

“Stylish pewder room” (Try burning a match.)

“Stone pillars flake driveway” (Flakey agent got stoned in driveway.)

Nothing But Embers (This Week’s Fave):

“From a bygone error” (You have just written your own epitaph.)



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Point & Purpose

What makes a top producer in real estate?



What makes a top producer?

Stop and think for a few minutes about who the top producers are in your market?

Ok, now think about what they doing that has allowed them to continue to consistently produce in a down market, when everyday REALTORS are throwing in the towel.

Every day I scan the MLS to see, what has sold, what is active, and what went under contract (I assume that is something most agents do every day.)

Over and over again the same names pop up as the listing agent with the home that sold or the actual buying agent that sold the home.


Except for one agent in my area, all the top producers have teams. Now it may be a two person, husband and wife team or a well oiled team with a team leader, several assistants, a listing coordinator or a closing coordinator. But, they all have HELP.

In my area, the names that keep popping up are on Teams. I believe it is virtually impossible to be a top producer without help. Well, you could do it alone but if you do how is that effecting time with your family? Realistically how many transactions can you juggle and give good service?

Running a Business

The second thing I notice about those top producers is the fact that they treat their business like a business. Real Estate to them is not just selling a house, but something they brand, allocate resources for, grow and manage. Not only are they thinking of ways to grow their business but they also thinking of the future and how to sell it down the road.

I remember being told by a entrepreneur friend of mine years ago, “all businesses are built to be sold.”

Far to many REALTORS, think of Real Estate as a job they do and someday when they retire then all the hard work of creating and nurturing relationships they have built is gone. (I’m outta here)

Focused and Positive

One other observation I have observed with top producers is they are focused and positive. I never see them “hanging out at the office”, or attending broker opens, or really for that matter, serving much at all on their local boards. Oh there are a few, but really very few.

Finally, I don’t see many top producers in my market on Twitter, Facebook, Empire Avenue or other social media sites during the day. I don’t see them at every conference known to man around the country.

What I do see is they work everyday, on their business and in their business.

How ‘bout you?

Think of the top REALTORS in your market, what characteristics do you see?

Flickr Photo Credit

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Business Marketing

“New bd pans inc” – Making a Splash on the MLS



I have two things to say this week: 1. When you drink, you can’t think. 2. When you drink you can’t- … uh, what was I saying? Oh, yes – the MLS.  It was so full of bloopers this week that I am led to conclude that happy hour started Monday and never stopped. Read these and tell me if it is any wonder I was driven to throw back a few martinis myself:

Booze ‘N’ Fools

“Free membership to gin inc” (It seems someone else beat us to it, Martini Mary.)

“Grab now use imagination” (That’s what Arnold said to his housekeeper.)

“House has new edition” (Agent lacks erudition.)

“Babblying broke runs in back” (Bumbling buffoon runs amuck.)

“Drop by for cocktail ho” (Oh, is the Sunset Strip for sale?)

Puff ‘N’ Stuff

“Near Sacramento airpot” (I believe his name is Jerry Brown.)

“Claw me for selling” (I’m too busy clawing my eyes out over your spelling.)

“Reduction on mid-century ner Holywod” (Another mid-sixties porn star is looking for work.)

“We can sake your home” (Can I get fried rice with my sake?)

Proof or Goof

“Nice streem” (Said Grandma to Grandpa after his diaper  exploded.)

“Nice for dog kids” (Uh, they’re called ‘puppies,” pal.)

“New bd pans included” (Thank you, Nurse Nancy – can you warm those first?)

“Good stable in neighborhood.” (Have you contacted Mary and Joseph?)

“Drawing for plasma” (Is this a blood-bank?)

And This Week’s Winner Is:

“Good school in areola” (Thanks for keeping me abreast of things.)


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