Back in December, I attended a focus group held by a couple of local realtors who were trying to refine their sales process.
We weren’t looking seriously for a house back then, and didn’t expect to be for some time. I was there because a friend invited me (and the Target gift card didn’t hurt).
One of the realtors said, off hand, that one of the hardest parts of her job was getting prospective buyers she was working with to get serious about house hunting. They came to her because they wanted a house, needed a house, but it was terribly difficult to get them to understand how the market worked around here and to recognize a fair price when they saw it.
Until that happened, they would never find the right house.
But I knew this realtor sold a lot of houses. She was good at what she did. I asked her, what does it take for buyers to get serious? What changes?
She answered immediately: they have to lose one.
Here’s what happens, she said: a client gets into a few (or a dozen) properties that they think they might like. They tweak their criteria, visit a few more, and then—eventually—they find a house they love. So they make an offer.
But of course (insert knowing smile here) the sellers are crazy for setting the asking price so absurdly high, so they make a low offer. A fair offer, they think, but markedly lower than the asking price.
And then those prospective buyers are devastated when the house—the house they’d been calling their house—sells in 3 days, at full price or darn close, to somebody else.
After they lose one, they’re serious. They’ve had their reality check and now they’re ready to act.
***** ***** *****
Ever since that night, I think about you have to lose one all the time. Definitely when we were house hunting, sure. But even on a daily basis: will I be sorry if I don’t get off email so I can read my book? Will I feel like I lost something if I don’t carve out time to talk to my husband, play with my kids, walk to the park?
Missing out is a motivator.
(Not the silly social media-induced Fear of Missing Out. We’re talking about really losing something.)
That isn’t new news: you’ve probably read the studies that say people hate to lose more than they like to win. It’s irrational, but it’s useful. Hey, even Donald Miller has based his day planner around a simple premise, borrowed from Viktor Frankl: every morning, pretend you’re living each day for the second time, and ask yourself: what would you change on your do-over?
Sound familiar? (Such a good movie!)
I’m curious to hear your thoughts on this:
Have you been able to make a big decision only AFTER you’ve missed out on something you wanted? Or do you find yourself using Frankl’s if-I-had-it-to-do-over-again framing for your day-to-day decisions?