“When it comes to influencing the behaviors of others, it is often the smallest changes in approach that make the biggest differences.”
- The small BIG
The small BIG is a fascinating collection of 52 insights on how to influence and persuade others, all gleaned from recent research in the fields of social psychology, behavioral economics, and neuroscience. The tactics shared in this book are easily applicable because they are all small, mostly no-cost changes that have a big impact. And every “small BIG” is completely ethical—this is about influence, not manipulation.
The authors wrote the book after they realized information on its own (“You should buy this product because of these great features…”) isn’t the most effective way to influence people. To be more persuasive, they discovered, you must also consider the context in which the information is delivered.
For this blog post, I’ve pulled out five “small BIGs” that can be easily applied to your real estate business. Read on to learn about five small changes that can have a huge impact on the way you win clients, maintain a tidy office, build rapport with others, boost employee productivity, and stick to your goals.
1) To win more clients...change the way you leverage social proof.
The small BIG describes social proof as the idea that “people’s behavior is largely shaped by the behaviors of others around them, especially those with whom they strongly identify.”
Many real estate agents leverage social proof by incorporating client testimonials on their websites. For even more impact, see if you can add some type of description of each client along with their testimonials, so others can identify with them. For example, you might include the ages of a family's children, and whether they have any pets: The Johnson Family - Jack, Pam, Izzie (5), Gabe (2), and their dog Chip.
What are some other ways you can showcase your clients and allow others to identify with them?
2) To encourage employees to maintain a clean office...reschedule when your cleaner comes in.
The likelihood that people will violate a social norm (such as being tidy) depends on what they observe in their environment and what they observe others doing about it.
If you fail to maintain a clean office, you employees might observe their messy surroundings and be more likely to leave dirty dishes in the sink or neglect to pick up a piece of trash they see on the floor. But it’s not just a matter of hiring a cleaner to come in once a week.
Schedule your cleaner to come in while employees are still in the office, so they can witness the cleaning as it happens. The small BIG states, “the strongest context for encouraging desirable behavior comes from evidence that clearly conveys other people’s respect for norms.”
3) To build rapport with someone...identify your uncommon commonalities.
A sure way to build instant rapport with someone is to discover that you both love the same obscure band or watch the same underrated TV show. “Identifying these uncommon commonalities—especially early in the process of relationship building—potentially fulfills people’s desire both to fit in and, yet, to stand out...”
To reveal uncommon commonalities among your employees, you could send out an email questionnaire asking people to list their five favorite TV shows (maybe even encourage them to list their favorite obscure shows). During conversations with clients, keep an ear out for any mention of an uncommon interest that you share with them.
What other questions could you ask to uncover more uncommon commonalities between yourself and others?
4) To improve employee productivity...remind them that their work has meaning.
The small BIG highlights a study that took place in a university call center, where employees spent their days contacting alumni to ask for donations for scholarship funds. In the study, one set of employees was provided with stories about the personal benefits of their job (financial benefits, opportunities to develop skills, etc.) while another set of employees read stories about the task significance—stories written by students, describing the incredibly positive impact the scholarships had on their lives. This latter group—the task significance group—ended up outperforming the former, earning more than twice the amount of money than they had one month earlier.
Why? The realization that they were contributing to a positive impact on students' lives motivated them to make more calls per hour.
To boost your real estate employees’ productivity, be sure to collect client testimonials and share with your staff. Remind them of the positive impact they are having on people’s lives. It just might get them energized to start knocking on more doors!
5) To stick with your goals and not get discouraged...change the way you set goals.
When it comes to short-term goals, set high-low goals instead of single number goals. The example provided in The small BIG is to aim to lose 2-4 pounds a week rather than 3 pounds a week.
A high-low goal satisfies your need to pursue a goal that is both challenging (and thus, gives you a feeling of accomplishment) as well as attainable.
As a real estate agent, perhaps you could set a goal to knock on 20-30 doors per week, reconnect with 3-5 past clients, or add 10-15 new contacts to your CRM.
What small changes will you make?
It’s incredible how even the smallest tweak to your approach can have a huge impact on your real estate business. And because these small changes are essentially cost-free and take very little time to implement, you really have nothing to lose!
If you have any ideas about how to implement some of these small BIGs for your real estate business, we’d love to hear them. Please share your comments below.