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Emotion’s the Motion

You may make fun of me all you wish, but I’ve been known to watch PARTS of the television show “Say Yes to the Dress” – though I can honestly say I have never watched a full episode from beginning to end. In one snippet I happened to catch while I was in the kitchen getting something to eat, a bride-to-be walked in and told her consultant that she had a $2,000 budget but had already fallen in love with a $10,000 dress. She insisted that she try on the $10,000 dress first so she could “get it out of [her] system” and then go on and start looking at dresses that fit her budget. (Red flag!) Since this is a show on TLC (The Learning Channel, really?), the consultant was probably precluded by the producers to tell this bride-to-be that she was smoking crack if she thought trying on this too-expensive dress was going to get it out of her system, so she gave her the dress and trundled off to find other dresses that the woman could afford.

Cuckoo Bride tried on the $10,000 dress and fell in love with it – of course. Then, she checked back into reality, looked at her bank balance, and started trying on the other dresses the consultant had searched high and low for her to consider – dresses, mind you, that looked VERY similar to the $10,000 dress. Huge surprise, the woman didn’t like ANY of these other dresses. She just kept saying they were “cheap” in comparison to the first dress.

Undaunted, the intrepid consultant went to the area where her boutique kept one-off samples, which are usually very expensive but DEEPLY discounted because they’re sold “as is” to the public. She found one that she thought her client would like that had originally been priced at $16,000 but was now being sold at $999. Fast forward to the happy ending: the woman loved it and felt like it was made JUST for her. I’ll pause here for you to get a tissue.

What they didn’t show, but I’m fairly sure took place, was the consultant returning to the bride-to-be and having the following conversation: “I have another dress for you to try. It’s more beautiful than the first dress you tried on, and it was originally priced at $16,000! (Pause for dramatic effect.) But I can get it for you TODAY for only $999. Would you like to see how it fits?” At this point, the bride-to-be is not only willing to push over small children who might be standing between her and the dress in question, but it could fit like a sack of potatoes, and she’d still buy it: she now had a story to tell anyone who will listen that she is wearing a $16,000 dress. (And this is what convinced me that the story was what the bride REALLY wanted: the $16,000 dress didn’t look ANYTHING like the original $10,000 dress.)

If it had played out that way (and I’m reasonably certain it did), the beauty of the lesson in all of this is the consultant didn’t lie or exaggerate even once – and she kept her cool. By keeping her cool, she was able to let enough of the drama play out to recognize what lay at the base of this woman’s quest for a wedding dress: she wanted it to “look” expensive. Once that clicked, the consultant made off for the samples room to see what she could find that fit that bill.

While many people try to tell you otherwise, buying real estate is an emotional decision (there are exceptions, of course). The key to your success in a transaction is being patient enough to determine the client’s emotional trigger. Ask a lot of questions and be patient until you’re able to figure out the emotional hot button in the sale . . . and heaven help any small children if they stand in your way!

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