NLP, or Neuro-Linguistic Programming can be described as a ‘behavioural technology’. According to Mind Training Systems in Surrey, an NLP Master Practitioner Training Centre, this simply means that it is a “set of guiding principles, attitudes, and techniques about real-life behaviour”. So what on earth does NLP have to do with selling houses?
I had a meeting this week with the two founders of Mind Training Systems, Catherine Jackson and Colin Mackay, and was particularly struck by something they told me about how our brains filter out information when faced with the enormous amount they receive. Catherine told me, “Our brains are bombarded, via our five senses, with around 2 million bits of information per second; but our conscious mind can only process around 134 bits of these per second.” I checked this on my calculator, which tells me that’s only 0.000067% – the rest is simply filtered out, and part of NLP’s technique involves choosing which 134 bits to persuade your brain to focus on.
With me so far?
I got to thinking about how buyers often search for a property; perhaps on their laptop, in the evening. So they may well be watching tv, having a drink, talking to their partner or family, checking their phone and email; then there’s Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to keep track of, as well as perhaps keeping an eye on eBay in case they’re buying or selling something. And that’s without their surroundings: the sofa they’re sitting on, the fire, the lighting, and whether their puppy is behaving themselves (this last one is me, actually). That’s a lot of information to take in! When estate agents design online adverts for properties, you could be forgiven for thinking that they are assuming the buyer to focus their attention solely on the advert, to pick up any specific words, see beyond poor photography and do any research work themselves. This is clearly not the case. If that advert doesn’t grab the attention of the buyer immediately, then they will be focussing their 134 bits of information elsewhere; perhaps on someone else’s property.
Here are three quick ways to ensure your online property advert really stands out and shouts “look at me” to the poor, information overloaded buyer:
1. Photo – this has to be big, bold and beautiful! Don’t forget too that it might be found on a phone, so make sure the house can be seen clearly, even at thumbnail size. A view across a field may leave your home only a few millimetres across, and require a magnifying glass to look at it!
2. Headline – make it punchy! So many of them read something like “An imposing family home in a sought-after setting….” Yawn….. I tried this one recently: “Is this the prettiest thatched cottage in the Cotswolds?” and the click-through rate soared!
3. Floorplan – buyers love looking at floorplans. Some research indicates that properties with floorplans receive up to 60% more clicks. (Source: Rightmove)
Our brains are powerful machines, and with a little direction, can be gently guided down the right path; follow my three tips and hopefully it will be your path!