To be fair on you

I worked in an Estate Agency way back in the 1980’s and we would use a particularly worrisome persuasion technique with potential buyers of properties. Looking back I now realised that we’d swallowed the persuasion textbook.

Let me explain what happened then I’ll unpack it for you.

On a weekend, people would view properties that we had on the books and because the office was closed on a Sunday, no offers could be made until Monday morning. These were days way before the internet and email.

So from 8.30am onwards all we received were phone calls of people interested in making offers.

A viewer would phone and state they had seen 22 Acacia Avenue and liked enough to make an offer. A soon as we heard those immortal words, we chipped in something like “I’m terribly sorry but the owner phoned me earlier this morning and said they had decided to take it off the market”

The viewer would be terribly disappointed and when we heard this, we chipped in with “But to be totally fair on you if I take your best offer, I’ll phone them to see if they might change their mind”

And of course their best offer was close if not matching the full asking price. Which, naturally the owner, would accept, since they hadn’t changed their mind in the first place.

A tad naughty you might say.

The techniques used:

  1. Crossing the line – the viewer had crossed the line because they were really keen to own the property. This is why estate agents will ask you how Johnnie’s room might be decorated or if you lived here, what would you do with the back garden
  2. High authority – we were using the power of the owner’s decision not ours to accept the offer
  3. Good guy, bad guy – we were the good guy, the owner was the bad guy who put pressure on them.
  4. Concession request – in return for trying to persuade the owner to change their mind, they gave us a concession i.e. a high offer

Quite a few persuasion techniques put in there. And some of the more salubrious agents would throw in a mortgage being arranged might sweeten the pill. But we never went that far.