The Art of Persuasive Writing
Power up your words
Sigmund Freud said, “Words have a magical power. Words are capable of arousing the strongest emotions and prompting all people’s actions.” In real estate we know words sell houses. We generate business with words. People choose us because of the words we use and how we make them feel.
Lydia Hamilton and Mandy Newman are experts on words. They joined forces to create Literary Giants a company, which helps everyone become more persuasive communicators. They have written a guide on persuasive writing. Lydia a marketing and communications authority and investor says, ”The power of communicating effectively in the workplace is very relevant and often overlooked. I think it’s really important that we fine-tune our communications skills in the workplace.”
Mandy, who has written Hot Topics for twenty years says, “The best agents are great storytellers and come across as ethical, emotional and logical. They communicate so clearly. They don’t just communicate information; they are charming, and inspire confidence.”
Lydia and Mandy have developed a five-step process for creating any kind of persuasive text which they share with us now.
1. Think and plan
Lydia says, “When you are preparing for a presentation for example, the first step is to think and plan. Ask yourself: Who am I talking to? People share information now so who is your potential audience as well? What problem am I trying to fix for a client? What does the client think? What do I want them to think? What do I want to get across? What do I want them to feel about my brand and myself? What are the triggers to create those feelings? Make a claim and come up with a solution.”
Part of planning is knowing how to strike the right tone. Adopt a professional, advisory leadership air. Lydia says, “You would not turn up to a meeting looking scruffy and disheveled. Your written communication requires the same attention. Take a formal approach because the person you’re communicating with maybe influenced by somebody else.” Communicate that you’re there to serve the client. Rather than focus on ego, focus more on information and sharing expertise. Being a real estate agent means, “I’m here to guide you, coach you, generate profit, facilitate the marketing, project manage the process, and that’s why I’m here” versus “How much commission will I get?”
Avoid statements such as, “We’d be the greatest thing you’ve ever met if you engaged us!” Mandy says, “The problem when you say, “I’m fantastic. I’m brilliant. I’m the best person,” is that you sound self-centred. You must be confident but let your actions speak about how great are.”
Lydia adds, “As a prospective purchaser of a property, I find too much ego is really offensive. I want to talk to someone who is humble, modest and level headed who will have conversation with me almost as an equal, but tell me the facts and do a really good job at the same time. They will sell themselves if they are like that. If you are beating your chest, then I would run a mile, personally.”
Mandy says, “The way you get the right tone is to strike a balance between emotionality, logic, and ethics and vary the combination depending on your client. I remember Michael Clarke talking about a new client with post-five million dollar property in the Freshwater area. For this client he had to make sure that all the data he collected and presented was impeccable. Appealing to emotion itself was not enough to push a client like that over the line.”
Michael also struck the right tone in terms of how he presented himself. He had never sold a property above five million before. And when he went in by referral, the vendor said, “Well, Michael, how many properties have you sold above five million?” and he said, “None.” And the vendor said, “But the other agents have all sold properties above five million.” He said, “This will be my first, and I’ll work harder than any of them. I’ve done more research. This is just another one for them. This is my first one.” And he really went hard on the sharp angle close – the reason I should get it is because I don’t have what you’re asking me. He won the listing. Having shown his knowledge of the home, he got the listing over the line by revealing his other admirable qualities of courage, determination and grit.
2. Lay down some structure
When you are creating a listing presentation Lydia suggests, ”Structure your argument so you can make the most impact. Build up to a crescendo. You’ve got to finish with the big bang, because ultimately that’s the sale.” Focus your presentation or copy on answering these questions:
What are you fixing for client? What is the problem and what is the solution? In what ways are you the solution?
3. Hook your audience
If you are writing copy about a property, Lydia says, “Engage, orient, and convince your audience. What sort of bait are you going to throw them to entice them to want more? Tell a story. Pull at people’s heartstrings. Appeal to their ears, eyes and nerve endings. The first four lines of copy need to grab the reader and keep them reading. Be specific. Have a strong sense of what you’re selling. Try and evoke memory, heart and feeling.”
Mandy adds, “Think about what you want your audience to feel about your brand. Create pictures. Blend facts, statistics, anecdotes, a sense of urgency, language, verbs, images and sounds that trigger those feelings and emotions in your audience. Use some of the beautiful ornamentation of language. Alliteration. Metaphor.”
The owner will have one line about their home. Ask them why they have enjoyed living here. That’s the line. That’s the hook. That’s the grab. In a good quality brochure, one of the greatest hooks or pages you can have is, “Some words from our owner.”
4. The blockbuster ending
Lydia says, “The final part of a persuasive text is presenting a cracking conclusion, reinforcing your position, and recommending an action.” Tell your client who is the ideal client. Paint a specific picture. Say the ideal candidate profile for your property is two families, with one mortgage for example. Mum and dad could be downstairs and a young couple could be upstairs. A shared purchase means we’re going to get a better price. The fact you knew the ideal candidate profile versus, “Oh well, we’ll throw it in the market and see how it goes” is persuasive.
Mandy adds, “Ask for the business. Make it easy for your clients. Leave your client, or prospective client, with the confidence that you can give them what they want, which is a great sale.” Text or email them a submission proposal at the end of your meeting saying, “This is our selling plan. This is what we’re going to do,” which, again, inspires confidence that they’ve made the right decision. Have a final button in your submission proposal which says, “By authorizing at the bottom of this screen, that will activate our services and we’ll be your exclusive agent, and we’d love to get started.” What a grand finale.
5. Quality control
Lydia says, “Go back over your work, check your spelling, look at your vocabulary. Read it out aloud. Is it boring? Does it make sense? Would you like to hear someone speaking to you like that? Ask someone to look at it for you if you’re not sure. What about your punctuation? Is your tone correct for the audience? Use Grammarly.” Mandy adds, “Make sure your writing captures your unique voice. Don’t just tell the facts. Tell stories”.
We can all become better with words. Break down how the great agents communicate. What do they say? How do they say it? Practice, borrow and steal to find your own voice. Persuasive Writing can be purchased at the web shop www.literarygiants.com.au