The Limbic System is unique to mammals.
An incomplete, but helpful description of the limbic system is “the emotional brain”, but it should not be limited to the brain because it includes most of the nervous system, bodily function, and important “glial cells” that actually “think” deep in the recessed of the human gut. Only in the last 20 years has theorized gut instinct proven to be tangible and real, and it is part of the very real limbic system. Primitive mammals like marsupials (koalas) have less developed limbic systems, and correspondingly, these animals are less emotive. The most advanced animals, like orangutans, orcas and elephants, have highly-evolved limbic systems and exhibit a whole host of emotional functions and societal structures regulated by emotions.
At the apex of limbic evolution is homo sapiens. Humans are the ultimate emotional animal. Humans are often characterized as being the supreme neocortical animals, and from an evolutionary biology perspective, this is more than fair. However, human rationality may be celebrated in business books and professional credentials, but it’s not often eulogized. The stuff of life, the fabric of experience, is emotional.
A home is where the fabric of experience is cultivated.
Real estate brands often present home-selling as a rational approach of comparison. Such a presentation is over-concerned with “THE WHAT” and under-concerned with “THE WHY.” With a tradition dating to the mid-18th Century as curators of fine art and collectibles to the most discerning purchasers, Sotheby’s is a brand that understands why certain transcendent objects have out-sized subjective values. Since the 1970’s, Sotheby’s has taken this approach to real estate, and it is why with less than 2% of all REALTORS in the United States affiliated with Sotheby’s International Realty, 41 of the Top 250 individual brokers by sales volume are Sotheby’s brokers.
Taking an artistic approach to home sales, one that respects the emotional animal, works.
The modern North American homo sapiens is characterized by information-overload, an expanse of thin knowledge on a too-vast variety of subjects, and short on time. Shall we review? As a seller, walking in the door of this home that you are selling is someone who is feeling:
- A lot of thin-knowledge on a too-vast variety of subjects
- Who is also short on Time
But there is an opportunity: it lies in the nervous system vehicle that regulates fight, flight, freeze, seduction, attachment and overall emotional regulation. It is called the limbic system. It’s the thinker that thinks without thinking. Thinking without thinking is called “feeling.” As Brene Brown says so wonderfully in Daring to Lead, “emotions are called feelings because they are felt in the body.” The seller who seizes the opportunity to evoke feelings in their buying audience will always win.
The Feeling-Buyer journeys – largely unconsciously – through three distinct theaters of purchase.
As an information-overloaded, expansive but lacking-depth-of-knowledge consumer with precious time, modern buyers have little choice but to operate in the mechanics of everyday survival. That means rapid decision-making. Ask any buyer if they will “know it when they see it” and they will agree. Yet at the same time, more often than not, buyers will also volunteer that they don’t wish to be hasty, and “wish to take their time”. It’s a built-in paradox: conflicting desires, one for an instant, eureka-answer and simultaneously a deliberative, thoroughly-evaluative slog. Guess which one usually wins? “Know it when they see it”.
A seller can’t possibly build a structure around a buyer’s desires for a deliberative slog. But a seller can build a systems around emotional “I know it when I see it” responses. This is called Selling to the Emotional Home-Buyer.
The emotional brain and the limbic system “think without thinking”. The emotional brain and the limbic system don’t do long division or show the work. The answer simply… appears. Buyers largely operate in ignorance that they are deploying such a powerful tool in their home-buying. Buyers don’t know that:
- Online, buyers will make a home-buying decision on whether or not to view a home, pass or fail, in 30 seconds or less.
- In front of a house or as they navigate a neighborhood, they will make another home-buying decision on whether or not they like a home, pass or fail, in 30 seconds or less.
- And again, once inside the doors of the house, they will make yet another home-buying decision on whether or not they will make an offer on a home, pass or fail, in 30 seconds or less.
For a seller to win, they must win:
These are pass/fail, win-them-all-or-you’ve-lost experiences. A home that has great interior images and superb location and curb appeal but smells badly inside, will not “win.” A home that has a great location but nothing worth taking pictures of inside has similarly lost. Worst yet for a seller is if their broker cannot convey the winning values inside with quality images, if the exterior is dull and uninviting and the inside is consumed with dated clutter. This “loss” to a seller is likely measured in the tens of thousands of dollars.
How do we deploy the unique attributes of a company with a two and a half century experience in curating art, collectibles, and subjects of value to the modern homo sapiens? By evoking feeling after feeling from the apex emotional animal on the planet. By making the feelings safe, contained, where lasting values and benefits are quickly understood and durable connections to such benefits are made. Lastly, by creating a masterful, repeatable system that standardizes the experience so that both the home-buying community and the brokers that work with that home-buying community come to the door of every property displaying a blue Sotheby’s yard arm sign with the expectation that what started online, and continued to the curb, will be delivered upon once inside.
The Buying Consumer deserves to have high standards and high expectations. “Speaking Buyer” means deploying a system that organizes the buyer’s perceptual maps to make a connection using their emotional brain. To find out in-depth how this is done, read-on: