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By Dr. Cliff Baird

RISMEDIA, Nov. 3, 2008-“Homeostasis” is both a physiological and a psychological term that means balance. In every situation where “harmony” is needed there must be a balance. For example, if a room becomes too warm, one will either open a window or put the air conditioner on to restore the temperature of the body. In other words, bring it into balance.

Homeostasis explains the emotional need for someone who has received a gift to return the “favor” at some time in the future. It is emotionally difficult for most people to take something from someone and not feel some obligation to give something back.

The imbalance created comes from a culturally learned sense of obligation. That is not to say that everyone will become so inclined but it is, nevertheless, a reasonable response to expect. The building of any type of relationship matures in this well-honed, historical pattern of give and receive. Built into the human psyche is the desire to restore equity into every relationship.

Armed with this knowledge, it is now easier to see why the following statistic plays such a vital role especially in the beginning of a real estate sales career:

Approximately 74% of all clients select their agent because they had an existing relationship with the agent.

Even if you would dispute the authenticity of this statistic, one would be hard-pressed not to accept it on basis of personal experience. From the time you entered real estate, you have been told to stay in touch with all of your friends and associates. Unfortunately, that was all too often equated with getting their immediate business. However, time has taught us that the major reason to keep every relationship current is to get the edge on that person recommending you to their circle of influence. In the end, your circle is only important to reach their circle. They will simply do business with you and secure business for you, if they like you.

This seemingly redundant concept explains why the last decade has given rise to a plethora of excellent business building systems that promote such things as handwritten notes, which again confirms the notion of homeostasis.

Here’s another example of how it works when holding an open house. How often have you struggled with getting the correct contact info from those who visit? And how can you best weed out the seriously interested buyers from the neighborhood lookers? Try this. After they have toured the home and just before they leave, inquire about whether the home met their needs, etc. After their traditional stalls, and in an effort to extract the real buyers, do not say:

“Would you like me to send information on other properties like this when they come up for sale?”

That is a meaningless offer because they can find that information themselves if they are so motivated. Rather, say something like this:

“In our company, we have a powerful intra-office communication system called the Sneak Preview, which alerts us to all the new listings just before they get published on the MLS. Would you like me to give you an opportunity to see these listings before everyone else?”

Once again, not only will it tend to filter out the unmotivated buyers but it places homeostasis into the equation.

Here is how it could work when dealing with the FSBO, if you are so inclined.

Remember, this prospect has just announced to their whole world that they don’t need anybody, especially you, to sell their home. The FSBO sign on their front lawn is there because they want to make more money by saving your commission. This is, of course, an illogical premise. The same sign will be perceived by every potential drive-by buyer as a signal to save the same money by circumventing your commission. Both people cannot do the same thing. This is why seven out of 10 FSBOs, in traditional markets, eventually list with a real estate agent. Even if the statistics were only three out of 10, that is still a great opportunity.

“Hi, my name is ________. I am a real estate agent with __________ Realty.
“I am totally aware that you are eager to sell your home yourself. Frankly, with your permission, I actually want to help you do just that. I am not calling to talk about a listing or some phantom client who may be interested in buying your home. No, I really want to help you because there is something in it for me.

“My business is largely built on personal referrals and if I help you meet your goal I am counting on you saying good things about me to others in the future. So let me suggest this. I would like to visit with you tonight and give you some very helpful ideas and thoughts about the myriad of financing possibilities available today and even give you some of the documents essential to writing your contract. I will also suggest other helpful hints such as how best to show your home.

“Now, let me repeat: I promise you that I am not coming over in some undercover way to talk about getting a listing. I will not talk about a listing unless you do. My benefit is your future referrals on my behalf.

“Then, when I leave tonight, you will have many more ideas on how to sell your home. From time to time I will call to see how it’s all going. In return, just tell your friends about me if they are looking for an excellent real estate agent. And, by the way, should the day ever come that you ever think about listing your home, all that I would like you to do is think of me!”

Hopefully, you can see the not-so-subtle introduction of homeostasis. Nothing works all the time but everything works some of the time. We just can never tell when it is going to work. Therefore, if you are serious about your business, you must do something all the time.

Once you grasp this amazing psychological concept and understand why it works, then simply apply it often enough in your presentations to make it work for you.

Cliff Baird, MBA, PhD, has spent over 25 years coaching agents and managers to focus on business systems that lead to abundant success. He is the developer of The RealSTAR Online Recruiting System, which helps managers handle the recruiting process.

For more information, please contact Baird at or