A LESSON IN CONSUMER BIAS

deckchairs on jetty in front of tropical island

deckchairs on jetty in front of tropical island

Did you know consumers tend to choose products in a “boundedly rational” way? I didn’t – mostly because I don’t know what the heck that phrase means. According to Marketing Science, it means consumers tend to rely on predispositions while also pursuing evidence that backs an alternative choice.

 

PROVIDE AN EXPERIENCE
At this point, you may be thinking, “That’s great, Darren. We’re not selling sofa beds.” We may not be selling sofa beds, but we areselling something. We’re selling ourselves, we’re selling our loan products and, most importantly, we’re selling a way to turn someone’s dream into reality.. The investments and financial ramifications of what we’re selling can vastly affect someone’s livelihood in both the short- and long-terms.

This is why it’s so important to provide a simple, transparent experience on all fronts – prospecting, communication, the application process, even follow-up after closing. It is the sum of all these parts that creates a streamlined positive experience that will be ingrained in their memory for years to come. It is also what creates brand loyalty. People buy the specific brand, fit and style of jeans they do because they’re familiar with that brand, its customer service, and the jean’s fit, look and longevity. They’re happy to sing that brand’s praises when people compliment them on their look or mention they’re in the market for a new pair themselves. Many become so familiar with the process that reordering becomes second nature and can be done with the tap of a button on their smartphone.

PROVIDE AN EDUCATION
Now, here’s the flipside to that positive experience. There are those who have had a positive renter experience. They have enjoyed the maintenance-free and perhaps lower-cost residency associated with a 12-month lease. Theirstoryline may easily convince them that homeownership is scary. That loan terms are long, interest is high, this move is permanent and that they’ll be on the hook for every repair known to man. We’re smart enough to know this is fear talking. They have a right to second-guess any process that takes their hard-earned money. Homeownership included.

One of the more interesting findings of our study is that we have found that while a predisposition toward a certain product creates a competitive advantage for that product, it canbe overturned by evidence. If a competing product can demonstrate sufficiently higher quality or offer a sufficiently lower price – or some combination – the consumer will often tend to make a rational decision.

It’s our job to be evidence-producing professionals for this group of people. To win them over with statistics and the “higher quality” of life that can come with investing in one’s home. Aside from a fingerprint or hair sample, cold-hard facts are just about the most compelling, inarguable way to prove your case. Here are just a few to get you started: median home prices across the nation experienced an annual increase of 6.4 percent between 1968 and 2018, according to NAR. U.S. home values have increased by 8 percent since March 2017, according to Zillow. Home prices in two-thirds of the U.S. housing market are at record highs, says MBA. We are in the longest job expansion period ever, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes. Interest rates today are almost a full percentage point below the average interest rate over the past 47 years.

This strategic approach can be easily summed up by a rhyme I learned in grade school: make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold. Provide the best full-service experience you can to current clients and maintain ties and a solid rapport with them moving forward. On the flip side, be the voice of reason for those wary of such a large leap who may need a little help, support and clarity to guide them through the process.

Western Division Business Development Manager

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