Sometimes, prospective home buyers will share their intent behind purchasing a home right off the bat. Maybe they’re empty-nesters who want to downsize now that their kids are in college who want less square footage but access to a close-knit town and surrounding activities during retirement, but other desires and requirements might remain unclear. Many times, home buyer motivations are totally obscure — and learning their key drivers to purchase can require careful questioning.
Though it’s often time consuming to uncover every possible driver, even for those with more up-front wishes, it is a worthwhile assessment to complete. Determining motivations and emotional drivers of home buyers is not only critical to building strong customer relationships, it creates a more favorable selling process with buyers and ultimately makes the sales team more effective. By learning exactly what the home buyers want out of their new place and its surroundings, you can sell at higher conversion rates and create more profitable deals.
Buyer hot buttons offer one way to understand and organize a questioning process to get all of the necessary information you need about prospective buyers. Our list of 12 buyer hot buttons was inspired by a University of Michigan study detailing the 12 psychological factors that drive people to make a purchase decision, and it was personalized for the home buying journey by our team of seasoned sales experts.
The value of hot buttons in creating a favorable thought process, thus maximizing conversion rates, is so important that we not only built an entire training library on the topic, but we also require every sales agent to inventory the interaction in registration forms, CRM inputs, and check-in meetings with their managers. This helps our agents create the most effective way to tailor presentations to customers.
The bottom line: if we understand and leverage the following 12 hot buttons, we better connect and communicate with potential home buyers — increasing the likelihood of a seamless sales process.
Take the empty-nester scenario — they’re likely less family-driven now that their kids are out of the house, so they probably won’t have this hot button. A customer with this hot button will make their decision based on the needs and priorities of their family. School district caliber and proximity as well as access to kid-friendly amenities like parks, playgrounds, big backyards, and soccer fields will top their lists. Big family rooms and the ability to make structural changes as a family grows (like converting a dining room into a playroom) also matters.
This one is straightforward: cost is the predominant concern of a customer with a financial hot button, and these customers want as much money to stay in their pockets as possible. Limiting monthly cash flow is a strong focus. But know that just because they ask financially focused questions doesn’t necessarily mean they have this hot button. To see if cost is truly most important and uncover whether money is a priority motivation, ask questions to determine how and why they’ve made big financial decisions in the past. And this goes for every hot button: dig deep to fully understand motivations before making any assumptions.
While the financial hot button is focused on short-term money orientation, customers with an investment hot button care more about what they can get in return for the money they spend. They believe a home purchase will pay dividends in the future, so this customer will need convincing that purchasing this home is a sound long-term choice.
This customer wants to feel inward achievement and accomplishment when making a home purchase. They don’t care about other people’s opinions; they want to upgrade the house and make it the best it can be for internal fulfillment.
Ego-driven buyers, on the other hand, care most about the potential envy they can evoke from others. They want the biggest and the best — and they want everyone to see and know about it. They want to know that they have the most unique features and amenities to set themselves apart from others with a one-of-a-kind home.
Customers with a convenience hot button will seek out stress-free environments and comfort both throughout the sales process and in their home environments and neighborhood. They need sellers who make things easy for them, and they care about amenities such as the proximity of bedrooms to bathrooms and mailbox to the front door, cutting back on as many daily inconveniences as possible.
This hot button focuses on the betterment of a single relationship (and it’s not always a romantic one). Customers with love hot buttons care most about pleasing their loved ones and will want floor plans and features chosen with this person in mind.
While the love hot button focuses on fulfilling the needs of another person, the sex hot button focuses on physical connection with another person. A buyer with a sex hot button wants spaces that enable close bonds with loved ones – think less open floor plans and cozier corners that help maintain a sense of closeness.
Buyers with a privacy hot button seek out personal retreats and look for homes and communities that offer seclusion, like those tucked away in the woods or with a high acreage. People seeking privacy in their spaces may also be more reserved in answering questions about their personal life, so sellers need to take the time to build trust with these customers.
Those with a security hot button are driven primarily by their need for safe shelter and a secure community. They may care more about home alarm systems, crime rates in the town, and emergency services available nearby.
The culture hot button represents customers’ ties to communities and the value they place on living close to groups they identify with, which could include nationality, religion, belief system, vocation, stage of life, and economic condition. People with this hot button need to be certain that specific beliefs, values, etc., important to them align with those of the community where they plan to live.
Buyers with a recreation hot button want leisure and recreational activities around their prospective home that match their interests. The empty-nesters we talked about earlier, for example, might want a similar-aged group of people nearby to participate in retirement activities together, and depending on their interests, might opt for a more aesthetically pleasing home located near an ocean or lake.
Most buyers will have multiple hot buttons, so sellers have to evaluate each one closely before making a call on which resonates most with the customer. This means prioritizing skillful questioning and attentive listening. Sales agents need to let the customers dominate in talking so they can focus on listening and hearing the person’s story to determine motivations, desires, and values. This is just one best practice — the process requires a team of sales professionals that understand the value of personalization and truly care about uncovering each buyer’s motive.
It’s important to put the time in to connect with the customer on this level. By developing a hot button strategy for the home buying experience, you can optimize your closing rates and improve your brand image through superior customer experiences tailored to every buyer that engages with your storefronts.
To learn more about how New Home Star utilizes hot buttons to optimize the new home sales training and receive a complimentary partnership assessment, please contact one of our account specialists.
“The Bases of Social Power” in D. Cartwright, ed., Studies in Social Power (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1959).