The inappropriateness of using the emotions of fear and greed to prospect

by Alistair Helm in

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Many years ago, just after I had bought my first house I was visited by a salesperson who on the front door step started to tell me and my wife about the spate of burglaries in the area. The emotion he instilled in us was one of fear.

He used approach this to convince us to sign up for a burglar alarm that we could barely afford. This tactic taught me a valuable lesson – be wary of self-interested groups playing on your emotions.

The other day a leaflet was dropped into our letter box from a local real estate firm – its emotional message was not couched around fear but around greed!

Here is the leaflet:

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and on the reverse: 

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The text of the message:

The Reserve Bank wants to dampen the Auckland Market. What does this mean for you as a home owner?

Strategically you can use this to your advantage. Consider this… sell now on a higher market with a long settlement, so you are in a position to buy in a lower market next year.

If you are considering a move then call us urgently and we will explain how to ride this wave with success.

On second thoughts maybe the emotional tactic is two fold – fear at the impending crash, which is likely to follow this action by the Reserve Bank and greed at the opportunity to sell now, buy later ‘short-sell’ tactic. All we need is the herd instinct to complete the three main emotional motivators of stock markets and business behaviour.

So here we have a case of future forecasting by local real estate agents. Next year according to them the market is going to be ‘lower’ – the inference being in terms of prices.

Big call!

There is no sound statistics to back this up and therefore there is no basis for a real estate agent to make such an assertion. Selling a service based on possible gain from market movement is neither professional nor ethical. Selling based on emotion is not appropriate.

I propose to bring this to the attention of the Real Estate Agents Authority as in my mind it breaches their Code of Conduct 6.4 “A licensee must not mislead a customer or client, nor provide false information, nor withhold information that should by law or in fairness be provided to a customer or client”.