Luck is not an attribute that real estate agents will talk about during their listing interview. It’s true. Agents are apt to discuss many things, such as their success, their view of the market, and hopefully what they will do for your listing; but they won’t acknowledge that luck, or serendipity, may have had something to do with the success of some of their transactions. Recent research indicates that luck is actually an important characteristic in sales; and some are “luckier” than others.
Joël Le Bon, Professor of Marketing at the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business, has been studying the relationship between sales and luck for some time. He recently discussed his research for the Harvard Business Review (Why the Best Salespeople Get So Lucky; hbr.org; April 13, 2015) saying, “…downplaying the power of luck, you stand to fall behind competitors who have learned how to manage it.”
That’s right – managing (or provoking) luck. Even though many “de-emphasize luck” and focus on tangible and measurable actions, Le Bon’s studies show that the combination of the belief in luck and specific sales behaviors have a mutual positive relationship. More precisely: believing in luck has a positive effect on sales behaviors; and exhibiting a specific set of behaviors increases the person’s luck in sales.
Le Bon gives an example how managed or “provoked” luck effects sales. A study of students selling golf tournament sponsorships revealed that those who believed in luck increased their sales 41% over those who relied on “standard sales practices.” And that “76% to 88% of the luck circumstances were incidences of provoked luck.”
Among the luck boosting behaviors that Le Bon listed, includes: competitive intelligence, mindfulness, and change circumstances are relevant to home sales. Those who are luckier tend to be: knowledgeable about the market, competitors, customers and prospects; mindful about their customers’ objectives and open to unexpected opportunities; and thinking outside the box by going outside their comfort zone and seeking new opportunities outside their sphere of influence.
Many successful listing agents also have these traits. Although not attributed to luck, their success could be viewed as “provoked” serendipity. However, they are often able to convert Le Bon’s list of actionable behaviors into successful sales and satisfied clients. Pricing homes accurately requires knowledge of local neighborhood sales trends, not to mention the overall market. Successfully negotiating transactions requires an understanding of buyers and their agents, as well as communication skills. Servicing a listing and being attentive to their clients requires being aware and addressing their needs. And of course, going outside their sphere of influence allows contacting and connecting with more prospective home buyers to sell their listing.
Even though luck, as such, is not recognized as an asset for your listing agent to possess; belief in luck seems to be part of a repertoire of beliefs typically described as a positive attitude – which has been demonstrated time and again as having positive effects on sales outcomes.
However, it’s not just your agent’s beliefs and actions that can affect your home sale. Your attitudes and beliefs can also facilitate or interfere with the sale. If you have a strong emotional attachment to your home, or have unrealistic expectations; your home may not sell, or you may be unsatisfied if it does –regardless of your agent’s skills. But then again, maybe all you need is a little luck.
Copyright © Dan Krell
Disclaimer. This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Readers should not rely solely on the information contained herein, as it does not purport to be comprehensive or render specific advice. Readers should consult with an attorney regarding local real estate laws and customs as they vary by state and jurisdiction. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.