Don’t see how storytelling relates to real estate? In what has widely been decried as one of the worst endings in television history, Game of Thrones explained away its conflicts when a main character resolutely proclaimed:
“What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it.”
In the context of the show, it was asinine. But that’s simply because the people crafting the show forgot they were telling a story. The statement itself is sound. People do love a good story. That’s why, as a successful realtor, you also need to know how to craft a compelling narrative.
The Most Powerful Person in the World
Still don’t believe us (or Tyrion Lannister) that storytelling matters? Well, Steve Jobs was onboard the story train too. He’s famously quoted as saying in 1994, while he was still the CEO of Pixar, “The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller.” So, how can you use that power in your real estate career?
Well, before we get into that, let’s look at just how storytelling helps you in the real estate industry.
The Benefits of Storytelling in Real Estate
Real estate may not be all about who you know. But your connections help, to say the least. And a great way to build new relationships quickly is through relatability.
Nervous about telling your story to a new connection? Or telling your client’s story? Then tell your listing’s story. Properties are steeped in interesting histories that render them so much more than lifeless constructs and features. It’s through these stories that buyers develop emotional connections with a property. So, let the features speak for themselves. Instead, focus on telling the tale and make sure it resonates!
Think back to pretty much any story, and you’ll find an inherent organization. Stories aren’t just about things happening. It matters when they happen. And why they happen. This organization actually helps listeners to better retain information, as if their placement in the story is preserving them! So, if you really want a fact to stick with your audience, tuck it into the middle of a good story.
Storytelling can also help listeners to better comprehend a concept. Why? Because it illustrates an idea in relatable terms. By giving new information a familiar context, you can help people to fully understand your message.
Finally, the best stories balance pleasure and pain in such a way as to motivate action. Think back to one of the most well-known stories of all time: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. In this tale, ghosts paint a portrait of painful things that have happened, are happening, and will happen as a result of the protagonist’s choices. In the end, he’s moved to turn over a new leaf.
And the storytelling is so effective, that readers also questioned some of their own life choices. It’s why the story endures nearly 200 years later! If you become an artful enough storyteller, you can also use your gift to motivate listeners to take action.
The Science of Storytelling
While anecdotal evidence is fitting for explaining the power of storytelling, the benefits of stories are actually scientifically documented. For example, the human brain releases dopamine in response to emotional stimuli. Just to clarify, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in a home rarely elicits an emotional response. But if you tell the tale of a family who built their own home up from nothing, you might prompt that dopamine rush in a buyer who can relate.
Then, there’s the bonus of neural coupling. This aspect of information processing works in such a way that the brain recognizes concepts expressed in storytelling as the audience’s own ideas. Think Inception, only you don’t need to go traipsing through anyone’s dreams. You just need to know how to tell a compelling, relatable story.
The Basic Components of Compelling Storytelling
With books, courses, and even college majors devoted to storytelling, it’s difficult to summarize every flourish and nuance that can add color and structure to a compelling story. But for the purposes of real estate, you should strive to include the following components in your story.
You’ve no doubt heard the phrase “the moral of the story.” That’s because virtually every story has something to say. So, what’s the point of your story? Because if you can’t find one, then all you’re doing is aimlessly ranting!
Going back to the organized nature of a story, your tale should be crafted with a clear, orderly set of events. Let’s take a story that pretty much everyone will recognize: “Little Red Riding Hood”. An outline for this story might look something like this:
- Girl sets out to bring supplies to ailing grandmother
- Girl meets stranger and shares her plan with him
- Girl arrives at grandma’s house to find grandma eaten and a wolf waiting to eat her too
Yeah, the original isn’t exactly a happy tale, but its orderly series of events helped to convey a clear message to children through the ages: don’t talk to strangers. If you’re struggling with your story, a quick outline can work wonders.
Peril is often at the climax of every memorable story. That’s because stories aren’t stagnant. They’re about solving problems and overcoming obstacles. In your client’s story, what is the conflict? Maybe it’s the unpredictable housing market. Maybe it’s the seemingly endless masses lining up with competitive offers. Maybe it’s just a constant voice in a first time buyer’s head saying “you’re not ready.” But somewhere in your story, an antagonist is lurking. And they need to be creatively overcome.
The Main Character
It can be tempting for you to cast yourself as the main character in your story. After all, what makes storytelling easier than discussing someone you know so well? But in almost every case, you should be casting your client (or someone with whom they strongly relate) as the main character. This allows you to help them navigate all that’s possible in a manner that’s not just easy to understand but also emotionally resonant.
So, when can you flex your storytelling muscle? Pretty much anytime. But if you want to get in some practice, try telling stories in your email blasts or Instagram reels. Both of these media require preparation, so you can take your time to get things just right. Then, when you feel comfortable, you can begin working storytelling into your face-to-face meetings with clients. Remember, you’re in control. So, make sure every one of your transactions has its own “happily ever after.”
Read more of JohnHart’s Skills for Exponential Growth in Real Estate!