Motive + Action = Motivation


Silhouette of a person jumping across a pond of water

At Mega Agent Camp this year, keynote speaker Phil M. Jones asked the audience if they knew the secret to influence—how to get people to act. Mutterings came from the crowd. People turned to their neighbors for insight. Finally, Jones answered that the secret lies in uncovering someone’s motivation. But what does motivation really mean? Sure, it’s a word we’ve all used frequently throughout our lives. It turns out the roots of the word “motivation” can point us forward.

Motivation is really a combination of two words: “motive” and “action.” The Oxford Dictionary defines motive as “a reason for doing something, especially one that is hidden or not obvious.” Action is defined as “the fact or process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim.” So, it makes sense that the definition of motivation is “the reason or reasons one has for acting.” Essentially, motivation is a reason to move. And for real estate agents, “move” can be taken literally as your clients relocate from one property to another.

As real estate agents, and salespeople in general, it’s essential to tap into clients’ motivations so that you can help them take the right actions. Fiduciaries have the enormous responsibility of helping people make the best decisions for their money and their lifestyle. Understanding the reasons people move greatly impacts how you assist them in making those good decisions.

According to Jones, there are only three reasons anyone moves to do anything:

  1. To run toward something that’s going to make them more comfortable.
  2. To run from something that’s making them uncomfortable.
  3. To do things that make their heart sing.

We’re going to put these reasons into context for buyers and sellers. Harnessing these can help you tap into your clients’ motivations assist them as they move into the home of their dreams.

Reason 1: Getting into the Comfort Zone

Sometimes people are perfectly fine in their current home but would feel more comfortable somewhere else. Maybe they’ve had a life change, like retired couples whose children have moved out of the house and want to downsize so that there is less house to take care of, lower bill payments, and just a more comfortable space for fewer people to inhabit. Or they have a lifestyle preference, like people who live alone and like the idea of a neighborhood with an HOA where their yard is taken care of and they have built-in amenities. For whatever the reason your client is chasing comfort, it’s up to you as their agent to tap into why they want what they want.

Understanding your client’s motives is important in these situations because there might not be pressing concerns that are pushing them to look beyond their current residences. You need to be especially aware of what will bring them the most contentment and help them see that a new home can help improve their quality of life.

Whether they’ve hired you to help them sell their home, help them find a new one, or both, getting in touch with their motivation and guiding them along their decision-making process can help them become more comfortable.

Reason 2: From Discomfort to Delight

Sometimes the house someone is in simply doesn’t work for them. This could be for many reasons, positive or negative. Maybe a family is expanding and their home has limited space. Or your client got a great new job and their current commute is a pain. They could be dealing with the 6 D’s (death, divorce, downsizing, disaster, debt, and default)—which happen all of the time but aren’t necessarily pleasant. Still, when people are in an uncomfortable situation, they may need your assistance.

Identifying your clients’ motivations will help you get them out of discomfort. When working with a buyer, this means identifying what things in their current situation make them uncomfortable so you can solve those issues with properties you show them. For sellers, it means understanding what they prioritize when selling their home, whether it’s money, timeliness, or ease. Knowing these deep wants and needs will allow you to help them take action and move out of discomfort.

Reason 3: Make Your Client’s Heart Sing

People may feel good enough to stay in their home for years and years. But they may not know that their situation just isn’t quite filling their cup entirely. Helping them discover what motivates them on a deeper level and how their surroundings can amplify that is a powerful skill. It’s true that passion isn’t the most pressing driver for people to move. But it can get people to their dreams. A true fiduciary understands the deepest desires of their clients and helps them get closer to those goals.

Think of someone who wants to rehabilitate injured horses but is in an apartment right now. They need land and other shelters to be able to rescue these animals. Or maybe someone is an aspiring chef and wants a kitchen with top-of-the-line equipment. Or there’s an artist who needs a studio. Or a son whose aging mom needs a wing in his home.

These motivations lie the deepest inside people and may take a lot of trust to get out of them. Chances are, they think they can’t achieve these dreams, even though that’s what will make their heart sing. It’s your job to guide them through their options and show them the possibilities. By uncovering their motivations, you can do your duty to get them what is going to make them happy.

Everyone has motivations, but they look different from person to person. Taking the time to discover what will make people take action and move will help you change people’s lives.

What are some of motivations you’ve unearthed with your clients that have helped them move toward happiness? Let us know on our Facebook page. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more insightful and inspiring content.

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