In the 4th century BCE, the influential Greek philosopher, Aristotle, identified three essential elements of a persuasive message – ethos (ethical appeal), pathos (emotional argument) and logos (logical argument). For a real estate agent in the 21st Century, these modes of persuasion are just as relevant today as they were for the ancient Greek orators sharing their ideas 2400 years ago.

Ethos, or ethical appeal, is persuasion through credibility or character. We tend to believe the people or companies we trust and respect. Using testimonials from satisfied customers and creating or sharing content via LinkedIn will help you position yourself as a trusted authority, showcase your connections with others and prove you are worth listening to.

Logos, or logical argument, is persuasion through use of reasoning or logic. Citing benefits, historical data and statistics provides legitimacy. Using tangible comparisons such as market snapshots, comparable sales and area profiles create a rational appeal by engaging with buyers’ minds, allowing buyers to justify their decision with logic.

Pathos, or emotional argument, is persuasion through emotional appeal. The goal in appealing to emotion is to create a connection with potential buyers. This is where the language you use in property listings can trigger emotions and play on desires, affecting a buyer’s emotional response. For example, you can tap into a person’s desire for status or respect by using words such as enviable, prestigious, exclusive or up-market, suggesting that a property or locality will afford the perception of success.

To implement Aristotle’s tried-and-true formula you need to weave together all three persuasive appeals:

  • Ethos: establish trust with a prospective buyer
  • Logos: appeal to a prospective buyer’s logical reasoning
  • Pathos: engage in a prospective buyer’s emotions

In the real estate industry, communication is the key to success. For most of us, the art of persuasion is not an inherent ability but one that is learnt. Successful persuaders use many tools with which they adapt and customise to suit varying wants, needs, fears and desires.

Human nature doesn’t appear to have changed much in 2400 years – we are still influenced by the power of words, so Aristotle’s advice can probably remain in the ‘sales techniques’ toolbox for many years to come.

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