A Good Story Increases Perceived Value
- Study showed common items increased in value with a good story
- How a home is staged and presented tells its own story
- Adding a seller letter allows the right story to be told
Can a good story actually add value to a piece of junk? These stories turned $128.74 worth of garage sale junk into $3,612.51?
Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn founded the site, SignificantObjects.com which showcases the value of a good story. They had writers buy cheap items for a dollar or two at thrift stores or garage sales. They then created a fictional story about the item and put them up on eBay.
The stories were clearly fictional. They didn't make any claims that the item was a rare or valuable collector's piece. The stories just seemed to make these objects "significant" which translated into people paying much more than they did when they were just sitting on the shelf of a thrift store.
The penguin creamer which was purchased for $3 ended up selling for $31 when a story was attached to it.
People seem to be willing to pay more when emotions are involved in the purchase decision. Tap into the emotions and the price becomes less significant.
Some stories are told without words. The way something is presented allows the observer to create their own story, for better or for worse. It's like that with selling homes.
The other month I was showing a home that had my buyers wondering about the seller. Why did the seller not clean the carpets and do a little painting before putting the home on the market? We had initially come to the conclusion that some people just must not care and are stupid and lazy. Which made my buyers begin to assume that there was probably a lot of deferred maintenance that would have to be dealt with.
As we were getting ready to leave, I saw that the seller had left a letter on the counter next to the brochures. It said something about the seller being a single dad who was trying his best to take care of his two teenage kids. He apologized if things weren't all up to snuff. He had been traveling back and forth from his new job in a new city and just didn't have the time to clean and have everything the way it should be. He pointed out how much he had loved and cared for the home but life happened and he had to make a move. He promised that over the next few weeks he would get the carpets cleaned and the house painted so the new buyer would be able to move right in.
That little story changed everything. A few minutes before we had visions of a lazy slob of a seller and a home that was most likely full of deferred maintenance. After reading the letter, the seller became kind of a hero and the cosmetic flaws in the home seemed to be a lot less significant.
Stories do create real value. Use them to your advantage.