A fascinating study of decision fatigue carried out in 2011 in the Israeli court system revealed prisoners’ chances of getting parole were at their best first thing in the morning and fell gradually through the day. The reason? As the stress of making difficult and important decisions piled up, the court gradually grew less decisive, until by the end of the day there was a 90 percent chance of their putting off granting parole until a prisoner’s next review.

It’s a vivid example of decision fatigue in action, and it’s a phenomenon that can affect home buyers’ decisiveness, too. Luckily, the agent who understands this factor can also find ways to compensate for it. Here are a few simple tips for overcoming customer decision fatigue when selling a home.

Start Open Houses Early

Most people have an easier time making big decisions and setting priorities earlier in the day. Of course, this doesn’t guarantee that a 9 o’clock open house will fit their schedule or result in a sale. It does at least improve your odds of dealing with home buyers who are early in the process of accumulating “cognitive load” during the day.

The level of investment involved in buying a home should be on their list of the day’s most important tasks. Combined with an inviting atmosphere, a cheery welcome and all the other tools of real estate presentation and sales at your disposal, this question of timing can weigh in your favor.

Perfect Your “Elevator Pitch” Technique

The ability to deliver information that’s simple, concise and vivid will serve you well in cutting through the fog of decision fatigue at any time of day you might run into a prospect. It could be at the gym, at a party, dropping the kids off at school. Every once it a while it might literally happen in an elevator. Whatever the situation, successful real estate agents should always be ready to put their best foot forward.

The elevator pitch has its name because it should take about as long to do as an average trip between a few floors on an elevator — 30 seconds or so. The keys to crafting a pitch that will stand out and prompt a decision to check out your business are:

  • Plain language
  • Passion for what you do
  • The basic important details about yourself (your name and how they can contact you)
  • Making it clear how your skills and expertise benefit them and will make their lives less stressful
  • Anchoring the pitch around a specific example or anecdote

Of course, timing is everything here, too. Most people can recognize a sales pitch right off, so this shouldn’t be your first conversation with someone you just met. Used organically and with someone whose needs you know, this can be a powerful method of compensating for decision fatigue.

Avoid “Drip” E-Mail Campaigns

Another way to compensate for the effects of decision fatigue is to avoid being a part of the background noise of everyday life. Keeping in contact with your clients is one thing, but constant contact without any direct purpose — like a regular email blast they have to spend time noticing, being irritated by and then deleting — isn’t a net positive for marketing. It turns you into just another stress factor that the brain is trying to filter out.

Your online marketing time is better spent building content for your own page that will attract interested parties. A great testimonial video hosted at your site is worth a thousand promotional emails in compensating for decision fatigue.