5 MUST Hit Points on a Private Home Seller’s 1st Contact!
So you’ve taken action and done some advertising and one way or another you have the phone ringing. Congratulations. But now what?
Do you want to be setting a face to face meeting with every caller? That would be an atrocious amount of wasted time.
Do you want to make an offer on the phone? That would be like shooting in the dark.
Do you want to ask them a 45-minute-long list of questions and bore them to death? They will never want to answer your calls again.
So how do you get to the point AND do a good job on screening whether it’s a DEAL or a NEXT on the very first call? Cover these 5 things and you should be good.
Build Rapport! I know we all say it but it’s true. For anyone to do business with you they need to know, like and trust you. Ask them if they even have a few minutes now to chat or if they want a call back. This is a huge tip to get people to not hate you. Have you ever received a call while at the grocery store or something and someone calls you and just starts laying into business? I hate that. Ask them open ended(avoid yes or no) questions. Listen to understand and not respond. If you are planning a response you are not listening. People love to talk about themselves. Don’t talk about yourself. Sorry, nobody really cares. Say things like “Oh wow, really?” or “Good for you!” or “That’s a great question…”. If you suck at this, read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. And practice!
Get the Condition of the home! You need to get an idea of the condition of the home and what you are dealing with. For flips, the worse the condition the better. For rentals, sometimes people want a move in ready place with no work required. Sellers will want to tell you all the good things and ‘sell’ you their house and it’s your job to uncover some of the dirt. Don’t ask “What is the condition of your house?”. Say “Tell me about the home?”. Ask when/if the big ticket items were replaced like furnace, roof, etc. Ask if there has been any work done to the foundation. Try “If you had money and were to update the house, what would be the first thing you would do?”. This is a very telling question.
Their Why! Why is this person even discussing selling their home? If they have called you, they are at the least interested in hearing what you have to offer. This is a way to screen for motivation. We are all looking for properties at a discount and this goes hand in hand with a truly motivated seller. Its sounds bad but listen for one of the three ‘D’s. Downsizing, divorce and death. These are normally areas that houses need to move fast. Some say this is a form of ambulance chasing and a dirty way to do business but we are providing a service and not everyone has the luxury of staging and listing their home on the open market with a realtor. If they get what they need then it is a win, period. Either way you need to determine WHY that person is thinking about selling their house and listen for any hot buttons to re-address later.
——–> Find their compelling reason to change. <——-
Time Line! You don’t want to miss a deal with potentially $20,000 plus profit because you were one day late. You need to get an idea of their time line to give you a better game plan moving ahead and a better chance to close the deal. If they say ASAP then the sooner you can get them an offer the more powerful it can have. Or maybe their mortgage renews in 2 months and they don’t want to renew. Then you can time your offer for a date that suites their needs. The questions is, “If we were to agree on a price that made sense to you what would your timeline look like?”. Very open ended question to get them talking about their needs.
Price. This is very important not to miss and sometimes can be the most difficult to address. First, never say a number first. That is negotiation 101. The best tip that works every time is: Ask 3 times at least! I can almost guarantee that if you ask three times at different points in the conversation you will shave roughly 10% off their initial price. Its crazy. Ive had one lady drop over $50,000 just by asking multiple times. You may even want to ask more times and even more times while at a meeting and writing an offer. People are sensitive when it comes to money so it’s nice to toss them an underhand question first. “What’s the ball park of what you are looking at to fetch for your property?”. Then you may go to “What are you asking for your place?”. Then you can go to “Ok, but what do youreally need to make this work for you?” Then shut up and listen. Let the air ring silent while they respond and even when their done talking, wait and make sure there isn’t anything more coming. If they don’t say “….hello?” you haven’t waited long enough. Another good one is “How did you come up with that price?”
These are not at all meant to be in this order. You can do any order you want and if you cover these five areas, you will have a good idea if there is a next step commitment to ask for or whether to hit the ‘NEXT’ button.
Keep in mind these conversations are all about sales. The whole time you are selling yourself to them. If you are not a student of selling, then you are giving yourself a disadvantage.
Happy deal hunting.