Posted by JPiper on December 05, 1998 at 12:15:30:
Can you motivate sellers? In my opinion, the answer to this question is a firm ?yes and no?.
Part of the answer revolves around your ability to unearth the seller?s needs and then fill that need. This takes the ability to ask questions, listen to the answers, and formulate a solution that solves this particular seller?s needs. You won?t get to this point by mailing letters. While the telephone is superior to the letter, it?s primary use is as a screening mechanism, more than a deal structuring medium. In other words, the most effective use of the phone is to ask questions that the answer to which will enable you to determine whether it is worth setting an appointment. Sitting down with someone in person is by far the best way to structure a deal.
If your telephone conversation is one where you throw a possible price out there, this is not a technique that I use. It short-circuits the process of deal structuring. The one advantage to it is that it?s a very good screening question, ie you?ll definitely get a yes or no. The problem is that there are many ways to make a deal, and only one of those is an all cash price. Entering into a possible deal with a preconceived notion of how you are going to do it puts your mind in a box. The most effective route is to be in a questions-asking mode. How do you put together a deal that solves the seller?s needs and still enables you to make a worthwhile profit? This is where your head needs to be.
Having said all this, the other part of the answer revolves around the seller. You can ask all the questions you want, you can be downright clever in how you do this. But some sellers will end up wanting all cash and fair market value. Obviously this doesn?t work for you. Sometimes the seller just isn?t motivated, and all the clever techniques known to man won?t change this.
I?m certain you could motivate this seller by offering the fair market value, all cash. But this won?t fit with your own needs to make a profit. So in the final analysis you ask questions, you probe for information, your goal being to determine if there is any way that you can solve the seller?s need, and still make a profit. The best way to do this is to sit down with the seller in person, and with an open mind, and see where it takes you. You might be surprised.
Call the seller. Tell her you are interested in the home. Ask her if you could meet with her to discuss it. When you get there, ask her if she would mind if you asked her a few questions. Ask a few questions about the property. Ask some questions about the existing financing. Ask her why it is so important for her to feel that she needs to repair the furnace. (Chances are you?ll find out she has received another offer in the past that was a lowball and the furnace was used to beat her up.) Ask her what she was thinking would be a fair price for the property. When she states her price you might try silence?..followed by hmmmm. See what she does. Don?t rush your question-asking. Listen to the answers.
Hopefully this will process will culminate in something occurring to you that results in a profit to you, and a solution to her problems. But there is a chance it will not. Understand that just because you think that the seller should be motivated because her house is vacant, doesn?t mean she will be. Some people care less about these things than others. You can?t force someone to be motivated, regardless of the pre-conditions that may exist like vacant, divorce, sickness, foreclosure, etc. All owners experiencing these pre-conditions will not necessarily be motivated, but all motivated sellers will probably have one of these types of pre-conditions?..if you get the distinction. These conditions simply make it more likely that the seller will be motivated, but not a necessity.
In the end, you ask the questions, you listen, hopefully you arrive at an offer in your mind which would help the seller and work for you. You make your offer, and you set a time limit for it?s acceptance. The seller will take it or they won?t. That?s the best you can do. If the answer is no, you go down the street, and look for a motivated seller. That?s how the business works.