Re: what else can I do? - Posted by B.L.Renfrow
Posted by B.L.Renfrow on November 12, 2000 at 09:42:38:
Your “process” doesn’t sound bad, but likely needs a little fine-tuning.
First, I find – and I don’t think my experience is unique here – that very few sellers will accept my offers immediately. It’s not unusual for a seller to call back 2, 3 or more weeks after I’ve met with them. That has given them time to come to their own conclusion that I am offering them a viable solution to their problem, while no one else is. I have even had one seller call me almost a year after we first talked…and you can bet that by then, he was ready to do business.
It sounds as if you may be trying to do a bit too much “selling” over the phone before you meet with the sellers. While some do advocate lots of screening beforehand, I think when you start talking about programs and percentages of market value and such before even meeting the sellers, it turns people off. They hear things about which they have no understanding, and suspect they’re about to be sold a bill of goods. I rarely mention cash when I initially talk with a seller – unless I am truly prepared to pay cash – because then that’s all they want to hear about. That may be why you’re getting derailed up front when you start talking about how you can pay cash for 70% of value before you even find out what they really need. For more sellers than you might think, cash is not a big motivating factor in their need to sell.
I don’t recall ever having more than a couple sellers call and cancel before our meeting. Sure, not all of them have accepted my offers, but obviously there is something your sellers fear, or misunderstand, if they’re cancelling before you even get to their door.
Concentrate more in your initial phone conversations with sellers, on just developing a rapport, and finding out why they are selling. If you come across as friendly and a guy who can potentially make their life easier, they have no reason to cancel before you even show up. My goal in a phone conversation is to quickly figure out whether there’s a potential deal. I do this by just talking with them, letting them tell me about their house, and asking questions in a non-threatening manner to guide them in the direction I need them to go. I ask why they’re selling, what they think the house is worth, how much they owe, etc. I ask how quickly they need to do something, and I ask what they’re looking for out of the deal. If they say something like, “I just need to be rid of these payments,” or “I can’t stand being a landlord anymore,” I know they’re probably quite motivated. Then I make an immediate determination in my mind whether it’s worth pursuing, If not, I thank them for their time and wish them luck. If so, I get an appointment to meet with them. I don’t talk about subject-to, lease option, cash or anything else at this point. Instead, I wait until I am sitting down at their kitchen table and can look them in the eye and offer a solution for them. It’s much tougher for them to say “no” to someone sitting 3 feet from them, than to someone on the other end of the phone whom they’ve never met.
Also, take a good look at how you come across to people. While some are born salespeople, who can sell the proverbial freezer in thr Arctic, others (including myself) are not. You may find it helpful to study books and tapes from some of the sales gurus…people like Tom Hopkins, Zig Ziglar, Roger Dawson and the like. I cringe whenever I hear an investor using the word “pitch”. That reminds me of the salesman in the plaid suit selling vacuums door-to-door, or the guy working at the carnival. And that’s probably the way the sellers perceive it also. You’re not a pitchman, you’re a problem-solver, and that’s the way to present yourself.
Finally, sellers (and buyers) have an uncanny ability to detect fear or uncertainty a mile away. If you are the least bit unsure of yourself, or what you are saying, they will know. It’s important to act as if you’ve been doing this forever, even if you’ve never closed a deal. To do that, be sure of your facts, and even practice with a friend, or a tape recorder until you are sure you’re coming across as friendly, knowledgeable and non-threatening. Remember that for most people, their house is the single largest asset they’ve ever owned, so it’s natural for them to be very cautious about turning it over to someone they don’t know, especially someone who is proposing anything other than a conventional cash sale.
By the way, your marketing efforts sound reasonable. Are you running an ad where sellers are likely to see it? Is it short and simple? You are correct that it’s much easier when the seller calls you. Early on, you will probably benefit from calling FSBOs, but your goal should be to get to a point where THEY are calling YOU because they want YOU to solve their problem.