The Pros and Cons of Using a Phone Script When Screening Motivated Sellers

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using a scriptCan scripts hurt or help you when screening motivated sellers? This is a debatable question and I’m going to address both sides.

Using a script versus not using one can really change the entire tone of the conversation and can even be what closes or breaks the deal.

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The Pros and Cons of Using a Script for Screening Real Estate Sellers

The Pros of Using a Phone Script:

  1. Scripts contain a list of “must ask” questions that need to get answered in order to properly analzye if a deal is really a deal.
  2. Scripts can be used to guide you through a conversation in order to know what to ask. Especially if you can’t recall it from sheer memory.
  3. Scripts can be used as good notes to review when the conversation with the motivated seller ends and its time to fully analyze the deal.
  4. Scripts can help manage the time of the call. They get right to the point and ask the key questions that need to be answered. This is especially important for those who are long winded.
  5. Scripts help you maintain control over the phone call. The general rule is that, “He who asks the questions is in control of the call”.
  6. Scripts help you weed out the tire kickers and only work with the motivated sellers. (This is huge)

Some Cons of Using a Phone Script:

  1. Listening! A big con for using a script is that it can take away from your listening. Sometimes you can get so caught up in focusing on the next question to ask that you might not realize that it was already answered or you may miss something crucial that could have been the deciding factor on whether the conversation should even continue. Good Listening can essentially produce the next question because you’ll not only know what to ask, but when to ask it!
  2. You might only prepare yourself to ask questions that are on the script and not questions that can come up when listening to the motivated seller’s answers. Most of the time your script won’t cover everything and you need to know what to ask when the time comes in order to gain more insight for your deal analysis. Again this goes back to listening.
  3. You could end up sounding rehearsed. This can happen in the very beginning stages of using a script. People can tell when you don’t sound natural and this can be a turn off for some motivated sellers. Sometimes you can have a more natural flowing conversation that can get you all the answers you need without using a script because your just being yourself. If you absolutely need to use a script then its best to practice with a friend to get the “conversation feel” going.

That’s all I can think of for now, but the point I really want to make here is that if you decide to use a script then you must ensure to address the cons of using the script in order to effectively communicate with the seller and to ensure you get all the answers you need in order to properly analyze your deal.

Do I use a script? To be honest, I stopped using a script a long time ago. My problem was listening. You see when I asked the seller to tell me about the house, she began to speak about the appearance of it from the outside, what type of walls and floors it had, how many floors, repairs that were needed, etc.

My next question to her was how many bedrooms and bathrooms she had. After that, I said…”Ok, Does the home need any repairs?” Suddenly she calls me out on the spot and says, “Weren’t you listening?”. I tried to play it off, but she got me and the only thing that saved me was that I remembered hearing part of what she said about the repairs and she was kind enough to answer the rest. That was a moment that I’ll never forget and is the day that I put the script to the side and decided to go all natural. No script! Just Listening!

If you absolutely must use a script, then it’s best to use it as a memory jogger. Underline the key words that will help you naturally recall the necessary questions in order to keep the conversation flowing. Practice makes perfect and you will eventually begin to see the tone of the conversation change dramatically by not relying so much on a script.

Give it a try! Grab the phone without a script and just listen to what he or she says; when you ask your first question, as you listen to the response, you’ll know what to ask next. If you hit a blank point…where there is dead silence..quickly go to your memory jogger and then begin listening again.

What are some more pros and cons that you can think of when using a script? Or, let me know how using a script or not using a script has helped or hurt your business when communicating with motivated sellers.

To your Success,

J. Lamar Ferren

“New Breed” Investor

Ps. Leave your answers in the comment section.

About Author

J. Lamar Ferren is a 26 year old New Breed Real Estate Investor who takes down deals nationwide. Through direct response marketing he uses creative and outside the box methods, both online and offline to attract buyers, sellers, and investors.


  1. Great article, Lamar. As the previous commenter mentioned, once you get a little practice, your script will come naturally, and eventually you’ll know it by heart. If you don’t want to stutter through the first few times, then practice with family or friends in a role-play until you have it down.

    I have notes in front of me before any interview or important business call, and think that any investor should be equally prepared for their time on the phone.

    Remember, many times you only get one shot with someone, so you best know what you need to ask!

    • Ray Sample

      I like what you said about being prepared Josh, a good thing to remember and should pay off as we approach motivated sellers. I really like this article as well as the scripts provided on BP, like the ones that Michael Quarles provided. A nice way to get the key points down to converse about even if the script isn’t followed exactly. I plan to memorize the script so it comes easily to the tip of the tongue.

  2. I’ve been mailing out letters and I can definitely say that a script or seller questionnaire form is a life saver. And you are very right about listening. When I take the calls, I ask them to tell me about the property, and anything that they touch on that is in the questionnaire I jot it down immediately. That way, when I go through the questionnaire, rather than skipping over a question they already answered, I repeat it back to them for confirmation, and show them that I was listening. I also take 2-3 notes about their personal life and bring it up when appropriate or find commonalities with them. As an example, a lady told me that she got behind on her payments because she didn’t have the heart to evict a single mother who life threw everything at her. Well, I empathized and related a story about a mom that my own mother would not turn away for child day care services because of the situation the mother was in. It builds emotional points of connections and I believe as an investor, these things show true empathy and help you over the competition, and that part of the phone call only took an extra two minutes.

  3. if you want to grow BIG you will NEED to use a script.

    I have 3 sales assistants picking up the phone and doing lead development.

    These guys work with scripts and are instructed to write down the answer of the seller = listening problem solved.

    J. Lamar Ferren sounds like a one man army = wasting his time


    300+ short sales
    140+ equity deals
    5 multi’s in portfolio

    • Marc,

      It sounds like you have some great stats. However, my article was targeted to those just starting out and to those who don’t mind doing it themselves. Not everyone needs to outsource lead generation and not everyone is in a position to do so. Outsourcing is great and I highly recommend it for those wondering about it. However, when it comes to contacting motivated sellers, for me its a great habit that I enjoy and feel that my time is well spent. I have multiple sources other than phone to generate leads, so it’s not a big deal when it comes to business growth.

  4. I’m with you J, you need a happy medium. Use the script as a reference to keep yourself on track, but don’t read it verbatim. That’s what the most successful phone pros do. Eventually, it becomes second nature, and you’re simply fill in the info as you go along.

    Thanks for the great info…

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