Make this Mistake and You’ll Instantly Lose a Deal

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When it comes to closing deals, I’m obsessive compulsive. After all, this is my livelihood. If I don’t close deals I don’t eat. For example, when I was first starting out and becoming successful, a new investor asked me if he could tag along and see how I closed a deal.

I said sure. We were at the seller’s house and it was a lease option deal. We were in her kitchen and I was explaining the paperwork and the details of the deal to the woman, and this guy’s cell phone went off. He took it out of his pocket, flipped it open to check who was calling and then put it back in his pocket.

I could have murdered him. And if the law didn’t frown upon this I just might have. Because when he did this I saw the woman’s eyes turn to him and she stopped listening to me. She probably thought to herself just like most people that “hey, if you’re looking at your cell phone, then I’m not that important to you.”

Whenever I go to meet with a seller I leave my cell phone in the car. In fact, when I go anywhere important I leave it in the car. You have no idea how many deals you’re losing by texting or looking at a cell phone or doing something else stupid. (By the way, I didn’t get that deal and I’ve NEVER taken anyone with me to a house since, and never will again.)

Anyway, now that I’m heated, let me tell you a second way to lose a deal.

Do you know a persons favorite word in the entire world? If you have any sales knowledge at all you should. It’s a person’s first name.

When I’m helping out a new investor I always proofread their offer sheets to make sure there are no typos or misspellings. And you’d be surprised how often a first name or last name is misspelled. If you make this mistake, you’ll probably immediately lose the deal.

How do I know? Because another investor just did this to me.

I had a property and he was interested in it and he sent me an email calling me Justin (my name is Jason). I didn’t even read any further and just deleted it. If a guy doesn’t take the time to proofread his offers and get your name right, then who knows what else he will screw up.

And… if you think I’m being anal about this, then you don’t know your customers very well. I talk to homeowners all of the time and am constantly surprised at how fickle they are and how the tiniest thing can win or lose a deal.

So from now on take your business more seriously. Proofread every communication that goes out to a potential seller and don’t make silly mistakes that will cost you a deal.


About Author

Jason R. Hanson is the founder of National Real Estate Investor Month and the author of “How to Build a Real Estate Empire”. Jason specializes in purchasing properties “subject-to” and has purchased millions of dollars worth of property using none of his own cash or credit.


  1. There’s nothing worse than someone getting your name wrong, particularly when they send you a business email. It is flat out rude. I’m not sure everyone would walk, but I can definitely see why you did. On your other point about cell phones, I agree completely.


  2. Bill Patterson on

    Good advice on both points. The client needs to be the center of attention and made to feel that you care about them and their situation. And don’t get me started on proofing, contracts, blogs & other postings. I gauge the value of what I read based partly on the quality of the presentation. If it’s full of misspellings and grammatical errors, I don’t pay much attention. By the way, I am the world’s WORST speller! I just take the care to do it the best that I can.

  3. Cell phones, hell phones! I love their convenience on the road & in emergencies, but when they become an all-overriding influence, it’s time for rehab – IMNTBHO, of course… 😉 The situation described in this posting is the height of rudeness. Short of extraordinary circumstances, this should at the very least put the other parties on high alert.
    Names. Ah, yes – my name is CecIlia, not CecElia. If you repeatedly call me CecElia in writing, I will…I will… blow a gasket. Sylvia? Who’s Sylvia? (No, thanks, I don’t want to buy your product…).
    Thanks – I feel better now – LOL.

  4. Great blog but I find it hard to believe a real motivated seller will turn you down because you mispronounced or said his name wrong. Especially in this market.

  5. I agree that checking a cell phone when in a meeting with a client is just flat out rude! I do think you can use it to your advantage however. If the phone rings, you can just say something like “Sorry about that, let me just turn this thing off so we can concentrate on your situation.” If someone did that with me, I’d think this person really wants to help ME out.

    As for getting someone’s name wrong, that is not a problem as long as you acknowledge that you are unsure of (or have forgotten) their first name. Now if you continually use the wrong name that is just bad.

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