Direct Marketing Response - "I'll sell, for the right price"

9 Replies

Pretty simple - I get this response pretty frequently when a potential seller calls back on our marketing, "I'll sell, for the right price." 

I'm curious what other marketers are doing when they get this response. I typically try to ask what they feel the right price is and go from there, usually they either don't want to give up that info or it is something crazy. Mostly they end up on the drip list and just get continued contact. 

Is there a better strategy out there? How do others deal with those types of responses?

Good question.  I'm new at this but maybe my response will get some juices flowing.  

They don't want top dollar.

If they are calling you then there is some reason they don't want to go the conventional route.  They might not want to spend more money to fix it up, hire a realtor, put it on the market proper and wait for it to finally sell.

I would talk less about numbers (even though they will act like that's all they care about) and try to get a better understanding of their overall situation.  What is their ideal selling situation.  Quick?  No repairs?  No hassle?  Fair price?  Try to feel their situation and build trust before even think about a number.  If the house is in good shape and would do better being sold conventionally for retail I would tell them so.

If they throw out a crazy number that's pretty much the same.  If the house was worth that and they wanted top dollar they would go conventional.  They know that, you know that.  There is some reason they are calling you and it's your job to uncover that.  If you help them realize that they would rather sell for retail with a realtor then that's great.  You connected, built trust and and consulted a prospect on what their best path is for their own personal situation.  That can only reflect well on you and your business.

Like I said, I'm brand spanking new but that's how I've always conducted business!

@Mike Cowper What exactly is your marketing campaign saying? Are you stating something like.. I'll buy your house fast, cash? If so, I think anyone in the world will sell for the right price. Either way, a response is a lead.. now close it.

@Mike Cowper I'm going to disagree with @Nick Hill . Some people do want top dollar. They just want to waste your time and see if you will pay market value for their property. Those are people who are not motivated. You need to check your list. Who are you mailing to? Try to come with with a list of people who are in an emotional situation: probate, eviction, backed taxes, pre foreclosure, code violations. Make sure they have equity. But if you're looking for how to handle that objection say "what's the right price to you?" They might say "well give me an offer." You respond by saying "no one knows the house better than you mr seller, so in its current condition what do you think the house is worth in today's market?" Then ask "keeping in mind I pay cash close on the day of your choice and I will pay repairs, what are you hoping to walk away with?" If they still press you for an offer. Ask to come out and look at the house first

@Mike Cowper I agree that those just aren't motivated sellers. When someone says that to me I'll ask a couple of follow up questions, but I usually try to get off the phone as quickly as possible.

When someone calls I'm really only trying to answer two simple questions for myself: 1) Is this a motivated seller? and 2) Does it feel like there's a deal here?

I've found if you start the conversation with, "Do you have a house to sell?" then you're setting them up to respond "At the right price." I tend to start with a more open-ended question like, "So what's going on today?" or "What's going on with the house?" or "What can I do for you?" just to get them talking more.

For follow-up questions you can ask things like, "Do you have any other offers?" or "Have you contacted anyone else about selling the house?" If yes, then maybe they are serious about selling, although they still may not be motivated to sell at a discount. You should also ask something along the lines of "If I don't buy your house, what's your plan?" If they plan to stay in it, then they're just not motivated.

If it does seem like they want to sell but still want top dollar, I usually say something like, "Well, if that's the price you want, your best option is to list with one of our realtors and sell it like most houses are normally sold. This means signing a listing agreement, making the house available to be toured by potential buyers, and then paying realtor commissions and closing costs which can be anywhere from 6-10% of the final sales price. Does that sound like what you want to do?" If no, then you can explain a little more about what you do buying houses off market to see if there's room for a deal. If yes, then refer them to one of your realtors and collect a referral fee for it. Just be honest with them about what is best for them in their situation, and they'll appreciate it.

But as I said, I usually get off the phone quickly if they're not motivated. And when mailing to absentees in particular, you'll get a lot of those calls. Just be sure to always remind them that you pay referral fees as well, so if they know anyone who needs to sell a house, ask them to send them your way and you'll pay them if you buy it! And as you mentioned follow up with them in a few months to see if anything's changed. You've got their phone number now, which is half the battle.


I receive at least one card or letter from wholesalers every week. They all offer to buy my house fast. The interesting thing is that they usually refer to houses that would be difficult for me to sell at a price that would make sense for them. I call on approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the cards if I don't know who the sender is. When I ask what they are looking for: what area, what type of house, occupied or unoccupied--the sender usually cannot answer me. They also can't or won't answer what price range they are looking for. This makes it seem to me that they are not serious. 

I would sell several of my unencumbered properties for the right price if they were about to become vacant or if the buyer wished to take a property with a tenant. I do not generally get any follow up at all when I say that. What is the right price--that is negotiable. The last investor who followed up ended up buying one of my rentals at the low range of market price with a 3 year land contract. That buyer knew what the market price was and made me an offer contingent upon inspection. His price was low but in the ballpark and led to further discussions. (The actual sale was at a higher price but with very favorable terms.) I hadn't really been looking to sell that particular house and didn't have a firm price in mind. Had he insisted on me giving him a price the sale would not have happened.

I realize my situation is not typical but it seems odd to me that people send unsolicited offers to buy someone else's house and will not be give any estimate of what they would pay for it.

Here's the formula I use: Traffic>Conversion>economics.

Thank you to Perry Marshall for distilling my 35+ years doing this into three words!

You fundamental issue starts with having a good list. A list of absentee owners is not a list that you will hit once or even a few times and monetize. 

Better to start with a list of motivated sellers. Copywriting legend Gary Halbert was asked how he'd sell hamburgers if he had a choice. He responded that he'd start with a starving crowd. 

You might eventually buy a house from an absentee owner however you'll work like hell to pick thru the few people who call you and waste lots of valuable time trying to pursuade the unmotivated to be motivated. That's just plain silly.

Don't set yourself up for disappointment. Find a better list of owners with triggers that you can identify, exacerbate their concern for the problems and exploit the opertunity. 

Remember, to be successful, you not only have to do this profitably but repeatedly.

I think all of the responses mentioned can work. The majority of the people that call from the mailer are not motivated in the slightest. They typically want at or above retail. I get the "just curious" call all of the time. I like what @Chad Benedict said about engaging them in conversation. Chances are this person thinks you're about to low ball them. When you start asking questions, you can usually gauge their motivation. My favorite is "I have no idea what I want for the house". I usually will jokingly say "I'll cut you a check for 5k right now!" 99% of the time they will laugh and it softens the conversation a bit. I really try to focus more on getting the seller talking to me like their coffee buddy instead of grilling them about the house. People do business with people they like and/or trust. I try to set that up before I get into talking about specifics on the house. When I first started, I would train myself into this by forcing myself to ask one question unrelated to the property for every property related question. It really got me in the habit of speaking more to the seller and their needs than just reading a lead sheet. 

Here is what I always say.  If your not going to tell me the number that you want to sell it for, and you want me to make you an offer, I will, but your not going to like it and I don't want to insult you.  Having said that, I'll offer you $25,000 for your property.  They usually have something to say after that.  They want to tell you the number, you just need to jump start people from time to time.

I ran into a lot of these on my first and only Direct Mail piece so far that was sent out for me.  I think part of the issue was that it said "we buy cash, fast, and pay top dollar".  Well, who wouldn't be interested?

I'm taking a different approach moving forward, I don't want to waste my time talking with unmotivated people.  I would rather talk to a fraction of the people but have them actually be motivated.  It will take some time and some testing to get the message right.

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