One of the greatest fears in real estate investing is talking with sellers. Many people work in a cubicle type environment and barely talk to co-workers all day, much less strangers. Unless you’re a very successful sales person, the thought of talking with someone you don’t know, much less asking them for something, can be painful enough to stop your investing career before it’s even begun.
There are a number of places this fear comes from:
- lack of practice
- lack of confidence
- you’re uncertain of what to say
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How Do You Fix Those Fears?
- Practice. – Yup, gotta do it. Gotta talk to sellers. Start out with a goal of talking with at least 3 sellers each week. How do you find them? Call for-sale-by-owners. Call sellers who list their homes on Craigslist, Trulia, Zillow, et. al. The purpose at first is not to buy anything (though you just might!), but to learn what sellers say, ask, and want from you. From that information, you will create your process.
- Lack of confidence pretty much comes from a lack of practice in talking to sellers which, by the way, creates the fear that you don’t know what they’re going to ask and/or you won’t know the right answers. To overcome this lack of confidence, you must talk to sellers where you will learn how to answer their questions.
- If you’re uncertain what to say, you haven’t talked to nearly enough sellers. Refer to numbers 1 and 2 above. Before picking up the phone, have a list of questions you will ask the seller and a list of answers you will give to their questions. Once you’ve talked to at least 3 sellers a week every week for several months, you’ll realize that they all ask pretty much the same things and that being able to confidently talk to sellers is easier than you expect.
Some Universal Truths About Dealing With the Public:
- We are ALL in sales.
- Gaining a genuine connection with a customer is a MUST.
- The customer has intelligence and doesn’t need to agree with you 100 percent of the time.
- They must trust that you have a well designed solution to solve their problem.
- Your confidence in what you do, along with your human touch and presence, is the most powerful tool you can have in overcoming objections.
- True success takes practice, patience, tolerance, and a sincere desire to help others.
Spend Time With Your Customer.
As investors, most of us offer some very creative solutions to our clients. It’s important to spend the necessary time to make sure that they understand what you’re offering and why. This time is where you make your money. These are the minutes and hours that are the most vital to the success of your buying business.
Oftentimes, we move too fast. Either we’re nervous and too anxious to get away from the conversation or, because we know what we’re talking about, we expect the seller to understand as well. Remember, most people sell a home only 2-3 times in their lives, so they truly are seeking guidance in a process that most don’t understand and are intimidated by. Slow down in this part of your buying process. Make them feel comfortable and confident in your skills and ability. Treat them with the respect they deserve and by recognizing the importance they are to you and your business.
Don’t be Afraid if you Don’t Know the Answers!!
If you don’t have an answer, say so! “I’m really not sure on that. Let me find out and I’ll call you back.” “I haven’t been asked that before. Let me do some research and I’ll get right back to you with the answer!”
Don’t you respect that from others? We can’t really know it all, and I doubt that most people expect that of us. I used those answers A LOT when I was first starting out. I let clients know that I am always happy to research for them – and I am! Researching the answers to their questions is how I learn 90 percent of my business. Truly. For 10 years, we have focused on structuring our companies to meet the needs of our local population. We wouldn’t know what those needs are if we didn’t listen to their questions and concerns.
Be thrilled by their questions, especially the ones you don’t know the answers to. That’s where you learn; that’s where you grow. And, a year from now, you’re going to know a whole lot more about this business than you do right now because you took the time to learn the answers to all those questions. That’s exactly how you become the expert. No one is born an expert.
Don’t Leave Them.
Let them know that, even if they can’t accept the offer you’re making, you are available to answer other questions they may have as they go through the selling process. Remember, you’re not just speaking to that one client, but they can refer you to their friends, family, and co-workers if you make a positive connection.
A lot of potential clients have called us back months (even years) after our initial negotiations to see if our offer still stands. Others, who didn’t take our offer, have sent us referrals that turned into great deals for us.
Take your time with your client because this is where the trust is gained and the money is made. You spend your money, time, and energy to find the customer, don’t waste it by rushing through the most important part of the deal – negotiating. Every customer DESERVES the time and attention needed to understand exactly what you can offer them and what the consequences/benefits are in each offer you present.
Finally, and I believe the most important part in overcoming fear when dealing with sellers is to realize:
It’s not about you; it’s about them.
When you absolutely recognize this, you will start focusing on your seller –
- What do they want?
- What do they need?
- What are their fears?
- What are their concerns?
When you reach their core, you begin not only creating a way to meet their need, but your conversation revolves around solving their need and they begin to understand that you are truly offering a solution. Once your thoughts become about how you can solve their problems instead of your own, a whole new level of success opens in your investing career.
Photo: Loretta Prencipe