Talking to Sellers
How to Make a Great First Impression with Real Estate Seller Leads
In the previous article we discussed 3 ways to find motivated seller leads.
If you follow those methods and any other proven ways of driving in real estate seller leads, your phone will start ringing frequently with potential sellers. This will take some work, but leads, with proper work, turn into money, time after time.
So, you’ve done the work, you’ve set up your deal pipeline. Now, the big moment has finally come. The phone rings, you answer it, and on the other end is a motivated seller who wants to sell his or her distressed property as quickly as possible.
You might be wondering:
- What do I say?
- How do I carry myself with confidence?
- What questions should I ask?
- What comes next?
This article will help you to assess those incoming real estate seller leads, and know how to turn them into a viable opportunity.
Remember That the Seller Needs You
If the person on the other end of the phone has no pressing need to sell their house, they will have no need to work with you – period. So your first priority is to screen out all the unmotivated sellers who call you.
It’s important to remember this! Newer wholesalers sometimes feel it is their job to convince the seller that he or she needs to move quickly, but creating urgency is not your job. When a seller is motivated, they may not have any other option to sell their house as quickly as they need to.
In other words, you have nothing to be nervous about. The calls from real estate seller leads with distressed properties, who are facing foreclosure, or who need to get cash quickly for whatever reason will end up being your best prospects.
Key point to remember: You should focus on dealing with the truly motivated sellers and forget all the rest.
So relax…just pick up the phone and breathe. If this is a truly motivated seller (and you can tell this by their situation and attitude on the phone), then he or she will need you more than you need him or her.
Use a Property Information Form
To get the conversation started, use a Property Information Form to collect some details from the real estate seller.
You will need to learn more about his or her property, and having a simple questionnaire will serve as an excellent guide to collecting the information you need. It will also help you to come across more professional and prepared.
You can download this sample seller questionnaire.
I suggest asking them the following questions. There are more things you’ll need to know eventually, but these ones are mandatory:
- The main details about their house for sale (# of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, address, etc).
- Their reason for selling.
- What they believe their house is worth, based on sales in the neighborhood.
- Their asking price, and if they will go lower.
- What repairs or upgrades does the house need?
Having said all this, don’t underestimate the value of building rapport. People do business with other people they like and trust. There is no need to sound canned, forced, or robotic. I’ve had many sellers choose me over other investors they called, solely because I sounded like a nice person on the phone.
Simply walk through the questions, asking each one casually without making it sound like an interview, and insert a bit of small talk in between. Rapport is CRUCIAL.
Assess Their Need Level
As you walk through the questions from the Property Information Form, pay careful attention to the signals you receive from these real estate seller leads.
- What is their true reason for wanting to sell?
- Is it an immediate need?
- How much cash do they actually need from the sale to solve their problem?
You’ll learn a lot from their answers. For instance, if the seller is telling you about all the recent upgrades that were made to his or her newly-renovated house, this may not be a great wholesaling opportunity because they can probably get top dollar for it with an agent.
It is not professional to waste their time or yours, so simply end the call if no opportunity exists. Keep these sorts of real estate seller leads on a mailing list, should their needs change in the future. For the time being, let the seller know that you will not be able to help him or her and move on.
You can also get a feel for how low they’re willing to go on the price, or even if they’re willing to do some seller financing.
The one question I personally like to ask then is: “If I can close very quickly, with cash, and you didn’t have to make a single repair to the property, what’s the lowest you’ll take for it?”
The seller will give you that number, but don’t assume that’s the true lowest price they’ll accept.
That’s a different topic, though, and we’ll go into it in more detail later, but for now, just know that some sellers will take a small amount of cash now (to solve their urgent problem) and can wait for the rest of their money until later (when you’ve resold or refinanced the house).
Confident People Give Direct Answers
Most new real estate wholesalers are concerned about whether or not they will appear confident. Will these real estate seller leads be able to detect nervousness? Could it cause them to distrust you?
A simple strategy to exude confidence is to to speak calmly and plainly. Keep your answers short, simple, and to the point.
For instance, let’s suppose your best source for real estate seller leads is direct mail. The seller asks on the phone how you got his or her name. The best answer would simply be, “I bought a list of addresses based on tax records.”
A seller may also ask what your interest is in their property. There is no need to make this answer complicated. You may simply reply, “I buy houses in the area and fix them up. Then I either sell them or sometimes I rent them out.”
It’s a simple answer, and it is honest. Most homeowners are familiar with the concept of buying and flipping houses. Try to avoid referring to yourself as an investor – it can come across somewhat less humble.
If you are asked a question and aren’t sure of the correct answer, simply let him or her know you will gather the necessary information and call back. You’ll look more professional than winging it!
Give it Your Best Shot
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. And while nobody is perfect, everybody starts somewhere.
If your first call goes well – great! If it doesn’t, there are plenty more calls ahead of you. Trust me…if we could go back and listen to my phone conversations when I was getting started in this business, we would both be cringing hard.
Like I said before…it’s a numbers game. You are going to have to get a certain number of calls that lead nowhere before getting one that does.
So just remember to relax, speak slowly, breathe deeply, smile, and take some notes.
The first call is the hardest – but it only gets easier from here! After a bit of practice, talking to and negotiating with sellers will become second nature and your results will improve tremendously!