Welcome Back to the Discount Property Investor Podcast Episode 17! In this episode, David and Mike discuss Talking with Sellers. Don’t be afraid to answer the phone and make sure you have goals for the call. Are you building rapport with your sellers and determining motivation? See the Seller Script at the end of the show notes :
If you can get to the phone to answer these calls live DO THAT! If you are unable to answer the phone live we recommend using an answering machine with a general greeting asking for their name, phone number with area code, and the property address. We have had a great response with this script but please remember that you need to build rapport with the sellers so don’t read this script word for word, instead use it as just a place to jot down your notes. Remember, the most important thing you can ask them is “why do you need to sell”
David: Welcome back as this is the Discount property investor podcast episode 17. I am your host David Dodge with co-host Mike Slane.
Mike: Hey guys.
David: Check out the freewholesalecourse.com guys if you haven't been there yet, jam packed, tons of free information on how to get started wholesaling in your market today. Also check out discountpropertyinvestors.com if you are looking for deals in the St Louis area. We have tons of them on there; you can subscribe and get our e-mails in the top right hand corner.
Today is episode 15 and we really want to dive in and talk about -- talking with sellers. Talking with sellers is obviously the next step after you get your list and you get your mail out, or you go out and drove for dollars and sent your mail. Or you put up your bandit signs, whatever you are doing to market. The idea with marketing is to get that phone ringing. So at this point we hope you have done what we have taught in previous episodes as well as the freewholesalecourse.com to get your phoning ringing, ok? Once that phone starts ringing you have to actually talk to these people.
Mike: It is a huge stumbling block for a lot of people.
David: A huge stumbling block. Absolutely, and when I first started, I was just going balls to the wall, full throttle, I just wanted to get my phone ringing, and after about three months I was like -- how do I get this thing to slow down a little bit? Because I was still nervous, a couple of months in talking to these people but -- one thing that really changed the paradigm shift in me was -- they are just people. They just want to sell a property and -- you are providing them a solution, you are providing them a service and you should be shooting for that win:win. It's not hard, you talk to people all day everyday anyway. So you are just going to talk to them about a property that they have and -- you are going to be providing them with a solution and help them sell that deal.
David: So you should be excited when the phone rings and you have to talk to a motivated seller. Don't be scared.
Mike: That’s what I was saying as a stumbling block. A lot of people I see -- they will put out some mail, get a couple of phone calls and they are like -- had a few calls, not called them back yet. Well -- you shouldn’t have to call them back first off; you want to answer the phone when it rings. That is super, super important to being successful is answering the phone when it rings. Again i just can’t emphasise that enough is that -- you are spending this money, you are spending this effort to get your phone to ring, answer it, don't be afraid it's not a big deal, you are just talking to somebody -- you are just talking to another person. I think my personal experience -- just a total 180 degree -- shift in my thinking. I used to -- and this is years ago now, but if an unknown number would pop up, and I didn’t have them saved, I wouldn’t answer it they would leave a message, il get back to them.
David: Yeah, figure out who it is and maybe --
Mike: It's completely different now, I answer every unknown call. I see my wife and she will be like -- I don’t know who that is, I will just send it to voice mail. I am like, just answer it.
David: I prefer unknown calls at this point. Potentially money versus someone asking me for a favour or something like that.
Mike: Quick -- we digressed a little bit. So this just happened a couple of days ago, Dave was working on set up a new line for one of our employees and -- I answered the phone and he was like, oh Mike, why did you answer the phone? And I’m like -- because it freaking rang man, that's why I answered the phone, you answer the phone when it rings.
David: Setting up the systems.
Mike: So anyways I just -- just something I do now, it’s what you do, if you can answer the phone, you answer the phone.
David: Definitely. If you can answer the phone answer it, because you got to put yourself in the shoes of the motivated seller to. If you get a marketing piece of you see a bandit sign or whatever, let’s say you get a letter. You open the letter and it says, hey my name is Dave and I buy houses, I want to buy your house and you can reach me on this number. You call that number and you just get some answering message that says, hey this is Dave, I am not here, leave me a message. That is not very enticing to want to work with that person.
David: Right, if they answer the phone and they are like, hey this is Dave, what's going on? What can I do to help you? They are like; oh I got your letter. You are like great; do you have a house you want to sell? I want to buy it.
Mike: I was looking for a house.
David: That is like, ok I am getting somewhere, I am getting somewhere fast. That’s great, so like Mike said -- if you can answer the phone in real time, make every effort possible -- to do so. If you can't it's not the end of the world. But, you do want to put together a really nice voice mail that explains what you do and who you are. You don't want to say, hey this is Dave, I am not here, leave me a message. In that voice mail, put together some -- nice content that just says, hey, this is Dave, I am not available, maybe you got one of my letters -- just elaborate on your voice mail a little bit to make them feel comfortable. That way they know you are going to call them back and they may leave a little bit more information than just -- hey this is John, call me. You want them to leave information like, hey, this is who I am, I have this property for sale, I got one of your letters. The more information the better, because you kind of building rapport without even talking to them.
Mike: Absolutely, I know when I started, in the message I would say -- I would ask for the address because again, it makes me when I started -- especially I was a lot more confident on the phone when i knew the address of the property. I could look it up and do a little bit of --
David: Prior to calling them back.
Mike: Prior to calling them back so it gives you -- that little sense of confidence or whatever it is that will help you pick up the phone and actually call them back. So it is a great point, leave a nice voicemail message so -- if you have a day job and you really can’t -- make sure you have that set up property.
David: Or if you are on the phone -- miss the call.
Mike: That is extremely important, set up a separate number I would recommend before your marketing pieces. Have a good voice mail and answer the phone if you can. So let’s fast forward a little bit. Let’s get into talking with the sellers. I am going to say there is probably -- two actual goals that you have for yourself when you are on the phone. The first goal is building rapport with the seller and -- building rapport is basically all about making a friend. So when somebody calls you are trying to basically break down that wall, because most people they call and they are going to think --
David: They’re sceptical
Mike: Very sceptical. So they don’t necessarily want to give their house away, they want to sell it.
David: I got your letter, what is this -- why are you sending me a letter? They are going to be a little bit -- kind of forward with you in the beginning. So you want to try and make them a friend. You want to present them the idea that you -- are a buyer and they may be a seller and you want to work with them, you want to help them --
Mike: There is super easy ways, and my favourite way -- kind of like my personality too is -- mirroring I think is the easiest way to -- I mean it is almost sub conscience--
David: Mike, what is mirroring?
Mike: Way to build rapport. So mirroring is -- basically acting like a chameleon. So if you have a seller like Dave said, they come on and they are a little bit more pushy, most hostile -- hey why did you send me this letter? Well then you response can be. Well why did you call me? You just want to be a little bit -- be direct right back.
David: But it works.
Mike: It is, it brings down that wall, and then they are going to be like -- well you sent me this letter, I was just curious. Then you can take it down a notice and say, ok that’s good, I am an investor here and looking to buy houses, is this property something you’re selling? Again, you just -- you want to keep asking questions I would say -- but definitely near them.
David: So they talk fast, you talk fast? If they talk slow, you talk slow. If they talk quiet, and they want to talk a little bit quieter. You don’t want to overwhelm them or -- mirroring it’s a great concept but -- people like people that are like them. If you can put yourself in a situation where they feel like they are talking to them self or someone like them self, then building the rapport is going to be a lot easier.
Mike: On a sub conscious level when you are doing exactly what they do -- so like Dave and I -- if you are talking with your hands a lot -- use your hands a little bit more. If they talk with their hands, you talk with your hands. When you are out there meeting with people. So the other thing I would say is don’t talk too much. So your goal is -- to ask them questions and find out about them, and you want them to open up to you. That is really --
David: Mike, that is -- such a great point because -- when I first started doing this I always had the tendency to try and dominate the conversation and I didn’t do it on purpose. I just -- I was scared of talking to these sellers and -- whenever you get scared I think, or nervous is a better word, you tend to talk a lot.
Mike: Everyone is different. I know you --
David: I talk for hours and hours and hours. But that is a great point though, don't talk too much and we are going to get into that in just a couple of minutes here when we talk about our script that we are going to be giving away -- you can also find it in the show notes. The idea is to ask them about them and ask them about the property -- get them talking. Because the more they talk the less questions you have to ask. The more they can talk about them or their property the more comfortable they are going to feel.
Mike: Gosh, I can't remember the name of the book, oh geez. Maybe it was how to win friends and influence people -- basically you are having a conversation with someone -- if you are able to not talk, they are almost guaranteed, more likely to say, I really like that person. If they were talking about themselves all night -- they really -- great guy. They are doing all the talking. Don't talk too much -- make sure you are trying to direct the conversation or steer the conversation the way you want to go, which is focusing on the house.
David: Just ask the right questions. You don't need to ask a ton of questions, just ask the right ones and we will give that to you here in a few minutes in the script. Absolutely.
Mike: So the first goal then was to build rapport with your sellers, my second goal -- and probably the most important thing on the call is to determine the motivation. You have to figure out -- why they need to sell.
David: The most important thing.
Mike: Yes, even motivated sellers are going to hide it from you at first. Nobody is going to say; oh I’m desperate to sell my house --
David: I haven't made a mortgage payment in four months.
Mike: If I don't get someone to buy this property in the next 15 days I am going to lose all my equity.
David: They are not going to tell you that right away. They will tell you that if you build enough rapport, absolutely. That is the purpose of building a rapport is to make them feel like you are trustworthy and that you are their friend. Then the can of worms is going to open and you are going to learn all that but --
Mike: So on call one it is probably not going to happen -- especially right away on call one. Maybe -- not even on call two or three, who knows? But again, you want to ask, why do you want to sell? I am going to suggest entering that into the conversation more than once. Not sure if we have got that in the script, but again you want to enter it in. I like to interject it at least two or three times. So why did you need to sell again? Just phrase it a little differently. Why did you want to sell? Why did you need to sell? Or -- what's going on again -- just ask it several different times and several different ways.
David: I usually just say, why do you need to sell? Keep it simple. Mike what would you say is -- kind of off topic but not really, what would you say the average duration of a call is when -- because I bet mine is three times as long as yours. -- just because I talk forever.
David: But I feel like I do such an awesome job of building rapport with these people because -- I just ask the right questions - for me I usually get them to tell me on the first call -- well second call that they are losing the property or that this situation is terrible, so on and so forth. What would you say the average duration of an inbound, motivated seller call -- between the time that you answer and the time your either determine that you want to make an appointment with them, or this isn’t the deal for you today?
Mike: Absolutely. Obviously you know our business; we set it up a little bit different, so I am not handling a lot of our calls anymore, inbound initial calls --
David: But when you were --
Mike: When I was -- I would say I got it down to three or five minutes is about the length of my first call.
David: I wish I could do that.
Mike: I was going to say, I bet yours is 15 - 20.
David: Mine is 15-20 on average. Sometimes it can only be two -- if they are just calling and saying -- I got your letter and I am not really interested in selling, but I wanted to hear your offer. Then it's like ok, I am wasting time at this point, but if they are really motivated I don't mind spending -- sometimes 25 -30 minutes on the phone with them. Because when I go out and meet them, they are like excited to meet me, they have already talked with me a bunch. Ideally you want to keep it down to three or five minutes.
Mike: I guess we got very different approaches to, I would rather -- if they are motivated and I got a two or three minute call, I will set the appointment right away, I will set it for as soon as possible. So, if I know they are motivated I will go out there and meet them and that is where I am going to spend an hour. I will just hang out, be awkward and quiet and just hang out for a long time, make a friend.
David: I guess the point I brought that up, is that there is no -- right way or better way. You want to ask the right questions of course which we are going to tell you here on the script. But -- if the call is three to five minutes great, if it's 15 - 20 minutes not a big deal either. At the end of the day you want to set the appointment. That's your goal.
Mike: So -- exactly, I was going to give a recap. So basically you are trying to build rapport, the next step is determine their motivation and the end game is to set that appointment for sure. So Dave, do you want to go ahead and kind of jump into a little bit of the script that --
David: Yeah, this is a script that we put together here. It's -- again, there is not a --
Mike: You don't need a script.
David: You don't need a script at all, absolutely. When I first started I had -- the script that I have here and really it is just a bunch of lines, it has a couple of bullets for the most part. But really it is just there for you to write down the information. Typically whenever you get your motivated seller calls. You are going to answer and you are going to say, 'Good morning, this is David how may I help you?' Or, 'Good afternoon, this is David how may I help you? Then the seller is going to say, 'Well, hello this is --' then their name and they will say, 'I received one of your letters' A small percentage of them are going to ask why -- you are sending them a letter, or how you got their name. One of the ways that we kind of move past this objection right off the get go -- typically first question, how did you get my name? Or why are you sending me this letter? The best way to handle that objection is just to say we use a direct mailing list that targets older neighbourhoods. It is very general. That typically is going to solve their problems, it is going to answer their questions and it is kind of going to disarm them. It is like we are not targeting you specifically -- unfortunately you are not special, we send out a lot of mail and we just target older neighbourhoods. Them asking that question is actually not a bad thing because once you follow up with that answer, your next question is -- are you interested in selling your property? Or do you have a property that you are interested in selling? That is going to kind of open up the -- questionnaire for you to be able to start getting information from them. The whole time that you are asking these questions and you are kind of driving them and directing them towards -- you getting the information that you need -- you want to build rapport. So if they ask you a question answer it. I don't know what that question is going to be, it is different every time.
Mike: Right, so that is why a script is really tough to --
David: Really tough. But it is a good idea in the beginning to take what we are putting together here and turn it out, and write this stuff down. If you are using a CRM then you can type this stuff in. But this is a great way to keep track of all the information, because they are going to throw a lot of it at you, especially when you ask the right questions and when you build rapport. They are going to start talking, like I said some of my phone calls are 20 minutes and -- that is a lot of information that I am taking down. But the more information you can get the better sometimes.
Mike: In the script also, the reason it is so good is -- as a newer investor it helps you focus and remember, oh I need to ask this and ask that. Oh yeah, how many beds and baths does that -- you definitely want to focus in on it.
David: So let's recap just the intro real quick. 'Good morning, this is David, how may I help you?' Then they are going to say, 'Hi, this Mike and I received your letter.' Again they may ask why they are on the list, they may not. If they do, just say we targeted old neighbours and do a lot of direct mail. Are you interested in selling, or do you have a property that you would be interested in selling? Then from there just start taking down information. So the first thing I always get is their name, then I will always put the date to. The date is really important because whenever you start your follow up process, you need to know when you first talked to this person and when they first reached out. Name, date and then I get the address of the property. I will try to get as much of the detail and the address as possible. I want to get the city, i want to get the State, I want to get the zip, just in case -- you are not sending a letter to somebody that is out of State and they are trying to sell you a property that is also out of State. Make sure you have a property that is local. Then the most important question is next, ok? What is you reason for selling? Or -- why do you need to sell this property? That is the most important question you can ask, and it is always a good idea to ask this question several times. But, I always ask this question after I get their name and their address and the date. So you got to get a couple of little minor things that are very basic and simple and quick. But immediately you always want jump into what is your reason for selling? Then just shut up. Don't talk.
Mike: Absolutely. That is a great strategy to because you get them to answer their name and the address of the property -- those are super simple things --
David: You don't need to ask for you can just get but --
Mike: The name, the address -- they are not going to say no to that because they are going to sell a property. So then -- immediately you are asking the most important thing. Which is their motivation. So what is your reason for selling?
David: Absolutely. You got to ask that -- don't be it's a great point you know? You have to figure out their level of motivation and that is the best way to just directly ask them. What is your reason for selling? Just be quiet and let them talk, typically if they start talking and you don't try to interrupt them or -- try to start talking again, they will just keep going. Maybe a pause in there or even several, but people just keep talking. So let them go, so another reason that we don't like using a script per say -- is because the conversation doesn't flow naturally, so the script that we have again a majority of it is just lines where you can write on, ok? You want the conversation to flow naturally, you want to build that rapport, you don't want to ask them how much money they owe before you ask them why they are selling, it just doesn’t make sense.
David: Ok, so we are flowing here. So you got their name, their address -- next most important question, what is your reason for selling, let them speak ok? So they are going to tell you a lot of information in that period. So once they get to the point where they are done telling you their reason for selling, the next thing we always want to know is, is the property occupied or is it vacant? Just simple, one or the other. If it's vacant great, that is going to be an easy property and their level of motivation is going to probably be higher. If it is occupied then you can kind of expand on that and say -- ok is it owner occupied or are you renting this property? That is pretty basic. If they are renting it -- you just want to expand on this stuff guys, this isn't rocket science so -- if they are renting it, oh that's great, tell me a little bit about the tenants. How much money are you collecting in rent? How long have they been there? Are they good? Three basic, simple questions. You don't even need to write that stuff down in order to ask them, you just know. Oh it's rented? Oh that's interesting, how much are you getting? How long have they been there? Are they good? So on and so forth. So once you get that information -- about their name, address, why they are selling and a little bit about the properties occupancy. Then I usually will ask them for their phone number. I usually already have it on my called ID, but the way I said it is, listen this information is really great, i am excited about learning more about this property, and hopefully I can come out and see it in the next couple of days, or maybe even today. What is a good number to reach you back at, in case we get disconnected or I need to reach back out for more questions? The reason I do ask for this number versus just write down the caller ID is -- they may be calling you from a work phone --
Mike: All the time --
David: They might be over at grandma's house for the evening and they are going through their mail. You never know what the situation is. So you always want to ask what a good number to reach them back at. I will usually write down the number they tell me, and the number that is on the caller ID. 50% of the time it is the same number for 50% of the time it's not. It is a different number, so now I have two points of contact to reach this person. If you want to get an e-mail that's great to, I usually don't right away because it's just not important right now. If I need to reach them, I am going to call them. So next I just -- say hey I just have a few more questions for you -- do you own the house outright? Or do you have a loan on it? Just try to get a little bit of information about the finance of the deal. So you already have their level of motivation and you have determined if it is vacant or occupied. So next just say, do you own this house outright? Or do you have a loan on it? And -- they may say oh I have a loan on it. So instead of jumping right into the next question of oh ok, how much do you owe? There is a little bit of a science there to ask that question without being too --
Mike: People get funny about money.
David: They get funny about money, I love that.
Mike: It is like with income or anything else, people get a little funny about it so -- you do have to --
David: Approach it properly, tread lightly. So what I do is -- if they say they have a mortgage I say, great then I will move on, but I will come back to it. So I will say, is there anything about the property that I may need to know about like any taxes being passed due? Do you have any sewer bills? Or any type of -- depts on the property that I may need to be made aware of -- if I buy this property? That is just a great way to kind of -- open up the conversation about money without being too intrusive. Are there any back taxes? Often times they will say yes, I haven’t paid them in two years. Or, I am three years behind, I have to get them paid in six months or I am going to lose it. Once they start talking about numbers, then it is really easy to keep them talking about the numbers. So you can say ok great -- you got your taxes paid, or you owe some taxes -- you don’t have any sewer bills or trash bills that are unpaid. How much do you owe on the property? Often whenever you structure it like that, they are not going to have a problem telling you. If they say, oh that is not my business, no problem, move on. If they tell you great, write it down. Then the next little bit of information is just about the actual property itself, this is just basic stuff but again, you -- some people would maybe ask this in the very beginning, I ask it in the end. So the next questions are going to be -- about the home itself. When was it built? How big is it? So, either built, square footage. What is the style of the home? Style is actually a really great question, because people don’t really understand that question. Style could be contemporary or it could be --
Mike: Century modern --
David: Yeah, it could be lots of things. So whenever you say what is the style of the home, just ask that question and just be quiet and just wait, often times the will say it's a piece of junk.
Mike: That's true.
David: Then you are like, ok low level motivations there; I can get a good price. If they do tell you the style, write the style down. Then of course last, but not least, how many floors? Does it have a basement? How many beds? How many baths? That's the nuts and bolts of what you need. If they are in a hurry, the last question you should ask is, describe the shape of the home. Excellent, good, average or poor? Just listen, take notes. They are usually going to tell you, it's poor, it's been vacant for four years, it needs this, this, this and this. Just a piece of junk I want to sell it. Or -- they are going to say it's actually in pretty good condition, I have renting it out for a couple of years, it may need carpet and paint, other than that it's good to go. So you have got what you need. If you have more time with them and they are not in a hurry, then just elaborate on some of that stuff. How is the roof? Has there been any remodels or any additions to the property? Have you had any major issues lately? Just kind of elaborate on it. But really what you are looking for is just the nuts and bolts of the square footage, the number of floors, the bed and the bath and the overall condition -- of the property.
Mike: Again, that is a great script to get you guys started, so check that out on the show notes. I would say -- don't be a slave to the script though either. You definitely want to let the conversation flow naturally; I just want to reiterate that. You are having a conversation with another person; it is not a scripted conversation. You got to just be yourself and build rapport. Being yourself is what is going to help you -- really establish or build that rapport with people.
David: I do just want to add on this, that is the whole script, that is all there is to it. So the -- I do want to add on this though, every seller you talk to is going to be a little different. They are going have a little bit different level of motivation, and they are going to have a different house. So -- we have this script just so you can look at the questions that you need to ask. They don’t really have to be asked in order. The only question I would definitely say needs to be asked in any type of order would be 'what is your reason for selling?' It needs to be at the top of your list. So get their name, get their address -- then immediately before you jump into anything else about bed, bath, conditions, vacant or occupied. 'What is your reason for selling?' Their level of motivation is everything in this business. Again, if you do it right and you build rapport correctly and just simply ask questions and be quiet, let them talk. Most of these questions they are going to tell you. You don’t even need to ask, I have had callers call me, I will ask them one question, 'What's your name?' And I will have a whole list, a whole sheet filled out within five minutes because they just love to talk, I’m one of them. They love to talk and they will and they will talk. You will have everything you need to know at the end of the call. You can say, I have everything I need -- are you available tomorrow afternoon at 3pm? I am coming out. They say great, see you then. It's a done deal you know so -- again in the show notes, we are going to have an example of this script and lastly, we just want to reiterate here guys. Don't worry about following this word for word. All this is, is good questions you should be asking, that's it. So keep it simple, just another human on the other end of that phone, just talk to them, figure out what their problem is and offer them a solution. That's what we are doing in this business. We are just trying to help people buy their properties and offer them a solution, shooting for that win:win.
Mike: Great. Alright guys, let's go ahead and wrap this up then. I guess the action item for today -- if you haven't sent out any direct mail or put out bandit signs or whatever -- your phone is not ringing, you have to get your phone ringing. So go back and listen to episode number 14 again and send out some direct mail, let's just get it going so your phone is ringing so you can apply some of this knowledge. Hopefully we are putting out there.
David: Hopefully you guys have listened to episode 15 already and you haven’t sent out direct mail -- do that immediately.
Mike: Or bandit signs, whatever your strategy is --
David: Start marketing guys, we have touched on this several times -- you are in the marketing business and if you don’t have a marketing budget, even if it’s like 50 bucks -- then you will never -- you are not going to be -- successful in this business without having a marketing budget. That budget can even be dime. But you need to have a marketing budget; you need to start marketing immediately.
Mike: Great, so guys remember to check out the freewholesalecourse.com, at freewholesalecourse.com. That is a great course Dave and I put together, basically everything you guys need to get started and if you are interested in properties in the St Louis area, please check us out at discountpropertyinvestor.com. You can subscribe, get all of our deals that we are putting out to our buyers -- again that is our primary source of income here is real estate. We are out there doing it every day. Dave do you want to do the quote here? Wrap up the episode?
David: Absolutely. "The best investment on earth is earth". It's a good quote.
Mike: Thanks for listening guys