Easy Conversation Makes Sales Not Scripts. Post 230

Coach Mitch’s REFLECTIONS™

When speaking with clients I always steer the talk to sales. I find that having an easy conversation with a tax delinquent makes sales, not following some script.

Clients or wanna-be clients always ask: “How quick can I do a deal?” or “How many deals can I do in a month?” The answer of course is, “It depends.”

I ask, “How hard and how consistently will you work the Ridiculously Simple System?” I ask, “How good a salesperson will you be?” They always say, “I’ll work hard and I’m a great salesperson.” Yet, it turns out to almost never be the case.

They ask, “How many deals should I be working on at the same time?”

When I had my offices and staff, I was taking control of one property every day and I was closing one a week. That also means that there were a bunch in the pipeline that we were working on to show, sell and get financed, etc.

The big thing is the level of commitment.

I have many clients who have been with me for a significant period of time without them having closed on their first property.
Yet, they still hang in there. They stay in touch with me. That is important. They still have the hope that one day they will succeed. So do I.

Having tried a bit but not having had success, the client is not feeling so good about themselves and their lack of activity. They are saying to themselves, “I didn’t do anything.” Well, that’s human. We never give ourselves enough credit.

However, to me, the big positive is that they stayed in touch with me. That is important. It really is. Consider the fact that the client made the concrete decision to hold onto a contact, someone they think is valuable, someone that they hoped would help them to move forward.

Coach Mitch is like a life preserver.

The client is not letting go of that “dream fulfilling” life preserver. They stay in contact so that when they are ready to act, they will still have that mentor “life preserver” to call. We’re all the same, knowing we have a “life preserver” comforts us and calms us all down.

On my part, I had many years of helping and brainstorming as a leader in a large Real Estate Investors Association. I made a decision when I first started coaching that I was going to be welcoming. There is no way to know when someone is going to be ready to dive in and act. I decided that I was not going to have a negative attitude.

I looked at my own life.

How many times have I not done something that I knew was good for me to do? Plenty. And I’m still procrastinating. But, all of sudden, something urges me to go ahead and give it another shot. Maybe it’s only half-hearted but you try it again. Later on, maybe you get more internal strength and/or something urges you to move forward some more.

I’m human, just like the next guy. So, who am I to have a negative attitude about you? “Oh, you didn’t do it before, so why should I talk to you now?” That’s absolute nonsense!

Attitude sets the tone.

When this welcoming feeling was expressed recently to a client, I asked, “I hope this sentiment comes across?” The response was, “Oh, yes. You’ve always been genuine. Most people don’t take the time to talk to someone, like you talk to me.”
Other guru’s think I’m crazy.

They give instruction and feel that people should just follow their instructions. They think it not productive or the best use of their time to try to energize and encourage those who want to do something with their lives – even if they go sideways – which can still be viewed as moving forward. But I don’t care. I enjoy the real estate investing conversations I have with aspiring REI’s.
Often, a conversation will lead to a new idea(s).

This client said that phone calling was not a task she liked but she had recently made 10 cold calls to FSBO’s. Great! The calls didn’t turn out well but she did it and was proud of herself; so was I. Interestingly, as an aside, she said she would rather knock on doors.

Coaching Brainstorm

I suggested a non-stressful phone call, “I like your neighborhood and am looking to buy property on your street. I’m going to be in the neighborhood next week. Just thought I’d call to say I’d like to stop by and talk to you about maybe buying your property.” She liked that.

It seemed obvious to this client that this non-threatening opening statement could lead to a nice conversation, if the owner wanted it too.

knock on door2

Or, virtually the same conversation could be done when you knock on the door. “I like your neighborhood and am looking to buy property on your street. I was in the neighborhood so I thought I’d stop by, say hello, and talk to you about maybe buying your property.” What a nice, easy opening statement and you are a nice surprise for someone who is behind in their taxes and doesn’t know what to do. Either way, you are on first base.

This idea morphed into a new postcard that I’ve just inserted into my course, letting prospects know that you will be in the neighborhood on Tuesday afternoon. Now you are no longer a stranger. Maybe some tax delinquent will be waiting with a pot of coffee? Woo-woo!

But the underlying thought is that this statement was an easy conversation starter, rather than the scripts she usually followed.

Scripts interrogate

Real estate scripts typically interrogate the owner. “How many bedrooms – how many bathrooms, how much square feet, etc.”
The interrogation approach feels like the third degree – because it is.

It’s about motivations not room sizes.

BTW, who cares how about the house anyway? As tax delinquent property investors we want to know about the people’s motivation. Questions about the house are simply a convenient way to get to, “Why weren’t the property taxes paid?”
I don’t really care about the house. I care about knowing how desperate the owner’s personal situation is. I want to know about the owners internal bleeding. Compared to this knowledge, knowing how old the roof is, has little value.

Even if the home is a shack, I never belittle the home because all I care about is the motivation of the owners.

People fall into patterns.

One pattern is that we take the Realtor path; we’re told to take control of the conversation so we interpret that to mean asking factual questions about the home, e.g. room sizes, furnace age, etc. rather than letting the owner feel good about the home. What if you asked, “Why don’t you tell me about the home?”

You may not get the room sizes, but who cares? What you will get is insight about what the owner thinks is important and that will be a great deal more telling. It will also lead to many more questions, most of which will reveal insight into the owner’s personality and family dynamic, all more important than when the windows were last washed.

How we ask matters.

Most ask, “What repairs need to be made to the house?” Doesn’t that sound inviting? (Sarcastic) Doesn’t this sound nicer? “What else do you think should be done to make the house just the way you would want it to be?”

Most ask, “Why do you want to sell?” People are guarded and could be resentful of this question. What if you went about it sideways? “After you sell, where are you going to move too?” That’s better but still could be felt as a bit intrusive.

Try this, (presuming cold winters) “After you sell, I’ll bet you’re moving to someplace warm?” It’s the same intent but I’m sure you can see how this question/statement could lead to easy conversation where you both share deep snow stories, creating rapport. This could lead to why they are selling. “My son is ill and the insurance isn’t covering everything so we need to go to a warmer climate.”

If you know the property is tax delinquent, then empathize: “What a terrible choice, paying for your sons high medical costs or paying for the property taxes?  That’s an easy decision but a terrible choice.” Take the burden off their shoulders, place their guilt onto ‘circumstance.’

Try talking to yourself.

Self-talk is a great teacher. Try different words in a phrase and try different phrases for a situation. Practice. That way you won’t be caught unawares. You will be ready for any situation and your conversation will always be on target.

Ask yourself, “Which FEELS better?”

“What would you repair?” OR “What would you fix up?” The second is not as judgmental. We have lots of words that we can substitute: overhaul, mend, revamp, renovate, correct, etc. Try them all out on yourself and pick the one that feels most comfortable and is friendly.

A better phrase –

“What would you do to fix up the house if you could do anything that you wanted?” Nice. Or, “If you could have your dream house and were not restricted by a budget, what would you do? Doesn’t the second question just make you want to pick up a paint brush? Doesn’t it make you feel better?

The owner will typically open up and state some of the things that are wrong with the house. “I’d fix the water problem, maybe put in a sump pump.” You can commiserate. “I know what you mean, water can be an issue.” That is how to create rapport.
You want the kind of openness like that of a complete stranger on an airplane who gives intimate details about their life that they might not even tell their spouse. But, they don’t believe that they will ever see you again and they want to unburden themselves. It is cathartic, liberating.

That is the kind of reaction you want to have with every conversation that you have. If you don’t have that of reaction then you won’t be as successful as you would like to be. The reason the guru’s don’t go into this area is that it takes a lot of time and is hard to teach, and they have to be really good at it themselves. So they just teach techniques. But, the best technique is to have a nice easy sales conversation instead of following a script.

“Everyone tells me things.”

“People will see me in the grocery store and tell me their life story.” That’s what many clients say to me, believing that makes them good salespeople.

However, when you’re in the supermarket it is a neutral place. People’s guard is down. The circumstance surrounding the conversation is innocent. But, when speaking to a tax delinquent about buying their property, and they know they are in trouble, and you know it, and they know that you know it; it is no longer an innocent situation. This is a much more difficult human situation to deal with. To have people open up to you in this situation is not easy and it does not happen by accident. You must have a plan – a plan to manipulate the conversation so that both of you get what you want.

The challenge is how to engage people in a highly stressful tax delinquent situation, with the same ease we engage people in the supermarket?

I’ve developed and include in my course a flow chart to help you imagine conversations so that you can prepare yourself for the inevitable but predictable questions that people will ask you.
The secret approach I take.

I concentrate on asking emotion based questions. I try to ask questions that are not directly related to the tax delinquency but will head me in that direction.

“Is the family looking forward to moving?” With some people that will be enough for them to unload, especially if they are stressed?

“Are the kids attached to the area, how do they feel about moving?” They say, “He’s on the championship baseball team. We’re hoping that he gets a scholarship, but we don’t know where we’re going to move?” You can hear the anguish in the voice. Now you know you’re onto something. You have hit a hot button. Remember it.

Crossing the Rubicon

We still have to cross this Rubicon about the tax delinquency. This seems to be a real hitch with many Americans where they feel it’s not PC, politically correct, to confront someone, especially about something unpleasant.

I have taught myself to become comfortable with confrontation.

“As a developer you can expect that I do extensive research before I commit to a property. That makes sense right? (They say “Yes.”) We think this is a good neighborhood. (They nod Yes.) In your case, I looked up the public records at the County Property Appraiser where I found good information about the property. I also saw the public records at the County Tax Collector. It shows that the property is behind in property taxes for two years. We were wondering what the situation was?”

Their eyebrows go up, their mouth is open, some of the hope they had is gone but it occurs that you could still be helpful to them.
My tone of voice is even, matter of fact, businesslike, not judgmental, nor sympathetic. Everything is thought out beforehand, based upon the feelings that the voice will project and the feelings the words will project.

The question is valid and cannot be avoided. The tax delinquent’s answer will indicate their level of concern. If they are not concerned, don’t be shy about asking “Why?” If Uncle Joe says he will forward the monies, ask, “How long has it been since Uncle Joe said he’d give you the money?” “What happens if Uncle Joe doesn’t come through?”…

Now we are getting into the weeds. This is when the real story can come out. It is up to you to get to, “What are you looking to accomplish?” When you discover that, then try to give it to them, but in a way that you can make a profit.

Good luck,

Mitchell Goldstein - Coach Mitch
518-439-6100 until midnight EST

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