As real estate entrepreneurs, we are doing more than buying properties and chasing cashflow; We are actively building businesses. One of the key elements of building a successful business is your ability to sell.
Throughout my years as an IT executive at large public and private companies, I have had to sell multi-million-dollar projects to C-level executives. To do this, I learned and applied techniques from sales masters like Brian Tracy, Grant Cardone and Zig Ziglar. The key thread among all of them was that we must identify and understand the need for the customer or, in our case, the seller.
Here are the 4 things you must do to sell intelligently:
1) Discover & Fulfill a Need
When approaching a customer or seller, we need to see things from their point of view by taking the time to understand their pain point. If you do not take the time to understand their need, they will not care about the wonderful features your solution has. If you are pitching a land contract idea to someone that is looking for cash, it won’t matter to them.
The customer or seller wants to know how you are going to solve their problem and whether you can deliver on that promise. If you are working on getting a $5MM building, they want to know how fast you can close and if you can do it. For this, people rely on social proof. The thing is, depending on the amount of pain they have, your social proof and time to close may be more valuable than the amount of the building itself. But again, it all depends on taking to time to understand what they need.
2) Getting Creative to Solve a Problem
Once you identify their issue, you can determine how to build a win-win scenario. The best transactions are those that both the buyer and the seller are pleased. This is also important when you are building a reputation in the market place.
Again, this involves listening to their needs and coming up with a solution. For example, if the seller is looking to move from Ohio to Orlando, Florida and you just happen to have a condo out there that you were thinking of selling, this could be a good opportunity to include it as part of the sale while saving on taxes. Keep your eyes and ears open and look for ways to handle the problem for the seller or customer.
3) Build Your Social Proof – and Understand Theirs
This is probably one of the most important ones – and the one most new people struggle with – is social proof. Many entrepreneurs often forget this one. To help you build social proof, prepare some materials in advance, such as scripts speaking to the social proof, letters from other buyers/sellers and presentations that show you have a team lined up.
As the same time, you need to evaluate the seller and their ability to deliver on their side. Will they be a pain to deal with? What do other people in the market say about them? Do they have a bad reputation with vendors and property managers? Take the time to understand who you are buying from.
4) Sell Intelligently
When you are looking at the problem from the sellers’ point of view, you need to find what is more important to them. This means asking relevant questions to the problem rather than discussing the weather. The most important leading question you can ask is “What problems are you facing today?”. From there, you can ask them,
– “What is keeping you up a night?”
– “Who is/How is handling it today?”
– “If you could do anything, what would you change?”
By opening up about their problems and needs you will not only gather information about what is important to them, but you can also show your genuine support for what they are going through and position yourself as a person to help them resolve their problem.
When you are positioning yourself as someone that can solve their problem, you need to touch on the points they said was important to them rather than telling them how great you are at solving the issue. Again, look at it from their point of view: if it sounds like you are concerned more about how great you are vs how you can solve the problem they are facing, they will listen and buy. Your job is to listen, ask questions and repeat back the problem along with the solution you will execute.
For example: I once had a lady that was selling an 84-unit deal in Cleveland. She needed to close in 3 weeks and move to Florida. We asked why she needed to move? Why 3 weeks? What is important to her?
You see, the seller thought she had it sold, but the buyer bailed. She had to move to Florida to be with her husband who was very sick. She said she would need $1MM in cash to close on a deal there. So, I worked with the bank and came up with a proposal to where we would bring $1MM cash to the deal and she would carry back a large portion. There were many more protections built into the deal, you get the point. We came up with a solution that would help both us and the seller. This was a very focused, structure that was a win-win for both us and the seller. It’s better to respond directly to what the seller stated as important, rather than giving them something the seller can’t execute or use.
So, when we are thinking about how to approach a seller or a customer, we need to thoroughly understand their point of view, understand their pain points and gain clarity of their problem. You need to ask a ton of questions. You need to gather information to uncover what’s truly important to them so that you can propose a solution and position yourself using their language. This helps anchor your point of view. Remember, they don’t care about features. They care about the problem they have that you will solve. They will determine how you will deliver based on social proof. From there, get creative to resolve their need.
What do you guys think? How do you keep your sales chops sharp? Let me know in the comments.
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