Establishing An Authentic Relationship with Your Seller
By: Jill DeWit
Befriend, be transparent, be honest.
You’ve spent time pricing the offers and getting them in the owners’ hands and the calls are starting to roll in. They’ve opened your letter and called as owners and it’s now up to you to turn them into sellers.
The first thing you might have to do is calm the caller down and once you’ve accomplished that, find out if they want to sell, get the property info, and determine if the price works for them. If it doesn’t, find out what number they have in mind and what you are willing to offer.
It’s really a straightforward process but it requires confidence, kindness, and a lot of patience.
If you have someone else answering the phone for you, make sure they have a positive attitude, arm them with the correct questions to ask and what to expect from callers. I have a script that I’ve shared with our Land Academy members and I’m often modifying it to meet the current need. You can easily create a script for your team or use mine and change it to what makes sense to you and your business process.
Who takes the first call is not nearly as important as how soon you follow up. If it isn’t you answering the phone, make sure you quickly get back to the caller. Don’t wait a week, be responsive and fast. In fact, for the best outcome, I recommend calling back in 24 hours or less. Schedule time in your day to dedicate to this, even if it’s during your lunch break at work.
The caller is now hearing from you personally and you’ll find that they love this. Game on, it’s time to start establishing a relationship.
“Hi, I know you spoke to my team yesterday about the property that I’m interested in buying from you. I have some questions. Can you tell me a little more about the taxes? Where do you stand on that? I was looking it up on the map, can you tell me about the access?”
Always be honest and transparent when speaking to the seller. You’ll find that the landowner often wants to know why you want their property and what you plan to do with it, never lie, you’re not going to “trick” anyone into selling their land and if you do, your success in land investing will likely be short lived. Simply explain that you are a land reseller, and you are buying several properties in the area. Let them know that if they are interested in quickly getting the property out of their life, you’re the person for them.
Be intentional when talking to the seller and always follow through. Before you get off the phone, set a day and time that they can expect you to follow up and make sure you honor that. If you have some concerns about the property that require a little more due diligence, let them know that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve returned a call about a property and the owner says they were trying to do a deal with someone else and they just won’t call back. The caller is more than happy to sell you the property, even at a lower price, simply because you’ve made them a priority and you’ve followed through.
Consider thinking of the caller as if they’re your mom, dad, grandparent, brother, whoever it may be, how would you want someone to speak to them?
Always remember, even if you are new to this, you likely know more about the property than the owner. Be careful with this though, if you really want to know how to quickly kill the deal, try carrying an air of authority. Approaching the seller with “I know this area like the back of my hand, and this is all it’s worth, this is all you’re going to get” will not result in an authentic, trusting relationship.
Listen to their concerns and be transparent yet gentle when explaining your reasoning. Let them know why the offer you sent to their neighbor was higher. You can kindly explain that the neighbor has a barn, two wells and the property is currently being farmed and that is why their offer is higher.
Always come out of the gate with a good attitude and wear a smile during the call. Your tone, how well you listen and how you respond are all very critical aspects of building a relationship with the seller.
Although practice does make perfect, it’s also important that you be honest with yourself and self-assess. Maybe you are a Jack or maybe you are a Jill, some of you are the perfect mix of both. If you aren’t a people person and it’s holding you back from returning calls and you’re losing deals, it’s time to look for a partner.
The people I know that are doing phenomenal at this have a calm self-confidence and aren’t afraid to say they don’t have the answer. They are friendly, transparent, and honest and seem to naturally establish relationships and get the deals done.
You’ll become more confident with each call you receive but it’s important to really consider your approach in the beginning and put some thought into this. Try role playing with someone you know before calling your first few sellers back and practice how you plan to positively kick the conversation off.
Undoubtedly, the more energy you put into this aspect of your business, the better the outcome will be.
Best of luck!