In our business, "buying" is "selling." When we acquire a property we have to "sell" the prospect on our ideas and programs, and if we’re successful, we have bought something (a house). So, in essence, even though we are buyers are are 100% sellers of a service or product…most of which is just us, our capability and our knowledge base. Last Saturday’s Teleconferencing Session (10/13/01), in which Claude Diamond was gracious enough to be our guest mentor for the day, yielded some excellent and unique motivation and sales advice. Claude REALLY knows his stuff. Not surprisingly, his words were taken to heart by everyone, and were powerful enough that they charged up even old grizzled me.

As a matter of fact, Saturday’s session resulted in my acquisition of a couple properties (currently under consideration) that I might not have found (taken) the time to go after otherwise: being too busy cutting down trees with a dull saw, to stop for a while and sharpen it

During one of our role-plays during the session, I discovered that both Claude and myself are disciples of a David H. Sander (now deceased, but one of the greatest sales coaches and trainers ever).

With full credit to David and his company (Sander Systems, Inc., Stevenson Md. 1 800 638 5686)), let me offer a synopsis of the training and mindset that has allowed me to excel in the business of sales during various careers over my business lifetime…whether related to motivating, marketing, selling, convincing or just manipulating. This is my recollection of how it all goes.

Selling Success in seven steps (all in a pill box)

ESTABLISH RAPPORT. By-pass the natural "defense wall" and ask about his kinds, his life, the weather. Get the prospect comfortable with you, you before you reveal who your are and what it is you really want. Match the prospects verbal pattern and speed; use their same expressions, body movement, volume, etc.
ESTABLISH AN UPFRONT VERBAL CONTRACT WITH THE PROSPECT. In other words, discuss the rules of engagement. Determine early on what rules are to be followed and at what point your offer will be deemed to have been accepted. E.g., never forget: "What would you like to see happen as a result of our meeting?"
UNCOVER THE "PAIN." This is the key element of selling. If they’re not hurt, you can’t help them! Without the ability to discover and uncover and take advantage of their "Pain," one’s level of success is relegated to the law of averages. The old "Win a few lose a few" adage can be a thing of the past, if the proper steps are followed. "How long have you had this problem?" "What have you done in the past to fix it?" "I see, and did that work?" "At the moment, what do you think this problem is costing you?" "How are you personally impacted by all of this?"
GET ALL MONEY ISSUES ON THE TABLE. Make sure the prospect knows what the cost will be and that he has enough money to cover it. And make sure that he knows what it’s going to costs if he DOESN’T buy… and that he has to have the money for that too. Not having any part of the financial information (on either side---to buy or not to buy) will blow your deal. And always be assured that any item or service can only be seen as "too expensive" if the prospect is not yet convinced that the cure for his Pain is worth more than the Pain itself. "Jack, do you have a budget set aside for the handling of this?" "I see, can you give me some round numbers?"
DETERMINE WHAT DECISION MAKING PROCESS YOUR PROSPECT GOES THROUGH IN MAKING A DECISION TO BUY OR NOT. Does he make decision on his own? Does he have to check with someone else? Does he think things over? Can he make a decision now? In other words: can he, and is he willing to expend the required amount to rid himself of the Pain, or is he willing to continue living with the Pain. ""Besides yourself, who needs to be a part of your decision making process?’ "You’re saying you can make the decision without help from anyone else?"
PRESENT YOU SOLUTION (your cure for his Pain). Features and benefits and advantages are nifty; but in general those elements of your products or service are not what the prospect is interested in at this level of the presentation. His/her concerns at this point are largely "should I or shouldn’t I? Or…" Is the Pain of doing something greater than the Pain and the expense of doing nothing?" E.g., "Is the Pain of being perceived as unattractive greater than the Pain of sacrificing the intake of excess food, or undergoing cosmetic surgery?" "Is the Pain of walking to work greater than the Pain of expending a part of one’s income on an automobile?" "Is the Pain of a cash-draining property greater than the Pain of giving up some equity or paying someone to get rid of it?"
FULFILLMENT: Review again how you’re going to solve the prospect’s Pain. Use Sandler’s famous "Thermometer Close." For example: "Frank, on a scale of one to ten--one being you have zero interest, and ten being, you’re complete ready to begin--where actually are we right now? Then say: "I see, and what exactly do you need to see (or for me to say) at this point to get us to number 10?"
POST-SELL THE PROSPECT. Make sure the sale in locked in, and then deliberately give the client a chance to back out. First get a purchase, order, a signed contract, up front cash, etc., then say: "Jack, I just want to make sure that your carrying the equity is not a problem for you…I know that you’d hoped for some cash up front. I bring this up so that tomorrow or the next day you don’t feel that you made a mistake. You wouldn’t change you mind later because of this, would you?"
IMPORTANT…Always know that because of your success, someone else likely experienced a failure…they got beat out of a deal: a house, a commission a brownie point, a chunk of cash…or something they wish they hadn’t lost to you. And because of this, your competitors are always going to be ready to swoop back in with a more refined proposal and a better offer. Without a good Post-Sell system, you could lose, even after the deal seemed etched in stone. Lock it up.
"WIMP JUNCTION": This is the very juncture in our business—especially as it relates to Creating Real Estate—that most people decide to continue in their failure…at the first, second or third evidence of failure. And interestingly, that failure is virtually always the result of misconceptions and unrealistic expectations. Why feel like a failure as, say, a wild animal dealer, when a hot dog vendor, contacted at random, chooses not to buy your marked-down elephant? The why consider it another failure when you are rejected by your next "prospect, a jewelry store owner living in an apartment above his store."

If you were that animal dealer with an extra elephant for sale, wouldn’t it be a good idea to contact only those who have too few elephants, and whom might be distressed by not having at least one more? Wouldn’t it be good to have a list of folks who are motivated to buy elephants, then refine the list to include only those who have enough money to buy, quarter and feed the beast? Of course it would! But how many of us are contacting non-motivated sellers to "trying to talk them into something" rather than contacting only those who need relief from Pain and reminding them that they’ve got some (pain, not elephants)…then qualifying them as to how willing they are to be cured.

In our business, the elephant buyers (motivated sellers) are:

Owners in foreclosures
Owners headed for bankruptcy
Owners involved in marital dissolution
Owners of improperly permitted properties
Owners of vacant/rundown properties
Owners of ugly properties
Owners amid job transfers
Owners who are tired landlords
Owners who are upside-down landlords
Owners who are greedy landlords
Owners selling as ‘For Sale by Owners’
Owners with marginal, no and negative equity properties
Lease optionors
Expired listing
Expiring listings
Moldy Old Listings

Bill Gatten