In the exciting business of Real Estate Investing there is one Action Step that can make you more money in 15 minutes than most people make in a month. We addressed that all-important step, the Closing Call, in our last article. Now let’s get even more specific and break down this biggest money-making step into its critical component steps.
Recall the 4 Basic Deal Steps –
- Opening Call
- Closing Call
- Deal Meeting
You need Leads to make Closing Calls, so it all starts with Marketing to find Sellers. You might be using Ron’s Virtual Assistants to call FSBO Leads, that is certainly one productive Marketing Method. Others include the Internet (Zillow, Craigslist, etc.), Facebook, Business Cards, Signs, Letters, Referrals, and more. After the Opening Call is completed and the basic information is gathered, you can begin The Steps of the Closing Call.
STEP 1: Get the Seller on the Phone
You can’t come to a “meeting of the minds” until you get the minds to meeting! This happens when you take the completed lead sheet from the Opening Call and make your Closing Call.
So much in this business starts with your Schedule. Since Closing Calls are the highest and best use of your time, your schedule should revolve around the best calling times. These are usually from around 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm on weekdays, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturdays, and noon to 4:00 pm on Sundays. It’s a good idea to schedule one weekday when you can call during daytime hours, especially if you’re having a challenge reaching certain Sellers.
Nowadays you’re almost always calling Sellers on their cell phones, which means you may be reaching them in the middle of something. That’s why it’s always important to ask, “Do you have a couple minutes to talk right now?”
The other key factor is that you must talk to the Decision Maker. The husband or wife will usually steer you in the right direction, but what you should request is BOTH spouses on the phone. That way the deal doesn’t evaporate when one spouse tries (with great futility) to explain the deal to the other.
STEP 2: Build Rapport
First impressions make or break deals. When you build rapport, everything goes so much smoother, and it’s so much easier to get all the necessary information. Building Rapport builds trust, because people trust people they like. It helps the Seller relax, abandon any adversarial stance, and be more flexible when it comes to the terms. A nice side benefit is that getting to know people, their stories, and helping them with their home is very rewarding. It can even be fun, and your Sellers are almost always very happy and appreciative.
A true key to building Rapport is sharing with the Seller your 3-Line Biography (your “REI Bio”, everybody needs one). The goals of telling your brief story are to show stability, credibility, real estate credibility, and friendliness.
The timing of when you bring up your Bio is important. The Closing Call begins with the questions: 1) Is the house still for sale? 2) Do you have a couple minutes to talk right now? 3) What can you tell me about the house? 4) Any other Rapport-building questions about the following topics.
- Their House
- Overall Area or State
- Local Sports Teams
- Time of Week
After these questions you work in, “Great, now just so you know a little bit about us…” A sample 3-line Bio would be, “…I grew up in this area, I work not too far from the house over at ___. We buy and sell houses all around this area. We really enjoy working with Sellers and helping Buyers with homes here.”
It’s good if you have some real estate credibility, if not you can always figure out when you bought your first house and say “I’ve been involved in Real Estate for 20 years.” You’re usually okay just saying, “We buy and sell houses all around this area.” Finish with a line that makes you seem nice and neighborly, for instance how you really like working with home sellers and buyers in this area.
This next credibility line can sometimes work well, and sometimes it raises more questions than it answers: “I’m with a group that has been doing deals like this all across the country for over 30 years.” You’re in with Ron LeGrand and us, so that is true!
It’s very important to take the time to build Rapport on good leads, with any Seller who has said “Yes” to possibly giving you some time to pay them off in full. A key component of that is using your REI Bio, and if you don’t you’ll soon face the question, “So who are you now?” Answer that question before the Seller asks for it, and that almost always relaxes both parties.
STEP 3: Verify Information
The Internet has changed the Real Estate Investing world. There is so much more information on houses available now than when we started in the early 2000’s. So before you go asking the Seller a lot of questions, just click a couple links. The main place you’ll go is Zillow, what we call “the MLS for everyone”. Sometimes we think of the Real Estate World as B.Z. and A.Z. – Before Zillow and After Zillow. It’s definitely a Zillow World out there now, mostly for the good. Now it only takes a few seconds to gather so much of the info you need, so you need to get good on Zillow.
The basic information is square footage, bedroom and bathroom count, Days On Market (DOM), lot size, house condition, listing status, previous sales, and a map view of the house’s placement in the neighborhood. Now you can gather all this information in literally under a minute, just enter the address on Zillow.com.
If the house is not listed on Zillow then you can refer to your county assessor’s website, RealEstateABC.com, or just ask the Seller. Information you should verbally verify with the Seller is the condition of the house, when they want to move, and why they’re moving. These can all be major indicators of how motivated the Seller is, which often tells you how aggressive you can be when negotiating.
STEP 4: Close the Deal
Creative Financing (Pretty House) deals are not the “traditional” way of selling, so asking the Seller to give you time and working out the numbers requires explaining. It’s very important that you explain things properly using the right words, without over-explaining. Just stick to our scripts, or you may find yourself giving a seminar and opening multiple cans of worms!
This Step is where you Negotiate the 4 Pretty House Deal Points:
- Purchase Price – can usually afford retail price and still make nice profit
- Monthly Payment – cover the existing payment, or negotiate new one
- Length of Term – as long as possible, more time = more money
- Down Payment, or Option Deposit (Lease Purchase Deals) – little or nothing
As you’re working out these 4 Pretty House Deal Points you will sometimes need to answer Questions and Objections. You may want to walk them through the process, especially if they’re big “thinker brains”. It may also be helpful to leave them with your website address.
STEP 5: Set the Appointment
Schedule for the soonest possible time, even later that day. This helps transmit to the Seller a sense of urgency. As we like to say in real estate, time is of the essence!
STEP 6: Sign Off (and Sign On) with Enthusiasm
On every Closing Call you want to show plenty of enthusiasm for the deal. A good line is “This is going to work out great for you, good for us, this is going to work out great.” That’s our favorite word, “Great!”
Resist the temptation to go over the deal numbers again, just remember them for the agreement. You may want to take a few seconds to set the Seller’s expectations, and as you sign off with enthusiasm definitely offer them Congratulations!
So those are the critical 6 Steps for the all-important Closing Call. Get good at these Steps, then your conversion rate will skyrocket, you’ll be closing big deals and cashing huge paychecks!