First call from motivated seller... - Posted by Lette

Posted by John Behle on December 08, 1998 at 20:34:45:

A “Blind ad” is where an agent does not identify that he/she is an agent. They must identify the brokerage if it is a listed property or one the agent is representing.

Their ads are also checked as far as Reg Z or Truth in Lending provisions. They state that if you mention a payment in an ad that you must also include details such as the APR and other terms. This is another reason the state checks ads.

Your ad doesn’t fall into these categories if you are not licensed.

First call from motivated seller… - Posted by Lette

Posted by Lette on December 03, 1998 at 19:43:54:

…or so I thought. I placed an ad in the paper last week that I purchase houses. A woman calls me up to tell me that she’s selling her house. I asked basic questions like, where was it located and how quickly did she want to close. But the conversation sort of switched around to where she was the one doing the interrogating. She wanted to know exactly what my ad was about. Was I a broker and such, and I explained that I was not. Thne she wanted to know what I was all about. I tried my best to sound professional. I explained that I and my partners (which I don’t have yet) assist people in selling their homes. (I now realize that I should’ve just said that we will flat out buy your house. Period) She then wanted to know how I got my commission. I almost felt like I was defending my position. I explained that the commission never came from our sellers, but from the new buyers when we obtained them. (I think she was catching on that I was new at this). As a matter of fact, she asked me twice how I would get my commission. Finally, she ended the conversation by saying that she will speak to her husband and let him know that she had called me. She’ll get back in touch with me if he’s interested in using my service.

Even though I think I know some of the things that I did wrong here, I would still appreciate some input from the pros. What did I do wrong? Don’t be afraid to tell me I sounded like a total newbie. I was kind of nervous after all. But there is a good part. Believe it or not, I’ve learned from this. I know now what I should not say to the next caller. If they ask me what I do, I’ll say we buy houses. And I will attempt to keep the conversation going in the direction where I am the one asking all the questions. But I’m not sure what I should say if they ask me how I get my commission. Frankly I don’t think it’s any of their business.

Thank you in advance for any input. I guess I’ve officially entered the school of hard knocks.

Don’t beat yourself up - Posted by Irwin

Posted by Irwin on December 04, 1998 at 20:53:46:

Yeah, that was a reeeeely horrible conversation. But, everyone has that happen. It’s called stumble fumble and mumble. Your problem wsa that you didn’t have any game plan in mind and therefore didn’t know how to steer the conversation.
You want to be responsive to the seller’s needs, so you have to know what those needs are. When some one calls me with a house for sale, the first statement out of my mouth will almost always be: “What’s YOUR situation?” Bought another home? Got Transferred? Divorced? Settling an estate? Can’t make the mortgage payments? This sets the tone and the direction for the rest of the conversation, which leads into how you can help them accomplish what they need, and make money doing it.

When I approach someone who I know is being foreclosed on, my opening is a little different. Since I already know their basic situation, I usually start out by asking how they plan to deal with the foreclosure. That is, do they want to try to save it? Sell it? Walk away or what. Again, drawing out their situation in detail usually leads you to the area where you can make proposals along the lines you want to go.

This business of talking to people isn’t easy, even for those of us who’ve been doing it for years and years. There are always situations which make one feel like an awkward neophyte. But I’ve always found that I’m most comfortable, persuasive and successful in accomplishing my goals when I’m very above board, open and honest with the people.

Responding To An Ad Call… - Posted by JPiper

Posted by JPiper on December 04, 1998 at 12:17:39:

Let?s assume that you have run an ad geared toward generating calls from sellers.

The first question is ?How is the call answered?? I don?t know about you, but I don?t have time to sit around waiting for my phone to ring, so my phone is answered by voicemail. The caller is required to leave a message if he wants to tall to me. To me this accomplishes two things. First, it will help to determine motivation level. If they are motivated they will leave a name and number. Now some people may call and not leave a message. And that?s OK with me. I figure that the people who don?t leave messages have their reasons. One might be they are not motivated. Another might be that they were tire kickers. They may also have a penchant for secrecy, so that even if I managed to get their number, when I try to call the SECOND time, they may well screen the call. So again, I don?t worry about the people who call and don?t leave a message. The second thing that answering by voicemail does is that you now have a name and number that you can call on your own terms, at your own time. What I mostly don?t do is to answer my phone. Why?? When you answer your phone the caller controls the conversation at the outset. You?re unbalanced because you don?t know what the caller is calling about. When you get good at handling the telephone this is easy to handle, but for beginners it?s much easier to collect calls on a voicemail.

Now you have a name and number of someone who called an ad designed to produce sellers. You?re ready to call back. What do you say?? I would start something like this. ? Mr. Smith, my name is Jim Piper. You called on an ad in the Metropolitan newspaper that said ?I Buy Houses?. How can I help you??

What does this do? It throws the ball to the seller. He?s now required to give you an answer to an open-ended question. In other words, he can?t answer by saying ?Yes? or ?No?. He?s required to talk. You?re now established firmly in control of the conversation. The next thing you do is shut up and listen! Allow the seller to take the conversation where he wants to go. Don?t interrupt!

Just because the seller is now talking doesn?t mean you don?t have an agenda. You do. Here?s your agenda. You want to determine if the seller has a property for sale. If he does, you want to determine the details of the property such as location, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, garages, basement, and overall condition. You want to determine the details about the existing financing on the property. What type of loan is it, what is the loan amount, what is the interest rate, when was the loan originated, what are the monthly payments, is the loan current, etc.? You want to determine the seller?s perception of the value of the property, how quickly he needs to sell. You want to determine the motivation level of the seller. This is your agenda. Until you know the answer to these questions and others you can?t know whether there is a deal, or have any clue as to how to do the deal.

The above agenda should be firmly in your mind as the phone conversation begins. If you can?t remember it, have your questions written down on a piece of paper next to your phone. Your goal is to get the answer to all of these questions BEFORE you make a decision to get up out of your chair to go look at the property. If you run into a problem and forget what you want to ask??DON?T PANIC. Simply tell the seller you have another call coming in, and place the seller on hold. Now you sit quietly at your desk and review your notes. When you?re ready get back on the line with the seller, apologize, tell him your phone has been ringing off the hook today, and ask your next question. Matter of fact, this will help to strengthen your stance. Everyone likes to do business with someone who is busy. You might try putting people on hold for that reason alone.

Here?s where the call gets more complicated. The seller is talking but he may not be talking about what you want to know, or in the order that you want the information. That?s OK too. Take notes on what the seller is saying. Periodically summarize. Then ask your next question. ?Mr Smith, so you have a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home and the roof leaks. How old is the furnace?? Your questions are a track to run on, a place to come back to when the seller strays. ?Mr. Smith, coming back to the financing for a second, does that monthly payment include taxes and insurance??

During the phone call the seller may ask you questions. It?s OK to answer a question, as long as you reestablish control following the question. Example: ?Do you charge a commission?? ?No, Mr. Smith, I don?t. I?m not a real estate broker. I simply buy houses as investments. (Pause) How did you determine that particular value for your property?? Example: ?What would you pay me for my house?? ?Mr. Smith, it would be impossible for me to know that right now before I know your situation completely and before I have seen the property. What were you wanting for the house??

Remember the 5 W?s?? Who, what, where, when, and why?? Add to these the word ?How? and write them down by your other questions. These are powerful words. These are probing words that enable you to find out more information about the seller?s comments. Use these frequently. ?Why do you need to sell so quickly Mr. Smith?? ?Where will you be moving if you sell you house, Mr. Smith?. ?Why do you say that Mr. Smith?? ?How did that happen Mr. Smith?? Notice that these words force open-ended answers?.in other words the seller can?t answer with a simple ?yes? or ?no?. Open-ended answers ALWAYS produce more information than the answer to a close-ended question.

You job is to ask all the questions necessary to get a complete picture of the property, together with financial information regarding the property, and a psychological picture of where the seller is at. Keep asking questions until you have this complete picture. Then, and only then, will you know whether the pre-conditions for a deal exist.

Depending on the answers, you may wish to make an appointment to see the property. Or you may wish to handle it differently. ?OK, Mr. Smith, here?s where we go from here. I?ll need to do a little homework on my end to figure out if your property meets my criteria. If it does, I?ll need to see the property. When would be a good time to call you back?? This buys you some time to evaluate whether it is in your interest to go look at the property. But don?t take too much time with this process, because if the seller is motivated he will sell the property quickly.

The perfect phone call is one where the seller is talking, and you?re listening. The perfect phone call is one where your questions are giving you information, and the questions are leading the conversation to it?s conclusion. The conclusion of the perfect phone call is either setting an appointment to view the property, or informing the seller that you have no interest in the property. The purpose of the perfect phone call is not to make a verbal offer. Last time I looked an offer can?t be signed over the telephone. The perfect phone call elicits information which enables you to determine whether you want to pursue the deal.


Bad, bad, bad… - Posted by Eduardo (OR)

Posted by Eduardo (OR) on December 04, 1998 at 11:41:13:


Two important things: 1. I assume you do not have a real estate license. Dictionary definition of the word “commission” in this context: “The allowance made to a factor or agent for transacting business for another.” If you accept a “commission” from anyone (buyer or seller), you are going to be accused of “engaging in professional real estate activity without a license.” You will be investigated by your state department of real estate. If they can prove you have accepted a commission, you will be fined. They will then keep an eye on you and all your subsequent real estate activities. The real estate professionals are usually informed about those who engage in illegal activities. This will be bad for your reputation and will hurt your attempts to work with investors. Do not accept any pay, property or anything that can be construed as a “commission” unless you have a license. 2. Stating you work with “partners” to “assist people in selling their homes,” you admit is untrue. Why the need to tell people you work with partners unless you have some? Worse, “assisting” people in selling their homes sounds, again, like you are in the “commission” business. Basically, investors either buy “keepers” or flip property. You state in your first line that you buy houses, but then you say you basically told this caller you work on a commission basis assisting people, but you are not a broker. I can’t imagine anything worse to say for the following reason: This call sounds to me like it was a setup. Someone is out there attempting to gather information on your activities. Probably a real estate licensee. Sorry for the long post, but I think you may have trouble ahead. Good luck. --Eduardo

Soapymac’s Guaranteed Sales Tip… - Posted by Soapymac

Posted by Soapymac on December 04, 1998 at 09:12:49:

proven by your first phone call.

As one who has earned his living in sales prior to becoming involved in RE, it amazes me that the GOOD techniques I learned from one endeavor applied to another.

You witnessed yourself going on the defensive because she was asking all the questions. She was in control.


The person who asks the questions is the person CONTROLLING the sale process. So…if you found yourself in that situation again, how would you regain control?

I was stumped by that myself until an Amway distributor taught this to me:

“If you answer a question with a question, you will NEVER get a question back.”

Let me take a few of the questions she asked you and show you how to answer them as a demonstration:

Question:"What is your ad about? Are you a broker?"
Answer: “Why do you ask? Are you looking for a broker?”

Question:"What is your ad about?"
Answer:“I’m an investor looking to purchase homes. Are you interested in selling yours?”

Question:"How do you get your commission?"
Answer:“I’m an investor and I have to make a profit if I’m going to buy your house. If I can get you what you need, you don’t have a problem if I make a few bucks for myself, do you?” (Thanks Baze–great question!)

Homework assignment — should you choose to accept it: In your daily time awake, practice answering any question asked of you by replying with a question. It takes a little time until you are comfortable doing this, but here is Soapymac’s Guarantee:

“If you answer a question with a question, you will not get a question in return. You will also gain control of the conversation!”

Added assignment for more experienced people: Get a friend who wants to learn the technique. Ask a question and see if s/he gives you a question BACK. If s/he does, answer WITH ANOTHER QUESTION! Bounce the questions back and forth as long as you can. It really gets to be fun after awhile.

Re: First call from motivated seller… - Posted by William

Posted by William on December 04, 1998 at 02:34:03:

Don’t feel bad I think you were too friendly. Just remember that YOU are doing them a favor. Don’t try to impress them that’s a big mistake. I’ve been in business for a while now I own a carpet cleaning service, computer store now I’m going into real estate.
I just want to show you I know what I’m talking about.
If she was interested you two would’ve been talking business from the get instead of answering her questions.
A piece a friendly advice. Don’t feel bad you did more than your part. Also don’t waste your time with “prospects” like that concentrate on real prospects you’ll know who they are when they call. any more questions feel free to e-mail me. just remove the nospam. good luck


Motivated? - Posted by John Katitus

Posted by John Katitus on December 04, 1998 at 01:25:17:

Not enough, I don’t think. Motivated sellers don’t care first, second, or even third how or how much money you are going to make. ALL they care about is THEIR PROBLEM. And that’s all they want to talk about.

It sounds more like this was your first phone call. Nervous is normal. Answering machines are good, but a lot of people won’t leave messages and you will lose prospects.

Expect calls from ALL kinds of people. Most are great, but a few are jerks. Some think you owe them something because they dialed your phone number. You don’t.

Finally, don’t feel bad about this, but you don’t want to be saying you assist people selling their homes and that commission word. One of the fears in this business is that some Gestapo Department of Real Estate will hassle you about needing a real estate license. I have already been “investigated.” As long as you don’t actually do that stuff they can’t do anything, but don’t even mention it since it doesn’t apply. I’m with the Baze - admit you have to buy it below market value and with good terms so you can turn it over and make a profit. Otherwise, you can’t buy it.

Wait and see - when that MOTIVATED seller calls - you’ll know.

Keep on pluggin’ - Posted by hk CA

Posted by hk CA on December 03, 1998 at 22:59:06:

The word “commission” shouldn’t even come up. You don’t get a commission. You make a profit. By inferring that you may make a commission, you are painting a picture that you are a sales person. Many people avoid sales people like the plague and are immediately suspicious of them, waiting for the sales pitch to begin. By letting them assume you are a sales person, you are also indicating that you are not the one in control; instead you are “just the middleman (middleperson?).” Not the decision-maker on your side of the negotiation.

Being unsure of yourself at this point is natural. I think we have all gone through that stage. Learn from every conversation you have with the sellers and soon you’ll start to feel more confident. Good luck.

Re: First call from motivated seller… - Posted by Rob FL

Posted by Rob FL on December 03, 1998 at 20:57:24:

Welcome to the school of hard knocks. I have been attending there for years and am finally figuring out how to beat it.

Read Jpipers Money Making Idea on “Calling the Ads”.

I have an answering machine and never answer the phone except when I am expecting a call. I force everyone to leave a message. I will pick up after listening to who is calling. But this gives me control. It allows me to call people back on my time. That way I can plan a little what I am going to say.

Best wishes.

"Lette, you understand . . . - Posted by The Baze

Posted by The Baze on December 03, 1998 at 20:01:27:

. . . that I’m an investor, and I have to make a profit if I’m going to buy your house. If I can get you what you need (not want)you don’t have a problem if I make a few bucks for myself?" are usually the first words I say to the seller after the friendly intoductions. Of course, they knew that already, but now it’s in the open, and we’re all a little more relaxed with each other. That allows me to take control of the conversation, because if I’m not in control, I can’t determine whether or not I can be of assistance. Hope this helps some.

Tom Bazley

The art of Distraction - Posted by John Behle

Posted by John Behle on December 07, 1998 at 12:26:37:

When you are in control of the conversation, you don’t need to answer their questions and can even direct them away from areas - pre-empting questions.

For about 7 years I went to my local health spa without showing my membership card - just for the fun of it. I had a card and a valid membership. I just liked to see how many ways I could play with the brains of the people at the front desk.

Avoiding eye contact and signing in worked alot. Direct eye contract and a question was the funnest. “How busy are the racquetball courts?”, “When’s the next aerobics class?”, “Is Big Jim here today?”, etc.

When I was a teenager - and didn’t have quite the same scruples I have today - I skied for a full year off of a single ski pass.

The date on the pass was only on one side. I fastened it on my pants with the date turned inward. It didn’t turn around too easily and was in an awkward position in the front - too awkward for the female lift operators to reach down and check the date. They always waved me on.

Re: Don’t beat yourself up - Posted by johnman

Posted by johnman on December 04, 1998 at 21:43:44:

Very positive comment. Good tips.

Re: Responding To An Ad Call… - Posted by Cesar

Posted by Cesar on December 07, 1998 at 21:32:59:

Very good reply by Jpiper. The only thing that I will add is the oldest trick in the book which I learned early in my sales career. This one will work anytime, anyplace, and for anything, including children’s never ending questions:



Q: Are you a broker?
A: Do you not like working with brokers?

Q: Do you charge a commission?
A: I am an investor.(no pause) Let me ask you, why are you selling your home?

You get the idea. Don’t let them lead you, but you must lead them by QUESTIONS. Good Luck.

Re: Responding To An Ad Call… - Posted by David(Ca)

Posted by David(Ca) on December 06, 1998 at 10:35:32:


Your response is execellant, as usual.

I’m curious, if after you have done your homework and determine that you don’t want to do the deal, do you call them back to tell them you are not interested, or do you simply never call them again?


Re: Bad, bad, bad… - Posted by johnman

Posted by johnman on December 04, 1998 at 17:03:41:

Granted there are people that check-up on others that engage in collecting a commission without a license but what are the chances of that happening? What percentage? It’s OK to be cautious but don’t be paranoid. This will create negativity. Not good!!

Go forward, watch your step and be positive.


Re: Endless Looping - Posted by MichaelR (NoVA)

Posted by MichaelR (NoVA) on December 04, 1998 at 13:12:14:


>If you answer a question with a question, you will >NEVER get a question back."

It would make for interesting entertainment to see TWO Amway distributors try this out on each other. For with them, a question would always be answered with another question - and no one would ever get an answer.

Come to think of it, Clinton seems to have nailed this technique as well.

Michael who is removing his tongue from his cheek.

Re: Soapymac’s Guaranteed Sales Tip… - Posted by Mel

Posted by Mel on December 04, 1998 at 10:33:08:

Soapy, great post.

I have been through the network marketing (mlm) process

myself and while I did not get rich, I did learn a TON

about people and how to deal with them. If you know anybody who sells anything this way - it does not matter what the product is - Amway, vitamins -anything,

ask to borrow their training materials. There is a wealth of information in these books on the subject of

people and their feelings and how to use it to your advantage. It has helped me many times in talking to sellers.

Good luck,


Re: Soapymac’s Guaranteed Sales Tip… - Posted by timmy

Posted by timmy on December 04, 1998 at 10:00:55:

What happens if you have a house for sale. How to keep control of the conversation then???


Re: First call from motivated seller… - Posted by Johnman

Posted by Johnman on December 04, 1998 at 20:11:36:

That was a friendly advice. Truthful and positive.