Friday, August 22, 2008

Pitching "all" the "Don't Wanters"

My first attempts at getting sellers to accept my offers were painful, embarrassing efforts. I had a poor pitching arm at the beginning.

I had almost no idea how to present an offer in an elegant, efficient and effective manner. What's worse I failed to understand why it's important to have all of the decision makers present while the offer was being presented, discussed and negotiated.

Few things give a negotiator more of a sinking feeling then to make a smooth presentation, work through tough negotiations, get agreement from all parties, ask them to sign --- only to be told that "Uncle Henry has to review your offer before we sign." "Uh, huh. 'Uncle Henry', you say?"

After a few minutes plummeting into a verbal debate over whether Uncle Henry really has any real authority, blah, blah, blah, I walk out the door with only a polite verbal promise under my arm that, "After Uncle Henry let's us know, we'll let you know --- for sure!"

"Yeah right.", I say to myself, adding, "Next!"

Today I refuse to make a presentation to the sellers until "all the decision makers are present during the presentation".

I get objections anyway that include: "My wife doesn't need to be present, because I make all these types of decisions anyway so just give it to me." [Yeah, sure Bud, whatever. I'll bet she chooses your clothes, too!"] Or, "My husband's out of town on business, so I just relay the offer to him over the phone. [Nah, you've never heard of the word amortization before tonight. I can't imagine how you'll explain "intestate" to him.] Or "I'm the only one on title, so my wife/husband doesn't need to be there". [Really and you've making making all the family decisions for how many days?"]

These are just disqualifying objections as far as I'm concerned. If the seller won't cooperate, then I just move on. I only want to negotiate with desperate anxious sellers that will follow my lead, because they don't know about any viable alternatives. Not ones that believe they have other options and want to weigh ALL of them at my expense.

Of the very most important things that I needed to know about making "hard sell" offers [low-ball offers, sub2, etc.] was that ALL of the decision makers had to be present; husband, wife, and Uncle Henry, or I would wait --- or walk.
Without all the decision makers present, the trail that led the negotiations to a closing disappears, and the absent parties can never clearly translate how those negotiations progressed, or how each conclusion was reached, or "why" all the targeted elements of the transaction were satisfactory.

All Uncle Henry hears is that somehow the investor is equity-stripping his nephew and wife, because Uncle Henry didn't get to help "work for the deal" and wasn't led through the "assumed close" --- and didn't hear that the nephew had tried to sell the property through an agent three times in a row, and finally wasn't educated by the "yellow pad" analysis that his relatives were now upside down on the deal in the first place with all the repairs, real estate fees, and closing costs included. So Uncle Henry's operating with blinders on, and meanwhile offering uninformed feedback on the quality of the transaction.

Here's a incomplete list of reasons why all the decision makers must be present for the presentation/negotiations:

  • There is no "higher authority" the seller can appeal to. Seller's will say they need to consult someone else, when in fact, they want to shop our offers by going back to Mr. Investor #4 and see if he'll pay more than us.
  • We have about 40 minutes to make our presentation, analyze the numbers and look over the house and get the offer approved. If we leave without an accepted offer, we leave without a deal, and the likelihood of ever getting a deal signed is nil --- all because the seller was given the opportunity to consult the phantom higher authority, but in actuality was shopping our offer.
  • We need the decision makers to fish or cut bait, because we can't be strung along with too many pending offers at the same time. We make offers on what we can do today, not what we might be able to do a week from today. Things change. Money gets spent. Opportunities rarely present themselves twice. So we need to know now.
  • If the seller's insist on the need to think, I offer to go outside on the (back) porch, until they've reached a decision. Of course they want me to leave them alone, but I don't. Meanwhile, I don't go to the front porch, as they may decide never to open the door! j/k! Somehow sellers get a tad "itchy and scratchy" when some guy's out sitting on a lawn chair in their back yard waiting for an answer. This hurries things along in our favor --- either by disqualifying the seller, or seeing them cave to our terms.
  • If the sellers insist on thinking about my offer overnight, and I know there's no other offers, I might allow this with the caveat that the offer expires at "x" o'clock that evening. And put doubt in their minds about whether I can extend my offer at the current price and terms --- since things change daily in my business.
  • I don't want my offers shopped
So correctly "pitching don't wanters" includes making sure you pitch all of them at the same time. Otherwise, it's like pitching with a missing arm! :)


vishnu said...

this is very useful information.i am sure this will be of great use to me.
i am a 19 year old indian who has just started this stuff

Jay said...

Hi Vishnu,

I'm glad you found this information useful!

19! You're gonna be a rich young man! :)