To be successful at real estate investing, there are two skills that you must develop: Negotiating and Marketing. And to truly develop and master these skills, it's going to take study, practice, application, testing, retesting, and knowing the difference between what's working and what's not.
It should be your number one goal to become both a negotiating and marketing master! By doing so, you position yourself to turn your real estate investing business into a cash cow.
Fast Track to Real Estate Negotiating Mastery
Here's a hand full of books to get you started. Selling 101 by Zig Ziglar, You Can't Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar by David Sandler, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger, and Instant Rapport by Michael Brooks. You can also check out my book, The Advantage of Real Estate.
For more advanced training, check out The Sandler Sales Institute. I've studied negotiating and sales extensively over the past 6 years, and Sandler has a system like no other I've studied. Very powerful information but only for the serious student.
3 Quick Negotiating Tips to Keep Top of Mind
1. Explore the Prospect's Decision Making Process
This is done by asking a couple simple questions. Ask, "How do you usually make decisions like this?" and "Is there anyone else involved in making the decision?"
Before you are meeting with a seller, make sure to find out who is involved in the decision making process. You want all the decision makers present when you meet. Otherwise, you lose any control you had. Second hand information will be given to the other party and the answer will most likely be no or you won't ever hear from them again.
2. Build Massive Rapport
Effective negotiating is effective communication. Communication is comprised of your words, tonality, and physiology and determines your level of rapport with someone.
A great question to ask is, "What contributes the most to communication . . . words, tonality, or physiology?
Surprisingly enough, physiology is 55%, tonality 38%, and words 7%. How about that? The actual words you use only comprise 7% of what's communicated.
That brings us to mirroring and matching. This is done by using similar body movements, expressions, gestures (physiology), rate of speech, pitch of their voice (tonality), and words and phrases (words). When I am speaking to a fast talker, I'm going to talk a little faster. If they make a lot of hand gestures, I will too. People like people who are like themselves. and you become more like someone when you consciously utilize mirroring and matching.
Building massive rapport is the essence of effective communication. Become excellent at this one skill and you will be on your way to negotiating mastery.
3. Shut the Heck Up
If you are doing the majority of the talking when negotiating, you're leaving a ton of money on the table. I would go so far as to say that you should be talking less than 25% of the time. Why you might ask???
People mistakenly think that negotiating is all about the product or service being offered. It's NOT! It's about the seller, or buyer, or investor's true goals and needs. I see myself as a professional problem solver when meeting with buyers, sellers, and investors. It is my job to find out if the person is motivated to make a decision, what their true needs and goals are, and if the service that I have to offer would work for them. To get the needed answers, I have to ask good questions, shut up, and listen.
It is especially important to shut up when you ask a question like, "Is that the best you can do?" Oh . . . the dreaded uncomfortable silence. Fight the urge to say anything! Fight it with everything you've got. Your bottom line will thank me later.
Fast Track to Real Estate Marketing Mastery
Check out these resources. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, Purple Cow by Seth Godin, and The Ultimate Sales Letter, The Ultimate Marketing Plan, and any other book by Dan Kennedy. Also, check out Seth Godin's blog.
As far as real estate investing marketing courses, Kathy Kennedbrook has a direct mail course that we've used with success over the years and Peter Conti and David Finkel have some great material. When we were mailing to foreclosure leads, we used their three step marketing letter.
3 Quick Marketing Tips to Keep Top of Mind
1. Test, Test, Test, and Keep Testing
Honing your marketing is a never ending process in business. You can only truly become a marketing master if you become an expert at tracking your marketing efforts and testing what's working best. You would be surprised the difference that one word can make in a headline, if you use testimonials in your ad copy, what contact information you provide, etc. Run two ads at the same time and see which one does best. Tweak the one that didn't do as well and run the ads again.
Remember, just because a specific marketing strategy has worked well in the past, doesn't mean it will work well in the future. As time passes, you must continually analyze and tweak your marketing plan.
2. Focus on Quality Not Quantity
Which is better . . . a marketing strategy that brings in 50 calls a month or one that brings in 10?
That question cannot be answered until it's looked into further. If you have two great deals from the strategy that produced 10 calls and no deals from the 50, I think it becomes pretty obvious.
You want to determine your cost per deal for each marketing strategy. That will tell you what you want and need to build a successful marketing plan.
3. Consistently Market for Both Sides of the Business
Often times, an investor will put all of their marketing dollars into the buying side of the business. Eventually, they get a deal and transition their marketing from the buy side of the business to the sell side of the business. They stop marketing to motivated sellers and start marketing towards tenants or buyers.
This stop and go approach is not the most effective way to go about this. You should be continually marketing for both sides of the business. One of my real estate investing mentors taught me this early in my career. By having a consistent marketing plan for both the buy and sell side of the business, you position yourself to succeed.
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