might find out that the vendor won’t pick
up the phone or answer messages some weeks after
the initial meeting and think the deal has fallen
over when, in fact, in reality – the deal
fell over in the house..! It’s what we say
and do and our actions that can make or break a
deal. So this article is based on the vendor visit
– the ‘Sit’ I like to call it.
First, there’s the Preparation and planning
need to know what the property is worth before we
make the appointment, which sounds obvious but I’ve
seen people call vendors and start talking. We can
almost fall into a negotiation on the phone and
that can lose us the deal – remember, we have
competitors out there. Don’t fall into the
trap of ‘talking numbers’ before you
have all of the information that you need to make
loads of websites out there to suss out the value
and rental reasonably accurately, but there’s
also loads of info you can glean from the Land Registry
(Title Deeds), like who the correct owners are,
any charges, what they paid, when they bought it,
which the lender is. These are vital bits of info
and the Land Registry only charges £4 per
search. It makes sense to pull the title deed.
Making the appointment
Only make the appointment with ALL of the registered
owners. There’s nothing worse than turning
up at an appointment, spending your time with a
supposed owner, only to find out that there’s
a partner/wife/ husband involved that needs to agree
the decision. If they’re not there to hear
your offer – guess what? Your deal will fall
over in a few weeks’ time.
to ‘Sit’ in the house
When we arrive at our appointment and the door opens,
we can usually see a lounge, kitchen, stairs and
maybe a downstairs loo. Many have told me that the
best place to ‘do business’ is in the
kitchen. This isn’t the case as the kitchen
table creates a ‘barrier’ between us
and the vendor. It’s a physical barrier, and
barriers create conflict. In the nineties we spent
a lot of time in the kitchen as it was ‘trendy’
to have a kitchen diner type layout but, the invention
of the huge TV has migrated us back into the living
room as families. We spend more time there now,
kids do their homework there, and we watch more
TV together (because it’s the best TV in the
we head for the most comfortable place in the house
(for the vendor), we are putting our vendor at ease
almost instantly. It’s their ‘turf’
so makes sense to make them feel comfortable.
The thing we want to do is start asking questions
to see where they are, and what their situation
is. Unless we are very skilled we can sound like
Police interrogators (if asked too quickly) or even
worse, like counsellors if asked too softly. So,
where’s the balance?
have said the same introduction before a meeting
for the last 15 years and I don’t suppose
that it will change anytime soon.At this point (Mr
& Mrs Smith) I have no idea if we can do any
business, would you mind if I asked you a few questions
first?” This simple introduction, gains permission
to ask as many questions as I like and spend as
much time that’s needed to gain a ‘picture’
of the vendors situation.
The next stage is the ‘fact find’ this
is the most crucial part of the meeting. The questions
you ask, or rather the answers that you get will
determine exactly what deal you will be able to
offer. The order is crucial too. I’ve written
down around 75 questions that I could ask a vendor.
I don’t have to ask them all, but by writing
them down, I don’t run out of things to say
and stops me jumping into a negotiation too early
– ie. Before I’m ready.
often tell me that it’s essential to ‘build
rapport’ with the vendor – this is true,
but rapport building is a skill that’s learned,
by asking the right questions, in the right order,
during a professional process. It really isn’t
a case of being ‘chatty’ and getting
on with them. Being ‘chatty’ just takes
longer. Learn the professional skills and rapport
is built, by default.
of no doubt, that this stage of your ‘sit’
is the most important, it takes a little practice
and skill but, once it’s mastered can lead
you into the most unexpected deals.
In my model, critical stage is when you
decide if we want to continue the meeting.
If you’ve found everything out and
discovered that you don’t want the
property, what’s the point in continuing
with the meeting? It wastes everyone’s
time. At some point, you need to make the
decision to either ‘cut and run’
(politely of course) or continue. Sometimes,
the deals we walk away from will decide
Okay, you’ve found out everything you need
to know and are ready to make an offer. The way
the offer is presented matters here, no more than
three keys points (we think in three’s). Written
down and presented as a whole solution to the problem/situation/goals
that the vendor has found themselves in. You are
offering a ‘solution’ not a number.
If we offer a number on its own, we can start a
negotiation, and there’s no point. There’s
no such thing as win/win – this was dreamed
up by course sellers and trainers to give us the
impression that everyone wins in negotiation. The
point of negotiation is to ‘protect your position’
and obtain the deal you need.
don’t take the statement above as though we
have to drill down and beat vendors into submission.
That’s not the case, we know the deal we need
to make it work/stack and that’s what we want.
The job is to present it as a solution to the vendor
NOT get into haggling over price. If you present
it as a solution everybody wins, start haggling
and each party compromises then everybody loses!
Test closing is a way of ‘testing the temperature
of the water’ and a test close is usually
presented in the format, “If I could………………
I could match everything that you’ve asked
for, would you sign the paperwork tonight so we
can do the deal for you? If we get a warm reception
and agreement then we can proceed to close up the
the reception is cool (hence testing the temperature)
then we have to go back and ask a few more questions.
There is no pressure on the vendor during a test
close; it’s merely part of the conversation.
There’s lots written about closing deals in
all manner of books, and most are there to sell
books! The simplest and quickest way of closing
a deal is too ask the vendor for a signature, hold
out the paperwork and a pen for them to sign.
don’t go for the soft close, the assumptive,
the alternative close, the minor point close, the
arm up your back close or any other type of trick
that’s been written over the past 50 years.
If we have done the job properly, in the right order,
as a business process – we’ll get it
do, however, subscribe to the point that, once you’ve
asked for the signature – shut up. Do not
speak, no matter how long it takes. This is sometimes
referred to as the ‘silent close’ and
although not a closing technique on its own –
you’ve asked for the business, the vendor/s
will then start a thinking process, which is completely
natural and we will all do it. If we break that
thinking ‘silence’ we lose and the answer
will be ‘I want to think about it’
many have been told that? Many, I would suspect.
It’s the single most difficult objection to
overcome. You’ll no doubt, follow up the next
day, and the next, and the next to see if they have
made a decision. They won’t and you know why..?
The chap that went in the night after you, got the
The next step is to agree, and agree no matter how
silly it sounds. The idea behind agreeing is stop
a negotiation starting which can lead to conflict.
It’s all too easy to start a negotiation,
which, in reality ends up like a market ‘haggle’
and can lead to an argument. Who wins an argument
with a vendor? No one, they don’t get a solution
and we don’t get a deal.
we’ve understood exactly what the objection
is and we’ve agreed, then we can start to
overcome by offering sensible ‘scaffolding’
to our solution or tweeking to meet the needs of
the new objection.
This step is to stop ‘buyer’s remorse’
we all go through it, we like the thrill of the
deal, but after that feeling has ebbed and we start
to think of what we’ve done. Buyer’s
remorse starts to set in and we question our decision.
Ever bought something that you paid just a little
too much for..? Remember the feeling afterwards?
That’s buyer’s remorse. This can lead
to cancellations, the vendor not answering the phone
or replying to messages.
deal eventually falls over some weeks later, but
not when you find out – you now know that
it fell over in the house.
we have to do is go through in ‘baby steps’
what’s going to happen next. The valuer will
be visiting; the solicitors will be in touch. Show
examples of paperwork that they might expect, go
through timeframes to exchange and completion, ask
about move out dates. Anything that is going to
happen and when, in baby steps - this won’t
stop a cancellation but, it will certainly reduce