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.......Article > Treble Your Conversion With Vendors

Mark I'Anson Treble your conversion with vendors

Article kindly provided by Mark I'Anson

The cost of leads is quite high and the conversion rate is quite low – I aim to change that.

We’ve sold property deals for a few years now and the amount of deals that ‘fall over’ is shocking. I couldn’t put my finger on why, everyone had a valid reason, every reason genuine – and then it struck me what the problem was.

We 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 stage

We 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 an appointment.

There’s 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.

Want to know more about 'The essential skills of a Property Trader'?

Dominate Your Ground The Essential Skills of a Property Trader
An excellent grounding in getting leads, converting deals, trading deals and guerilla marketing tactics.

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.

Where 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 house).

If 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.

Introducing the Meeting
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?

I 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.

Want to know more about 'The essential skills of a Property Trader'?

Dominate Your Ground The Essential Skills of a Property Trader
An excellent grounding in getting leads, converting deals, trading deals and guerilla marketing tactics.

Fact Find
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.

People 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.

Be 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.

Critical Stage
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 our success.

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.

Please 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 Close/Pre Close
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……………… would you…………..?”

If 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 deal.

If 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.

I 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 – simples.

I 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 – still essential.

Once 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’

How 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 deal.

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.

Once 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.

The deal eventually falls over some weeks later, but not when you find out – you now know that it fell over in the house.

All 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 them.

Want to know more about 'The essential skills of a Property Trader'?

Dominate Your Ground The Essential Skills of a Property Trader
An excellent grounding in getting leads, converting deals, trading deals and guerilla marketing tactics.



Left to Right - Mark I'Anson, Rachel Clarke, Andy Phillips. Photo taken at the PIN Xmas Dinner

About the Author

Mark I'Anson Property offers an end-to-end solution for clients like you who want to build a portfolio of residential properties locally and internationally. Starting with a one-to-one investment appraisal, we identify your needs and objectives, your attitude to risk, career plans, commitments, hopes for retirement and so forth. We then use this knowledge to explore all the options available and make a considered recommendation on the best choice for you.



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