Here's My Script for Seller Calls
Heeeeeeeey guys, it's time for another exciting episode of “Swipe and Deploy our stuff!” Lol.
So based on the kudos aplenty, I clearly struck a chord in recently sharing one of my favorite, top performing postcards for motivated sellers. That's awesome, I love it.
Today I want to go a step further and let you take a gander at our exact script for calling back motivated sellers from our postcard campaigns.
Here's the deal:
No matter what flavor investor you are or what type of deal happens to be your proverbial cup of tea, that first call with the seller is absolutely mission critical—a crucial hinge point really for your whole deal.
It also happens to be one of the most nerve-racking and precarious nuts to crack for many people. I've seen it literally hundreds of times now, these seller calls can be murder for some people—and I get it.
Seriously. Been there, done that… Yes, nearly a third of my life ago now, but I still remember all too well skittishly calling sellers back, feeling uncertain of what to say, which questions to ask or how to ask them, or even how to just not make it weird.
Well today I aim to wipe the weirdness away by handing you an awesome, time-tested, proven script for handling seller calls—one that I've carefully crafted and honed to be simple, straightforward, and superdy duperdy easy to use.
And yes, I want you to ‘swipe & deploy' it in your own real estate endeavors. There are only two strings attached:
String 1: Watch my video here, and I'll walk you gingerly through it step-by-step. This'll help you really get your head around it.
String 2: Leave a friendly comment below sharing your own thoughts.
Yep, that's really it.
Check it out…
So, every investor who's actively buying property knows that one of the most decidedly critical hinge points of any real estate deal is that very first conversation with a motivated seller.
I mean it’s that first pivotal moment when you got to not only gather all the information on the property and the seller situation and their story, but you've got to make a connection. You've got to build rapport, maybe pre-frame and pre-negotiate a little in your favor.
So, if you've ever felt uncertain or maybe a little flustered or borderline scared of these encounters, these seller calls and how to have the conversation effectively and concisely and without sounding like a freaking idiot, rest assured you are not alone.
But what if I could wipe away all those insecurities for you by handing you an awesome, time-tested, proven script for handling seller calls? One that's not only simple and straightforward, but easy to follow and use, and that you can straight up swipe and deploy and your own real estate investing endeavors?
Let's talk about that.
Hey guys, JP here today. I want to share with you a script that we use in our own real estate investing business—our wholesaling business, to be specific. And as you can see here, we use it for sellers who call back from our postcards. Actually, it's when we call sellers back who have called from our postcards and I'll explain that in a minute.
First and foremost though, you can actually download the script you see here on the page here. So, there's a link somewhere—just download it, swipe and deploy, and use it to your heart's content. What I want to do in this video is give you kind of the backstory of why this script exists. I want to walk you through it and explain what I think are some of the critical important pieces that you need to keep in mind.
So everything on the script is there for a reason, and that reason may not be super obvious. So you just want to walk through and make sure you understand the psychology behind some of it and the importance of some of the pieces.
Let me give you the backstory:
I've been in the real estate game for 15 years now as of the time I'm making this video. And it's easy for me to forget how challenging some things were way back in the day when I first got started.
Like talking to sellers, for example. At this point it is very natural and easy and comfortable for me (and it has been for many years) to have a conversation with the seller in which I gather all the information that I want to gather, and simultaneously kind of pre-negotiate, find out the story and find out their core motivation.
When I brought my friend James into the business to handle our acquisitions, I thought, “He's going to knock this out of the ballpark! He's great with people. He's had a sales background. People like him…”
But he struggled. And I was surprised by how much he struggled having the conversations in an effective manner.
I realized, “You know what? Darn it, this guy just needs a script. At some point it'll become natural and normal and he won't need the script perhaps. But for now he needs a script.”
So, I put one together and that's what I'm giving you right now. I think it's pretty effective and I'm happy to pass it along to you. This is the exact script we use when sellers respond to our postcards.
Now you may be wondering, “Why are you not answering the phone when people call?”
You know, there's kind of two schools of thought on that. Some people say you should send people to a 24 hour recorded voicemail because it's less threatening. A lot of people are shy about their motivation for selling a house and they don't really want to talk to a person. They're just trying to kinda test the waters.
On the other side of the coin, people say, “Well, you're going to miss the boat on a lot of deals, because if you don't answer your phone, then a lot of people are just going to hang up. You're going to miss out on a lot of leads that way!”
I say, why not have your cake and eat it too? We have a Vumber number from Vumber.com, and we rent a phone number from them. It records every single phone call that comes in—every message that's left, but also all the hangups. So, we call the hangups back and what we say is, “Hey, we got your call from our postcard, but somehow the message didn't come through. Sorry about that, but wanted to reach out and just make a connection with you. Do you have a postcard or do you have a house you're looking to sell?”
So, that's kinda the approach that we take for a hangup. If they don't leave a message at that time, we get to have the nonthreatening voicemail aspect of it.
So, Here it says on our actual postcard: “Call our 24 hour recorded message to get more information. No one will answer.” And it says it's recorded information in several places.
So, I think we get the best of both worlds there. Keeping that in mind, every call we make is a call back, right? So, here's some of the important reminders that I give James and that I think we should all bear in mind, right at the top of the script:
#1: Smile when you talk. Why? Because you can hear it when people smile. Can you hear it right now? I'm actually smiling as I'm talking right now and you can tell in my face. My face is not making a sound, but somehow you could tell when I'm smiling—not just because I laughed, but you can tell. So if you can get into the habit of smiling when you talk, it will come through and it will affect how people perceive you.
#2: Avoid awkward pauses. You know, one of the things James did early on when he started taking these calls is, he would have a conversation with somebody, and then he would start typing their answers into a document. And of course, they hear type, type, type, type on the keyboard.
And I was like, man, it kind of feels like they're talking to a telemarketer, you know? And it causes these awkward pauses in the conversation. So I said, just don't do that. You just need to have a conversation with them, and even if you're just writing it down and they don't hear the typewriter, you're still causing these long, awkward pauses.
So, what you should do instead is record the conversation and make a habit of recording every single conversation. And that's why this reminder is here.
#4: Press record on your call. We do a lot of our calls through skype and we have a skype recorder called Pretty May. can get it $30 one time and we record every skype call on Pretty May. And we have an app on our android phones called Call Recorder, Total Recall Call Recorder. And it was like $3 or something like that. It automatically records every call incoming and outgoing on our cell phones.
So, bottom line is we have a recording of every call so we can just concentrate on having a conversation that seems genuine and real with the seller, and not have to worry about gathering information. Because then you can go back and either you or your virtual assistant can process the data from that call and put it in note format. It makes for a much more effective encounter with the seller.
And then this reminder right here is that it's okay to say, “You know, I'm not sure. I'll have to get back with you on that.”
The reason I had to put this in here is because I was finding that, in his nervousness, James was feeling this compulsion to have to answer every question that he gets asked from a position of expertise. Well, the reality is I don't even know everything and I've been doing this 15 years.
So, if I simply say, “You know, I'm not sure, I'll have to get back with you on that…” it doesn't invalidate my credibility. It actually makes me more credible because it makes me seem human.
So, I want to remind him and everyone else that you don't need to fake it till you make it. Just be real. Just be yourself and feel free to say, “I'm not sure, I'll get back to you on that…” if you don't know the answer to one of the questions that they ask.
So that covers the reminders that are at the top of the scripts. They should always be there. So let's get into the script itself.
All right. You dial the phone, bloop, bloop, bloop, Bleep, bleep, ring, ring..
“Hi, can I speak with Marsha?” (or whatever the name is of the person who left the message)
“Yeah. This is Marsha.”
“Hey Marsha, I'm James and I'm returning your call. You responded to our postcard about your property. Do you have a moment, or did I catch you at a bad time?”
Now, let me pause. That is a critical question. And let me just say this, you should always ask that question anytime you ever call anybody on the face of the planet earth.
Do you realize that every single phone call is an interruption of something? You're always interrupting something. So it's a common courtesy, in my opinion, before you just launch into talking, to ask them first if they can talk. It’s so frustrating when you're in the middle of something important and somebody just starts talking! You immediately start feeling this uncomfortable, oh, I just got trapped, or how do I get out of this or whatever it is.
You can completely alleviate that tension and that stress by simply asking if they can talk. And even more, you get buy-in for the conversation you’re about to have, because the fact is, they don't know you from a telemarketer or a man in the mood yet! They're suspicious already of who you are, just from the fact that they don't recognize the voice on the other side. If you can get them to give you verbal permission to talk, you have opened the door like an inch already. So not only is this polite, but it's getting a “shy yes” out of them right from the get go.
So always, always, always start in with a, “Hi, here's who I am, I'm returning your call. You responded to our postcard about your property.” That's the trigger to them remembering what this is about.
“Do you have a moment, or did I catch you at a bad time?”
And if they say, yeah, you caught me at a bad time, then it's just a matter of saying, “Okay, well, when will you have just a couple of minutes? I just want to follow up…” And then you call them back whenever that is.
99% of the time they'll say, “Yeah, go ahead…”
“Great. Well, as you heard on our 24-hour recorded message, my partner and I buy and sell houses in the Memphis area. (Insert your area here) And I just have a few quick questions to ask you about your house in your situation. Is that okay?”
Again, I'm getting “buy-in”. They're going to say, “Yeah!”
“OK, what's the address of the house you'd like to sell?”
Obviously, this is always a good first place to start just because you need to know the address, but it also just kind of gets them talking in a very nonthreatening way. They're already expecting to share that information, so it's a great place to start.
“Great. Can you tell me about your house now?”
Usually I'll just stop right there. “Tell me a little bit about your house…”
I'm intentionally asking them an open-ended question because I want to know where their brain to start with. They may start with the features of the house, the bedrooms and bathrooms. They may start with how long they've lived there. Who knows? They could start anywhere on the map, but there's a little bit of intel you can gather based on where they start. I just want to get them talking and get comfortable giving me information in the most open-ended way possible.
Now these sub-questions are here in case they don't already give you this information when you ask them the open-ended question. They may or may not, but if they haven't already told you about it by the time they’ve reached a natural pause in answering this question—if they haven't told you the bedrooms and bathrooms or what are the features of the house, then this is your reminder to make sure and ask them as a follow-up question real quick.
“Is it currently listed with a realtor?”
“Do you currently owe anything on the property? How much?”
This is a sticky one for some people, but it doesn't have to be. Just ask it. Okay. 99$ of the time, nobody has a problem answering that question:
“Yes, we do.”
“Okay. How much do you owe?”
It's not an invasive question unless you treat it as one. If it feels invasive to them and they give you push-back, then you just say, “Well, you know, I just, I'm just trying to size up the situation and see what we can do. It's actually a matter of public record and I can look up. But I just thought it might be helpful if you could just tell me.
And with that follow up question, I've never had anybody not telling me how much they owe ballpark on their property.
So next question: “Oh, hey, great. Can you tell me a little bit about your situation and why you're thinking about selling right now?”
So, you've already got them talking—you got them opened up with a very nonthreatening, introductory information gathering-type questions. Now you're trying to get into their motivation. You're trying to politely uncover their real core motivation for selling, if it exists, and you're trying to measure their level of motivation.
“So, can you tell me a little bit about your situation and why you're thinking about selling right now?”
They may answer with a long answer, or they may give you like maybe one little sentence. Or something like, “Well, I don't know. I just got your postcard and was thinking about selling.” Then you want to explore a little further…
“Well, do you need to sell quickly? What are your plans if you don't sell?”
That's a great question because it gets them thinking and maybe revealing their level of motivation. If they don't sell the house, are they going to have to rent it out, or are they just going to continue living in it, or are they going to be in a real pickle?
Another good sub-question to this is: “So just to clarify, would you say that you really need to sell or maybe you just want to sell.”
So, these again are alternate, follow-up questions if you didn't quite get what you were hoping to get out of this question.
All right, next question: “What kind of condition is the property in?”
And they might say, “Well, it's in great condition!” In which case you have to drill a little deeper, don't you?
“Okay, well what kind of repairs and maintenance does it need right now?”
Then you want to ask them, “What's the condition and the age of the major systems?” …and you can just go through them one at a time: The roof, the heating and air, the water heater, the plumbing, the electrical…
By the way, we make sure and have something about all of these major systems in any property that we are marketing to our cash buyers. We want to at least let them know how many layers on the roof, what type of heat and air, and maybe how old it is, what type of hot water they're dealing with, whether it's gas or electric and the age of the hot water heater. What type of plumbing and what type of electrical. We just give quick bullet points of all the major systems because a lot of our buyers want to know that right from the get-go.
“So altogether, what do you think it would take to bring the house up into tip top shape? How much do you think, if you just had to guess?”
You know they're not experts in estimating repairs, but you want to try and get some idea of how they're sizing up the repairs (whether it's accurate or not) because not only is going to give you some information on the property, but it's part of their “tell” as to how good or bad they feel like the property is.
You know, we just bought a house recently—it was an estate situation—and the house is really not in that bad of shape. Now it's an inheritance, and so there's a lot of stuff in the property, and it's like there was a “cat lady” that died living there, so there's cat smell. And it's kind of gross when you go in. So, when we showed up to view the property, they actually gave us a face mask to put on, which kind of made me laugh, but we played it up and we put it on and we're like, “Oh, this place is…. Yeah, you're right. This is really messed up!”
Bottom line: They felt like it was a total “gut job”. Truthfully it was really just cosmetics and just need to be cleaned out, cleaned up really good and have a little wood replaced— you know, probably $5,000 worth of work.
So anyway, that's why I'm asking the seller this question. I'm not really trying to get an accurate repair estimate out of the seller. I just want to know what they think the repairs are, and then gather a little extra information based upon that.
“How quickly would you like to sell? Are there any pressing time constraints that you're under right now?”
It's an important question, obviously.
“Great. Great. Thank you so much. Well, I really appreciate you answering my questions. So next let me send your information over to my partner. He'll review it, he'll get back to you as soon as possible. He may have some additional questions, or he may just have an offer ready for you. Is that OK?”
And again, you're getting buy-in from them—acknowledgement that what you just said is okay.
“All right, great. What's the best way to reach you again?” —Confirm that.
And just one final kind of question to toss at 'em: “Is there anything else you can think of at all that we should know or that we should take into consideration before doing our research and get back to you?…Wonderful. Thanks. We'll talk again soon.”
Now, once we ask this question at the end, you'll be surprised at how often we uncover something that is very important and good to know that didn't come up in any of the other questions.
Now what you'll notice is that I didn't make them an offer. Again, this is my acquisitions guy using this script, and I don't want him to make an offer. In fact, if they ask him, “How much you can offer me for my property?” I want him to be able to say, “I don't know. We still have to assess the situation. I just need to gather the information and hand it off to my partner.”
That way you don't have to step up to the plate and start offering numbers or start answering too many questions. This is really an information intel gathering process and it shouldn't be seen as anything other than that. But there is some subtle pre-negotiation going on, within the context of these questions.
Even if you are the owner of the company, I still recommend taking this approach and having kind of a 2-step approach. Because this gives you the ability to have that first conversation without the pressure of having to commit to anything, and even if your partner is your spouse or your friend or whatever, being able to pull away, go size things up and then come back and make an offer is a much stronger position to be in, in my opinion, rather than just whipping one out of your butt right there in the conversation.
A lot of people think you should make an offer right there in that first call. And I just don't think that's smart in my opinion because, if I put myself in the seller’s shoes and somebody is making me an offer my property in that first conversation, I don't believe their offer—it just doesn't seem believable to me that somebody could even do that without some additional consideration and thinking and research.
So anyway, that's it. It's not a long script—it's literally just a hair over a page and it's not complicated. You can deviate from it if need be. Obviously this is here as a guide to help walk you through gathering the information you need initially, but also doing some of that pre-negotiating and setting the stage for this relationship and for you to come back with the next conversation being in a really strong position.
So that's it. Thanks guys. Leave a comment below. Let us know what your thoughts are on this. If you like it, if you don't, if you have any other thoughts or suggestions or ideas or also if there's any other scripts or checklists or anything that we haven't given away before, we're always looking for good ideas from the peanut gallery.
So, I'd love for you to leave a comment below and tell us what kind of forms or docs or checklists or scripts are you missing personally that would benefit you and your business? If we could make them available to you, we may be able to pull them out of our own arsenal or we may have a colleague or a friend who would loan us something from their arsenal that would just meet your need perfectly.
So that's it, guys. Thanks for tuning in. JP and Patrick out.
After watching the video above you should understand the ‘why' of this script and how to use it. Pretty simple, right? 😀
Here’s how you can download the script for yourself:
Step 1. Leave a comment below with your own thoughts on it. What you liked, didn't like, might do differently, whatever. I want to hear from you.
Step 2.Once your comment’s posted – Chuck Norris will award you with a free download link for the script. For real.
Aaaaaaaaaaand, go! And don't forget to be awesome.