Ring, ring. Ring, ring.
It’s a lead.
You pick up the phone.
What are you going to say? What questions are you going to ask the motivated seller?
Well, at Call Porter, we have quite a bit of experience answering the phone — in fact, we answer the phone for hundreds of top real estate investors around the nation — our U.S.-based reps are trained to speak specifically with motivated sellers. They can screen callers and schedule follow-up appointments with you or your acquisitions manager!
Below are 14 high-impact questions that we think investors should ask motivated sellers. These will help you build trust, keep conversations progressing, and even close more deals.
1. Where are you located? How do you like living there?
It’s no secret that people work with people that they like.
And one of the fastest ways to make prospects like you (even if they’ve never met you) is by starting the phone call with a question that has nothing to do with the sale.
(or so the prospect thinks)
Because only 3% of people trust salespeople – they assume that you’re going to try and make a quick sale the moment that they hop on a call with you.
And by not trying to convert them immediately, you build trust and crush negative expectations.
“Humans naturally fear the unknown. This helped us from not getting eaten by a range of scary, sharp-toothed animals when we were still hunters and gatherers. Is that bush rustling in a menacing way? Maybe we should approach it slowly instead of running up to it yelling loudly with a stick …
Today, our chances of being devoured by a lion have greatly decreased, but our odds of being screwed over by a vendor have not.”
And thus, your prospect doesn’t naturally trust (or like) you until you’ve made yourself likable with un-salesy questions such as the one above.
2. What’s your reason for wanting to sell your home?
More questions equals a higher chance of closing.
Well, to a point.
Extensive research by Gong found that asking between 11 and 14 questions on a sales call delivered the best results.
Also worthy of note, Gong’s research found that the highest-performing sales reps talked less than their prospects.
And questions like “What’s your reason for wanting to sell your home?” don’t just increase the motivated seller’s word count, it gives you (the salesperson) an idea of how qualified the prospect is and gives the prospect a chance to revisit the reason that they called you in the first place – all good things for gently guiding a sales call in the right direction.
Plus, if you don’t understand why the prospect called you, then your chances of closing or qualifying them is about as good as getting an energy boost from a decaf cup of coffee (if it works, it was just a placebo).
3. If you don’t mind me asking, how is that situation affecting you personally?
Once you’ve established trust and rapport with your prospect (via questions #1 and #2), then it’s time to gently remind the motivated seller of the pain that their situation is causing them.
This can be a delicate question to ask, though, depending on the situation. So adjust the wording to fit the prospect and what they’re going through.
However you say it, you do need to remind people – or rather, help them remind themselves – of why they need to sell their home fast and how that will benefit them.
As Gong’s research explains, salespeople that discussed 3 or 4 problems on a sales call had a significantly higher success rate.
Well, here’s how the researchers put it:
“The most successful salespeople tend to dive deeply into 3-4 customer problems, and then wrap up logistics and next steps at the end.
Why ‘3-4 customers problems’?
Why not more? Why not less?
One can only guess.
But my hypothesis is that less than that, and you don’t have a buyer in enough pain.
More than that, and they have too many priorities going on at once to make any headway with you.”
4. How quickly do you need to sell?
It’s important to get an idea of how urgently the seller needs to sell. This will also give you an idea of how motivated they are and thus, how much below their ideal offer they might be willing to accept.
5. How much were you hoping to get for the house?
This is one of the most important questions you need to ask the seller.
Knowing how much they want to get for their home is the single fastest way to gauge their level of motivation and to determine whether you’ll be able to work with them or not.
Of course, follow up with everyone regardless of how much they say they want — many people’s answers will change within a few months.
But as for determining how motivated the person is right now, this question is critical.
6. Why hasn’t the home sold yet?
If the seller has been trying to sell the property for quite some time (100 days or more) — regardless of whether they’re motivated or not — why hasn’t it sold yet?
Asking this question does a few important things.
First, it provides you with important information about what’s wrong with the property and what needs to be fixed.
More importantly, though, it gently reminds the seller that something is wrong with their property (that’s why it isn’t selling) and viewing the home through rose-colored glasses hasn’t done them any good so far.
After you ask this question, it’s common for unmotivated sellers to explain how the properties have “so much potential” or how they could be worth “a lot of money” if they got fixed up.
At that point, continue with the following questions.
7. Do you think you’re going to sell for that price?
Many investors are shy about sharing their comps. They worry that if the seller knows how much money they’re going to make on the property, then they’re going to be even less motivated to sell.
But that’s not always the case.
Especially when it comes to clearly unmotivated sellers.
If someone has made clear that they’re “not in a hurry” and that “the property has a lot of potential”, then you’ve got nothing to lose by explaining your comps to them.
Sometimes, this will give the seller a better understanding of why your offer is what it is and it might even convince them that selling to you is their best course of action.
If a seller wants to get a high-ticket price on a distressed property, for example, you can explain to them how much you’d need to invest in the home, how much it would sell for, and then how much you’d stand to make.
Simple math is a great way to show some unmotivated sellers that “holding out” isn’t going to pay off.
8. How flexible are you on that price?
You might be surprised at how many people will just tell you the minimum offer that they’re willing to take on their home.
And asking them this question is a great way to figure out how much they are actually hoping to get.
Most people will even take a little less than their bare minimum offer if it’s not a drastic difference… especially if you’re going to help them out of a sticky situation.
Whatever they say, you need to ask this question before making judgments.
And if their minimum is outside of your budget for the property, remember: you can always offer them less and see what they say — negotiations don’t end until the contract is signed!
9. What is holding you back?
Imagine that you make the seller an offer and they say the all-too-common “Hmm… Let me think about it.” Often, that dialogue ends the phone call with an unfortunate hopefully-you-hear-back-from-them kind of tone. This is why using the above phrase as a final way to address any remaining uncertainties is so powerful.
The last thing you want to do is hang up the phone when the prospect still has unanswered questions. Use this question to make sure that doesn’t happen.
10. What do you feel is the best next step to resolving your situation?
When a prospect is dancing around your qualifying questions and making it difficult to determine just how serious they are about selling their home, the above question can work wonders to yank them back into reality.
Sometimes, a prospect who’s avoiding your questions simply isn’t qualified for your service. Other times, they just need more proof that your service works. Use the above question to get the conversation moving in a productive direction when it’s gone off the rails.
11. What are your other options? Are those realistic?
When a prospect claims that they could simply rent out their house rather than working with you, they often forget how expensive and time-consuming doing so would be.
First, though, remind them that you’re both on the same team (i.e. “You could certainly rent out your home. In that case, you’d want to fix the house up yourself and find trustworthy tenants.”)
An objection often means that the prospect is struggling to trust you, so always start with an understanding statement in response (rather than trying to discredit them).
Then, explain to them the reality of what it’d look like to rent out their house. They’d have to fix up the house, find a trustworthy tenant, upkeep anything that breaks, and pay taxes on the home. It’s probably a bigger undertaking than they’re ready to tackle, which makes your offer a bit more appealing.
12. Considering everything you’ve told me about your situation, we’d need to have a signed contract by [date] in order to meet your deadline. Can you commit to signing by then?
When it comes to converting prospects, few psychological haymakers are as effective as urgency – the prospect’s internal feeling that they must take action before it’s too late.
And if the prospect is highly motivated to sell their house, then using their own sell-by date is a great way to create that spell-binding urgency for them to sign the contract as soon as possible.
You might even consider increasing your offer by $5,000 or $10,000 if they sign within 24 hours!
13. If we could get you cash in just a couple weeks, would you take $XX,XXX?
When making your offer, one helpful way to encourage the motivated seller to accept is by emphasizing your ability to sell quickly. If someone has all the time in the world to sell their home, then they probably won’t end up working with you anyways. So this phrase will only apply to motivated sellers — which is good, because those are the people you should spend the most time talking to.
You only have so many hours in the day to answer the increasing number of phone calls that you’re receiving…
Business is booming – that’s good!
But the last thing you want is to hurry through those sales calls (hurting your close rate) or – worse yet – miss them altogether.
It makes sense why research by Velocify found high-performing sales teams are twice as likely to describe their sales process as “automated” than under-performing teams are.
Sales automation doesn’t just save you time. It saves – or rather, makes – you money. It helps you build a sustainable and enjoyable business – one where you aren’t a slave to your ringing phone during dinner with your family.
At Call Porter, we help real estate investors all around the nation (just like you) automate their sales processes and build the businesses that they’ve been wanting to build all along.
And use the above questions in the meantime to close more deals and make the most of the time you do have!