If you want to effectively communicate and negotiate with buyers and sellers in your real estate business, you have to ask yourself something harsh: “Who cares?” This is the first thing I say to myself whenever I am getting ready to speak to anyone in my real estate or public speaking businesses. I’ll be honest: This is such an important question I sometimes word it a bit more strongly than I will here in print! But I’ll leave that to your imagination.
The point here is that what you are sharing, whether you are speaking to one person who needs to sell their house, one couple who wants to buy or rent, or an audience of 10,000, has to be relevant to the person on the other side of the table. Fail in this, and your audience stops listening about 30 seconds in.
That’s no way to get a good deal done.
The best speakers, the best negotiators, and the best communicators always tie what they are trying to communicate to their audience to the members of that audience. That is why they are able to accomplish so much and create win-win situations in their investing businesses.
Here are three examples of how communication strategies should get the job (the deal) done:
Communication Case Study #1: It’s Not All About You
My neighbor is trying to sell her home, which includes three acres and a horse barn. The barn is about a century old, and it is falling down. However, it’s her favorite thing about the property. Recently, a buyer came to see the property and made an offer that met her financial requirements for selling. She refused to sell to him even though he wanted the property and she needed the money from the sale. When I asked her why, she told me all he kept talking about was tearing down the barn.
What he should have done differently: That buyer should have listened to my neighbor. What was important to her? Appreciating that barn! Instead, he went on and on about tearing the barn down and she found herself unable to tolerate the idea of selling him her property even though it meant turning down money she needed for other purposes.
Lesson Learned: Keep the feelings and emotions of your “audience” in mind, whether the audience is one person or 100 people.
Communication Case Study #2: Authenticity Wins Every Time
If you try to act like someone or something you are not, people can feel that on a gut level. Even if they cannot say exactly why, they will discount everything you say if you are not being authentic. Real estate investors must be authentic and brave enough to admit who they are and what they do. This means you have to be okay with buying at a discount, selling at a profit, and solving problems for homeowners and properties. Be proud!
A new investor I know recently went to an appointment with a seller and got asked a few questions for which he did not have answers. The investor got very flustered and the seller ended up not committing to doing a deal with him or signing a contract. It turned out my investor friend tried to bluster his way through the conversation rather than just admit he would have to find out a little bit more information in order to get that seller the answers they needed. He tried to fake an answer and he got caught.
What he should have done differently: Admit he didn’t know the answer, then get to work discovering it.
Lesson Learned: It’s okay to admit you don’t know something. Just say, “You know, that’s a great question. I don’t know but I will find out.” Then, find out right away.
Communication Case Study #3: Let People Tell You Who They Are
Professional speakers always want to know as much about their audiences in advance so they can effectively prepare their presentation. Good negotiators and real estate investors do the same thing. Recently, I did a presentation to a real estate investing group where I expected the group to have a lot of experience. I thought I would be giving a fairly advanced training on real estate strategy. However, my planned presentation was not appropriate for that audience because most of them had not done a deal. Here’s how I knew:
I asked them who they were.
I polled the audience at the very start, asking them to raise their hands if they had done a deal yet. The vast majority said they had not, and that let me know they needed a different level of training than I was planning. Had I failed to ask them who they were, I would have given them education that they were not prepared to use.
Lesson Learned: Ask buyers, sellers, and potential partners who they are and what they need out of a deal so you can provide the best response for them and you.