Saturday, October 26, 2019

So... You're not a Salesman

So you are not a salesman (or saleswoman). You buy houses. You fix them up. You rent them. You sell them. Oops, there is that word. You may list them with a realtor or have someone in your organization that handles that part of the business. Business? No, you are an investor or a rehabber or an acquistionist or whatever, BUT you are not a salesman. You don't wear a plaid sport coat and wear a pork pie hat. These days you may not even own a sport coat or a business suit – especially here on Florida's west coast.

Are you sure? If you ever went on a date, how did you get the girl or guy to go out with you? If you ever, heaven forbid, had a job, how did you get the boss to hire you? Did you ever get a car salesman, they guy in the plaid sport coat and pork pie hat, to give you a little more for your trade in or lower the price a little? If you are too young to know what a pork pie hat is, you can see them here. More to the point of what we are discussing here, did you ever get someone to sell you their house, land or mobile home at a price where you could make some money? If the answer to this last question is 'no”, then you really need to pal close attention here.

Think about it. If you ever went on a date, you sold the fellow or girl on the idea of going out with you. If you had a job, you sold the company on the idea that you could do valuable work for the company. If you got a good deal on a car, you had to do some selling to the dealer – or perhaps he just did an excellent job on you. If you ever bought a distressed house you sold the owner on the idea that they should deal with you rather than the flock of other vultures circling their property – true or not, that is the way many seller see investors.

So now that we've knocked the pride out of the high horse position of looking down at mere salesmen you might expect that I have all the answers and techniques to turn you into super salesman or super investor. In the interest of truth, justice and the American way I have to confess that I am not the one to convey the intricacies of the sales process to the experienced investor or even the novice. However I'm better than I once was but not as good as I am going to be.

With practice I got better but instead of practice making perfect, practice makes habits permanent. So practicing doing the right things is the key. Persistence is good, but persisting in things that don't work leads to the very definition of insanity – that is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

So where to you go to get better at this trade? The first thing to do is to get to know people that are doing what you want to do. Start hanging out with them, watch what they do and ask questions. Don't be obnoxious or they won't be much help. You can also pay thousands of dollars and sometimes you will get mentoring well worth the cost. Other times you will spend thousands of dollars. If you can, find local investor groups to get to know what is actually happening in your area.

Beyond this, reading a book or two now and then can be very helpful. I have several that I like. You may find others but here are a few to consider.

Many years ago I came across a book by Tom Hopkins called How to Master the Art of Selling. I'm not sure if that book is still available, but he has others that help to understand the process of moving a person from the interest in a product or service to talking action on that interest. He also talks about patience and maintaining a positive attitude.

While we work with houses, condos and land, we are always dealing with people. In that area, almost anything by John Maxwell will help with personal growth and relationships. Along with his books, John does regular seminars that are well worth the time and effort to attend. As it happens the more capable and confident you are as a person, the more capable and confident you will be as an investor.

Most recently I have come across a book titled Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. As we move forward in our knowledge and methods of analysis, our sales and negotiating techniques evolve as well. Chis is a former FBI hostage negotiator who worked with stakes much higher than getting a good deal on that nice 3/2/2 on the corner lot. Among his more interesting concepts is that we should set aside the “golden rule” idea of treating people like we would like to be treated. Everyone is not like you or me. We need to treat people the way they want to be treated... and he describes how figure it out. He talks about high anchors and low anchors and how something as simple as splitting the difference can mean giving away the store.

And last, whatever you believe politically, you can learn an awful lot about the mindset for real estate and life from the Art of the Deal by Donald Trump.

So work your business, and associate with people doing what you want to be doing – whether in person or on the pages of a good book.

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