No matter how much experience you have in real estate investing, motivated sellers tend to view every investor as just another salesperson. This happens to solopreneurs, team managers, sales team members, and anyone else in the real estate business who attends house appointments. This can be problematic because salespeople do not have a lot of leverage. As investors, our goal at every single client appointment, whether we are meeting with a motivated seller or a local influencer, is to position ourselves as the trusted expert in our field.
There are some misconceptions around what being the trusted expert means. Often, as investors, we spend most of our marketing and acquisitions bandwidth looking for motivation. This is understandable: motivation is key in terms of the timing bubble for homeowners. We never want to be chasing people who are not interested in selling their house. But motivation is only about 50% of the deal criteria now – sellers also need to know and understand that we have their best interests at heart and the expertise to provide them with the options they need.
Once we find a seller with motivation, how do we convince them to choose us? We can close deals as salespeople. We can use the magic marketing phrases, list the benefits and features, and talk a homeowner into selling to us. I am here to tell you, however, that if you position yourself as the authority and the trusted expert, the sales will come to you. You still must put in the work, but now you can advise and guide instead of pitch and convince.
A common question that investors have with this strategy is, “How do I qualify as being a trusted expert?”
It’s all about mindset.
You do not have to be the most experienced or famous real estate professional in your market to be the expert. You do not need to have a massive social media following or a string of credentials. You do not need to (and should not) compare yourself to the top industry leaders and celebrities. Their status does not affect your status as a trusted expert.
Being an expert does not mean being the best. It means knowing and understanding your niche market inside and out. It means having the knowledge and information to guide your ideal customer to the decisions that are best for them. If you can meet a motivated seller, look them in the eye, and say, “I am here to help you. My goal is to create a win-win deal for both of us. I am looking out for you in this deal too, not just myself,” and have the skills and resources to come through on this declaration, then you are a trusted expert.
If you can do this, you are no positioned as an educator and advocate. That qualifies you as an expert.
The truth is that most true experts do not label themselves as experts. They do not call themselves experts or introduce themselves as experts. Their actions and reputation are what establishes their credibility and authority status. Think of the leaders and celebrities in various industries that you follow – do any of them use the word “expert” when talking about themselves? Probably not. Do you follow them for their expertise? Almost definitely.
To become an expert, make it easy for other people to call you an expert. Make yourself available to educate, help, and advocate for your motivated sellers, and they will naturally add the expert title when talking about you to their friends and family. This is the business benefit to being that trusted expert.
The key here is not to confuse authority with arrogance.
Being the authority means being the subject matter expert (you already are). You understand the real estate business and your local market. You have the power to prescribe real solutions, not just desperately sell second-rate services. Arrogance is when you put yourself above somebody else, with the sole goal being to elevate yourself.
Authority is about having the courage to share your knowledge so that the people who need your help can find you. If we wait until we know more about something than everybody else on the planet, we are going to be waiting most, if not all, of our lives. Authority and expertise require vulnerability. It may feel like you do not know enough to add your voice to the stream of information available to anyone with an internet connection, but you do know more than your motivated sellers. You do not need to impress industry leaders – your expertise is not for them. It is for everyday folks in your community and market. You can help them starting today. But first, they need to find you.
Of course, at some point you are going to run into situations that are beyond your level of expertise. Luckily, you do not need to know absolutely everything. People appreciate the honesty in saying, “I am not sure. I will do some research and get back to you.” An even better strategy is to simply know the experts in adjacent industries (lawyers, health care workers, government officials’ offices, etc.) and be able to point people in the right direction. This can be humbling, admitting you do not know absolutely everything, but being honest and building a network will benefit both your personal and professional reputation and success.
What about that word “trusted”? What does it take to not only be an expert but a trusted expert? Trust is about doing what is best for people even if it is not in your best business interests. Trust is about making honest evaluations of a homeowner’s situation and saying, “You could sell your home to me, and I would definitely buy it. However, it would not be the best course of action in your case. Here is why and what I recommend you do instead.”
Maybe you recommend that they wait to list the house for another month or two based on the market. Maybe you refer them to another professional who can create a better deal for them. Tell them the benefits of accepting your offer… but also tell them the benefits of taking a different route.
The takeaway is that you do not have to be the best in the world. If you are creating win-win deals, providing education, and advocating for your sellers and community, then you are already a trusted expert and authority.