One of the challenges that real estate professionals often talk about is having a motivated seller be ready to close on the deal but then somebody on their team, whether it is a family member, a sibling, or a professional services person, blowing the deal up. This is very deflating. You thought it was a done deal and then it was not.
To avoid this, it is important to ask about the other people who are involved in the deal. I like to keep it simple and frame the conversation like this — “Is there anybody else that is helping you?”
Often the homeowner will say, “Oh, no, I'm the only person.” In the past I would have stopped here, but over dozens of deals full of trial and error, I have noticed that the number of people involved is not always as straightforward and clear as the seller leads us to believe. It is imperative that you dig a little deeper because, if you do not find out at the beginning, you will find out eventually when it is too late.
You may find yourself thinking the deal is done, but then people are calling back and saying, “My mom does not want to sell anymore, and we want take the agreement back,” and it just turns into a total quagmire. Experience has taught me that motivated sellers often do not consider the people who have influence over their decision — people whose opinions they care about. They are not trying to be misleading. So, as a follow up question, I will ask, “If you signed a contract today, nobody would feel like they were left out or have their feelings hurt?”
Suddenly, the reality of the situation starts to dawn on the homeowner. They might admit, “Well, my son lives in Nebraska and we always run things past him.” This is just one example, but getting this right is a literal deal breaker.
Find out everyone who has a stake in the sale, both financial and emotional, and then whatever information you have given to the motivated seller, provide each additional person with the same information. Being a trusted expert and having books and educational resources at your disposal helps because it makes it easy to earn multiple people’s trust simultaneously, even if you never meet them in person. There is a trust building cycle with every deal. It starts with distrust until the motivated seller gets to know you and then goes from, “Okay, these guys are okay,” then to being curious, “I'll check them out. Hmm, interesting,” until finally they decide, “Wow, those are the nicest people!”
When I reach out to somebody else on the team, I view it as completely starting over and now I must address the distrust again. I work a lot in the Senior niche. Frequently, if I am working directly with the Senior, their kids are involved in the decision making but sometimes they live far away and/or are not super hands on. I find that when I call the adult children, they tend to be suspicious. Their suspicion of me is even higher than their parent’s because maybe they have never even met me face-to-face. My strategy is to figure out who is involved as soon as possible and then put our educational books and workbooks into their hands, saying, “I want to let you know that I've been working with your mom and she said that you are involved in the house decisions too. I want to keep you on the same page about what we are doing over here. Would you be offended if I sent you a copy of the book and the workbook that I authored and am working through with your mom?”
Without fail an adult child or other team member will drop their defenses and agree to looking through the books. Why? Because a book equals trust. So now I say, “Here's what I'm going to do. Your mom and I have gone through a few of the pages and identified a few challenges. These are some other pages that we have gone over to address it. I will put a little tab on them so you can find them easily. Will you be able to review the pages that I highlight for you? How long will it take you to do that?” Then I send the books over and I follow up a few days later. When I follow up, I do not ask questions along the lines of “Do you agree?” or “Did you find anybody who could pay more than me?” It is not about that. I am not in a big rush. I am simply trying to go over the material and move myself into the position of housing consultant — giving opinions and sharing knowledge and education. This method tears barriers down and is a true game changer. It is beneficial and rewarding to get other people on the motivated seller’s team on board because not all families get along and there is occasionally a lot of drama going on. I see this as an opportunity to guide people through chaos. There is immense value in helping people tough, challenging times.