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Learn to Be a Friend

by Matt Bowman   
In real estate investing, as in many aspects of life in general, we are salespeople. Learning sales techniques can increase our ability to produce a better income for ourselves by allowing us to make better deals, whether buying or selling.

When buying, knowing a certain technique may mean the difference between a seller being willing to finance or simply demanding an all cash transaction. In the case of selling, obviously having exceptional sales skills will be essential to working out the most profitable deal, and getting it closed.

The first technique to learn is the most important of all the skills that can be acquired. The success of the other techniques directly hinges on the idea that you will have put this first procedure into action FIRST. This first step you must take is to become a friend.

Think about this for a moment. When you walk into an electronics store, wanting to take a look at the TVs, and a salesman comes running up to you and says, "Can I help you?" what is your reaction? If you're like the other 99.99% of us, it will be, "No thanks, just looking."

Why? Because that sales person might as well have come up to us and said, "While you're looking around, why don't I just hold onto that wallet of yours, so when you decide to start looking at something you might want, I can get the money in your wallet ready?"

How many strangers do you hand your wallet for safekeeping? You may, however, have a good friend whom you trust hold onto your money for you with no reservations about it at all. Don't all friends start out as strangers?

It is important to become the friend of a potential buyer or seller as quickly as possible. This does not translate to putting on a phony "I'm your buddy; by the way how much do you have to spend today?" act. Think about how quickly you would see through an act like that. What needs to be done is to observe, ask questions, and create a common interest.

An example of this would be if a potential buyer were to call you up to schedule an appointment to take a look at the property you are selling. He may say that he can come out tomorrow to take a look, because today he is going deer hunting. You have just found a way to become his friend! It just so happens that you think deer hunting is an extremely interesting sport!

Now, you do not want to lie and say you go all the time if you haven't once even seen a wooded area, a gun, or a deer. Instead, ask questions. "Where do you go to hunt?" "What kind of gun do you use?" "How do you usually do?" "Think you'll get one this year?" Then shut up and let them talk about the thing that they love. They now have something in common with you. You both love deer hunting!

It is important to invest the time into this initial act, but do not push at a person with questions when they obviously do not care to discuss a subject. Instead, casually bring it up in the course of conversation. The key is to observe, ask questions, and observe the response. Asking seemingly casual questions will quickly allow you to stumble upon the thing that is going to make you a friend when it comes to light that you have a common interest.

Now, if it turns out that you think deer hunting is an extremely cruel thing to do to those innocent little animals, don't bring it up. If you happen to bring up the fact that you think that this person is performing a cruel act by pursuing his favorite hobby, don't bother scheduling the house viewing. You'll save yourself some wasted time.

When you go shopping, wouldn't you rather go shopping with a friend who can give you some valuable input about the thing that you are planning to purchase, rather than just going up against some pushy salesman who just wants to separate you from your money?

Whether you're selling or buying, be that friend. If the friend you're shopping with tells you that you should buy this particular model TV because it's a great value and has the best picture, wouldn't you seriously consider it? However, if a pushy sales person says the exact same thing to you, aren't you going to think, "Well, I guess I know which TV pays him the best commission!"

As a salesperson, when you become someone's friend by finding common ground with them, you take on the role of a friend going comparative shopping with a potential buyer. They are much more inclined to take your advice that the house you are showing them really is a great deal, and is exactly what they have been looking for.

When the potential buyer or seller is convinced that they have found a friend in you, it will be much easier for them to state reasons for objections to the sale. This person might say to a salesperson that they don't want to buy because it's too expensive, or they may not give any reason for their objection.

This means to get the sale, the salesperson must either drop the price, get pushier to try to find out what the objection is, or give up on the sale. This person may then go home and tell a friend, "You know, I wanted to buy it, but I think the payments would probably be about $20 over my budget." Be a friend when selling, and you'll be given the opportunity to answer those objections.

This technique alone can save you time and money on a large scale. People hate or fear a salesperson. All they see is someone trying to get their hand in their pocket. However, a friend, especially one with common interests, who thinks like them, is someone to be trusted, and advice to be taken.
 
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