Wow – Does Waffle House Serve Strawberry Mocha?Posted on August 26, 2011 by
Earlier this week, I met with a seller. Over the past two years, we’ve probably gotten together four or five times. He has a rental property he wants to sell. Problem is, his asking price is too high for me.
This time when he called, I said, “Let’s meet at Waffle House, get a cup of coffee and talk.” He said, “Don’t you want to see the house?” “No, I already know what it looks like. I drive by it all the time,” I answered.
Here’s an interesting question for the real estate investors out there: When a seller or realtor calls you about a property for sale, what’s the MOST important thing you need to see?
If you’re like most investors, your answer is: the neighborhood; or, the condition of the home; or, the number of bedrooms, etc. But those answers are wrong. The correct answer is: The Seller!!!! Remember, the only person who can fully answer Pete Fortunato’s famous question: “Why are you selling such a nice house like this?” is the seller.
One more important point: Since 90% of human communication is NON-verbal, if you want to fully understand the seller’s situation, you must get eyeball-to-eyeball with him and ask a lot of “Tell me what’s going on?” questions. I’ve learned that WHAT a seller says is not nearly as important as HOW he says it!
To get the deal, the key is to help a seller improve his uncomfortable situation. The only way you can structure a deal that improves the seller’s uncomfortable situation is to first FULLY understand his situation. And again, that’s done face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball.
When structuring a deal, it’s critical to be, as my friend Jean Kramb says, rubber-band flexible. Too many investors only have one deal-structuring tool in their deal-structuring toolbox – a big dang hammer! If you don’t know how to creatively structure win-win deals, you’re likely to be nothing more than a bug in search of a windshield – SPLAT!
Let’s go back to the seller I met with at Waffle House. As we talked, I tried structuring a number of deals. He kept turning them down. Finally, I said this Pete-ism: “Don’t tell me what you WON’T do; tell me what you WILL do.”
Turned out, my solutions were confusing the seller. This reminded me of something Jack Miller (God rest his wise soul) said: “A confused mind always says, NO!” After better explaining my offer – and explaining what’s in it for him and me – he finally accepted.
Later, while discussing my deal structure with my buddy Houston Long, he said, “Talking to a seller over coffee is a great idea. I didn’t know Waffle House served Strawberry Mocha.” Lord, does anyone drink black coffee any more?