Wow – Does Waffle House Serve Strawberry Mocha?

Posted on August 26, 2011 by

Waffle House CoffeeEarlier 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?

Bill & Kim CookBill & Kim Cook are a husband and wife real estate investing team. They live in Adairsville, Georgia and have been investing in real estate since 1995. They specialize in buying single-family homes, mobile homes and mobile home parks. They also run North Georgia REIA and teach folks how to successfully invest in real estate.


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