One of the greatest sales educators was David Sandler. His books have been classics and his methods are taught worldwide. So many of his most valuable principals are focused around how to read people. He teaches how to listen, how to watch for body language, how to react to what the other person is saying, how to ask questions, and of course when not to talk. These skills are so valuable and so difficult to master, which is why they are taught through regular, usually weekly, training sessions.
Not surprisingly, these skills are useful in virtually all business interactions. Discussions with your partners, property managers, and, especially, with brokers and sellers all require you to set the right tone. That starts with seeing them eye to eye, and that starts with being there.
We lost a deal once that we thought we won. The broker called and said Congratulations the seller wants to go with your bid. We thought that’s fantastic, because we liked this property and liked the deal. They wanted us to tighten our terms just a little. We thought about it for less than a day, called them and said we’ll shorten our due diligence a little, although not quite as much as what they asked for. His response was Never mind, they decided to give the deal to someone else. We pleaded with them, said okay we’ll give you the DD terms you wanted, but it was too late. We talked some more and expressed surprise that this deal swung on something so trivial, so quickly.
Except that it wasn’t trivial, and it wasn’t the DD period. The broker let me know that the other bidder came in to see the property, flying from one coast to the other. Three times, including once with his GC. I relied on a local PM who I had gotten to know. He was very knowledgeable and informative, and the broker knew and respected them. But it wasn’t us, and our choice not to visit the property and meet the seller personally did us in. Our offer price may have been the highest but that didn’t matter.
Why would the seller care? Don’t they just want the best deal? Not always. They want to know you as the buyer who means what you say, that you take the time to understand and get to know them, that you are capable of meeting the terms of your agreement, and they want to know their property will be in good hands. In other words, they need to trust their buyer.
Trust can be built over email, and can be improved through direct conversations, but nothing replaces face-to-face communications. Do your Zoom calls but book a trip to visit the people who are important to you. See them to understand them, and let them see you too.