The Invisible Negotiation

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When does “the negotiation” begin, when you’re talking directly to a Seller, off-market? While many regular real estate investors would say it begins after the pleasantries are done, we Thoughtful Real Estate Entrepreneurs think differently. To us, the negotiation begins the second we first have contact with the Seller, and is conducted through a million tiny little “touch points” that the Seller has with us. In this episode, Jeff explains what touch points are, and how the secret to winning the invisible negotiation is to thoughtfully and intentionally manage those touch points.

Episode Transcript

When does the negotiation on this property with the seller directly? When does it really begin? Well, I think most of the sort of normal world of real estate investors would say, Well, you know, we had some pleasantries, and we’ve built some rapport. So now it’s time to move on to the brass tacks, how much do you want for this property and all that kind of stuff. And I would argue that while there are parts of our conversation that are going to be a little bit more about the property and the specifics, the negotiations happening all the time, and there’s a completely invisible component to that negotiation that is happening, whether we choose to tune into it or not. So in this episode, I want to help unveil, so to speak this invisible negotiation so that you can be aware of it, you can tune into it and you can use it to your advantage. Alright, Let’s cue up the theme song. We’ll jump right in. Welcome to racking up rentals, a show about how regular people, those of us without huge war chest of capital or insider connections, can build lasting wealth acquiring a portfolio of buy and hold real estate. But we don’t just go mainstream looking at what’s on the market and asking banks for loans. Nor are we posting WE BUY HOUSES signs, we’re just looking for quote, motivated sellers to make lowball offers to. You see, we are people oriented dealmakers, we sit down directly with sellers to work out Win Win deals without agents or any other obstacles, and buy properties nobody else even knows are for sale. I’m Jeff from the thoughtful real estate entrepreneur. If you’re the kind of real estate investor who wants long term wealth, not get rich quick gimmicks or pictures of yourself holding fat checks on social media, this show is for you, join me and quietly become the wealthiest person on your block. Now let’s go rack up a rental portfolio. Hey, thank you for joining me for another episode of racking up rentals. Show Notes for this episode can be found at thoughtful art he.com/e 143, episode 143. Please do us a big favor by hitting the subscribe button or the Follow button or whatever it looks like or it’s called in your podcast app. It really really does help to spread our show to other fellow thoughtful real estate entrepreneurs who are looking for something just like this. Thank you very much for doing that onward with today’s episode. So two days ago, I put a property in contract. It’s a four Plex. And I’ve been talking to this seller about maybe three months, maybe four months. And as I was talking to him the other day. And once he accepted my proposal and signed the purchase agreement, he was telling me that he was saying there were a few other people that he had talked to who were interested in. And by the way, that by itself is actually very unique. For me, there is almost never competition from other buyers, when I’m talking to a seller because I’m talking to people who have not, you know, sort of made it obvious that they want to sell their property in this, this is not a rundown property or anything like that. So there weren’t visible signs of distress or anything like that. But apparently a couple other people had reached out to him. So that was unique for me. And he was telling me that. And I think his exact words were, you know, the other offers that I got were very similar in terms of numbers. But I just feel like you’ve really done more. And so I feel really good moving forward with you. And so in my market, this property is 850. So he had received other a couple other offers at 850. I don’t know if they were actually in writing or not. But he had received a couple other offers around the same price. But he selected me and chose mine. And I want to talk to you today about why that’s the case, because this is the invisible negotiation that happens all the time. This is the secret edge that we have all the time if we choose to tune into this. So in my previous life, my former professional life, before I was podcasting about real estate and coaching and all that, and when real estate investing was just a side hobby for my wife and I, I owned a brand and marketing consultancy. And we worked specifically with community banks and credit unions. And yes, I am keenly aware of the insane irony of the fact that I used to consult on branding and marketing with banks and credit unions. And now I consult with real estate investors on how to avoid banks and credit unions. But at any rate, irony aside, one of the main things we used to talk to our clients about is a concept called touch points. So what is a touch point? Well, in the case of a bank or credit union, a touch point is anytime any of their customers or the public interacted with them in any way, right? It could be they’re driving down the street and looked over and saw the sign that was would be a touch point, they walk into the branch and somebody says hello to them in a certain way, that’s a touch point, they see the carpet choice that was in the branch, that’s a touch point, how the phone gets answered at the credit union, that’s a touch point. So it’s a million, a billion little tiny, tiny things. So what is a touchpoint? Then in our case, well, a touch point with us is every single little interaction or even partial interaction that a seller has with us, as we are getting to know them in the course of our entire relationship with them from the time we first even come into contact with them all the way through closing. And in the case of seller financing, even beyond that, I’m going to give you a list of examples of what some of these touch points are. But these touch points add up to the secret negotiation, the invisible negotiation, because all of these little touch points, shape in their own tiny, tiny way, they shape how the seller thinks about us how they perceive us, and the overall experience that they have. Now, every one of these is so tiny, that by itself, the seller isn’t consciously really processing that. But all of these touch points add up to what I would call a body of work, they add up to a collection of experiences that the seller has had with you. And that informs and shapes how they think about you and how they feel about you. And ultimately how they feel about whatever propositions we might put in front of them. Now, these things are not rocket science, I don’t mean to pretend that this is super complicated. However, we’re not really used to, generally speaking, thinking about the tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, little details, we’re kind of thinking about the big moves, right? We’re thinking about, is it 850? Or is it 870? Or is it 825? And is the closing date going to be this one or that one? And was I polite on the phone, and those are good, those were important. But those are much bigger topics was I polite on the phone is one way to look at it. But then you could break that down into 20, little smaller things that are really the touch points that comprise that larger topic. So I want to just share a few examples with you to give you a sense for all of these little things that you can start to kind of open your eyes and your ears to me, because when you open your eyes and your ears to these little touch points, and you start to really appreciate that every single one of them actually does matter, then you can start being very thoughtful and intentional about crafting each one of those tiny little touch points in a very deliberate manner. And I would go so far as to say that that’s what branding really is. Branding is when you know what you want the body of work of the touchpoints to add up to. And then you very thoughtfully intentionally go back and you kind of reverse engineer to make sure that each of these 1000 Little things that they experience is what you need it to be so that when they all add up, they they create a collection of experiences. That is what you want it to be. So here are a few just very real life examples in the day to day kind of things that we do as real estate entrepreneurs. When we are marketing to our sellers, as you know, here at the thoughtful real estate entrepreneur, we really advocate for a specific type of direct mail marketing, thoughtful, direct mail, and it’s not postcards, it’s not bright colors. It’s not. We buy houses we close fast, we pay cash, we buy houses, it’s much more of a personal letter from one human being to another in a very non pushy way expressing a sincere interest and inviting them to contact us if ever the time came that they would consider selling their piece of property. So that’s a marketing letter but a marketing letter is a lot of different smaller touch points. It’s a lot of different smaller little details. I would say that the paper that you choose to print it on. Is a little touch point. Is it thin paper is it thicker paper, is it white paper is it off white paper what similarly is the type of envelopes that you use? Is it a nine by 12 manila envelope type of thing is an invitation envelope is Have a number 10 envelope, the color of the ink perhaps that you use certainly the voice of the words in the letter, the word choice in the letter itself, the handwriting that is on the envelope, or not on the envelope, right, maybe you type your address on the envelope. And that gives a different experience than the handwritten addressing of the envelopes. So let’s just stop and think about this just for a quick second. So I can make sure that this point is clear to you. It’s not that there’s a right type of paper or a wrong type of paper. But I can assure you that when you receive a letter that’s written on thin, flimsy, cheap feeling white paper, and then you at the same time receive a second letter that’s written on what feels like nice, heavy, thick, expensive resume stock type of paper, you perceive those two letters differently. You’re not doing it consciously, probably, but you are absolutely subconsciously interpreting a difference between those two things. So my point to you is not to say, use this type of paper instead of that type of paper, my point to you is to say, note that what type of paper you choose has an impact on the overall experience you deliver. And choosing the right kind of paper should be a reflection on you reverse engineering, the type of experience you want them to have. Okay, let’s move on to you’ve sent your letter and now they call you back how you answer the phone is a little touch point. Do you just say hello? Do you say hello? Acme property solutions? Do you just say hello, this is Jeff. I say hello, this is Jeff. And that is not a random choice. It’s not rocket science, like I’ve said, but it’s not a random choice. Because when I feel like when I say hello, this is Jeff. It sounds professional enough. But it also sounds like a regular person. And that is the key to my overall brand positioning. So I try to reverse engineer everything to feel like I am a professional but approachable. person who’s a regular person, not a big company, the tone of your voice. As you answer the phone matters a lot, right? I don’t just mean like, Do You sound angry? Or do you sound happy? But do you sound warm? Do you sound kind of distant? Do you say hello? This is Jeff? Or do you say hello, this is Jeff? How what is the tone and the inflection in your words? When we think about how we position ourselves to sellers, there’s so many little nuances to this right. Some people choose to position themselves as a business. Some people choose to position themselves as just a person. Some people choose to position themselves as being professional property buyers. Some people choose to position themselves as fellow landlords, some people choose to position themselves as problem solvers. Others choose to position position themselves just as regular people who want to have a conversation. All of these little tiny things create massive differences in the experience that somebody has right, you could send two letters that were virtually identical. But if in one you say we help people solve their challenging property situations, and then the other one, you say, we’re fellow landlords, and we’re looking for another rental property we could buy, those two singular sentences will completely change the tone and the vibe of that letter and the experience that the recipient has. So when you think about positioning and how you want them to think of you, there’s a million little nuances there. And each one of those nuances is a touch point. How about when you show up to meet them, you know, at their house, when you show up in a brand new model, BMW seven series, and when you show up in a five year old Toyota four runner, or if you show up in a 10 year old Camry with some dents in it, those three things deliver different experiences, they make people think of you differently. Again, I’m not saying one is better or worse than the other. But we have to know that how we show up physically how we roll into the driveway has an impact on how they think of us. So we need to be intentional about creating that experience. So that it does lead to the invisible negotiation. We want to have I can tell you a story about how I obsessed for months over, like what was the right type of car to have. And I was really concerned that I didn’t have the right type of car. And then I had a weird experience where a car caught on fire, and it was totaled, and I had to go replace that car. And I just obsessed over thinking about what exactly was the right type of vehicle that would send the exact kind of message that I wanted to have, because I was rolling into driveways all the time. And I knew that people were silently and subconsciously formulating their perspective of me, based on many things, but not the least of which was what type of car was showing up in their driveway. So what type of car matches the positioning that you might want to have? How do you show up dressed? Right? Do you show up wearing tennis shoes? And shorts? Do you show up in collared shirts? Always? Do you show up wearing leather dress shoes? Do you show up wearing a sport coat? Do you show up wearing a dress? You know, whatever it is? There’s no right or wrong answer. But there is intentional answers. And there’s random and unintentional unthoughtful decisions you can make here. So I encourage you to be very, very thoughtful and intentional, of course about what ever you choose right when you show up at their house. And your appointment is for 10 it gives somebody different impression. If you show up at 955 10 o’clock on the.or 1005. Those are three different experiences. Not one is right necessarily versus wrong. But there are little clues that you are giving the seller about you and who you are. And you need to be thoughtful and deliberate about exactly how it is I personally choose to be on the moment, punctual. Like if I show up into their neighborhood five minutes early, which I often do, because I’m trying to make sure I’m not going to be late, I will park around the block until one or two minutes before the appointment and then I will cruise up and I will pull up on the curb or in their driveway or whatever, and walk up and knock on the door. Exactly as the clock is striking, you know, 10am? Because that’s what we agreed to. And that’s how I choose to do it. That doesn’t mean that’s how you have to choose to do it. But that’s how I choose to do it. Now how about how do you enter their home? This, you’re probably thinking, wow, you probably walk through the door. That’s how you enter their home. But you know what I love to do this is one of my favorite examples of touch points. Because I think it’s a vivid example, and it’s just dead simple. But when somebody says, Oh, welcome, come on in, and you take one step through the threshold, you could this is what I do. pause and say, Oh, would you like me to take my shoes off? Now, I don’t really care if they want me to take their shoes off or not? I’m happy to take them off. I’m happy to leave them on. My personal preference would just be to leave them on. But I am creating an experience for them with that question. Doesn’t matter what the answer is. What matters is that they heard me asking a very, very considerate question. And that is very intentional. So that’s one of my favorite little things to do. How do you leave their home? Well, you know, a lot of times what’s funny, and maybe you’ve had this experience, if you’ve sat in a lot of living rooms or kitchen tables, like I have, you know, the seller invites you in, like, Would you like a glass of water? Or would you like a cup of coffee? And I usually just answer how I’m honestly feeling. I don’t always say yes, or say no. But if I’m thirsty or a cup of coffee sounds good. I say yes. But here’s the funny thing. What happens with that cup of coffee when you go to leave? If you’ve finished it, if you haven’t finished it, whatever. There’s a cup of coffee sitting there, and you’re about to leave. And so you have this choice, like do I just leave it sitting on the coffee table? Or sitting on the kitchen table? Do I just carry it over to the sink myself, I open up their dishwasher and start putting it in? Or here’s what I choose to do. I say, oh, what would you like me to do with this cup? Again, that question, I don’t care how they answer. I just want them to see that I wasn’t going to just leave the cup sitting there. That’s how I choose to handle it. Because that aligns with the brand that I want them to be experiencing with me through every tiny, tiny, tiny, little touch point. I often send thank you cards. I mean, I feel like you can’t send too many thank you cards in this business that are handwritten with just a nice, short, sincere message. It was nice to meet you. Thank you so much for letting me come over. I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to speak about this with you. I’m excited to continue our conversation, whatever it might be. But what’s the Thank You card look like? Does it look like just came out of a factory? Does it look like it’s sort of a handmade thing? Is it in your writing? Does it show up the day after your meeting? Does it show up a week later? little nuances or touch points? The questions you ask say a lot about you right. For instance, the shoes question the coffee cup question, but the questions you ask even about the property more directly and literally say a lot about you to write, you can create a touch point just by asking the types of questions I love. And this is what I coach my clients in the deals workshop and one on one coaching clients about, I love to ask a seller what they want to see happen. And we have sort of a special way that we do that in our program. But at the end of the day, it’s basically asking them what they would like to see happen. And when you ask somebody what they’d like to see happen, that in itself shapes their perception of you, because it shows them that you’re not just thinking about you and what you want, you’re actually thinking about them and wanting to make sure that you’re going to create and propose something that’s going to be good for them. So even asking that question, is a thoughtful indication of, of who you are. When you’re in the meeting with them. Are you sitting there scribbling on a notepad taking notes? Or are you just quietly listening and engaging in the conversation and asking thoughtful follow up questions, and basically just recording the conversation in your memory, so you can take notes later? I’m not saying there’s one way that’s right or wrong to do it. But absolutely no, those two things create very, very different experiences for the person on the other side of the conversation. If the seller is sitting on their side of the room, looking at you sitting on their couch, and you got your head down just madly scribbling notes, versus you’ve got your notebook closed, and you’re looking at them and listening and making eye contact, they have a different experience with those two different things. So I could go on for days, probably listing how the million different little touch points because there are truly a million different little touch points. And the point of this, though, is not to give you 1000 page checklist of touch points to work on. The point of this is to help train you to see that there are 1000s of little things that can all be little tools in your toolbox to have the invisible negotiation because this is happening, whether you’re tuned into it or not, and no touch point is neutral. Nothing is neutral. Everything is is either adding up to the experience you want them to have or it’s detracting from the experience you want them to have. So nothing is neutral, every tiny little thing shapes, their experience. And that experience that adds up from all those little things is the invisible negotiation where they are silently, maybe subconsciously, maybe semi consciously deciding if they like you. If they feel good about you, if the experiences they’re having with you right now would be extrapolated into the types of experiences that they would want to have as a seller, right? They’re looking at you going well, gosh, I mean, he shows up on time for meetings, he asks considerate questions about the coffee cup in his shoes, he sends a thank you card, it’s natural to just extrapolate and say that is the type of experience we would have. If we sold them our property as well during those six or eight weeks, or whatever that the escrow period is like, or even more importantly, maybe you’re talking about seller financing, or you know, you will be and these people are thinking like wow, we see how he conducts himself even how he pulls into our driveway. I think that tells us something about what the next 20 years of receiving payments would be like. So nothing is neutral touch points are insanely important. So my friends, I beg you and I recommend to you simply pay attention to your touch points, and craft each one with deliberate intention. And that is it for today’s episode of racking up rentals. So again, shownotes can be found a thoughtful rt.com/e 143 Please do us a big favor by hitting the subscribe button in the podcast app, and rating and reviewing the show and whatever platform you are listening that is super, super helpful to us. And I’m personally very grateful. And I see all of those. So thank you so much for doing that. Did you know also that we have a Facebook group for thoughtful real estate entrepreneurs, we do and you should be in it. It’s called rental portfolio wealth builders. We’d love to have you join us there. You can search for that on Facebook of course or we’ve made it super easy for you just type group thoughtful rt.com into your browser and the magic of the internet will take you straight to that page where you can join the group. If you like this episode also please take a screenshot of it and post that screenshot to Instagram and tag us. We are at thoughtful real estate on Instagram. already. I’ll see you in the next episode. Until then, this is Jeff from the thoughtful real estate entrepreneur signing off. Thanks for listening to racking up rentals where we build long term wealth by being a win win deal makers. Remember solve the person to unlock The deal and solve the financing to unlock the profits

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