On Monday this week, we closed on a property that represented many firsts for us. It was our first wholesale deal, our first turnkey rental deal, and it was our first deal with an international buyer. Because it represented so many firsts, the deal was definitely challenging to complete, but we got it done. As we’ve worked through this deal, there’s one question people keep asking us…
How the heck did you guys sell to an international buyer???
I can’t say it’s been a simple process, but I can definitely say that it all boils down to one core strategy that we’ve had. We focus on building credibility every day in everything that we do. If you’re going to sell a property to anyone, international investor or not, the first thing you need to do is build trust with your buyer. I think this is amplified to a whole different level when you’re dealing with an international investor looking to purchase property in the US. We understand this, and that’s why every day we strive to build our credibility with everything we do. This especially applies in our marketing and communications.
So here’s a few things we’ve employed that are fully aimed at being credible.
When dealing people you need to know your game, and if you don’t know what you’re talking about, you should stop talking. Think of the used car salesman that knows nothing about the car he’s trying to sell you…he’s just telling you things he thinks you want to hear to get the sale, but really all he is doing is destroying his credibility with you. Don’t be a used car salesman. Know what you’re talking about, and if you don’t then admit it, or just keep your mouth shut.
Do What You Say You’re Going to Do
I actually had to laugh the other day at the outcome of a conversation Kelly and I had. We were running late to a meeting we had setup with a lender. We were only going to be about 5 minutes late, and I knew it really wasn’t going to be a big deal, but we still weren’t going to be on time. So as Kelly was driving I sent a text to the lender to inform him we were on our way and we were going to be about 5 minutes late. When I did this, I told Kelly…this is going to build credibility with the lender.
So we made it to the meeting, and in the course of the conversation with the lender, he brought up the point that we had called ahead to let him know that we were going to be late. He told us those kind of things normally tell a lot about a person and are a good indication that when he sees those types of things in people they generally pay their bills and will be good borrowers. Kelly and I just looked at each other and smiled. It wasn’t that we were trying to pull the wool over, but we were consciously aware that we were being judged in every in our interaction with the lender. We made a point to make a good impression by notifying him up front that we were going to be late…
Always Tell The Truth
This really goes without saying. If you ever stretch the truth you’re going to get caught sooner or later, and ALL credibility will be gone. Credibility is too hard to build to just throw it all away by not telling the truth. In fact, you really need to be brutally honest.
For example, in one of the initial conversations with our international investor he was sorting through our properties, and he really liked the lowest priced property that we had. I knew this was his first international real estate purchase, and when he asked me what I thought I told him. I didn’t think that particular property was going to be a good fit for him because it really was the worst property we had available for a number of reasons, and I told him what those were. In the end I think he really respected that I directed him to the right property and didn’t take the used car salesman approach to tell him what he wanted to hear.
Building relationships with people is about interacting, and people really do want to know that you’re real. In some other dealings we have going on, we’ve been working with an Australian real estate investor. We’ve had several conversations with him over Skype, and during these conversations without exception my 4-year-old daughter always comes over and says hi. The first time she did this, I have to say that I was slightly annoyed, but the reaction it elicited really changed my tune pretty quick. Our Australian investor really took a liking to our daughter, and our conversations have really gone from a business tone to more of the conversation you might have with a good friend. Over time this one little thing has tremendously helped build the relationship with this particular investor because now when he calls, the first thing he says is “How’s Alivia”. Almost without exception Alivia will immediately pipe up and say hi in her cute little munchkin voice. It always gets a chuckle…so don’t be afraid to be real.
The 10% Rule
This is by far the most important suggestions of them all. If you take one thing away from this article, remember this point because it can and should be applied toward EVERYTHING you do in your business. Whenever you interact with someone and you commit to doing something, you automatically set up a certain level of expectation. Whether you realize it or not, you are being judged on the outcome of what you do. This is especially true if it’s one of the first times you’ve interacted with this person. So here’s our approach:
Take what you’ve committed to do…and do 10% more than that.
I cannot emphasize how powerful this is especially if you consistently do 10% more than what is expected. If you make a pattern of this in your dealings with folks (like international buyers) you are going to build huge amounts of credibility with that individual. You just need to ask yourself, how can I wow them…they are expecting X, how can I give them Y.
For example, we take this approach on how we list our properties. If you go onto realtor.com you can find a million property listings that all look the same. They may have a few crappy pictures, and a standard list of features about the property (beds, baths, sq ft, etc.) and a 3-sentence blurb about the property. Well, this gives a picture of the property, but you can really do better, so here’s what we include:
- A video of the inside and outside of the property
- A video from the street panning around to show the neighborhood
- Pictures of the inside and outside of the property
- The standard list of amenities for the property
- A cashflow analysis showing the rental income and expenses expected for the property
- A copy of the county property record
- A Google Map showing the location of the property
- If the property needs rehab we will include a repair estimate
- Guidelines about the purchase process
- Guidelines about how we will manage the rehab/turnkey process
Now, just by reading our listing hopefully we’ve answered every question a buyer might have about a property, and if we can do that, we’re definitely going to have credibility with them when they call us…it’s because we took the time to do the extra 10%.
Work With Quality People
How can you tell you’re working with a quality individual…well, they’re knowledgable, they do what they say they’re going to do, they are truthful, they are real, and they’ll go the extra mile for you…in fact, they build credibility with you just the same as you do with them. By working with quality people, your credibility is going to be enhanced because you have a powerful team working for you, and it’s going to make the work you do that much better.