5 Proven Ways to Instantly Uncover Seller Motivation On the Phone

cody hofhine real estate real estate wholesaling seller motivation wholesaling Oct 20, 2020

Hold the phone...

You’re wasting your own time and money on leads that will never pan out if you hop on a call — or head to an appointment — with a seller and don’t say the magic words to find their motivation.

Stabbing in the dark without a proven plan to uncover their unique motivation is a fatal flaw that robs rookie (and seasoned) wholesalers of deals all the time

Whether real estate is your side hustle or a permanent escape from your day job, you'll never close enough deals to turn a consistent profit without the skills to recognize (and capitalize) on seller motivation.

With the advice below, one simple phone call can tell you everything you need to know about a seller, so you don’t waste another second chasing a bad lead.

Let’s dive in...


Let Them Lead

Don’t dive in with a bunch of questions. Instead, kick off the call by letting them lead the conversation.

After all, no one likes a salesperson. Studies show that annoying sales behaviors immediately turn people off and in our case, send leads running the other way.

Good news is you’re not a salesperson. Not if you capitalize on this first tip: To get real answers you have to be real with them. 

Stay on the right track by placing their needs ahead of your own. Making it clear that you're there to listen will pave a path for them to speak to their motivations more naturally. 

As their story unfolds, think to yourself:

Are they distressed, is the property distressed, or is it a combination of both? 

The ability to answer that question will help you guide the conversation and stick to the right talking points that almost “force” them to want to work with you

Skip this and you’ll be speaking 2 different languages throughout the rest of your conversation. And despite your best efforts, you’ll never get a deal done.


Instantly Analyze the Property Over the Phone

Now that they’ve had a chance to speak their mind and build rapport with you, the lightning-fast assessment below will help you determine how distressed the property is — and therefore how motivated they may be based on the property alone. 

Here's the 7 key questions you must ask to analyze the property over the phone:

  • How old is the property?
  • Is there permanent harm to the infrastructure? 
  • Does the yard have similar issues?Has there been vandalism? 
  • Is there furniture or belongings left behind? 
  • Is the property inhabitable? 
  • What’s the neighborhood like?

Consider these distress signals killer motivation by way of bills, fines, violations, and more. 

Homeowners can’t afford the ongoing costs and headaches of distressed properties. Instantly revealing their motivation and giving you ammunition to get your price.

The more of these distress signals that pop up, the more motivated they’ll be to sell. 


Bring Up The Price, But Don’t Let It Bring You Down

So many wholesalers give up when they hear the seller spit out a number above their price.

Don’t hang up the phone based on price alone.

Believe it or not, there’s still hope...

Just because they have high expectations, doesn't mean you can't work them down. Even if they have an outrageous number, you might be able to get them to bend by finding out how they got to their number, and pointing out the blind spots in their equation.

 Start by asking these 3 questions to find out how they got their number: 

  • Did they reach this number through a tax assessment?
  • Did they receive an appraisal from refinancing? 
  • Did they seek advice from a real estate agent or friend? 

  These questions position you as an expert, so later, your price doesn’t come out of left field. And they can quickly shine a light on any flaws in their logic. That’s not to say you’re going to call them out — but you may be able to get them to think differently about their price.

Well they’re sharing their equation, run your own. You can easily calculate property value in 5 minutes or less to see if you guys are in the same ballpark.

And if you’re still not there, keep going. There’s more you can offer them to get that price down...


Talk About Timing


Now that you know their price, timing can be everything. And in this context, it’s a problem only you can solve. 

Over the past 5 years, studies show that it takes the average home more than 90 days to sell when following traditional real estate methods (think listing to closing). That’s 3 months that some sellers literally don’t have.

Their need for speed is motivation you can’t pass up. And something you can capitalize on to drive prices down.

 When a seller has to get out of a home quickly, it’s typically due to unique personal circumstances and situations that have them in a bind. 

Here are a few key indicators that time is of the essence:

  •  Divorce. According to recent studies, 40 to 50% of married couples in the U.S. file for divorce. Divorce involves the splitting of assets and an immediate change to living arrangements. In some cases, the homeowner needed to move out yesterday. 
  • Relocation. Leaving town for a new gig can require the seller to get moving fast. With tight timelines to meet, these individuals are remarkably motivated to get their place sold swiftly. As an added bonus of working with a wholesaler, they can start their new chapter with some hard cash.
  • Foreclosure: Many factors can lead to foreclosure, but the main reason is consistent defaulting on mortgage payments. This is a ticking time bomb for homeowners. Their motivation is abundant because they can’t keep footing the bills.  

 And there’s more:

The Working-From-Home Economy is here to stay. It’s going to last long after 2020’s coronavirus pandemic (and any future pandemics that arise). People will be eager to make serious moves to their desired destinations, because theoretically, they can get the job done from anywhere. So they may be more anxious than ever to move out.

 All that to say, motivation can be all about timing. And timing can drive their price down.

 They need a quick close and you're the problem solver to help them beat the clock — it’s just going to cost them.


Identify Their Key Drivers

At this point, you’ve done the groundwork of sifting through the seller’s situation and getting to know the ins and outs of their motivation. The building blocks are in place. So what now? 

Prioritize their motivation.

The highest-priority signs of motivation are the key driver(s) that will get you your price.

Here’s some hypothetical scenarios to help you understand how to identify key drivers:

Amy is going through a divorce...

...after sharing her home with her husband for 10 years. There are memories, items, and an ongoing list of repairs that are weighing heavy on her emotionally and physically. 

What’s Amy’s driving motivation? She needs to get out and on with her life. Timing is her key driver

Jim is spending a fortune…

...on a home he doesn’t live in. Jim is exhausted from repair after repair on his childhood home that he inherited from his deceased mom. No one has lived there for years and he’s invested a lot trying to fix up the property. Nothing is working. Instead of being a beacon of hope, it’s become a hopeless burden. 

What’s Jim’s driving motivation? Jim is footing the bills on an uninhabitable property. His key driver is two-fold: 1. Stop bleeding money. 2. Sell the home as-is. Bingo: You can help with both.

Exhibit C) MIchelle is going abroad...

...for a new job. She’d love to go the traditional real estate route, but that simply isn’t an option as work starts Monday. Having some hard cash for this new journey is a smart investment. 

What’s Michelle’s key driver? Time and money. She has to get out and she’d love to have cash on hand for her next endeavor.

Simple examples: But as you can see, by pinpointing your prospects top motivations you instantly become the solution to their problems. And the only way to do so is to start by listening, and advance through the questions above.


Always Ask The Right Questions With Our Motivated Sellers Phone Script

This blog quickly covered the areas you should focus on to uncover seller motivation.But unless you’re going to print it out, keep it handy, and read at light-speed while you’re on calls, it’s more of a website worth revisiting than a tool that can help you close deals in a pinch.

Download my free Motivated Seller Phone Script to get the exact questions my team and I ask sellers to quickly uncover their motivation. 

This script helps us close 10-15 deals a month. 

It’s a time-saver, money-maker, and no-brainer. And it’s all yours — for free.