Steps To The Signature

Steps to the Signature

By Tom Hopkins

When you get an offer on one of your listings, it’s wise to have a third party reach out to the seller to arrange a meeting where you’ll present it. You do this so the seller can’t immediately hammer you with questions about the amount and terms. It’s natural for them to be excited at this juncture, but if the offer is anything below what they have listed the property for, you risk having them be upset even before you sit down with them.

I do recommend, if at all possible, that you meet in person. If they’re unhappy with any aspect of the offer and you’re on the phone, they can hang up on you. When you’re present, you’re harder to get rid of and have a better chance of persuading them – if the offer is a sound one.

Here are a few strategies I employed successfully when I closed 365 homes in a single year.

  1. Sit at a table with them across from you. Try not to let the sellers sit across from each other where they can non-verbally communicate without you seeing them. They may work against you.
  2. Compliment them on the condition of the home, if applicable. Thank them for having the home in such good condition that it showed beautifully, resulting in you getting this proposal. If you’re warm and nice with them before you go into your presentation, they’ll feel more comfortable with you.
  3. Be assumptive and begin with bottom-line items. These are minor things they’ll agree to which will help carry the major decision. Examples are possession dates and personal property. This is where you cover any personal items the buyer would like included that may not have been on the listing sheet, such as a metal storage shed, fireplace equipment, washer/dryer, or a swing set. Cover them this way, “First of all, Sara and Mike, I want you to know that I have a very nice family who wants your home. They are agreeable with the 30-day possession date. If everything else is agreeable, is that still acceptable?” They’ll say “yes” because it’s one of their qualifications on the listing sheet. When they say “yes” to this point, they’ll mentally start moving out of the home.
  4. Cover the buyers’ qualifications. People buy people. Go over enough appropriate information to assure them the people can qualify for the necessary financing.
  5. Hand them the purchase agreement and watch their expressions. What they do now is so important. They’ll either be with you or against you. Don’t lose your composure if they get upset. And, whatever you do, don’t fight with them. Let them vent their anger and get it all out before you continue.
  6. Don’t purposely upset the seller. By this I mean, don’t knock the home. If the buyer offered less than the listed amount because they didn’t feel the home was worth that much, don’t tell the seller that.
  7. Keep reminding the seller that you are working for them – that you only want what’s best for them. Use the words fiduciary responsibility. That’s what you have toward the seller – a position of trust. Tell them you wouldn’t jeopardize that trust by taking an offer that’s drastically lower than what they were asking.
  8. Keep reselling the benefits of your proposal. Don’t be afraid to be repetitious. You may have to repeat yourself. The entire basis of selling is repetition. They may not hear you the first time or even the third time if they’re thinking about the money. Repeat the benefits until they have an effect on the sellers. If they ask whether you think the buyer will increase their offer, use this phraseology: “I don’t know. All I do know is that I have an executory document which is not binding at this point.” If they need further explanation, tell them, “If I go back to the buyer and they’ve cooled off about wanting this home, we could lose the entire transaction.”
  9. If pressure builds, ask for a glass of water. In other words, if they start getting too tense, change the subject for a little relief then begin again. Break the pressure. Then go back into your presentation.
  10. If they interrupt you, don’t start where you left off. Instead, sit patiently and do a benefit summary before continuing. Go over everything that they’ve agreed upon so far to get them back emotionally to where they were.
  11. Use minor closes. The one I’ve found to be most successful is the “Two buyers for your property today” minor close. You would only use this when you have a good proposal for the home and they’re fighting you.

Here’s how it goes: “John, Mary, we’ve been discussing this for some time, and I’ve been unable to get you as excited about this transaction as I am. I’m sad about that. You see, at this point, we really have two buyers for your home. I was hoping my buyer, the Jones’, would own your home today. They’re wonderful people and really love your home. I knew when I came in that one of our buyers would own this home tonight. I wish it were the Jones’. You see, if you can’t accept their proposal, then you’ve suddenly become the buyer of your home. Do you really feel that you’d pay what they’re offering for the home today?” I’ve had them agree that they wouldn’t pay that amount for their home and go ahead and accept the proposal. You have to be warm and sincere when you use this close. If you come off smart-alecky, they’ll destroy you.

These are just a few of the simple nuances in the art of selling real estate. When you apply them, you’ll notice a difference in the results you’re getting.


Tom Hopkins is world-renowned as America’s No.1 sales trainer. For over 30 years, he has helped millions of sales and business professionals around the world serve more people through proven and effective selling skills. For more information, contact Tom Hopkins International by calling (800) 528-0446 or visit his website at www.tomhopkins.com.