Seller Negotiation Hacks 6: 7 Jedi Mind Tricks to Use in Person
You know I pride myself in being a geek, so I had to make the series finale an excuse to talk about Star Wars… the best movie (or anything) EVER.
For all you negotiating rookies (or should I say Wookiees?), I’m letting you in on 7 Jedi mind tricks that persuade sellers to accept a lower price.
For this lesson to be effective, you need to be up to speed on the previous lessons. So if you missed them or just want a refresher, here ya go:
Now let’s build on these strategies by learning some Jedi mind tricks…
Jedi Move #1: Can I Have a Glass of Water?
“Can I have a glass of water” works well if they’re living in the property. I mention I’m really thirsty and ask for a glass of water. I know if the seller serves me that water that I become a guest in their home – not just a random investor.
Typically, when I drink my water I lead them to living room. Sometimes I even I sit next to them… It depends on the vibe, you’re kinda “courting” the seller.
It’s not about the property, it’s more about the plans. I help them envision what life is going to be like when they don’t have this problem property anymore. After I ask them for some water, I get up and I say:
“Okay. Thank you for the water. Now do you think you can give me a grand tour?”
I break out my yellow legal pad and my red pen. I ask them to point out any repairs. You would be surprised at how many times the seller will point out every single problem.
I don’t say a single thing. I just follow them around, but I make subtle faces and noises like,
Jedi Mind Trick #2: The Ugliest Room in the House
After the tour, I do a strategy called “The Ugliest Room in the House.” What I do is, well, take them back to the ugliest room in the house.
I then review ALL of the notes scribbled in red ink on the yellow legal pad. This is a great reminder of all the work the house needs. Almost every house you buy is because:
The owners are in a distressed situation,
The house is in a distressed situation.
This Jedi move always works well with distressed properties because there is always that gaudy pink room, mold issue, fire damage and so on…
Jedi Mind Trick #3: Levels
The next strategy is “Levels.” I take them back to the living room…
I always let the seller position themselves first. When they sit – I sit. I sit right next to them if possible. If they sit on the couch, I sit on the couch. If they sit on the floor, I sit on the floor. If the seller sits, you sit. If the seller stands, you stand. I call this “Levels” because you stay on their level. You never loom over them like you are better than them or an authority figure.
I once went to a house where the seller was a hoarder. She had crap everywhere and 3 dogs running around pooping on the floor. She sat in the only clear spot on the couch. I had to make a decision:
I could loom over her…
I could pop-a-squat on the floor, sit in dog poo and get the deal.
So, you ask, did I sit in dog poo? Hell ya, I sat in dog poo – and I got the deal.
“Levels” is so important when you are establishing a deal. You have to make conscious decisions of your transitioning and how you appear to others. Think of it as mirroring and modeling.
Jedi Mind Trick #4: The Final Price Drop Attempt
Next, I tell them I am really excited to be working with them and that I hope I can help them move into that condo, get back East or whatever…
“I know you asked for $90,000, but I want to make sure, before I give that to him, that is the absolute lowest number you can give me today?”
I put it out there one more time. You would be surprised after building all the rapport, how many times a seller that once told me they wanted $100,000 will all-the-sudden say $40,000.
It’s amazing how many times you don’t have to negotiate, so don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Don’t start talking about numbers before you ask one final time:
“What is the lowest possible number you would be willing to accept there today?”
Jedi Mind Trick #5: Going for the Close
Whatever price they say, that is my starting point. Then I say:
“I feel confident that we can make a deal here today, but after walking the property and staring at this legal pad, here is where we need to be at to get the deal done today. Do we have a deal?” (I literally make the offer and reach out my hand to shake their hand. I am usually sitting next to them).
I write the number on the yellow pad, circle it and show it to them. I am literally going for the close. It’s a 50/50 shot at this point. They will either take it, huff and puff, say it’s too low or they just won’t be able to wrap their brain around it.
Jedi Mind Trick #6: Meeting in the Middle
But, let’s say they are dead set on getting $90,000 (just to be the devil’s advocate). You say:
“You know what, I really like you, so let me do this… Let me go outside and call my partner and see if he will take this. While I am out there, think of all the reasons and benefits we bring to the table, how many repairs are needed, just really think about it because I am really going to work hard for you to get this deal done today.”
You step out for a while and make a call to your “partner.” You come back in and say:
“I have some great news, Mr. and Mrs. Somebody… my partner is really excited to do business here with you today. Do you want to hear it?”
You get the, “Yes.” So then you say:
“You are at $90,000. I understand why and we want to make a deal that pleases you, but we are at $60,000. This is the number we need to make an honest living. But I think my partner is feeling a little happy today or something, because he’s willing to do something he never does – take the deal at $70,000 here today.
I have already written “$70,000” on the legal pad and circled it. I now show it to them and reach out my hand for them to shake again. This works 95% of the time.
That’s like the world’s greatest close, right?
Jedi Mind Trick #7: The Columbo
Let’s say it’s the 5% of the time when they just won’t budge – even after you have been on the phone with your partner and gotten him to come up in price. You have told the seller it’s the number that is your best and going to be what it takes to get the deal done.
They still want $90,000. Here is the face saver – it’s called “The Columbo.”
“You know what Mr. or Mrs. Seller, I feel really defeated. We were so close and I really like you.”
This is when they say they really like you too, and you hug it out, or whatever…
Then you thank them, shake their hand and when you are leaving and opening the door, (this is when you go for “The Columbo”) you say:
“You know what, Mr. Seller…I can’t leave here today without making a deal. If I can get my partner to come up, and I am not saying I can; we talked about a 10 day close…But I am not getting that price, so would you be willing to wait up to 25 days so he can move around some cash? On top of that, we are going to have to get our contractors in here. So I just need to know you are going to be flexible about letting them in to start a repair bid. Is that okay with you?”
They usually agree. Then I go out, make the phone call and come back and say:
“Great news. We have a deal.”
You now push the close as far out as you can. You put your inspection period in business days because it is really important that you buy as many days as you can. Tell them there is a 10 day-inspection period. This is important because 10 days is really 14 days in business days.
So… I know that’s a lot of info, but fear not. Let’s recap…
A Jedi Must Have the Deepest Commitment, the Most Serious Mind.
Once you’re in the door, and you’ve already done “The Opener” and established an initial “ice breaking” connection. Now it’s time to deploy:
- Can I Have a Glass of Water – Ask politely and sit close to them. If the seller starts to serve you water as if you’re a guest in their home, you’re now in the posture of a friendly house guest.
- The Ugliest Room in the House – Ask for a tour with highlights of any problems/repairs needed. Make subtle noises and take notes to remind them the house is “yucky.” After the tour, take them to the ugliest room and review ALL repairs/bad spots. This primes them for a price reduction based on the condition/price of repairs.
- Levels – Never let yourself loom ominously over the seller; instead position yourself on the same level. This is a “mirroring and modeling” technique. This makes you a friendly equal.
- The Final Price Drop Attempt – Ask one more time if the previously discussed price is really the best they can do. You’d be surprised at how often the price can be suddenly dropped again here.
- Going for the Close – Write your price in red ink on a yellow legal pad, circle it, and offer them a handshake.
- Meeting in the Middle – Go outside, call your partner and come back in with the good news of your partner’s crazy revised offer.
- The Columbo – If they still won’t budge, offer them more money and push the deal out as far as you can.
I hope you guys have as much success as I have using these Jedi mind tricks.
Until next time…
Keep it classy,
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