Posted on: February 26, 2018

If you are in the wholesaling business, it is highly likely that you have struggled to find motivated sellers at one point or another. This is especially true if you are just starting out. However, many find this process challenging because they don’t even know how to determine a seller’s motivation to begin with.

If this is something that also rings true for you, then consider this episode a must-listen! In today’s show, Cody shared invaluable information and insights when looking for motivated sellers. He also shared the exact script he uses to get to the bottom of things and effectively find out what a seller’s motivation truly is.

Have a pen and paper ready. There’s plenty to take note of in this episode!

Other key takeaways:

  • Why you shouldn’t book an appointment until you know the seller’s true motivation
  • The importance of asking open-ended questions
  • How to get the information you want by assuming the positive
  • Why you should ask a question that will trigger a “no” answer
  • How to properly end each conversation so you’ll earn the seller’s trust and confidence

Finding motivated sellers can get easy once you know how to effectively determine motivation. Apply, implement, and practice the insights and techniques you will learn from this episode and it won’t be long until finding motivated sellers becomes second nature to you.

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Episode Transcription

Cody Hofhine: Hey guys, Cody Hofhine here. I’m super excited to talk to you today. There’s a lot of questions that I’ve seen lately that inspired me, and really want to do this to help each one of you out to have this same question, and the question that I hear a lot is how do we find motivated sellers? And that is such a good question. I’m glad you’re asking that, because I’m really of the mindset, the belief that we’re here to find deals, not create deals. And so how do we find those deals? It’s 1,000% tied to finding motivated sellers, and so there’s different ways. I mean obviously you have to market to them and know what list to market to. So I will talk about that more in another video of how to market for motivated sellers. But really at this second, when you have someone on the phone, someone that’s reaching out to you, someone that’s calling you, how do you determine if they truly are motivated? That’s what I’m going to be talking about. So let’s deep dive that. Let’s get into this right now. The no fluff, no BS zone.
How do you find motivation right now from the calls that are coming in. How do you determine if you should go on the appointment and spend time with them? Let’s go over that. So many times we’re focused on the wrong thing and so let’s go right to it right now. A lot of times when I ask the question, what did you find out or how did you find out there’s a motivation or how do you know there wasn’t motivation? And a lot of times I get the same answer. Why was that seller not motivated? If I asked you that question, what would you say? A lot of times people will come back and say, “Oh, it’s because the price was too high. They said that it was 200,000 and that’s what their home’s worth, so they’re not motivated.”
But I would ask you to remember what is price attached to? Is price attached to the home or is price attached to the seller? Price is attached to the home. I don’t care about the home. I don’t care what price the home is. I don’t care if it’s four bedroom, two bathroom, I don’t care about anything about that. What I care about is determining motivation. That’s what’s huge. So remember that. Don’t tie everything about motivation to the house. Remember it’s about them. It’s not about house. Wholesaling is all to do about the motivated seller. It’s very little to nothing to do with real estate. A lot of people think we’re in it for just the home, the home, the home. The home is the byproduct of finding a motivated seller.
So first and foremost, don’t tie motivation to a price, because price is attached to a home. And I don’t care about homes, I care about motivated sellers. So the big thing you want to do when you’re on the phone with these motivated sellers is first and foremost, hopefully you have some kind of script where you’re asking questions that do tie to the home, that you’re asking questions about the home. But really one of my favorite questions and it’s part of our script. Question number four is, this sounds like a great home. Why are you considering selling it? Now think about that for a minute. I don’t care about the home. I don’t care, like, hey, how many bedrooms is it? How many bathrooms is it? What are you going to ask for? What are you selling it for? I don’t care about that. I want to know why are they selling the home? Not what price are they selling it for.
I want to know why they called me on my postcard or on my bandit sign or on my Facebook ad or on my paperclip. Why are they reaching out to me? Why are they selling this home? That’s what you’ve got to determine. And so with this question, it now gets to the why. It’s not about the home. It’s now about the seller. So remember that. Find motivation by talking about the seller, not the home. And I know this is so hard because we think instantly everything has to do with real estate. It has to do with the home. I’m telling you right now, forget about the home. That’s the byproduct. Remember what we need to do. We’re finding motivated sellers. We’re not finding properties, okay? We’re finding motivated sellers. So ask the question. The question I’ll say it again is, sounds like a great home. So after they’ve told you a little bit about the home, you’re now just going to ask the why.
It sounds like a great home. Why are you considering selling it? This now lets them dive into the why, and maybe upfront because they don’t know you or you haven’t spent enough time. Maybe they’re going to say something really quick like, “Oh, we just want to upgrade. Oh, it’s just not the right area for us.” Stay on this question. Even if it means 30 minutes, 40 minutes. I don’t want to book an appointment based off of, “I want to sell my house and it’s a four bedroom, three bathroom,” and I’m going on an appointment because, oh, they want to sell a house. Let’s see if we can strike a deal. I’m not booking that appointment until I know there’s motivation, and so I’m going to stay on this question over and over again.
So it sounds like your upgrading. It sounds like what you just told me. Upgrading, what does that mean to you? Are you moving to a different city? Are you moving just down the street? What does that look like? “Oh well, we’re actually going to be moving from Utah and we’re now moving to Arizona.” Okay. There could be some motivation there. Instead of being on the scale of maybe one to 10, maybe now instead of one, they’re at a two and a half or a three. Right. They’re moving out of state. And so now, does that give you straight motivation that they’re ready to sell? Motivated? Like I’m motivated, I need to sell quick. No, not yet. So what I’ll do is ask open ended questions. So you say you’re moving to Arizona. Tell me a little bit about that. That’s I ask. I asked those questions all of the time.
So you want them to deep dive more into their situation. What’s going on? So here’s how you’d say it, one more time. You’d say, “So it sounds like you’re moving to Arizona. Tell me a little bit more about that.” And now it’s an open ended question. It’s not a yes, no question. It’s now something they have to talk about. Right? So let them start talking. “Well we’re moving down to Arizona cause my mom and dad live down there.” And now also you can ask another question. “Your mom and dad live down there. So is it something you’re living in the same neighborhood as them? Is it something that you’re living in the same city with them?” And then start talking again, and let them keep talking? “Well, yeah, yeah. We’re going to be actually living with my parents.” Now, you just went from a motivation of a three to a five or a six.
Now they’re moving in with mom and dad. So now what you can do is ask more questions, find the motivation. Why are they moving in with mom and dad? So what’s fun is you can always assume positive for people. I would much rather do that approach than any other approach out there. Get positive with people. If I were blatantly to ask you today, and I said, “Hey, you mind telling me, how much money do you make?” You might tell me, “None of your business. How much I make is none of your business.” Like you don’t need to know that. Right? So if I ask it the wrong way, you might come across as like, “Yeah, that’s none of your business.” But what if I turn that same question just a little bit and just twist the verbiage of it, just a little bit, asking almost the same question but in just a little bit different way.
What if I were to say this? “Man, every time I see you, I now notice you’re driving a BMW. Every time I see you’ve got a new pair of shoes on, you’ve got to be making like $500,000 a year.” I’ve done this conversation with multiple people just to show you how they can give up their income. The people that you do that to, because you assumed positive. You assumed, Oh my goodness, they’re making a lot of money. “Man, you’re driving a BMW. You must be making $500,000 a year.” “Actually, Cody, I only make about $125,000 a year.” Ah, I got what I wanted. I got the answer, but not asking it, “Hey, how much money do you make?” That’s none of your business. But if you assume positive, people will then tell you the truth. So on this situation, maybe they’re moving with mom and dad, assume positive, instead of just asking, “Why are you moving in with mom and dad?”
Maybe they’re moving in because someone lost a job, and they’re not going to be just so easy to tell you that. So if you ask them, “Why are you moving in with mom and dad?” They might tell you, “That’s none of your business.” But if you can now re tie that question, now think about it. Make that question almost the same question, just worded a little bit different. Assume positive. So if you can now go out there and say, “Hey, you’re probably living with your mom and dad because you have a nice big house getting built. Arizona’s under a lot of construction right now. You must have a nice big like $500,000 house being built for you.” And then just sit there. And they might say, “Actually…” You know what? They’re going to tell you the truth now, because you assumed this positive for them. Now they’re coming out and they’re going to tell you the truth.
“Actually, you know what? We’re moving in with mom and dad because my husband lost his job.” Boom. Now you just went from a six motivation to a nine or a 10 motivation. Now I’m booking the appointment to go with them. Okay? So here’s a couple things. Remember when you’re talking to sellers, it’s not about the house. Forget the house. The house. Who cares? It’s all about finding motivation, not finding out the details about the home. Forget the home, forget the price. Forget the square footage. Forget the new roof. Forget everything. Yes, you can ask those questions. But what we’re looking for is motivation. Remember that? Because if you can find motivation, the byproduct is there’s real estate attached to it, and you might get a contract that allows you to purchase the real estate. Okay? But it’s finding motivation.
That’s what you’ve got to find. That’s what you’ve got to be looking for. And that’s what you got to be working for, every time you’re on that phone. Now, a lot of people out there will tell you, have those yes questions. Those yes questions that lead people to say, yes. “Oh, you’re looking to sell fast?” “Yes.” “You’re looking for a fair offer?” “Yes.” And that it leads to an obviously, “Hey, let’s do business.” “Yes.” I’m telling you right now, that is an absolute crock. I have never seen where you ask questions where they say yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and then whatever question you ask, now they’re going to say yes. And whatever price you give them, they’re just going to say yes because you’ve been prepping them on saying yes, yes, yes, yes 50 times. Do not do that approach. I would actually tell you to go for no.
That’s when the negotiation begins. So ask questions that trigger a no. That’s what you’re looking for. This looks like you want to sell your home for 20,000 and get out of there quick, and they might come back super quick because the home’s worth 200,000. “No, there’s no way I’d sell this home for 20,000.” But here’s what you did. By having them say no, A, it lets you know they’re listening. B, it lets them know in their mind they’re in control of this conversation. That’s great. You want them to feel control. You don’t want them to feel like they’re talking to you and that they’re getting bullied or pushed around. We don’t do that. That’s not why we’re in the business. We’re here to make a win win, right? But you’ve got to let them feel control of the conversation and the answer no, that’s what helps them feel control.
And there’s a great book. In fact, it’s called “Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss, that teaches you this same process. It’s chapter four. So if you guys are looking for a good negotiation book, it’s called “Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss, and it’s chapter four. And it talks about getting them to say no, because that’s the beginning stages of negotiation. So if you can say, “Hey, this house is worth 200,000. Hey, it sounds like you want to get out of this quick and just sell for 20 grand?” “No, that’s not at all what I want to do.” Now they’re in control. Right? But you now just got the beginning process of negotiation. Now you can say, “Okay, so I’m actually confused because this is a great area.” Ask the hard questions. So many people are afraid of asking sellers the hard questions. I’m telling you, ask hard questions.
If you want to find motivation, you’ve got to ask the hard questions that no other wholesaler or no other investor is asking. They just want to be the only option, the only option. I’m here to serve people regardless if I’m the option or not. And so here’s what you do to find motivation, is you’ve got to ask the hard questions, “Man, this seems like a great home. Why are you considering selling it?” Maybe they’re like, “Oh, because we want to downsize,” and I’d say, “Man, but this really seems like a great home. Have you considered listing this with just an agent.” And then just zip your mouth and just listen. Ask the hard questions. So many times people are so afraid to tell the different options out there. I’m not, because if truly the best option for them is to list it with a real estate agent and they’re going to make a lot more money, that’s the route I’m going to help them understand as well.
This game is not about game of coercing or convincing people why you are the only option. No, no, no. For some people you are an option, and for a majority you’re not the option, and that’s okay. Still serve those individuals where you’re still not the option. So get those hard questions out of the way. Otherwise you’re wasting your time. Get them out of the way right now on the phone before you go on the appointment. “Have you considered listing this with a real estate agent?” And maybe they’re going to say, “I hate realtors. I don’t want anything to do with them.” Ask the next tough question. Ask them, “Well, have you considered keeping this as a rental? This looks like a great area and you might get great rents out of this.” “I don’t want to be a rental.”
And just zip your lips after that and see what they say. Maybe they’ll say, “Yeah, you know what? Maybe I do want this as a rental.” Perfect. You just helped them out. And maybe they’ll say, “I don’t want to be a landlord. I hear people trash houses. I don’t want to deal with tenants. I don’t want to deal with broken toilets and smoking meth in my house. I don’t want to deal with that.” Well guess what? By asking the tough questions you just almost gave yourself as the only option. They don’t want to list it with a realtor. They don’t want to keep it as a rental. So what do they want? Well, they’re going to have to sell it to an investor it sounds like, and here you are. So ask the tough questions because it starts to narrow it down to you being an option. But go into this knowing that you’re not the only option.
You’re not here to train people that only go through you. And here’s one last bit of advice before you book any appointment. And I want this to be because it’s out of your heart. If you’re not this person, don’t use it. But if you’re a person of integrity and honor and value and honesty and charity and Christ like attributes, if you’re that person, here’s how I end every one of my phone calls because I truly do mean this. I always want to serve the individual I’m talking to whether they use me or not, whether I’m the option or not.
And so I tell them every time I’m on the phone or my team is on the phone, I end every single phone call this way, or my team ends every single phone call this way, and it’s like this, “Hey Mrs. Seller, I’m going to come out to your property and regardless if I’m the option or not, whether I purchase this home or whether this is a good fit for me or a good fit for you or not, I am still going to help you out to find your best solution, so that you can move on to whatever it is that you’re looking for in life. You’ve got my word.”
Now what you’ve done by doing that is A, you let them know they’ve got your best interest at hand. You have your heart in it to truly just serve these individuals, and there’s a lot of times where we don’t get the deal, but we’re still sitting in that appointment finding the best solution for these individuals. If I’m not the option, I’m still there serving them to help them find the best option, and because of that, I’ve gotten plenty of referrals because of that. So serve people regardless if you’re the option, and if you will end every phone call letting them know exactly how you are, and your true nature is truly to serve those people like mine is, then I would end your phone call saying, “I’m going to come out there and look at your home and regardless if I purchase it or not, I’m still going to help you find out what the best option is.”
And what you’ve done is now, a lot of people don’t want to show a lot of people their homes. If they can find someone that’s honest with integrity and with value, and that’s trustworthy and they can feel that with you on the phone, what you’ve done is you just cut out all your competition. There’s a lot of people mailing to that same person and maybe she has four postcards for three other investors. You’re one of four. Now what you’ve done is you’ve made it where she doesn’t need to book an appointment or even call these three investors because you are either going to purchase her house, or you’re going to help her find what is the best option, even if you aren’t the one that’s going to purchase it. And if you will do that, you will truly have them really wanting you to purchase their home. And you’ll start to really find motivation. People do business with people they trust. Be that trustworthy listening individual that’s listening to what they want and see how you can become their solution.
But remember, this has very little to do with real estate. It’s all about motivated sellers. It’s not about finding a home. It’s not about finding a four bedroom, two bath. It’s about finding someone that needs you to help them out in a bad situation that you could be an answer to their problem. You can be the solution to their problem. And if you’ll remember these things, you will do more deals this year, next year, and every year going forward. You’ll be better at wholesale and you’ll be a better investor, and your competition won’t have anything to do with you because you are going to stand out. You’re going to differentiate yourself from every other investor out there that’s just worried about the deal, the deal to deal. Worry about the individual, worry about the seller. Find out ways to help them. Whether you’re the option or not, continue to serve them, and I can promise you the results will follow. Thank you, guys. Take care.

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