Things don’t quite work like they used to when it comes to marketing for off market deals. It used to be pretty simple and straightforward but not so much anymore. Today, you must create a more memorable experience than your competition. This is true at every point of contact.
The Beauty of Off Market Deals
I have always preferred marketing directly to sellers for off market deals. When you only focus on properties on the MLS, you rarely get to have a conversation with the actual seller of the property. I believe that having these conversations gives you an opportunity to show them why they should choose you over the next guy. It’s always better when you can get face-to-face with a motivated seller.
Once you have created systems to generate leads for off market deals and you know how to create a memorable experience these folks, this is something you can repeat time after time. By staying top of mind with these sellers through your marketing campaigns, they will think of you when they are ready to sell IF you know how to create a truly memorable experience.
Think Back to the Way it Used to Be…
We had control over the sales process before the internet came along. Sellers would contact us as a result of our marketing, and the process moved forward from there. The first contact was usually made by phone, then we would go look at the property if it fit our investment criteria. They needed us, and they only knew who to call from our marketing or possibly through print ads.
Our marketing efforts were directed toward motivated sellers and their current problems. That problem almost always involved some type of financial difficulty. Our job was to identify these potentially motivated sellers and offer them a solution so they could move on with their life.
Then, things changed.
Sellers Realized they Were in the Driver’s Seat
It took a while for sellers to realize that they held all the power, but they eventually figured it out. They no longer rely on us for information like they had in the past. They could find all the information they needed online. Google was their new best friend
Today, when a seller has a property they need to sell quickly, their thought process is quite different than before. After they have come to what is often the painful realization that they need to sell their property quickly, they get to work finding a solution. Today’s sellers are very proactive. I have found that there are several distinct steps to their decision-making process.
Never forget that it is this situation (their painful problem) that fuels our opportunity to buy these off market deals.
The Internet is King
The first stop for sellers today is to jump on Google and search for information. In the past, we were their first stop, but that’s not the case today. That means we don’t always get the opportunity to get in front of sellers to educate them about their options and tell them why we are uniquely qualified to solve their problem. In fact, the opposite might be true. The company that shows up at the top of the search rankings may be a great company, but they may also just be good a SEO.
Getting on the Seller’s Short List: Nabbing Those Off Market Deals
Once the seller has done their due diligence and they feel they have gathered the information they need, the next step for them is to create a “shortlist” of potential real estate investors to contact.
Think about this for a minute. Before a motivated seller even thinks about contacting us for help:
- They have done their research; they have looked at us and our competitors up online
- They evaluate their options
- They feel like they have the information needed to take the next step.
- Some savvy sellers may have even pulled together some “supporting documents” AKA comps to justify the price they think they should get for their property.
And … we still aren’t involved in the process. Notice that they haven’t called anyone yet.
The million-dollar question at this point is, “Have you made the cut? Are you on their shortlist?
Remember, the tables have turned. The seller is in the driver’s seat. If you are one of the investors that have made the cut, the seller’s next step will be to “interview” those investors so they can choose the one they would like to work with. At this stage, they have likely chosen more than one person to invite to come to take a look at their property and make an offer. The thing to remember is that they are also checking you out at the same time.
Building Your Authority Online as a Trusted Source of Information
We know that before they ever contact us, sellers are looking for information. They begin the process of educating themselves about their particular problem or situation which might be pre-foreclosure, a job loss, divorce, death or stressful other life events. Our job is to give them what they want, and that is information and solutions! Remember that these are off market deals with much less competition so we need to stand out from our competition.
Let me ask you this; when a motivated seller searches for you on the internet what do they find? When they land on your website, what do you have to offer them? Here is a suggestion.
One thing you can do is have up to date information about common real estate problems on your website, and freebies like simple branded guides that they can download.
An example of a free resource they can download would be, “A Guide to Surviving (job loss, pre-foreclosure, the probate process, etc.”. Or, “10 Reasons to Work with an Investor”. You get the idea.
What Else Matters to Sellers?
These folks are also interested in working with someone that shares their values. This is where brand perception comes into play. What do your marketing materials and your website say about you? Do they accurately paint a picture of you and your business? Can these people relate to you?
People do business with other people that they can identify with. Show them that you’re just like them, but you happen to be in the business of solving real estate related problems. For instance, if you do volunteer work, put a little blurb about that on your website.
Remember that marketing has changed:
- The old way of marketing is: “You don't know me, but I want to buy your house”.
- The new way of marketing is: “I’m a knowledgeable, likable guy (or gal). Let’s get to know each other then I will offer to buy your house.
Why Sellers Work with Investors
Most sellers work with investors because they are looking for a quick, hassle-free solution to their problem. In most cases, for one reason or another, they don’t want to list the property on the MLS. Here are some common problems that cause sellers to work directly with real estate investors:
- Job loss
- Job transfer
- Absentee owner
- Tired landlord
- Inherited property
Try to think of all the problems motivated sellers could be facing and create information to address those problems, then point them to information on that topic. Become a trusted resource.
The Importance of a FAQ Section on Your Website
Having a detailed FAQ section on your website is s another way to stand out. This allows you to get out in front of questions sellers may have about your process. You can even address potential objections they may when it comes to working with you. Brainstorm ideas for information and resources YOU would need in each one of those situations, and then create that information and those resources for folks that visit your website. You want to think outside the box here. What might they need to know that they are unaware of?
Eliminate Second Guessing
Sellers have a way of second-guessing their original choice. Creating an experience that is memorable will greatly lessen the chances they will begin to question their original choice (which was to work with you). Give them what they want; then give them more. Create resources for them so they become interested in you and the solution you can provide to their problem. Create an experience that wows them.
Simple Ways to be Memorable
These off market deals are so valuable, it pays to go the extra mile with these motivated sellers.
Here are some simple but tried and true ways to stand out.
1. Be on time. Nothing makes you look bad like showing up late.
2. Be prepared. Know the home values and the comps for that area.
3. Look over the notes you took when you initially talked with the seller. They will be impressed that you took the time to listen and remember what they told you about their particular situation.
4. Ask a lot of questions.
5. Be a good listener. Sellers will often tell you “what else” they need in addition to cash to make the deal work.
6. Once you’ve finished looking at the property, tell the seller exactly what they can expect next.
7. Always do what you say you are going to do.
8. Use a service like Bonjoro to make a quick “thank you” video that you can email to them.
9. Follow up with an actual handwritten thank you note that includes your business card.
Make it easy for them to work with you. In addition to having a contact form on your site they can fill out, they need to be able to reach you by phone, email or text you if they have other questions.
Don’t forget to get your copy of my “Quick Start Marketing Plan Template” right here on the blog.
What do you currently do in your business to stand out from your competition? Let me know.
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