Remember the T.V. ads a few years ago from one of the major telephone companies? Every time they appeared on the screen I reached for the tissues. Each one told a story that touched my heart. They were not about selling long distance service but about the relationships that were maintained by the use of their service.

As real estate investors our job is to develop and maintain relationships. We come in contact with people every day who need to sell their house, are interested in purchasing a home or maybe even a tenant looking for a rental. Each person has a problem to be solved or a need to be filled. Chapters could be written on each of these and more…but for now we’re concentrating on the keys to building a relationship with motivated sellers.

Real estate investing is a relationship business. People do business with people they trust and respect. Here are a few simple suggestions to help build relationships that will reach out and touch your seller.

1. First contact. The way your handle the initial phone conversation with the seller will set you aside from the majority of other investors who just jump into “ what are you asking for the property?”. This is your first opportunity to learn about the seller on a personal level before you ever get to asking how many baths and bedrooms . The information from this conversation will create the foundation of trust that will pay off in your face to face meeting.

2. Plant seeds. Many of the conversations with sellers will not result in a property that will fit into your investment plan…but creating a good relationship with the seller may result in the seller calling you later if he has a property to sell or referring another seller to you.

3. Fertilize the relationship. Follow up with a hand written note or card. People like to feel that they matter.

4. Connect with the seller. Imagine how good the seller will feel if you begin your meeting by saying, “ Hi John. How did Mary’s dance recital go on Saturday?” You’ve now immediately connected with the seller on a personal level so they feel they are now talking with a friend.

5. Allow plenty of time. Leave your watch in the car. Turn off the cell phone. The number one thing that turns people off is when they see we are appearing to be short on time. Show your seller that you are genuinely interested in them.

6. Listen. Let the conversation be about the person and not about you. Continue building on the relationship you started with the initial phone call by talking about what matters to them…and learning how you can help solve their problem.

7. Allow the seller to help create the deal. You can create a plan that works for everyone because you have taken the time to develop a relationship.

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