“Always think about what the other person wants and use that information to get what you want.”
As a sales person, I have the opportunity to work alongside many different personalities and see the difference between styles of sales. What I’ve learned is, in sales, you must always figure out what the other person wants before you can get what you want. Yesterday, I was reminded of this lesson. I went on a presentation to meet a principal who owns over $50 million of real estate, I was nervous. My partner, luckily, has sold over $1.5 Billion of real estate, so it wasn’t a big deal to him.
Before we went into the meeting, my partner and I discussed what we wanted out of the meeting and to keep our main objectives at top of mind. This is important because you need to make sure both of you are on the same page and also that you don’t leave a meeting going “Wait, what did I get out of that?” Second, we went over our game plan. 1) I was to introduce my partner to the principal, because I’m the point of contact. Then, 2)Small pleasantries first. Talk about her life. Talk about Chinese New Years. Point something out in the room and talk about it (Corny, but damn, it works.) She had a flu so I pointed out the theraflu on her desk and we sympathized with her. 3)Ask her how much time we have. This is important because an hour presentation is going to be very differently crafted than a 10 minute conversation. The owner had told me she is very busy and can only meet with us briefly. 4) Ask her what it is she would like to accomplish in this meeting. Acknowledge it and say, what else?What else? Ok great. then 5)Introduce myself in 1 minute or less, let my partner introduce himself. 6)Give presentation but only briefly cover the parts that she didn’t mention but don’t forget, Stop and ask if she has questions along the way. Cover in depth the parts that she said she was most interested in. If it’s pricing, cover the pricing, the sales comps and why you came to this price. If it’s the marketing, cover the marketing with her. 7)Ask if she had any concerns. What else? What else? Go for close. “If we can address all of your concerns then you would be ready to list your property today?” If no, why not? why else not?
This is not how the meeting went. In fact, almost none of that happened. She started the meeting with “Do you want to hear something horrible?” And went into her life story of how one person had set out to destroy her real estate holdings. 12 million dollars in attorney fees over the last decade, ongoing battles costing her over $100k of attorney fees per month. During this time, we focused on what we were trying to accomplish list and asked relevant questions. In the end we got a brief time to introduce ourselves and then briefly talked price and everyone stood up. My instinct was to ask for the close at that moment but my partner, who has 25 more years of experience than me, did not show signs of going for the close so I felt like there was something I was missing. I shook her hand and we left.
When talked to my partner afterwards, this was what he told me. “This lady has just spent the last 2 hours telling us a story about how people have been screwing her over. She obviously has trust issues. She’s not going to sign a listing agreement with two people she just met. We have to prove our credibility first. We have to do exactly what we said we were going to do in the meeting. (Provide her with contacts to help her with some work on her building. Valuate her second building) Then hope that she has reached out to those people and they did a good job because then we will have some credibility. If we asked her to sign the listing agreement, it would’ve made us look stupid.”
This moment taught me that I was only looking at the situation through my own lens. I didn’t think about how the owner had felt at all. I heard what she said. But i hadn’t listened.
The lesson to learn from this is no matter what we plan and no matter what our agenda is, we need to be flexible and adapt. We need to find out as much about the client as we can and then figure out how we can help them. Once we understand them better, we can better help them.