Steve Cook

Success Strategy - Aim For The Low Hanging Fruit Part 2
by Steve Cook

Last month in Aim For The Low Hanging Fruit Part 1 you read about my early days as a computer salesman. There, I did not try to be a good salesman, and educate, sell and motivate people to buy a computer system that they weren't sure they wanted.

In part one of my lesson in sales, I simply went after the people who my competitors had already educated on the value of the system - and I made these prospects a competitive offer.

Some find it admirable to really work a sale and take someone from not wanting your product to eventually making them a customer. I find it stupid! It's a waste of time. My strategy forced me to focus only on those who were ready to buy my competitor's product and I then focused my strategy to convert them to be my customer.

I'm going to go into more depth now - because some of you may be able to find a script that you can use in your real estate businesses, if you read between the lines.

A Lesson In "Sales" - Part II

I studied my competition to find their weaknesses and while many prospects were loyal to my competition that they had spent the last few months with, I made them an "irresistable offer": I'd simply say, "You're probably considering spending around $100,000 on your computer system, and it won't cost you anything to take a look at my product, so that you can make sure you are making the right decision."

They couldn't say "no" to that, so I got my foot in the door. I then brought up a number of things that I knew were important to their business that I knew my competitors could not do. I followed up by saying, "Don't ask my competitors if they can do this, because they'll say they can. Instead have them show you whether they can do it or not."

I got the sale 4 out of 5 times just on the merits of the few things that I could do that my competitors could not. Of course there were things that they could do that I couldn't, but I chose to focus on our strengths, not our weaknesses.

So - do you see the connection to real estate investing? If not, I'll elaborate: in real estate investing, I go after the low-hanging fruit!

Real Estate Strategy For Buying

You see, most people can't understand why I would make a bunch of offers without going out to see homes. Some time ago, I realized that, while I'm spending time evaluating a home, I may be dealing with a seller that can't or is not willing to work with me.

Remember, I don't like dealing with people who need to be "sold", but, instead, I want people who are ready to deal. I want the low-hanging fruit. My offer strategy allows me to focus my time and efforts only on people who are ready to sell "now" and at my price.

By making a lot of low offers on the MLS, I'm not hoping to have an offer accepted, I'm hoping to fish out the low-hanging fruit. I may make offers on 30 homes to find the two who are ready to sell at my terms and close to my price. I then spend time with those 2 sellers.

Real Estate Strategy For Selling

On the home sales side, I sort of take the same approach. I want people who want my home so badly that they're willing to play by my rules. As a wholesaler, this means having good inventory at the right price. If I provide marginal deals to my buyers, especially now, in this market, they're likely to walk away and find another deal. There are plenty of marginal deals out there to be bought right now.

If I'm retailing a house, I notice what my competition lacks that is important to my buyers, and I provide it at the same price or better. Sometimes that means providing the same product that is already available but giving a better value.

For instance, many investors are putting out a quality rehab these days. I don't want to spend more to stand out. Instead I want to provide an equivalent product to my end buyer, but give them a better deal.

My feelings are that at any given time, even in slow markets, there is a buyer in a particular market or neighborhood. I want that buyer to be mine. I don't want to wait for 3 other homes to sell which are better values than my home, before a fourth buyer comes along that will purchase my home.

I know my competition and I exploit their weaknesses, even if it's in the way that I price the home.

Now you know one of the "secrets" of my success - looking for the low hanging fruit. Next time you're talking to a seller, I hope you keep this in mind - and save your time and energy for the seller who really wants to sell.

Steve Cook
Since 1998 Steve Cook has flipped many hundreds of houses as an active Baltimore-area real estate investor. Steve's unique specialty is the "flipping homes 1-2 punch", a proven system of real estate investing that powerfully combines wholesaling and rehabbing houses. Steve Cook is dedicated to helping others succeed through understanding and aggressively applying his time-tested, step-by-step approach to flipping real estate.

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