Written by Jeffrey R. Armstrong – President/Owner of Armstrong Capital
Your favorite Master Note Buyer – Straightforward, Honest, Fair…
You’ve done your marketing properly and the phone rings. You do a good job of gathering the information, getting the story behind the note and finding the sellers need on the first phone call. You proceed to get some good options from your investors that you believe will exactly meet your note sellers need. With confidence in your voice you call your note holder back and explain the options like a real note professional. But, the seller says they will “think about it”, “check with their spouse”, “check with their attorney or accountant” or other response to delay their decision on accepting one of your options. What do you do?
Do you get mad and slam the phone down? Do you tell the note holder you didn’t think they were going to accept it anyway? Do you plan to call them back next week but never do? Do you think that the note holder is going to call you back? OR Do you think that somehow magically you will open your mail box one day and there will be a check in it? If you do or think any of these things, the note business isn’t for you. Rarely do we ever get a transaction accepted on the first or second phone call – most of the time it takes multiple contacts between phone calls, emails, explanation letters and the like. A note broker must be willing to do the time and put the effort in to follow up with the note holders.
I believe that note brokers are entrepreneurs and as entrepreneurs they are passionate, and love pitching to prospective customers, we often forget the importance of following up with our note sellers. Add this to the difficult economic and real estate market environment, which has would be note holders more reluctant than ever to sell their notes, and practicing the art of follow up becomes even more important.
The key to following up effectively with note holders to win their business is to understand that note holders don’t sell until they really need the money. Sometimes they wait to sell their note to the point of needing the money yesterday! So it is imperative to be in front of them, ready to buy their note at exactly that moment. So here are some ways to master the art of follow up.
Build Trust. – Do special and thoughtful things after coming in contact with a potential note holder. Mailing a hand written note goes a long way these days. Also, be sure to be prompt. If you set an expectation, always meet or exceed it. Promptness is a simple way to build confidence and trust.
Use a variety of mediums. – In regard to how and where people prefer to receive their follow up messages: Is e-mail follow up viable? Others may respond better to actual snail mail (considering the average age of a note holder). There is always the properly placed phone call or, if it suits you, the possibility of meeting in person.
Be a thought leader. – Instead of constantly trying to get them to sell their note, figure out how to position yourself as a provider of very interesting, valuable information related, or even unrelated, to your main goal of buying their note. This will give you lots of ways to stay in the minds of the note holders and will help poise you to purchase their note when the note holder decides they are ready.
Automate it. – If you are tech savvy, or know someone that is tech savvy, you might consider leveraging new technology to automate your follow up process. Some companies offer a software-based approach that makes the art of follow up into somewhat of a science by giving you automatic reminders and generating follow up emails or other forms of correspondence if you wish.
Whatever approach you choose, the data from these solutions is very compelling, indicating that significantly more transactions are closed with well executed follow up. Are you prepared to do the time?
Keep on marketing, it’s going to work! TWITA! J