How to Build Rapport with Motivated Sellers

How to Build Rapport with Motivated Sellers

Every investor wishes they knew how to build rapport with sellers.

It’s no secret why – it’s an insanely valuable skill.

Practicing the following five principles can get you deals from sellers months after you meet… even when you don’t have the highest bid!

That’s how valuable rapport is.

Are you ready to take your real estate investing skills to the next level?

How to Build Rapport with Motivated Sellers

Rapport in the Deal Driver System

I’m Matt Theriault of Epic Real Estate, and I’ve spoken about the deal driver system quite a bit before.

The deal driver system is the highest and best use of your time as a real estate investor. It’s also the place where you’re paid the most for your time. And since rapport is a part of the deal driver system, the better you get at building rapport, the more money you’ll make. It’s that simple.

As a refresher, the deal driver system is the system you use to take an incoming lead all the way to a contract. It’s how you drive the deal forward, and it’s arguably the most important part of your business.

As such, you should practice rapport building like you’d practice the piano or your golf swing. The better you get at this skill, the less deals you’ll have to do, as you’ll get deeper discounts with each deal. You’ll do less work to make the same amount of money, your profit per deal will rise, and your cost per deal will become increasingly easier to manage. If you’re better at buying at a deeper discount than your competition, you can outspend your competition in marketing.

Basically, if you’re buying at deeper discounts, you can totally dominate your market with this skill.

That’s how important it is.

What’s at Stake

If you get the systems within the deal driver system wrong, you’ll be beyond frustrated. You won’t know what to say and you’ll feel stupid, fumbling over your words and not knowing how to act. The process will make you feel needy and awkward.

The worst part is, sellers can sniff that out – especially your neediness. They can smell that from a mile away. It’s going to drive them away. They won’t want to work with you from the start, let alone to the point of you making an offer.

But if you build rapport right, you’ll never be at a loss for words. You’ll know exactly what to say and do during every conversation and meeting with sellers.

And the best part is, sellers will accept your invitations and suggestions. They’ll cooperate and assist you in the process, making transactions run smoothly.

Ultimately, sellers will prefer to work with you even if your competition is ready, willing, and able to pay more for the property.

Wait, Really?

Does that sound a little too good to be true?

Why would a seller ever sell to YOU at a lower price for seemingly no real reason?

Well, it wouldn’t be for “no” reason – it’d be because you’d built up rapport with the seller.

Rapport is power.

Rapport in Action

Josh Swanson recently posted in the private Epic Pro Academy Facebook group about a call he got. It was from a woman he’d met almost a year before. She told him she was ready to sell and that several people wanted to buy her house, but Josh was so nice that she wanted to work with him instead.

In fact, this deal just closed the other day and netted us $14,000 in profit, all because Josh built up rapport with the seller.

Control is Power

How to Build Rapport with Motivated Sellers

You may have noticed that we often talk about “building” rapport. I think the operative word “build” is important here.

Rapport is something to be built up. You can control the process to create it.

And since you have control, I’m going to teach you how to harness that power and use it to build up rapport as quickly and effectively as possible.

The Foundation of Rapport

Rapport is built when you are likeable, trustworthy, and competent.

It’s created by a feeling of commonality between two parties. People like people who are like themselves.

If you can create these common traits, you will build rapport.

This is important in our business. You’ll almost always deal with people in distress, and these are the people who want likeability, trustworthiness, and competence the most.

How to Build Rapport: 5 Principles

So, are you ready to learn how to build rapport with motivated sellers?

The next five principles are all you need to get on the seller’s side and make them favor you above the competition.

Principle 1: Attitude

A positive attitude is great, but for building rapport, it’s not enough. What you need is an attitude of service – specifically, the service of alleviating a seller’s stress.

If you have an attitude of service, you’ll never need a script when you speak to sellers. You’ll never stumble or struggle for the right words.

If you have the right attitude, the words will come to you naturally.

Think of it this way: If your grandparents called you and asked for help to sell their property fast, would you need a script? No, you wouldn’t – the words would come naturally.

When working with strangers, it should be no different. You just have to get yourself in the right attitude – the same attitude of service, helpfulness, and problem solving you’d have when speaking to your grandparents.

Principle 2: Tempo

Tempo is incredibly important for building rapport, but often ignored. People don’t bring it up because they aren’t conscious of it and it puts them at a disadvantage.

Tempo is your rate of speech. When investors are on the phone with a motivated seller, particularly if they’re new to the business, it’s an exciting moment. They’re thinking, “This is working! It’s game time! Let’s go!”

All of this excitement causes your heart rate to rise and your speech gets faster. This can be problematic because quick speech can sound nervous, jumpy, and, worst of all, incompetent.

Crazy people speak quickly. Self-assured people speak slowly.

Imagine a beach ball sitting in the middle of a calm pond. What’s the best way to retrieve it? To jump in the pond and swim to it as fast as you can, creating waves that push it away as you move forward? Or to enter the pond slowly and creep toward it, taking your time, so the ball stays in the same place and you can easily grasp it?

Your rate of speech and actions work the same way when you’re talking to a seller. Watch your tempo. If in doubt, assume you are talking too quickly and slow it down – not so much that the deal stops moving, but enough that you won’t sound incompetent to the seller.

Principle 3: Time

Sellers don’t want to feel trapped. They don’t ever want to feel like they’re stuck in an awkward phone conversation with a random stranger they’ve never met.

By inserting a time constraint within the conversation, even if it’s an artificial one, rapport can quickly be developed. Let the seller know there’s an end in sight and that it’s going to happen sooner rather than later.

Say something at the beginning of the call like, “Hey, I’m really glad you caught me! I was just on my way out the door, and I do have to run soon. Very soon, actually. But I’ve got a couple of minutes for you. Can you tell me about your situation?”

This is a very simple and natural technique that works in every situation, even outside your business! Try it when you’re networking or with a stranger in public. If you insert that time element before you ask your question, you’ll get much more attentiveness because your audience won’t feel trapped. They’ll know there’s an end in sight.

It works particularly well with nervous motivated sellers who might have their guard up, as they typically do when they first call you. Once a time constraint is in place, you can have a much more effective conversation.

Principle 4: Attention

There are many different dynamics to this principle, so I’ve divided it up for you:

Matching & Mirroring

Pay attention to everything – everything other than the little voices inside your head. Pay attention to the environment, the seller’s body language, their rate of speech, the rate of their breathing, and their disposition.

Now, match it the best you can.

This is called matching and mirroring. You take on their physiology.

This is the first part of paying attention.


Next, pay attention to what they’re saying. Listen to their words. Don’t think about what you’re going to say next – listen to what they’re saying now. And be curious about what they’re saying!

The majority of rapport is built when you’re paying attention and not saying anything.

Listening is key!

How to Build Rapport with Motivated Sellers

Ask Questions

Since listening is key, ask lots of open-ended questions like, “When?” and, “Why?”

Instead of forming your next question in your head, actually listen to the answers. This isn’t easy to do, even when you’re conscious of it. It’s a habit to get caught up in what you’re going to say next.

But fight it, focus, and listen to the answers.

This is great to practice in other social situations. People will think you’re a great conversationalist, and you’ll hardly be doing any of the talking!

Truly listen, and then ask questions based off the answers you get.

Avoid Correcting People

At all costs, avoid correcting people or saying anything that could be interpreted as upmanship.

This is very tempting. After all, real estate is your business. You’re the expert. You’ll probably know more about the market than the seller.

But you have to check your ego at the door.

You can be right, or you can get the deal. Which one do you want?

It’s up to you.

The less you butt in to tell your story, the more the seller will tell you about theirs. A person’s story is the more important thing in the world to them, so it only makes sense that investors who allow others to continue talking without interruption are generally regarded as the best rapport-builders.


Validate sellers. Let them know it’s okay to go through what they’re going through because, if you’re paying attention, you’ll probably notice that they’re not feeling okay. Simple, validating statements like, “Hey, it happens to everyone,” or, “It happened to the last person I talked to, but everything turned out fine,” can go a long way.

But the simplest validation that can be given to another person is to just listen. You don’t have to have any magical words for them. Just listen – truly listen – without interruption.

All of these attention principles apply to every conversation you have with the seller, not just the first one. Paying attention and making the seller feel heard will build rapport and, ultimately, result in the seller exchanging equity for the peace of mind you’re giving them.

“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar

Principle 5: Detachment

Detach yourself from the outcome.

This is a tough one for a lot of people because they want the deal, of course! But while your actions should be intentional, it’s also important act as if it’s no big deal – because it isn’t.

You have standards for your investments. If a property doesn’t fit those standards, missing the deal isn’t a loss at all – it’s a good thing! It’s far better to miss out on a good deal than it is to buy a bad one.

You need to buy properties for your business to work, but you don’t need any one property.

Once you’re afraid to walk away from a deal, you’ve lost. So go into each conversation doing the best you can. Stick to your standards, be of service, offer your solutions…

…and accept what you get. Manage your expectations! If you don’t do this, you’ll likely get disappointed, resentful, and frustrated. All three of those feelings are not conducive to developing rapport.

If you get a deal, great! If not, that’s fine, too. You can’t – and shouldn’t – get every single deal. Adopt this reality into your attitude, character, and conversation.

Your Secret Tool to Rapport Building

How to Build Rapport with Motivated Sellers

This may be a lot to take in all at once, but I have a simple tool you can use to implement all five principles at once: the upfront contract or transition agreement. You don’t have to copy mine word for word, but yours should hit all the principles – attitude, tempo, time, attention, and detachment.

Start it off like this:

“Mr./Mrs. Seller, I hope I’ll be able to help you with your situation, but at the end of the day, it’ll be up to you and the market. Since I’ve got a couple other appointments after ours, we’ll have to be intentional with our time together.

“So here’s what’s gonna happen. I’m going to come over, you can show me around the property, I’ll take some notes, and then I’ll look at how the market’s acting and how it can help us both get what we want. And then I’ll pull all of this information, compile it all, and put together a fair offer for you. Sound good so far?”

(Let them answer.)

“Great. So, here’s what you can expect from me: If at any point during our time together I feel that this isn’t going to be a good fit, I’ll let you know right away. Is that okay?”

(Let them answer. Remember, you’re paying attention and listening, so you want to give them an opportunity to speak.)

“Great. So, here’s all I ask in return: If at any point you feel that this isn’t going to be a good fit for you, I ask that you let me know. Can you do that?”

(Let them answer.)

“Great. Does anybody else need to be there for this decision? Or can you tell me no on your own if it’s not a good fit?”

When to Use It

Use this agreement (or a version of it) every time you make a transition in the deal driver system.

For example, use it when you’re making the transition from the initial conversation to the next appointment or when you’re going from touring the property to presenting your deal. You can use it a multitude of times and, as long as you have all five principles in there, you’ll know you’re building rapport.

Notice the wording I used in my transition agreement. It was solution-minded. It had the right tempo – it was nice and slow. I also paused occasionally to ask a question, demonstrating that I was paying attention and listening to them. 

And finally, I detached myself from the outcome, giving them the ability to say no. This part works twofold. Not only did I detach myself, but I gave the seller a permission to decline my offer. This is important because once you give someone the freedom and ability to say no, when you get a yes, you know it’s a true yes.

Next-Level Rapport Building

If you practice all five of these principles and use the transition agreement at each turn of your deal driver system, you can become good enough to make a great living as a real estate investor.

But of course, I want you to be great at this. Good is good. Great is better.

That’s why I’ve asked Jeff Garner to join us again at the next Epic Intensive. He’s great at building rapport, buying at super-deep discounts, and helping other people get great at it, too.

This Intensive has an entirely different theme than our last events. It’s all about different cash flowing strategies, so we’re calling it The Cash Flow Conclave. We’ll reveal secrets and bring some Epic students in to share the type of cash flow strategies they’ve pulled from the Academy and found success with.

Epic Intensive: The Cash Flow Conclave is January 25-27th. There might be some free seats still available, but even at full price, it’s a steal.

If you’d like to join us in January, go to to reserve your seat before the prices go up.

>>CLICK HERE to reserve your seat for Epic Intensive: The Cash Flow Conclave<<

Matt Theriault

Real estate investor and educator.