“I’m not scared, I just don’t want to do it” says the kid at the top of the water slide. Ya sure …
Do you pull the same thing now as an adult?
“I don’t have a fear of public speaking, I’d just rather not do it.” Uh huh. What other things are you avoiding because of a hidden fear?
Believe it or not, talking on the phone is a common fear that is key to overcome for passive rental property investing.
Why Would Anyone Be Scared of the Phone?
We don’t do it enough. The few phone calls we have are with our mothers and conference calls at work. Who wants more of those? (Mom, of course I want to talk more often I’m just making a point that other people don’t want to…)
We would much rather text for personal communication or email for work communication.
This might be because we are afraid of sounding dumb. The live aspect of the phone call with an immediate response includes more pressure – what if I say something stupid? What if I don’t know how to reply? What if I forget my next question?
Can’t I Just Send an Email and Get the Same Results?
Phone calls have several advantages. First, you can tailor the conversation specific to your situation.
If you send an email with multiple paragraphs including the complete background of your unique situation, do you think anyone is going to read it, or just skim it? Are they going to craft a reply specific for you, or copy and paste from a template?
On the phone there is a greater bandwidth. You can provide background information and address your concerns much faster, with the guarantee that someone is paying attention.
It is also much better for tough conversations, like interviewing or negotiating. Can you effectively interview someone over email and decide to trust them with your business? If you ask for a better price over email, how easy is it for them to just send a perfectly crafted reply turning you down?
What Does This Have to Do With Rental Property Investing?
Our goal is passive income, which means others do a lot of the work for you. There will be many people on your team: lenders, turnkey rehab companies, property managers, insurance providers, and more.
There is a lot to know and asking experts your specific questions is the fastest way to learn.
There are several difficult conversations, like interviewing property managers to decide who you trust. Or negotiating the repair work with the turnkey company. It’s not effective to have these conversations over email, you will have to get on the phone!
Examine Your Behavior
Often the only way you know if you are scared of something is to observe your behavior. Most likely talking on the phone doesn’t give you an anxiety attack, but notice your actions.
Do you put off a phone call you need to make for days or weeks? When you do finally make the call, are you as short as possible, often realizing after you hang up you had another thing you wanted to discuss?
Have you asked tough questions over the phone? Are you comfortable with silence or do you just keep rambling on?
This is a skill that will improve with practice. You don’t even have to apply it to rental property investing immediately – Ramit Sethi has a bunch of word for word scripts you can use to negotiate your cell phone bill and car insurance.
Start with the Right Mindset
First realize how irrational this fear is and commit to facing it head on. Set the goal of improving through practice, not perfection on day one.
With rental property investing, you can start with “throw away” leads so don’t worry about sounding dumb. If you mess up you never have to talk to them again. For example, how many hundreds or thousands of lenders are out there that work with investors? Practice first with one you aren’t likely to go with anyways.
It might help to write out the exact questions you want to ask ahead of time. Add to your script as you learn new questions to ask.
If you really don’t know where to start, talk with one of the national marketers of turnkey properties who have investment counselors. They are more than willing to talk about the entire investing process in the hopes you will purchase through them. I asked so many beginner questions in 2011, I am amazed how much time they spent with me. If you want to connect with the same counselors I work with, let me know.
With a little effort you will quickly improve. You’ll no longer procrastinate your phone calls and be able to learn much faster by asking experts your exact questions. You’ll be able to evaluate the differences between multiple providers and pick the best one for you.
Have you noticed you are hesitant to pick up the phone now that email and texting are our primary digital communication? What real estate phone calls have you learned from the most?