Going For The “No” and The Takeaway Principle

As an acquisition’s agent or cash buyer, it is imperative for you to understand the concept of going for the no” and the “takeaway principle”. I learned these selling techniques from John Martinez who runs a sales training program for Acquisitions Managers called REI Sales Academy.

These techniques work well. If you are an acquisitions manager or you are buying houses from motivated sellers, make sure you use these!

The purpose of “going for the no” is to get the seller to say no. A classic example of this would be saying to the seller who is not responding to you in a text message “I assume you already sold your house?” If they have not sold their house, then even a seller that previously was not responding will often respond with “no” I have not. You got them to say no.

Another example of “going for the no” that works well on a seller appointment is, “This is a nice house, why don’t you list your house with a realtor? Here we are using the “takeaway principle” because we are taking away the thing that they want. They want us to buy their house for cash and we are saying “why not list it with a realtor? People want what they cannot have. The minute you tell them that they can’t have your cash offer (list with a realtor), then they want your cash offer even more. It’s basic human psychology. Try it. It works!

If you ask these questions, they are also very likely to tell you the reason that they don’t want to list their house with a real estate agent. And often that reason will uncover a pain point and their true motivation for wanting to sell.

Another variation of this same question is: “You could have listed this property with a real estate agent, why did you call me”? This question throws them for a loop, but it’s a valid question. Most people that want to sell their house call a real estate agent. Why are they calling you for a cash offer? Often, they will respond with something like “I don’t want to pay the real estate commission” or “I am looking for a cash offer”, or “I need to sell my house right now”. This is a great opening into figuring out why they need to sell their house right now (their motivation).

Here is another example of a takeaway that works well on a seller appointment: “I am not going to be able to offer you anywhere close to what you are asking for this house. It doesn’t seem like we are a good fit for you”. With this question you are forcing them to say, “No we are a good fit”. It’s also a great way to get them to acknowledge that your cash offer will be lower than what they were originally anticipating or what they could get if listing it on the MLS. If they are okay with this, then continue the conversation. If they are not, then they will say “You are right, I don’t think we are a good fit”. And that’s okay! Remember that no pain and no motivation means that you probably would not be buying their house anyway, so a “no” is okay.

With leads that are not responding to your calls or texts, one trick that works well is to say “Hi, I was just calling to let you know that we are closing out your file because I haven’t heard back from you, so I assume you have already sold your house, or that you do not want to sell your house anymore?

You are forcing them to say “No, I DO want to sell my house”. If they have already sold their house, then they will probably tell you that, in which case you can mark the lead as a dead lead and move on.

Here is another one that works well. “It doesn’t look like you are ready to sell your house right now. If they do want to sell their house they will respond with a no, and say something like “No, I DO want to sell my house and I am ready to sell my house now”.

Getting a seller to say no is okay. Do not be afraid of getting the seller to say “no”. As an acquisition’s agent or cash buyer, what you should be afraid of hearing from the seller is “maybe” or “let me think this over”. When you hear that, know that when you walk out that door, another acquisitions agent or investor at another company will be buying that house. They probably have 5-10 other postcards from house buying companies on their dining room table. They called you because they want to sell their house. Your job is to buy it!

If you want to buy the house, then figure out how to leave that house with a contract. The only way you can do this is by understanding what is holding them back from making a decision right now and then figuring out how to overcome their objections (which means you need to know what they are). Maybe they need more time? I have signed contracts with sellers in October that closed the following April!

The key thing with sellers, is that you need to be able to understand their objections and figure out how to overcome them. Since this is such a big decision for them, they often want to “think about it”. When they say something like “let me think this over”, or let me talk to my spouse, you need to know how to respond to that. Just remember, that the minute you walk out that door, they will sell the house to another investor. And if they don’t want a cash offer and would rather list the house, then getting them to a no is what you want. Learn how to get them to say no.

Watch this video from John Martinez that explains the concept of “going for the no”:


You need to get them to no. It’s okay for them to not want your cash offer. It’s okay for them to list their house with a realtor. Let them tell you that your cash offer is not a good fit for them. Or let them respond by saying something like “I DO want to sell my house but… (let them tell you their objection) And then you can address that objection right there at the appointment (whatever it may be).

Watch this video interview with John that explains how to use the takeaway principle:


I have been using John’s training for a few years with everyone on my acquisitions team. I have also personally attended John’s REI Sales Academy Boot Camp and I highly recommend it for all investors that want to learn how to buy more houses.

Some of the biggest home buying companies in the U.S, and many of my good friends and associates that are members of the Collective Genius Mastermind send their acquisitions agents to John’s training. The reason they do this is because it works!

I also interviewed John on my “Investing in Real Estate Podcast”. You can listen to the podcast episode and learn more about his Sales Training Program for Acquisitions Managers by clicking here.

Send this to a friend