How to really sell: negative cost selling

By Bruce Firestone | Real Estate

Feb 25

I asked the founder (Linda Gary) of Gary Interiors why she is so successful in terms of her sales over a long period of time.

Here’s what she answered, and it’s quite profound: “You’ve got to care about people before you care about the sale.”

I’ve said it differently in the past, “People like to buy from people they like and trust,” but Linda said it better.

Of course, she does many other simple but clever things (now or in the past) including–

-going to job sites and asking for an opportunity to quote on blinds for a new build

-introducing herself to homeowners by visiting new subdivisions on Saturdays when they are likely to be found roaming around

-doing the same thing when she sees a new apartment/hotel/motel/hospital coming out of the ground

-responding to tenders

-getting her company on government-approved contractor lists so she can respond to RFPs (requests for proposals) from government

-putting out Gary Interior lawn signs after she completes each job (with permission of the landowner)

-looking for homes or buildings with crappy, broken or no window coverings

-putting door hangers on completed properties with no blinds (as of yet)


Simple maybe, but highly effective.

In a way, she creates her own clients.

I am also teaching her negative cost selling.

It’s the most powerful sales tool (other than likability and trust-ability, that is) I’ve ever found.

Without going into too much detail here, basically, it works like this–

Linda says to an owner that she can help with his new (say) 35-unit apartment building this way:

-I can put blinds on all your 2-bedroom apartments for $1,200 each

-that’s the bad news

-the good news is that history has shown that a building with fantastic (Gary Interiors-installed) blinds looks better, has a much stronger brand, attracts better tenants paying higher rents who also stay longer (the corollary is: you also have both a lower vacancy rate and a faster lease-up, ie, a shorter path to full occupancy) all of which combines to drive up your cashflow, cap rate, ROI, return on investment, and IRR, internal rate of return

-so the total cost of installing Gary Interior blinds is $42,000 + tax but your rents are going to go up from $1,125 to $1,175 a month so you are making an extra $50 per apartment per month or $1,750 per month for your whole complex, which equals $21,000 per year!

-since your cap rate is 6% pa, it’s easy to figure out what an extra $21,000 means–it has a value to you today of $21,000 / 6% or $350,000

-so, bottom line?


And he says, “Deal!”

Prof Bruce

Bruce M Firestone, B Eng (civil), M Eng-Sci, PhD
ROYAL LePAGE Performance Realty broker
Ottawa Senators founder
Real Estate Investment and Business coach


ps I am ignoring taxes here.

Tags: negative cost selling how to really sell

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.