When you’re trying to lease ground space to build a billboard you occasionally run into the property owner that declares that “money means nothing to them”. How do you counter this argument? In this Billboard Mastery podcast we’ll review some strategies to get these type of personalities to move forward and sign the lease agreement.
Episode 82: Motivating The Landowner Who Thinks Money Doesn’t Matter Transcript
I'll never forget the meeting where I met with a guy about a billboard lease, I was all excited, I got in the door, so I went to them and I told him how much money they could make, it was, as I recall, about $500 a month. And the guy behind the desk says to me, "I wouldn't do anything for $500 a month. Who cares? That's a joke." And that was it. No interest in money at all, even though I was offering him basically money for nothing, just a property, not going anywhere, nothing going on, wanted to build a billboard and pay the guy $6000 a year. And nevertheless, he just threw it in my face and said, "No, no, no, that's pathetic, I don't even bother thinking or talking about amounts that small."
This is Frank Rolfe of the Billboard Mastery Podcast. We're gonna talk about how to try and overcome objections from people who just seemingly are too rich to care, who don't care about money. Now, let me tell you a story, the first thing I want you to be aware is that rich people do care about money, they care about it a lot.
I once had a bunch of letters I set out on some properties in Dallas, in a really bad part of town. There were some properties that were properly zoned for a billboard, there wasn't a whole lot of traffic. But I thought, "You know what? Maybe I could be able to build billboard down there and somehow make the numbers make sense. So I sent out a bunch of letters, and one name I send it to is Wirt Davis. Now, for those of you who are not from Dallas, Wirt Davis is one of the most famous business people in Dallas history, founder of the Republic National Bank. Very, very well known, big bucks person down there in the Big D. And I thought, "Wow, how crazy? I am sending a letter to Wirt Davis offering to pay him, as I recall, about $100 a month, about $1200 a year. And I thought, why am I even bothering to do this. But what the heck? I'll just go ahead and do it, but I'll never get a call.
Believe it or not, just a few days after I sent the letter out, I got a call personally from Wirt Davis, he called me up and said, "Hi, I'm calling about that billboard letter you sent me. Is this Frank Rolfe?" I said, "Yeah, that's me." He goes, "Hey, Well, this is Wirt Davis. Got your letter. It's magnificent offer for that land, the land I've owned it for decades, it isn't going anywhere. I can't believe I could get some income on it." And then he tells me, "Hey, could I get a commission if I lined up some of my neighboring property owners?" So here was Texas, one of Texas richest people, all enthused over $1200 a year. And then wanting commissions to help me get some other leases signed up. And that's how what I found over the years is when you talk to really wealthy people, they really care about even small amounts of money. That's how they got to be wealthy. It's the people who aren't really wealthy who try and pretend the money doesn't mean anything, it's kind of ridiculous, right? They, for some reason, think that really rich people, which they're not, don't care about real money, but they do. So they've created this almost cartoon character-like persona that doesn't seem to care about anything regarding dollars and cents.
So what do you do when you come across these people with this clown like behavior who try to pretend that money doesn't mean much? Well, the first thing is, when you propose the money from your lease, don't do like I did. I should not have said, it's like $500 a month. I should have said $6000 a year, because when you puff up numbers into their largest number, it definitely obviously garners more attention. If I just said to the guy, $6000 a year, he might have thought to himself, "Wow, $6000, that might buy me a Rolex watch or something." But $500 for some reason, he couldn't just multiply that times 12 in his own brain. So he dismissed it as not being much money. So when you make your offer, make it as big as you can make it. So don't just offer monthly, offer the annual amount. And then the lease can say is done monthly and paid monthly but you already have your foot in the door. Another thing to tell people who think the money isn't that much would be, "Hey, well, what about if you just gave it to one of your relatives who doesn't have any money, so if you don't think that $6000 is a lot, I bet you got some family member who does, maybe a kid.
Do you have a grand kid who might like $6000 each and every year coming in the door, think about that for a minute. If they save that up over 18 years, it might pay for college. And I found that sometimes that would trigger a nerve with people. They say, "Well, I don't care about money, but I do have this poor relative and yeah, I guess that really would change their life." So sometimes the optics of passing it off not to them like, "Hey, this money is for you, but instead, how about this many for somebody else that can sometimes do the trick." Or you can say, "What about if you go ahead and donate the money to a foundation or a charity, or even start one yourself." See, a lot of people who wanna act like big shots as far as money, they also wanna act like big shots regarding philanthropy. They wanna have a foundation or non-profits so they can go to a cocktail party and say, "Hey, I've got this non-profit." Not telling people, there's hardly any money in it.
I've had people in the past tell me, "Oh, I've got this non-profit and I can look it up." 'Cause you can look up any non-profit online, all of that is public record, and it actually even shows the tax return, and you'll find most of those people, those non-profits have no money in them at all, and they pay out incredibly small amounts a year. So when you throw out the idea of the non-profit, what they are thinking is, "Well, one more way to stoke my ego and say at a cocktail party, "Hey, I got this giant non-profit which is funded by some little billboard along the highway." So that can also be an attraction for them.
Finally, sometimes just being enthusiastic about stuff can sway those folks because at the end of the day, some of them just like and are turned on by your enthusiasm. Enthusiasm can be contagious, even people who feign that they don't really need any money, they often do need to have their own ego stroked, and they also like to have the fact that they feel in some way that they're helping other people out. So often, if you just say, "Look, I know it's not a lot of money to you, but it is a lot of money to me, I would sure like to get this deal done." That's really all that it takes, because now you're appealing to them in not just a dollar and cents terminology, but you're appealing to their basic human nature. This is Frank Rolf, of the Billboard Mastery Podcast. I hope you enjoyed this. Talk to you again soon.