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Midweek Motivation The Presumptive Close

While editing next week's Unlocked interview with Theo Kracke (who sued the City of Santa Barbara for the right to operate short term rentals -- and won) I learned a neat trick that Theo uses to get the owners (of the properties he manages) to contribute money to the fair regulation fight. Listen to this...

View attachment Theo Soundbite.mp3

"The Presumptive Close" is when you intentionally assume that the prospect has already agreed, and wrap up the deal. In Theo's case, he corners his homeowners into what WE ALL KNOW is the right thing to do (after all, it's their home that would suffer with unfair regulation) by stating, "if you disagree with this please get back to me, otherwise it's gonna happen next month."

It challenges those who don't agree to jump over an obstacle to get out. And while that may be aggressive for your taste, when it comes to advocacy, we sometimes need to overcompensate for those who won't do the right thing.

Another example of a "presumptive close" is @HeleenaSideris in Park City who adds $1/night donation to all guest reservations -- which goes directly to the Summit Land Conservancy to protect the beautiful open spaces that make her town such an incredible place to live and visit (you can see the plan here). Guests can opt-out of the donation but Heleena says they never do.

It seems to me that the "presumptive close" is a way to mobilize stakeholders in matters that benefit everyone equally.

QUESTION: Any ideas on using the presumptive close in your pursuits?
 

JenniferM

Attaché
Inner Circle
Presumptive close is how we do most conversations about money with owners and guests; keeping in mind that we always want to protect them and respect their wishes. Similar to "mother knows best" - ha! It has worked very well. Most recently it was a "garbage concierge" service we created in one of our locations to pull out garbage the night before it is picked up and put it back by the house the next evening. No one has complained at all. We haven't implemented any charges yet for advocacy but are leaning toward doing that this year. I think it is important and the owners/guests will be great allies in the conversations in each market where we manage homes.
 

AlexW

Counselor
Inner Circle
The presumptive close can be a slippery slope. And this is coming from a Head of Sales ;) .....the reason why is simple: is the product (or in the case of Theo - the "movement') one that genuinely helps the prospect or purchaser? I mean...genuinely. You HAVE to ask yourself that question. Because if it does (as I think a contribution to Vacation Rental advocacy is) then there is that "mother knows best" quality that Jennifer mentioned above. But if your end goal is a quota, there can be a lot of manipulation in that approach. I have been in sales for about 13 years and have always been taught to close presumptively, but it didn't always feel right. When I was at Yelp many moons ago, and I was dealing with, let's say, an Auto Repair shop with one star - who I knew for a fact would get destroyed if I sold them ads, a presumptive close, followed by a terrible customer experience not only taints the account executive in question, but will damage any long term potential relationship. It always felt better to look around to make sure no one was listening, then quietly whisper in the phone..."Dude, get your rating up then let's talk" Theo's approach works because advocacy is GENUINELY important to their long term success. This is how you create allies, long term clients (FAR BETTER for the business than disgruntled churned clients) and good will in the industry. And it makes for a frictionless, easy and more joyful experience for everyone involved. For me, the key in sales is simple, don't try and close everything, just close what's right. In the end, the numbers will reflect a job well done and the client will be a client for life. Be a consultant. And a consultant is presumptive. Just make sure to pick your prospects wisely, otherwise, everyone loses.
 
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Tristan Webb

Counselor
Vintory
The presumptive close can be a slippery slope. And this is coming from a Head of Sales ;) .....the reason why is simple: is the product (or in the case of Theo - the "movement') one that genuinely helps the prospect or purchaser? I mean...genuinely. You HAVE to ask yourself that question. Because if it does (as I think a contribution to Vacation Rental advocacy is) then there is that "mother knows best" quality that Jennifer mentioned above. But if your end goal is a quota, there can be a lot of manipulation in that approach. I have been in sales for about 13 years and have always been taught to close presumptively, but it didn't always feel right. When I was at Yelp many moons ago, and I was dealing with, let's say, an Auto Repair shop with one star - who I knew for a fact would get destroyed if I sold them ads, a presumptive close, followed by a terrible customer experience not only taints the account executive in question, but will damage any long term potential relationship. It always felt better to look around to make sure no one was listening, then quietly whisper in the phone..."Dude, get your rating up then let's talk" Theo's approach works because advocacy is GENUINELY important to their long term success. This is how you create allies, long term clients (FAR BETTER for the business than disgruntled churned clients) and good will in the industry. And it makes for a frictionless, easy and more joyful experience for everyone involved. For me, the key in sales is simple, don't try and close everything, just close what's right. In the end, the numbers will reflect a job well done and the client will be a client for life. Be a consultant. And a consultant is presumptive. Just make sure to pick your prospects wisely, otherwise, everyone loses.
Right On!

This topic and audio clip brought back memories of my conversations with homeowners when we were threatened with a potential rental ban. In addition to the presumptive close, I got an influencer on board first - a homeowner client who was also a real estate attorney. With her on board, I phrased the close something like, "I'm sure you will want to join your fellow homeowners like <INSERT NAME> who have <INSERT TOPIC> experience and support this effort."
 

DMartinez

Ambassador
Inner Circle
Wing Fighter
And for your (our) budgeting planning:

Per your inquiry with regard to the retainer and other charges we will require a retainer of $10,000 and bill on an hourly basis. Travis Logue and Jason Wansour’s hourly rate is $475. They generally have an associate do the bulk of the research who bills out at $350. They are able to do a deep dive into the relevant documents (CC&R’s , Local Coastal Plan, etc.) and make recommendations. Please feel free to contact me should you wish to make an appointment to speak with Mr. Logue and Mr. Wansour. Thank you.Best regards,

Sara M. Browne | Paralegal

[email protected]

Rogers, Sheffield & Campbell, LLP

152 E. Carrillo Street | Santa Barbara, CA 93101
t 805.963.9721 f 805.966-3715
rogerssheffield.com

Theo's approach works because advocacy is GENUINELY important to their long term success.
In Theo's (our) case it was/is a do or die situation.

We have been negotiating slowly and methodically within our group of owners none of whom are directly managed by a PM or any other imposing power structure/person.

Rather we are a mixed group of independent and managed owners. As our (potential) case progresses (painfully slowly) we still await the County's decision on the County's Local Coastal Plan, The California Coastal Commission assessment of that plan, and then ultimately tossed back to the HOA's plans will be (that happens 10/18...maybe). Only then can we determine if we will actually HAVE a case. Fingers crossed they may all have an ah-ha moment and realize it better to rethink their position (thank you, Theo, his persuaded clients who chipped in, and his wonderful team of lawyers).

As for a general marketing tool- my guess is we need to ask ourselves does it meet the criteria often used by our children..."BUT MOM- EVERYONE is doing it!" and can it be included in such a way as not to be
  1. noticed
  2. painful
...Like when you see those mysterious credit card charges ranging from $0.01- $5.00 now and then.
 

Karla

Karla, Owner of Tropical Blessings
Inner Circle
The Long Version: The Evolution of The Presumptive Close, Never Named as Such Before…

When I first heard the term “The Presumptive Close” like most here I never heard of it either. The phrase at first intimidated me, I’m not stupid but what the heck did The Presumptive Close mean??

The very idea of the Presumptive Close surely had to be over my head. All I could think of was “presumed innocent until proven guilty” which reminded me of Matt Landau Matt Landau who recently found it funny to watch a Matt Lensky show while sitting in his bathtub. ML can fortunately be presumed innocent since he certainly wasn’t watching TV in a bathtub on St. John. It’s hard to even find a bathtub on St. John, an almost inconceivable indulgence. We depend on rainwater and we pay 9+ cents per gallon for potable water when we need to buy a truckload of it from Pimpy’s.

You might find a bathtub on St. John if you hang out in $20M rental villa, and yes they do exist on island even though locals don’t like displays of great wealth. Just no telling but I doubt Matt stayed stayed at one of those places since the last time I saw him or I’d already know about it via the Coconut Grapevine. Just so I don’t go totally off topic take note that I will never again reference bathtubs in relation to The Presumptive Close.

Nonetheless, after bathtub musings, quite a peculiar idea on little St. John, suffice it to say that I did manage to get myself over the scary elements of The Presumptive Close, notably scary since the premise appears to be a larger one than it first looked to be when I found I could actually begin to wrap my brain around the idea.

Lo and behold, I actually do like the idea of The presumptive Close. To bring one about takes well informed experience, logîc and emotional intelligence, a degree of feistiness and a willingness to take risks.

Timing is everything when one goes for Presumptive Close. Now that I seem to recognize what The Presumptive Close means, suggests and implies I find myself liking the idea very much and it’s my time to go for one right about now, maybe even more than one, I might need write about those another time.

The adjective “presumptive,” is obviously based on the noun, “presumption,” a belief on probable grounds or reasonable evidence that something is likely to happen. I’m hardly an expert about The Presumptive Close but it’s definitely helpful to title to the idea. I only wish getting a clue about what it means had happened while soaking in a bathtub. It has taken me a decade to start getting it on a conscious level. Oh well. At least I’ll give some credit due to my keen sense of instinct which dates back so long that I believe I was born with it.

So back to basics with the Presumptive Close. What is my presumption? I’ll begin with one: Almost everyone loves St. John. What evidence do I have? The majority of inquirers tell me they’ve visited St. John many times before and they also love telling me about it. After 35 years certainly understand how these people feel.

Many are proud of their St. John visits, whether the tally countas if they’re playing a competition game (I’ve visited St. John more times than most!) or even better, they’re very pleased to be supporting our local economy, often through the bad time as well as the good times.

All in all why do people love St. John so much? I’ve said it before but our very special island is 70% National Park, largely unspoiled Andover designated as a Territory of the United States by the Department of the Interior.

For both visitors and residents there exist 33 beaches wirh powder white sands and turquoise waters, countless hiking trails, ancient sugar mill ruins, no airport, and a very small intercultural community of only 5K people.

Forgive my repetition. I’m still so in love with Love City I really should simply write the book but I know it’s too long for this space since said book will include the ups and downs of my journey as an independent VR owner, lessons learned, so many accompanying intricacies and complexities. This is but another chapter here.

If only I could stop writing books to inquirers…(I am now Ann’s “sweet friend” who can’t visit during available time but will of course return to St. John)…Pardon me, I can’t help myself, I understand these people so we’ll. I love local people, both visitors and residents. After 35 years “local” of course runs in my bloodstream. I’m not alone in that regard whatsoever.

Yikes, Debbie and Donnie, my new friends from the Friends of the Park Annual Auction will arrive in just a week! I never dreamed their stay could show up so quickly but I’ll be ever so glad donated an 8 night stay to the Annusl Friends of the Park Auction which took place last year. Debbie has written me several books herself, all very enthusiastic, punctuated frequently by numerous !!’s. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve thought of Debbie and her husband I’d be treating them to a very pricey dinner at Extra Virgin Bistro. There are other restaurants even more pricey and some I would consider, Debbie and Donnie might not know about some of them but Extra Virgin Bistro but it’s an all time favorite. They don’t know it yet but I’ll definitely send her off the beaten track too, I sure do love to do that.

Many people who place bids at The Friends of the Park tend to have a considerable amount of disposable income but these bidders might have taken it to the top. Debbie’s e-mail address is attached to her URL so I easily put 2 + 2 together: they own a yacht business plus 4 acres of land in a small state. They obviously have megabucks but they don’t flaunt it. I don’t have megabucks myself and I’ll never acknowledge to Debbie that I know they do. They don’t know Cruz Bay very well so my introduction to it will be exceptionally easy and I have plenty of other tricks up my sleeve as well, my collection is always growing.

Debbie and Donnie's wealth is irrelevant. They happened to bid on an auction item listed for a much higher value than a terrific wonderful little something with a bid price of $35-$50 which of course was auctioned off for money than that.

TG for Laurence Rockefeller donated 70% of St. John to the National Park in the early 50’s. When did the Friends of the Park begin, later followed by the Auction and other innovative fund raising activities? I never checked the dates but I’ve been supporting Friends of the Park in various ways for a long time I fell madly in love with St. John long ago.

I hosted NPS personnel at Tropical Blessings from all over the continental United States to help recovery work from Irma and Maria the two back to back cat 5 storms that slammed the VI so hard that it looked like an atomic bomb and landed and that maybe we’d never be okay again. I had a roof but of course no electricity. I was dismayed that lovely expensive carpets got destroyed by water and I had to get a developing mold problem addressed in a quick hurry.

Did NPS personnel give a damn about any of that? Of course not. In retrospect, I felt almost ashamed of the minimal damage but I dropped the guilt. Call me lucky or blessed, I’ve gone through my own tough times but I support other community causes, work like a madwoman for our small COA, I deserve no awards, but like so many others I love St. with all my heart and just like many others that will never stop, we’re all in it together.

Debbie and Donnie, my auction friends have revealed quite a bit to me about themselves. They became smitten with St. John 6 years ago, have visited St. John multiple times, staying in just about every area on St. John except Cruz Bay and are passionate National Park advocates.
.
In Debbie’s last missive to me she shared the Big News. I already knew that she and Donnie plan to retire on St. John and have a realtor was I wasn’t ready for a major Wow. They bought an entire acre of land on Mamey Peak (Holy Toledo!) and are going to build a hurricane proof home from Deldec.

Debbie and Donnie’s builder bought a house on my lane and I didn’t say I know which one or reveal the story that goes with it but Love City is a small world.

2020 was a very tough year with Covid. Two travel bans happened and a I got “stuck” on St. John for five and a half months since at the time it seemed safer to jstay there than pass through ever changing hot spots.

The situation sure changed radically and unexpectedly later in 2020. Travel inquiries started up again some with Covid twists, St. John was a first time destination for some but I knew they’d love it (no kidding) and the pace has of course picked up even more in 2021, it’s frankly close to insane. Long term visitors are frantically looking to return, first timers ready for the great escape and flights were cheap.Hoards of people now feel safe about traveling against.

St. John has been busier than ever beifore and it’s been on tough to keep up with the volume of activity and the amount of writing I’ve done? Record setting but forget to another word about that for now.

Debbie and Don aren’t paying to stay at Tropical Blessings so in the interests of time I’ve written less to them than is my norm. Had I been more on top of a very frantic pace a Presumptive Close would have happened with Debbie and Donnie,they would have paid to extend their stay, they told me so but I caught up with them too late for them to change plans. No worries about that, I already know we’re friends for life and I already know their Deldec home on a prime acre won’t have a bathtub, they need not tell me.

Jennifer from Friends of the Park reached out to me two days ago. Will I donate a Tropical Blessings stay to the 2022 Auction? You betcha, 2022 and every year thereafter!

The price of flights has gone up, old timers are coming back in droves and no, it won’t slow down. I feel better about my business than ever before and it’s not post Covid giddiness.My business pace feels close to the speed of light. I’m finally daring to raise my rates for all the right reasons. I’m buried in projects galore. How many visitor contacts have I developed over the years? Many. All who stay at Tropical Blessings will receive a new gift from me: A one year membership to Friends of the Park. Cost? $30. All who inquire will hear about it since most of them know and love St. John already. What a lovely and tangible invitation to join the community in a tangible way.

Guests will be able to pick it up their Friends of the Park membership card at the National Park Visitors Center a day or two after arrival or whenever, and they’ll love it. The message is powerful the gesture is one of honor and respect and talk about fun. Jennifer does’t even know about it yet but she’ll adore the idea. Am I talking about A Presumtive Close? think I am. Call it a little one but it’s a big one too. Island Fireworks aren’t literally happening right now but fireworks are happening for sure. We are Love City Strong like never before and it’s highly contagious. I’m glad there’s no vaccine for it either. I am so excited and we’re all in it together!!
 
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Christina

Counselor
Inner Circle
Right On!

This topic and audio clip brought back memories of my conversations with homeowners when we were threatened with a potential rental ban. In addition to the presumptive close, I got an influencer on board first - a homeowner client who was also a real estate attorney. With her on board, I phrased the close something like, "I'm sure you will want to join your fellow homeowners like <INSERT NAME> who have <INSERT TOPIC> experience and support this effort."
Oh I like this one! I have long used the assumptive (presumptive close) - sometimes it's the choice close - would you like to chat tomorrow at noon or does Thursday at 4p work better for you?
 

SScurlock

Envoy
Inner Circle
Yellow Jersey
While editing next week's Unlocked interview with Theo Kracke (who sued the City of Santa Barbara for the right to operate short term rentals -- and won) I learned a neat trick that Theo uses to get the owners (of the properties he manages) to contribute money to the fair regulation fight. Listen to this...

View attachment 4288


QUESTION: Any ideas on using the presumptive close in your pursuits?
I retired from an insurance sales career and I loved and used a presumptive close very effectively - always with the customer's needs coming first - "which of these plans best suit your needs at this time?" Some agents went for the high dollar sales - I wanted sales that would stay on the books for years, many of them lower dollar, but they added up.

I use it now with my rental business. I have added $1 per night to my rates and guests know those dollars are going to a local food bank.
 

SScurlock

Envoy
Inner Circle
Yellow Jersey
The Long Version: The Evolution of The Presumptive Close, Never Named as Such Before…
Karla, I loved reading every word of your "long version" Guests must love your enthusiasm for life and the place you live - it is contagious!
 

Karla

Karla, Owner of Tropical Blessings
Inner Circle
SScurlock, thank you so much! I think I’ll condense my Presumptive Close to one simple gesture: The person who makes the reservation will be given a one year membership ($30) to Friends of the Park, easy peasy but now I need to decide whether to: a) mail it, b) have them pick it up at Friends of the Park store where they get a 10% discount on purchases and proceeds benefit the NPS, or c) have them pick it up at The National Park Visitors Center where they get an overview of centuries of fascinating island history. In any event a Friends of the Park membership has so many pluses, definitely “the gift that keeps on giving.” I especially love the idea of inclusivity it generates. It’s nice “to belong.” 😊
 
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