How to Give FSBO’s a Reason to Call You Back

Going after FSBO’s is one of the best ways to take listings consistently every month. When you take a FSBO listing it means that you have solved their pain. Sometimes it can be challenging to have them realize that you are actually involved to make their life easier and help them accomplish their goals. FSBO’s are getting called by many real estate professionals in your area, and getting them to return your call, can be a challenge when you don’t give them the right reasons to pick up the phone.

Whether you are leaving voice mails, sending postcards, or sending direct mail, it’s important to give the FSBO owner a reason to call you. Too often real estate professionals point out mistakes in the owner doing their own work or leave their “resume” on a voicemail. None of these methods will really give them a reason to pick up the phone.

Getting your phone to ring from FSBO sellers means taking a few moments to understand their pain and then crafting your marketing messages to solve those pain points. Here are a few items that you can tackle to get FSBO’s rushing to their phone to call you.

1. Interest peaking questions – Instead of shouting out your accomplishments, take the time to ask questions. Don’t ask the same old questions as everybody else like “are you offering compensation”, dig deeper to see where their pain is. Ask questions that lead them to see what you have to offer like “Do you know the 10 things you should ask every buyer before they view your home?”. Asking interest peaking questions like this will help them to see your value.

2. Marketing message – Your marketing message needs to hit at the heart of saving people time and money. Often a FSBO owner is trying to save money and pay only 1 commission, but sometimes they also need to save time. On your mailings especially, focus on a marketing message that will reach the FSBO like “Is Saving Thousands of Dollars On The Sale Of Your Home Worth Five Minutes Of Your Time? – That’s All I need To Show You How To Do It”. That message reaches to the heart of a FSBO.

3. Make it easy – Displaying 5 phone numbers, an e-mail address, and a physical address doesn’t show that you are easy to get a hold of, it is confusing. Make it is an a FSBO owner to contact you by giving them 1 easy way to call you. A method that makes it simple and gives you tracking on what marketing is working is using a 1-800 number service, like Proquest. It doesn’t matter what service you use, but it is essential to use a service that allows you track your results.

Since over 80% of FSBO owners do convert into a listing for a real estate agent, it’s important to have the right ingredients so that agent can be you! By focusing on interest peaking questions, a powerful marketing message, and making it easy for them to contact you, you can start taking more FSBO listings every month.

How to Successfully Convert FSBO’s to Your Listings

I’ve been in real estate now for over 10 years. I started with no sphere of influence and in a totally new area after moving across the country to relocate. In my first year, I was International Rookie of the Year with over $12Million in Sales. One of my main target markets was For Sale By Owners.

I learned some key pieces to actually getting these prospects to become my clients, here is the plan for conversion:

The first step is to actually have a real Action Plan for converting FSBO’s to your Listings. The Action Plan should span over 90 days for the high intensity contacts, and then convert to a lifetime of “touches” to make sure that they stay your clients and customers for life.

The initial step of the Action Plan is to find prospects: you can use a variety of sources including the newspaper (online and offline), FSBO specific sites and driving around areas. Once you’ve found them, you need to add them to your Action Plan and make that initial call.

The initial call should be something that is comfortable for you. It should not be threatening or question their intelligence. You’re probably laughing at this one, but when I started there was a colleague of mine who was also targeting FSBO’s – he would come to the office early in the morning and start making calls. You have to admire him except that he would always cut off his initial call script within 30 seconds because they hung up on him!

The reason for his massive failure was that he took a course from a highly regarded and successful real estate trainer (albeit one that had never actually sold a house!). This trainer taught him the script that I hear way too often: “Hello, this is Joe Smith – is the owner around? Great, I understand that you are trying to sell your home yourself, is this correct? Wow do you know how many people try that and then end up listing with a realtor within 30 days? Do you realize that people have actually been killed trying to sell their home by themselves?…”

The conversation was one based on fear and insulting their intelligence. What would you do if you received that call at 7:00 AM (or anytime for that matter)? You would become angry and hang up too!!!

The other mistake script is telling them that you have a buyer that you would like to bring by. The only problem with that is that you really don’t have one and then you show up to see the property and use an excuse that your buyer couldn’t make it – only to proceed to try to get them to list their home with you! Warning: they’ve heard it and been there already!

Your initial call should be one of understanding and patience – not fear and insults. Remember, the FSBO has decided to sell their home without an agents help for any number of reasons. You have no clue yet why but one of your missions later will be to find out. First, you need to get your foot in the door.

I always used an approach that allowed me to tour their property without ever mentioning the possibility of listing their home. If you approach the call as a genuinely interested person, then you will have more success.

Once you’ve met with them and toured the home. You will have substantially more knowledge on the property, the owner and the reasons for attempting to sell FSBO. You can then start to build additional trust and offer help and assistance. This is accomplished by a series of postcards, phone calls, handouts and letters.

Your postcard series should be targeted to offering various services for free or a small fee: use of your IVR system, fliers, showing and tour services, FSBO website listings and more. The more that the FSBO sees you as a friend instead of a salesperson looking to take another listing, the better off you are and will be in the future.

Your letter series should include handouts, guides and other support materials that show your professionalism without asking for a listing. Examples of your marketing materials are good but actual step by step guides (“Holding a Successful Open House”, etc.) are much better. Again, this is an opportunity to set yourself apart as the expert and the only person trying to help the For Sale By Owner succeed.

Here’s one key tip: ask to host their Open Houses. If you do this and do it correctly, you should get 1 -2 additional pieces of business from every Open House that you help that FSBO Owner with.

Here’s the bottom line – treat the FSBO as if they were already your client. Help them with their efforts… if you follow the right process, one of two outcomes will occur. Either you will be asked to list their property or it will sell and you will get referrals and additional business!

Good luck and go get them!

For Sale by Owner – Realtor Secrets 101 For FSBOs

It’s no secret that today’s real estate market is tough.  Worried sellers are trying to sell their homes themselves.  Home property values are down, and they desperately want to save the cost of a real estate commission, so they try to market their properties as FSBOs (for sale by owner sellers).  Makes sense, right?

Yes, “if.”

If you are accustomed to taking responsibility for yourself, have some business sense, have bought and sold homes before, have some time and money to invest in the project, and know and can use the tools and techniques that good Realtors use, then the answer is an unqualified and resounding, “Yes!”   You have the right mind set and the ability to actually earn the Realtor’s commission.  Either the whole commission, or just the part the selling agent would have gotten.  Earn is the operative word here.

So how do good Realtors do it?

Good Realtors start with the basics and work through a systematic, well designed and thought out, integrated, multi-media marketing plan.

Property Condition

At the risk of alienating new listing clients, good Realtors tell it like it is when it comes to getting a home into shape to show well.  If you plan to be a successful FSBO seller, you need to do this for yourself.  Do one or more rooms need to be painted?  Do carpets need to be shampooed?  Are all door knobs and locks tight, and in good working order?  Does it have “curb appeal?”  Is it clean, tidy, uncluttered?  Are closets jam packed, or tidy?  Have any burned out lights been replaced?  If you are smart, you’ll take care of these sorts of items before your property goes on the market, and keep them in good order.

Price

Realtors who continue to earn a living in down markets are very good at getting their listing clients set realistic asking prices for their properties.  A Realtor friend of mine often asks her clients, “Do you want to list your property, or do you want to sell your property?”  Price can make a huge difference in the outcome, and my friend knows that.  A person can put property on the market at any price.  It will not sell unless the price is realistic.

Buyers are out there even in a slow market, but they are VERY price conscious.  In areas where the market is weak, it’s generally effective to be priced just under the list price of any comparable home that’s for sale in your neighborhood AND a bit lower than the recent “sold and settled” comparable properties in the neighborhood.  Time and again, I’ve seen people make the mistake of coming in with a price above those things.  The property lingers on the market.  They lower the price again and again, but if they’re just behind neighborhood prices and the market prices continue to go down, they “follow the market down” without making a sale even though they’re lower than what would have sold a few weeks or months ago.  Try not to let that happen to you.

Internet Marketing

Realtors put information about the homes they hope to sell in their local, Realtor multiple listing service (MLS), and on the Internet.  The best ones see to it that full information about price, number of bedrooms, number of baths, number of garage spaces, size and location of lot, plus interior and exterior photos, and what makes the property attractive appear on the Internet.  You need to do the same.  There are several really good online MLSs for FSBO sellers and buyers.  Use one or more of these sites, and take advantage of all the bells and whistles (many photos, captions under the photos, a place for descriptive text, map to your property, hit counters, a unique web address for your property, etc.) they offer.  Today, approximately 70% of home buyers begin their search online. 

This is just getting started.  In “Realtor Secrets 201,” we’ll discuss the next steps.   

Real Estate Text Messaging Benefits When Marketing FSBOs

Due to the rising popularity of robust smart phones, real estate agents who utilize text messaging systems can benefit, substantially, from an exposure and lead generation perspective. On a “for sale” sign, your text messaging code can help you share information about properties with people that pass by through a message that sends out detailed property specs and photos. Chances are that the vast majority of passers by who notice a property you’ve listed will have a cell phone and by texting the system right then and there, they can quickly receive detailed listing information on a home. As soon as they do, you’ve gotten a lead that you can follow up with on that property or another listing. Did you know that this could also work to your advantage with FSBO (for sale by owner) properties? Read on to learn how.

Many realtors have realized the potential benefits of marketing through mobile messaging. By subscribing to a real estate industry messaging service, you can market to people via their cell phones. Not only can this tool help you market through properties that you are listing but you can also extend this ability to help you market through properties that you’re not listing. Any realtor that sees a FSBO sign can take that as an opportunity to build their brand and get new leads as well. Approach the homeowner and position the messaging service as a free and valuable marketing tool and you could both benefit.

If you already use real estate text messaging services, you know that it can help you capture new buyer leads. But did you know that you can also use your account on more than just your own listings? By offering use of the service to homeowners attempting to sell their home on their own, this could benefit in several ways:

Build Relationships with FSBO Homeowners

By offering to share your lead generation service for free with FSBO homeowners who don’t have the benefit of marketing and exposure offered by a real estate agent, you can build a relationship that results in business and / or referrals. For example, if the homeowner that is trying to sell without a realtor is unable to sell the property on their own, they may turn to you for assistance later on. It costs you nothing to share your service with the homeowner and in the meantime, if people text for info on the FSBO property and they don’t buy it, they become a lead for you.

Branding

Increased exposure in your area is always good, especially if you’re focused on a community that is highly competitive. People who get text messages from properties on your subscription will learn about you. And, they may or may not choose to look at that FSBO property but even if they do, they may also want to look at other neighborhood listings (that are listed by you). And, if the lead doesn’t already have a buyer’s agent, this is an opportunity for you to extend your services.

Lead capture possibilities of real estate text messaging are substantial. By utilizing this service and by offering use of your service as a free marketing tool to local homeowners, you can increase your exposure, build relationships, and sell more homes.