Posts Tagged ‘Expired Listings’

posted by on Consulting & Compensation

Last week we did a little teleseminar show in the SWS Virtual Studio called “Using a Consultative Approach with Expired Listings,” where we discussed a better way (IMHO!) to work with frustrated homeseller wannabe’s than the traditional pushy, salesy nonsense that’s preached as gospel in our industry.

By “consultative” I mean that you go in with an attitude of “What Went Wrong and how can we fix it?” as opposed to an attitude of “please sign this here listing agreement so I can put MY sign in your yard for another six months and oh, yeah, you were overpriced, that’s why you didn’t sell, see ya in six weeks when I show up with a price reduction amendment for you to sign.”

During the show I described an approach that helps both the agent and frustrated homeseller wannabe figure out exactly What Went Wrong and if it CAN be fixed to maximize the likelihood of a better outcome this go-around. I asked the audience to take notes and at the end of the show, tell me which tip or strategy was their favorite of the day…

And here are the results!

Favorit-est Tip #1
Approach the homeseller wannabe with a list of questions about their prior (unsuccessful) listing experience (including asking them why they think the home didn’t sell) instead of coming in with a fancy-schmantzy presentation and sales pitch.

Favorit-est Tip #2
Go in with the heart of a detective (i.e. a consultant) with the goal of discovering What Went Wrong instead of a goal of Getting a Signature.

Favorit-est Tip #3
Related to #1 and #2, have a CONVERSATION with the homeseller wannabe instead of making a presentation; listen more and talk less.

Favorit-est Tip #4
Use a multi-step process – your first visit is solely to gather information, and on the second visit you present your analysis of What Went Wrong.

Favorit-est Tip #5
Take a close look at the prior agent’s MLS listing looking for red flags that might have impeded the sale of the home. Examples of red flags include: important fields not completed properly, the listing describes showing restrictions, the buyer agent co-op isn’t competitive, the home is priced just above a natural threshold, or the listing description overpromises.

Favorit-est Tip #6
You can actually CHARGE to perform this “What Went Wrong” analysis as a separate service and offer to rebate the fee at closing if hired to list the property.

Favorit-est Tip #7
You might discover when doing your analysis that the property simply isn’t sellable right now.

posted by on Working with Sellers


I just got off the phone with one of my consulting clients. Poor guy. I nearly took his head off with my impassioned rant about the priorities of the real estate industry. He handled it well, I must say, although I could tell his patience with his trusted mentor (that would be me) was wearing thin. But I just couldn’t help myself…

Nothing like a good rant to re-energize your day!

We were talking about the pursuit of expired For Sale Signlistings. My client has all sorts of ideas on how to approach expireds (I really hate that label, but shall use it here in the interest of clarity) with promises of doing a better job than the last guy, and getting the house SOLD.

I innocently asked how he planned to do that. “Do what?” he asked. “Do a better job and get the house SOLD,” I answered.

He seemed a little stumped by the question. Perhaps even confused as to why I asked it. So, I attempted to clarify.

What, specifically, are you going to do differently from the last guy to assure a different outcome? If you’re going to tell a seller you can do better, what ARE you going to do better? I mean, you don’t want to go in just saying ‘My sign is prettier than HIS sign,’ do you?”

My client thought a moment and came back with “Well, I don’t want to criticize the other agent and say that I’m a better listing agent than he was – that would be rude.”

And I agreed. It might be rude, even unprofessional.

BUT… I disagree with all my heart that he shouldn’t be able to say, with all sincerity, that “I am the best listing agent I know.” That’s not arrogance and it should be the truth. Anyone who pursues the business of homeowners who want to sell their properties should feel, no, KNOW in their hearts and souls that they are the best thing that could ever happen to that homeowner. If they don’t feel that way, they should not pursue his business.

So, if you’re pursuing expired listings – or any listings, really – what IS your differentiating factor? What makes you “better” than the agent who didn’t sell the house, or anyone else the seller might be talking to?

That’s not a trick question! It’s a question every agent should ask him or herself before venturing out the door to pursue business.

So… HOW are you special? WHY should a seller hire you over the other guy or gal?

posted by on Especially for Rookies

Every day, every hour, someone posts a blog on AR or a question on a forum asking “how to” do something.  How to… approach a FSBO? How to… better market a listing? How to… target first time buyers? How to… persuade a seller to reduce his price? Etc. etc. etc.

Good questions, all. Deserving of answers.

However, I believe that in most cases, the answers are within ourselves. Not that I mind being asked (I love sharing my – ahem – brilliance), but a big part of my SWS philosophy is to learn to Trust Your Gut. To know that you CAN (and should) listen to your own instincts and intuitions!

So, that said…

If you were a FSBO, how would you like to be approached by a real estate agent? What would catch your attention? What would turn you on (or more importantly, off)? What would inspire you to want to work with one particular agent over another?

If you were a FTHB, how would you go looking for an agent? Where would you be likely to stumble upon one? What sort of marketing would catch your eye?

If you’re wondering how to sell your difficult listing…. Ask yourself… If I were a buyer, or a buyer’s agent, what would inspire ME to give this listing a chance? Conversely, why might I be avoiding this particular listing? Of all the listings available to show my buyer, what could the listing agent do to convince me I should show THIS one (because remember, as a buyer agent, I only get paid when my buyer buys, so I only wanna show the BEST)?

If you were an upside-down seller, what might your agent do to convince you of the need for a price reduction? How would you like him or her to approach you? What sort of information might be helpful and what attitude would be effective?

When faced with a dilemma that involves another warm body, put yourself in the other fella’s shoes. And act accordingly….

posted by on Introverts Are Awesome!

Before I write another word, I want to state, for the record, that I have absolutely no experience prospecting to expireds or FSBO’s. So take what I say with the proverbial grain of salt.

And, please note… this blog is not meant for outgoing, extroverted, natural salespeople. You guys don’t need my help! I’m writing for the Reluctant Salespeople among us – those who hate to take the risk of bothering or pestering anyone ‘cause that’s just our nature (and no, we’re not weak salespeople or scaredy-cats, we’re just different from you).

Okay, enough disclaimers & disclosures.

If you choose to pursue expired listings and/or For Sale by Owners, here’s a tip.

Go for quality, not quantity. No, I’m not referring to cherry-picking your listings (although you certainly may!), I mean that you should only attempt to list the homes of people you feel comfortable with. People you have rapport with. If you call up a FSBO and you can tell immediately that you aren’t comfortable with him, just say NEXT. Don’t fret about losing that particular seller to someone else, just move on. You don’t need every listing in town!

I promise you, there are plenty of expireds and FSBO’s out there that you will really connect with, and the good news is that these folks probably won’t connect real well with the more salesy-types who aggressively pursue them. They’ll appreciate your laid-back, non-aggressive style; in fact, you may be just the breath of fresh air they’ve been waiting for.

However, this said, I’m not letting you off the hook just yet with regard to your prospecting efforts…

When considering implementing a FSBO/expired campaign, ask yourself this question:

“Am I willing to make phone calls and knock on doors to list these sellers?”

If the answer is “No, I’ll just bombard them with mailers,” or even “No, I’ll just mail them a letter and leave a voicemail during the day when I know (or hope) they’re at work,” then… don’t bother. Find another way to build your business. To create the rapport that is necessary to make this campaign work, you have to talk to the people.

This is why I never did FSBOs or expireds. I knew I didn’t want to call anyone or knock on any doors – I prefer to stay in my comfort zone, which definitely does not involve picking up the phone to call a stranger or knocking on his door at 8:00 am. And if you decide the same, that’s fine!

However, for those of you who are looking for a respectfully aggressive (yes, those two words can co-exist) way to prospect to expired listings, check out It’s good stuff.

posted by on Prospecting & SOI

Here’s the first installment in a series – Turning Cheese into Soul. For Sale

For the record, I have never seriously pursued Expireds or FSBO’s myself; however, I have BEEN an expired listing and have appeared to be a FSBO, so I speak from the perspective of a consumer, not a real estate agent or trainer.

And I tell ya – the expired and FSBO campaigns I’ve personally been the recipient of are pretty darn cheesy. Obviously the agents are taking a shotgun approach to getting business from us poor saps who desperately need their “professional services.” The good old Numbers Game – throw enough doo doo against the wall and eventually something will stick. And most of it is, indeed, doo doo.*

Here are some examples of the cheesy marketing I’ve gotten from agents who want my business…

  • Daily postcards addressed to “Property Owner.”
  • Postcards with a hand-written “Call me! I Have a Buyer for Your Property!” (uh, the house was on the market for the last 9 months).
  • Envelopes with my name misspelled (at least that’s a step above “Property Owner”)
  • Letters with promised “enclosures” missing (e.g. “enclosed is a list of homes that have recently sold in your neighborhood!”)
  • A laughably cheesy series of letters with an insultingly condescending tone.

I’ve also been cold-called, of course, although not nearly as much as I expected. In almost all cases, the caller was obviously calling from a list and was not in the least bit prepared for a real live human bean to answer the phone. They were usually nervous, probably due to the fact that they were not at all prepared to intelligently discuss the specifics of my listing. I guess they were just shooting for the appointment, and didn’t bother to “waste any time” in preparation.

Here’s the thing.

The owner of an expired listing or a FSBO probably really WOULD like to hear from you… if you have something to offer aside from a cheesy canned marketing piece and a desperate desire to get a listing agreement signed. These people are not the enemy – they’re, yes, real live human beings who have a need they’d love you to fill. But no mass-mailing or cold-calling campaign is going to convince anyone you’re the right (wo)man for the job. 

What to do instead?

Quality over Quantity. Instead of simply shoveling out postcards, brochures and missing enclosures to as many targets as possible, take the time to personalize your approach to a few. Drive by the home. Take a close look at the expired MLS listing or the FSBO brochure. Note any marketing challenges you see and think about how you would address them. See if you can identify why the home hasn’t sold – it may be price, but it very well may not be. Try to figure out if the property is a short sale; that will affect your approach. Ask yourself – “CAN I SELL THIS HOME?”

That’s what your target audience wants to know. Can you sell their home?

If I had received just one personal letter (and I don’t just mean a hand-written envelope) from an agent who had taken the time to actually LOOK at my situation and address it specifically, that agent would have had a great shot at my business. If one of the agents who called me actually knew where “Doe Run Estates” is located and why it’s special (and challenging), I’d have been impressed. If any of them had indicated they had a clue why my property didn’t sell, or even a sincere desire to find out, they might have caught my attention.

But, sigh, no. All attempts to entice me to take the next step were in vain. Hopefully they had more luck with their 99 other targets-du-jour…


*For the record, I like Borino’s Expired Plus system. It’s not cheesy and it’s not simply a series of letters designed to beat down a homeowner’s resistance. It’s aggressive, but do-able for a soulful sort.