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Converting the FSBO Lead: Strategies and Scripts From the Trenches

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The most difficult leads in the whole of the home real estate industry tend to be the For Sale By Owner (FSBO) listings. These homeowners have purposely chosen to avoid listing their property with an agent. This willful foregoing of both visibility and ease of process likely means they have a reason for not wanting an agent. 

Maybe they have had a bad experience with an agent or brokerage in the past and think that circumstance is indicative of the industry as a whole. Maybe they want to avoid paying out the agent’s commission and think they can make more on their own. Or maybe they feel they are just as capable as any agent at selling their home. 

Whatever the reason, this demographic will likely take a little more finessing and convincing. That is why we, as well as many other real estate experts, recommend that new agents practice their negotiating skills on these independently-minded sellers. 

Hard Work that Pays Off

This may seem like a fruitless endeavor, good for nothing much besides cutting your noob agent teeth, but the truth may surprise you. Did you know that, according to Zillow, only 10% of all FSBOs complete the selling process through closing without utilizing an agent at some point? 

This means someone’s converting these clients, and it might as well be you.

So, how do you go about doing that?

Essentially, it’s about convincing them that you’ll work harder and smarter to close the sale faster at a higher price than other agents. If this sounds challenging, indeed it can be, but you’ll be a better agent for trying. 

Here are the best exert tips from the real estate trenches to converting more FSBO leads.

  1. Prepare a Script: These sellers aren’t likely to be as receptive off the bat as other leads. You’ll need to go in knowing your game plan.
  2. Anticipate Objections: As mentioned above, these sellers likely didn’t eschew convenience and marketing to strike out on their own for no reason. There is a higher chance that FSBOs will be unreceptive or put up an argument. 

Instead of fumbling through a half-baked on-the-fly retort, taking time to reason through resistance and find a way to ease their fears and concerns helps you stay in control of the conversation.

  1. Find out their Why: Understanding what made an individual buyer decide to go rogue is half the battle. This allows you to come back with facts, statistics, and logic as well as allay any concerns they might have over an agent-led sale. 
  2. Offer the Driver’s Seat: Many sellers want to avoid feeling powerless and maintain some control over the selling process. Make sure you let them know they can have as much involvement and say in the process as they desire. Offer to send immediate updates every step of the way so they don’t feel left out.  

Now that you have some strategy tips, here are some FSBO scripts to fortify your negotiations. 

Script 1: Securing an Appointment

“I have an impressive track record for selling properties in the area: [offer relevant experience and statistics]. I’d love to sit down with you and share my knowledge about the local market. We can go over your property to get an accurate personalized estimate. Many times improvements and updates you’ve made get overlooked and I’d like to help you get top-dollar. Would you have some time [this week, next week] to meet?”

Script 2: Sellers Have a General Objection

When you hear objections, try this approach:

“I hear you and I understand your [frustration, struggle, etc]. Selling your home can be an arduous process, but I’d like to help you make sure it pays off in the end. If you have questions or concerns at any point, I’m always available to listen and assist you however I can. The timeline and paperwork can be particularly overwhelming and I’d be happy to help you navigate that process.”

Script 3: Sellers Want to Maximize Profits

According to Zillow, half of all sellers report that maximizing their profit is the most important factor in selling their home. It stands to unchallenged reason that cutting out commissions leaves them more cash in the end. These sellers need to see you understand that, but also that your superior negotiating skills in getting the highest possible price more than make-up for any commission costs. 

“I get that you want to make as much money out of this sale as possible. Who wouldn’t? I see you’ve projected making [amount] on the sale. With the added exposure, polish, and marketing we can give this property, I believe we can negotiate a final price that leaves you that amount even after commission costs. Here are some comps we’ve sold at similar prices: [provide examples].”

Script 4: Sellers Already Know a Buyer

When sellers already know an interested buyer, they think the agent’s work is essentially done. They need to hear about the value you as an agent can add to the process. 

“Looks like you’ve done well on your own so far! Congratulations! I’d encourage you to consider the toll navigating inspections, contracts, amendments, and closing procedures and paperwork will take on your timeline. In addition to my expertise in these transactional matters, I carry liability coverage from any errors and commissions that might be incurred.  Without this safety net, you may be required to pay any E&O claims filed after the sale is finalized. If we can arrange a sale price that allows you to keep the rough amount you’re expecting, would you consider partnering with me?”

Getting Your Foot in the Door

These phone tactics alone may not be enough to secure an appointment the first time around. You may need to call back to see if they have thought it over or talked to their partner about it. Be sure to ask if they have any additional questions or concerns. 

If the seller remains unwilling to set an appointment with you, politely ask if you can leave your contact information in case they change their mind or have any other questions.  

All is not lost. Consider giving it some time, and then casually dropping by their home with a current market report. Mention you were in the area for a different listing and wanted to see how they were doing. This provides them with a free and useful tool that will likely be appreciated. 

As a good-faith gesture, you can even offer to add their listing to one of your flyers. Once they notice the uptick in interest on their property, they might just give you a call. 

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