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It’s only a matter of time before a for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) seller will enlist the help of a real estate agent to sell his or her home. According to the National Association of Realtors, 8 percent of home sales were facilitated by a FSBO seller in 2016. This means that most sellers will use an agent to sell their home.
For agents, FSBO sellers can be a great way to build relationships and build your business.
Early in my own business, I prospected FSBO sellers. One of my first FSBO sellers became my best client and source of referral business. Earning the business of a FSBO seller is about knowing the right and wrong things to say.
Below are four ways you can flip your script, earn the trust of your FSBO prospects and grow your business.
4 wrong (and right) things to say to FSBOs
1. Don’t say: ‘You will never sell your house on your own.’
You won’t gain a seller’s trust or respect by attacking his or her personal decision. FSBO sellers know it’s unlikely they will sell their house on their own.
FSBO sellers usually attempt to sell on their own because they do not see the value that an agent can offer them.
What to say instead: ‘What made you decide to sell your home on your own?’
Real estate is emotional. It’s possible the FSBO didn’t feel their interests were represented by a past agent. Work to build a relationship and trust with the FSBO seller by asking questions. This will help you understand what their real pain points are.
2. Don’t say: ‘I can help you improve your marketing.’
Yes, we have all seen those FSBO photos with the seller slouching on the couch, toilet lids exposed and other situations better left unmentioned.
Say this instead: ‘What are the best features of your home?’
Get the FSBO sellers engaged in conversation by asking them what they like about their property. This will give you an opportunity to showcase your marketing skills by showing the seller how you might highlight some of their favorite features.
3. Don’t say: ‘I’m not like other agents.’
Sure you’re not. To a FSBO seller, all agents are the same. Saying you are not like other agents does not mean anything if you have not worked to build trust or shown them why you are unique and different.
Say this instead: ‘What type of service do you expect from your agent?’
Asking them about their expectations gives you an opportunity to work with them to develop a communication and follow-up plan that is agreeable to both parties.
FSBO sellers are turned off by the impression an agent is only in the deal for a quick dollar. Most FSBO sellers will not have a problem hiring an agent if they feel they are getting what they pay for.
4. Don’t say: ‘Wow! How did you come up with that price?’
I actually said this to a FSBO seller once very early in my career. Seriously. It slipped out of my mouth before I even realized what I had said. Needless to say, that appointment ended swiftly.
Say this instead: ‘What method did you use to price your home?’
Most FSBO sellers struggle with pricing their home. Asking this question will give you some insight into their motivation and pricing objections. You then can have a conversation about a proper pricing strategy and their motivations and expectations during the transaction.
FSBO prospecting is like dating. You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find the prince. Show the FSBO seller the value that you can bring to the transaction by showing a genuine interest in their needs and earning their trust.
With a little time and the right approach, you can turn that “sans agent” seller into a client for life.
Kellie Tinnin is a training administrator with the Greater Albuquerque Association of Realtors. Follow the GAAR on Twitter or Facebook.