Calling for-sale-by-owners (FSBOs) is a popular time-tested strategy agents use to grow the listings side of their business. Why is it so popular? Because it still works, and it’s completely free. As the number of licensed real estate agents goes up every year, competition continues to becoming fiercer — and it’s getting harder and harder to get meaningful ROI from FSBOs.
Agents race to reach FSBOs every time they hit the market, with as many as 50 agents competing for the same ones. Additionally, more consumers are turning online to find and recruit their first agent, which diminishes the returns from using call centers or virtual assistants when calling FSBOs.
Converting FSBOs into clients takes time, skill and creativity, and the need to differentiate yourself quickly from the competition is huge. Here are six practical tips for winning FSBOs, along with our best script for a cold calling objections.
1. Find them
Homeowners typically decide to sell their home when they have a major life-changing event — retiring, becoming an empty nester, divorcing, starting a new job or simply deciding to make a move.
The initial activity signal that someone is looking to sell their home is that they want to get a pricing consultation for their home.
If you can afford to invest in your listings business, use a predictive technology that capitalizes on those social life-changing signals to connect you with motivated sellers before they make the decision to list their home — connecting with them at an early stage will give your business a competitive edge and put you ahead of fellow agents cold calling FSBOs.
Providing homeowners with a complementary pricing consultation will make you the first agent they will contact before listing or once they struggle to sell their home.
In addition to marketing, provide local homeowners with an instant, branded, easy-to-access home valuation. Invest in build relationships with the interested prospects before they go on the market or even before they become a FSBO.
Branding with local sellers and providing more home values early — before they are ready to sell — gives you a competitive advantage with all sellers and FSBOs specifically. Not only will it help you win more listing appointments, but it also will increase your overall conversion rate.
2. Make a great first impression
Your goal is to make your first great impression by meeting with FSBOs in person, getting them to remember you and convincing the homeowner to save your number. You should remember that homesellers are looking for buyers for their home — so it’s going to be difficult for a FSBO to refuse to meet you in person after you offer to bring them more buyers.
Do you have a plan for how you can sell their home faster? How can you help them with the prep work and fixes before listing a home? Offer your marketing skills and your network.
What about making a staging connection and offering a staging company credit?
Meeting them in person works the best — and it’s the perfect opportunity to leave a great and lasting impression by being recognized for all the outstanding services you are going to provide.
3. Follow up
Follow up with FSBO leads after their home has been on the market without meaningful activity. Set notifications, follow-up emails, texts and/or calls to follow in 30 days, 90 days and six months for all your FSBO leads and expireds.
Continue your brand marketing and retargeting ads to homeseller leads. You want to catch them at that early moment when sellers have started to get nervous that their home won’t sell and they become open to new ideas.
Since home price in today’s changing real estate market is the first thing a seller wants to know, win their business by giving this information to them first, before they visit portals and see your competition.
Give them more information about their home value instantly, for free and without any obligation.
4. Build a relationship
Stand out from competition and differentiate yourself from other agents. FSBO owners will hear many pitches and listing presentations that are almost the same.
Everyone can cold call, but what makes you the best for this particular FSBO homeowner?
Why should they choose you from so many other agents? My personal favorite answer to this is: Your ability to build a relationship, better responsiveness, your knowledge of the market and use of marketing technology.
To get you started, follow these five tips for building a relationship:
- Be honest and genuinely helpful, be professional, and be prepared.
- One of the most successful proven strategies to form a solid bond with sellers is to provide them a complementary homeseller presentation. Outline why you will sell their home faster and for more money. Give them an example, where you sold a home for their neighbor. Do you have a story about how you or your team negotiated a deal for your client that is worth more than your commission? Share it with FSBOs.
- Send them monthly market updates and pricing changes for their home. Continue to show them your branded ads that build trust and present you as a local expert.
- Be ready to respond quickly to their inquiries when they are ready for help. For better responsiveness, invest a few minutes regularly to clean up your voice messages, and respond to calls from unknown numbers so potential clients can get a hold of you.
- Use technology to advertise to them, so they believe that you’re a marketing expert. Will a seller believe that you’re a local marketing expert if they’ve never seen or heard of you before? More ways to prove that your marketing savvy and to stand out from competition: use technology to provide your branded home values to them on autopilot, stay top-of-mind with them with social media ads, promote your business with online ads. Those tools can be great investments for building recognition and trust with local sellers — and they will help you to get more FSBO business.
5. Convert them
Use a fresh list or create your own seller pipeline — either way you need to have a significant enough list of prospects to get meaningful ROI from your FSBO efforts.
Assuming that your sales skills are good, you should be able to convert about 1 percent of leads into appointments every month. But only 10 percent to 60 percent of the appointments will turn into listings depending on many factors — your local market condition, house values, seasonality, your personal conversion and sales process, time you give to measure the results, etc.
This means that to get a few listings monthly you will need more than 1,000 leads to start with. I personally recommend staying away from purchasing large lists that offer you all local FSBOs and expireds. Cold calling those lists can pose a great risk and hurt your reputation. Lots of homeowners are on the do-not-call list, so you might get in trouble.
Another reason is that the information is often outdated. By then, those leads were called so many times that getting a good conversation is close to impossible. We’ve never purchased or used such lists nor recommend buying leads.
Instead, you can get find a fresh list of FSBOs for free from your local MLS. This strategy, combined with building a homeseller pipeline with home value leads, has provided the best return for many agents who are growing their listings business at scale. Many of these leads have never been called by an agent, so it’s easier to convert these leads into a listing appointments.
Simple cold-calling might not be enough alone to convert an appointment into a listing. This is why traditional door-knocking combined with online marketing to local homeowners likely to sell has worked so well for many agents in this competitive landscape.
One interesting practice we use to get a listing appointment is to show up at their door when you have a listing nearby or a recently sold/closed home in their neighborhood. Try saying: “I’ve sold a home for your neighbor, and I’m giving complementary listing consultations to the neighbors — thought you might be interested.” That’s been the best door-knocking script for us.
FSBOs call script
If you’re calling FSBOs, you should have a plan. Here’s a script that works:
Hi, Am I speaking with ______?
Hi ______, I’m Rich from ABC Realty. How are you? (Lead replies)
Pro tip: Use power words: Wonderful! Perfect! That’s great! That’s nice to hear!
I am calling about (address). Is it still for sale?
If expired or cancelled or extracted from portals:
We have seen your listing in (name of portal), and my agent is very much interested in your property.
It shows that the price is set at $1.2 million — has this been professionally appraised?
Great! So it has __bedrooms and __ baths?
Where do you plan on moving once the property is sold?
How soon do you want the property sold?
Or: Do you have a specific time frame or month that you will be selling?
Perfect! ABC Realty is interested in listing your property and offering it to our list of buyers. One of our agents can meet you and share ideas on how we can help you sell your listing.
Are you free tomorrow at 4 p.m. to meet one of our agents?
Or: It’ll just take 15-20 minutes of your time. Why not hear him out, then decide from there? So, is tomorrow at 4 p.m. OK?
Or: Excellent! Well, my agent would like to talk to you to share his ideas on how we can help sell your property — is tomorrow at 4 p.m. OK with you? It will just be 15-20 minutes.
Or: We’re not coming over to bring papers to ask you to sign any contract. We just want to see the property and discuss options with you. Is tomorrow at 4 p.m OK?
Or: We’re interested in speaking to you and taking a look at your house to see how we can work together in getting the property sold. Is tomorrow at 3 p.m. fine with you?
Or: There’s no obligation to hire our agent — hear him out, then decide from there. Would tomorrow at 10 a.m. be fine with you?
If this FSBO is already in communication with another agent, but hasn’t signed a contract, say:
Nexus is really interested in your property. We’d appreciate it if you could spare just 15-20 minutes of your time to speak to one of our agents to discuss how we can help you sell your property. Then you can decide from there. There are no obligations. You don’t have to sign up with us if you don’t want to.
If the FSBO had bad experience with an agent, you can say one of these:
- I understand that you might not have had a good experience with your agent, but in Nexus, we give our best when it comes to our services. Is tomorrow at 4 p.m. OK?
- I am not saying that your agent didn’t do his best. What I’m saying is that Nexus may have a different idea on how we can sell your property. Would tomorrow at 10 a.m. suit you?
- It will just take 20 minutes of your time for our agent to share his ideas on how we could sell your property. Is tomorrow at noon OK?
- Well, if you could meet with our agent for just 20 minutes, he would be able to share with you his plans on how we can sell your property.
If the lead is expecting a buyer to come with our agent, you can say:
- Before we can bring any buyers, our agent would need to see your property first. Would tomorrow at noon be fine?
- We work with buyers, but we don’t have a buyer for your property yet as our agent would need to see your property first. Is tomorrow at noon OK?
Hope you found my tips and scripts to better convert FSBOs into listing appointments helpful. Now that you are equipped with this information, you can make a decision on where to focus your efforts.
I recommend starting by picking three ZIP codes where you have the most expertise. If you have any active listings or just recently sold homes, it’s going to be much more effective and convenient for you to convert more listing appointments.
Then, focus on how you’re going to stand out from other agents who will be calling FSBOs and expireds.
What’s your competitive advantage when it comes to sellers? Share your best scripts in the comments.