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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!