As a real estate agent, getting through to a FSBO is one of the toughest conversations to have until you really understand their mindset.
FSBO’s are one group of homeowners that need a real estate agent’s expertise more than any other group. Yet, they are sometimes the most resistant to accepting this help, and that’s because they have usually inaccurately presumed that if they sell their homes themselves, they will save money. As most real estate agents know, they are doing themselves a tremendous disservice.
Breaking Through the “Fort Knox Attitude”
We all dread those phone calls. You know the one: They pick up, you introduce yourself, they instantly put up an invisible fortress that rivals Fort Knox, and it takes every ounce of your willpower to have a conversation with someone as friendly as a rock.
But shh…here’s the secret. That impenetrable fortress can only last so long before it breaks down, and that’s when you can finally start reaching these resistant For-Sale-By-Owners.
How To Break Down The Walls
Essentially, you need to outlast their initial pushback. Asking a lot of questions about the house, complimenting the ad they wrote for the listing, building rapport by finding out what they are committed to and why they are listing their home…all of these conversation tools help break down the walls.
They will object. They will tell you they aren’t working with agents or they already know an agent (cue: “I have a friend in the business”). They will tell you anything and everything to get you to hang up. This can feel a little daunting, but the trick to handling that objection? Ignore it. Really! If you can get past the first 60 seconds, you’re usually in!
TIP: Check out this related article: “3 FSBO Dialogues for Getting The Appointment”
FSBO’s Are Method Actors
A method actor is someone that puts on a costume, applies makeup, and becomes the part. They talk like their character, act as their character, and dive completely into the mindset and behavior of that character. In Hollywood, a lot of actors stay in character even when the cameras aren’t rolling!
FSBO’s are like method actors. The moment they hear you are a real estate agent, they put on their “Character”. This character can be a jerk, or at least well into passive-aggressive, but the interesting thing is that this character only lasts for 60 seconds. The reason this only lasts 60 seconds is that they have had tons of practice with other agents that have called before you and have gotten really good at driving agents off with this “Jerk” character.
But, once that 60 seconds is up and the script vanishes, but you haven’t hung up yet, the real homeowner shows up. They tell you that they don’t need an agent because they’ve sold things in the past, but when you hang in there, and their dialogue ends, they have to try and keep hiding behind that dialogue and not give you the appointment. Your job becomes easy then; you just have to let them get all of that dialogue out. Once they run out of dialogue, they are probably pretty nice people.
Acknowledging Their Objection
You might say something to acknowledge very briefly that they know someone (though we know they probably don’t), but then keep asking friendly questions about the house based on the ad they posted and about what they are committed to. Most of what they will tell you at the beginning of your agent-client relationship isn’t always very accurate, especially when it comes to FSBO’s who are already so resistant to working with an agent.
The truth is, if they really had a good friend who was a great real estate agent, that friend would never let them be a FSBO because they know what we know in the POWER Program®…selling on your own is disastrous for homeowners because they lose money, time, and endure tremendous stress – even in a hot market like this one.
TIP: Read this related article on how to “Get In The Door”
When The Real Homeowner Comes Out
When you start asking the same questions that a lot of buyers have, they often suspend that they are speaking with an agent, and the walls start coming down. The point is less “get all the information” but more “build rapport to get them to like me”. The key here is to look for the holes — what are the things that the homeowner didn’t address in the ad? Ask questions about the missing information (including questions around timeframe, goals, and dreams). Asking questions that are already answered in the ad makes it look like you aren’t paying attention, and that’s not a good thing when you are trying to win them over!
Once you feel that you have built enough rapport with these homeowners, it’s time to move to the asking for the listing conversation. Some points you can start to address are these:
- The issue of safety. They are letting complete strangers into their homes with no idea who this person is. Nor do they know if this person could afford the home if it were free! You, however, are licensed by the state, and your face and information are plastered all over the place, making you the safest appointment they could have. Why would they let all those strangers in but not you?
- You could have 2 or 3 (or more!) potential buyers that might be interested in their home. And with all the hours you spent in training between getting your license and the continued training over the years, you are an expert in buying and selling real estate and could contribute to their knowledge of buying and selling homes (since you very likely know a lot more than they do!)
They have nothing left to lose by hiring you, and with so much to lose by NOT hiring you, if they are going to let unlicensed strangers into their home, you should be a slam dunk YES for an invitation.
Are you ready to start taking things to the Next Level®? If you don’t already know what you need to do to get to your next level, we can help!
Power Agents®, for more strategies and tools for helping buyers and sellers, check out the Buyer’s and Seller’s tabs in the Classroom. Whether you need a boost of confidence or empowering dialogues, we are here to help you get the skills you need to be the go-to agent for the buyers and sellers in your farm area.
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