FSBOs looking for help will participate in conference calls—if they
can phone in anonymously!
by Mike O’Boyle, National Speaker, Regional Director
Want a creative way to work For Sale By Owners without the worries of do-notcall violations? The FSBO conference call is a powerful guerilla-marketing tool that will put you in touch with a lot of prospects.
According to the Texas Profi le of Homebuyers and Sellers, 16% of sellers in 2004 sold their home without using an agent—up from 11% in 2003, and higher than the national average of 14%. This survey also found that challenges for FSBOs include selling within the time planned, preparing the home for sale, attracting buyers, understanding paperwork, and getting the price right. Clearly, many people who sell their home on their own could benefi t from your help.
Knowing that a large number of FSBOs will eventually list their homes for sale with a real estate agent, why not try a rejection-free approach that will literally get FSBOs to call you? This is a creative, easy, cost-effective, and painless strategy that will get your phone to ring and increase your listing inventory. A word of caution: This tool isn’t for everyone. But if you are the type of person who believes in the magic of creating a relationship first and making the sale later, you’ll love this!
How can I get FSBOs to call me?
Contact your local telephone company or look in the yellow pages under conference call and fi nd out how to set up a conference call. There are many companies offering conference-call technology. You will receive a special phone number and instructions, which probably will include a password for folks calling into the conference call.
Create and print fliers letting FSBOs know that they can participate in a free, anonymous 30-minute conference call each week to help them sell their homes. Let them know what day and time to call and any instructions they need to join the conference call. Try not to pick a time and day of the week that confl ict with a popular TV series or major sporting events. Distribute your fliers/invitations to as many FSBOs as you can fi nd—the more the better. You can also place the fl iers on local bulletin boards in your area. Grocery stores, home-improvement stores, and shopping centers are all great places to start (and all places where FSBOs often advertise their homes). You can even search the Internet for FSBOs by going to Google and searching on the phrase for sale by owner and the name of your city. (For the best results, put for sale by owner in quotes and the name of your city outside the quotes.) Several Web sites will show up where FSBOs are advertising their homes for sale. You will be surprised how many of these Web sites actually display the FSBO e-mail addresses right on the site!
Now, for zero cost you can e-mail your fl ier directly to FSBOs with an invitation to participate in your free For Sale By Owner conference call each week. (Make sure that your e-mail subject line contains ADV:, you include your return e-mail address and postal address, have a means to unsubscribe, and comply with all other state and federal e-mail rules.
Your flier should let FSBOs know that they can talk with other people selling their homes on their own, and they can talk with you, one of the area’s top real estate professionals (or however you brand yourself).
What will you talk about?
Your job during this call is simply to carry the conversation. Thank your callers for joining in and let them know you are available for private consultation if they’d like to call you directly. Have a prepared list of subjects you plan to talk about and a list of sample questions they may want to discuss.
Offer free advice on what they can do in the next few days to help sell their home. Here are just a few examples of free information you can offer the participants of your call:
- Selecting the right price to attract the most buyers
- Making the right improvements to avoid wasting money on unnecessary, unprofitable projects
- Advertising tips, so you don’t waste money
- Preparing your home for a good showing
- Holding a great open house
- Qualifying buyers to separate them from lookers.
Now, imagine you were a caller. What would you ask? What would you want to know about selling your home?
- What kind of financing alternatives may be offered
- What to do when a buyer wants to make an offer
- How to counteroffer without jeopardizing the sale
- How to negotiate effectively for a better offer
- Who to contact to help close the sale.
You can also invite guest speakers, such as loan officers, home inspectors, or real estate attorneys to discuss specific topics relating to the sale of a home. You can ask your guest speakers to pay for the cost of the call that week in exchange for the opportunity to market their services to home sellers.
Think about this example—even if a FSBO does sell his home on his own, the buyer will need a loan from somebody. If the buyer is not pre-qualified, and the FSBO can politely recommend the loan officer from the call for immediate pre-qualification, that certainly would be worthwhile for that mortgage professional. It also would be worthwhile for the FSBO, who does not have to waste time on unqualified buyers.
Throughout the conference call, offer free services. A price analysis, an equity analysis, or a FSBO first aid kit usually works well. What’s in a FSBO first aid kit? You can include information or advice to help the sellers sell their property, like a marketing plan, home-staging advice, negotiating tips, etc. These items may encourage the FSBO to invite you to show them how you can sell homes quickly and for top-dollar.
Finally, wrap up your call by asking the participants to call back and report their results to you and discuss new topics next week. This is a great way to build FSBO confidence and eventually gain their business.
Will FSBOs call in?
You bet they will, and here’s why:
- It’s free
- It’s anonymous
- It’s more comfortable to them than meeting face to face with a real estate agent
- Anybody with a touch-tone phone can call in from any location.
In fact, you can moderate the conference call from the comfort of your own home while you’re wearing pajamas and eating your favorite ice cream.
This is a definite “give before you get” proposition, so be patient. If you expect immediate results, you will be disappointed. Often, there will be a few people on the line who will not talk. After a couple of calls, most people will feel more comfortable and will chime in. It’s a beautiful thing when FSBOs begin sharing their horror stories of “an open house gone bad” with first-time callers.
Keep in mind that while some For Sale By Owners may successfully sell their homes on their own, many will decide to list with an agent. Your value proposition in exchange for offering this free service is that you are simply asking that should the time come when they do decide to list, you hope they will think of you. If they do sell on their own, perhaps you can help them with the purchase of their new home.
Remember to ask everyone on your calls for referrals.
Could this strategy be worth an extra listing (or two or three) per month to you? Set up the call, invite as many FSBOs as you can, and find out.
Mike O’Boyle is regional director with ProspectsPLUS! a personal real estate marketing software company endorsed by CRS. He has trained with industry experts including Floyd Wickman, Dave Beson, and Bill Barrett, and has delivered more than 1,500 talks nationwide helping real estate professionals make more money with proven tools and techniques. You can book him for your event at 972-772-8331, email@example.com, or MikeOBoyle.net.