By Julie Escobar, Director of Corporate Marketing, ProspectsPLUS!
Remember not so long ago when expired listings seemed a thing of the past? While those days might be gone, there is still some good to be found. Expired listings carry quite the silver lining for agents with the right attitude, tools and tenacity.
Our changing economy and shifting market has created the perfect climate for expired listings. More often than not, homeowners have unrealistic ideas on their home’s true market price. Those ideas often lead inexperienced agents to cater to the homeowner’s desire to set a price on the highest end of the market spectrum—and right out of the market to sell the home.
With the right skills, a few handy tools and a healthy dose of confidence, you could become the go-to agent for expireds in your neck of the woods! The great news is that these prospects can—and should—be part of your daily routine.
How do you find them? Services such as www.landvoice.com and www.theredx.com compile expired lists and scrub them against the Do Not Call Registry. Both are great organizations with solid reputations.
The easiest method, however, is to check your MLS every morning for the expired listing list. Make this a must-do in your daily routine, and you will soon notice real patterns in your marketplace. Once you recognize the spikes and lulls in your area, you can concentrate your efforts at those times. The first and last few days of the month typically are busiest.
Consider, too—especially as we head into the holiday season—an exceptionally effective strategy that our ProspectsPLUS! team recently learned from Walter Sanford. During the first three days of January, when every other agent in town was still recovering from the New Year holiday, Walter hired a team to contact every expired in an extended area and lock down a sizable listing inventory to kick off his year! How about that for setting yourself up to be in the right place at the right time?
How do you approach them? Remember that expireds are often leery of salespeople. They had a goal of selling their home and now find themselves disappointed, sometimes angry and often frustrated. This is a case where attitude really is everything.
Patience, warmth and the ability to bring real solutions to the table will make you the frontrunner for those homeowners who are still eager to get their property sold. If you find some who want to try it on their own for a while, inviting them to participate in a free FSBO conference call each week is a great way to make a friend (and possibly gain a client) in an unobtrusive way.
How do you convince them? You need real-world marketing tools and skills for these prospects, because they need realistic expectations and a clear understanding of what the market will or will not allow. Visuals, objection handlers, a definitive action plan and a clear communication calendar are must-haves for your listing presentation. A Merchandising Review™ and the Price Pyramid are invaluable tools, as well.
Merchandising Review™. The #1 reason listings expire in this or any market is price. A Merchandising Review™ puts the burden of marketability directly on the seller’s shoulders.
As soon as a property comes up on the MLS expired list, you should contact the seller by telephone and use the Merchandising Review™ as a reason to set an appointment. The following dialogue is a great foot-in-the-door technique:
“Hello, Mr./Mrs./Ms./Miss ____________, my name is _______, and I’m with ______. The reason why I’m calling is to see whether you’re still interested in selling your home.
“I know that you must be disappointed that it didn’t sell the first time, but I think I have something that will ensure it never happens to you again. Have you ever heard of a Merchandising Review™?
“Basically, it’s a special tool that I use to do a comprehensive analysis of why your home didn’t sell and determine what needs to be done differently to guarantee that it will sell if you decide to put it back on the market.
“What I’d like to do is set a time when we could sit down together and go over the Merchandising Review™. It takes about 20 to 25 minutes, and there’s absolutely no cost to you. Would Wednesday at 6:15 be good, or would Thursday around 8:30 be better for you?”
During your face-to-face meeting, walk the homeowner through each item, and negotiate the issues that are keeping the property from selling. Once you correct the issues, present your marketing plan. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a free pdf of our Merchandising Review™.
Price Pyramid. This great tool helps sellers see how pricing their home right can dramatically affect how long it takes to sell and how much money they will see at the closing table. This visual illustrates the difference between market price and investor price and shows how to find a happy medium.
The important thing to remember with expireds—as with any prospecting demographic—is that the agent with the most consistent follow up wins. Try these tools, or visit www.prospectsplus.com and click on Featured Articles and Past Newsletters for a library of resources, including articles about our Expired Conference Call™—a great way to have expireds calling you each week for advice and how-to help.
By developing a friendly relationship in a relaxed environment with these often-motivated sellers, you set yourself apart from the competition, create buzz in the marketplace that you are the go-to agent and provide a service for people who really need your help! Give it a try; you’ll be glad that you did!