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As a real estate agent, it can be a challenge to win over FSBOs (For Sale by Owners) and convince them to hire you as a listing agent. We consulted Sherri Johnson, national real estate coach and creator of the Sherri Johnson 90-Day Bootcamp with Real Estate Express, for her advice on how to convert FSBOs.

No. 1: Congratulate Them
When you contact a FSBO lead, it’s important to be respectful. Start by congratulating them on their decision to sell by owner, Johnson advises. This builds a good rapport right off the bat because it shows them you understand what they’re trying to do and respect their decision. “Congratulating them on their decision to sell by owner is huge,” says Johnson. “That creates a genuine, authentic relationship right away. They usually say, ‘Wow, thank you,’ because they feel that you understand.”

No. 2: Present Yourself as a Listing Agent
Johnson recommends approaching FSBOs as a listing agent, not a buyer’s agent. Some real estate agents try to get their foot in the door with FSBOs by telling them they have a buyer, but Johnson advises against this. “Don’t approach them and say you have a buyer because they will pigeonhole you as only a buyer’s agent, and they will never consider you to be their listing agent.” Since the goal is to get the listing, you want to present yourself—first and foremost—as a marketing specialist. Then, as a secondary point, mention that you have some buyers who may be interested.

No. 3: Offer Free Value
To successfully convert FSBOs, you have to offer free value, Johnson asserts, and there are several different ways you can do this. Offer to give them home staging tips, help them come up with a pricing strategy and show them your marketing plan. You also want to “help them understand feedback, and why people aren’t writing an offer,” adds Johnson. If they aren’t getting any feedback—which is common—offer to help with that.

No. 4: Get an Appointment
Johnson stresses that getting the appointment is absolutely critical. “The goal is to add enough value that you get yourself an appointment.” In order to book it, she recommends that you 1) emphasize you’re not coming to list the property, 2) offer free advice or a free report, and 3) tie it down by offering two appointment options.

No. 5: Land the Listing
The most important thing is to get an appointment, Johnson reiterates. “Once you’re there, you can have another conversation and figure out if they’re ready to list or not.” At that point, you’ve already laid the groundwork by establishing a good rapport and offering free value. “When you add so much value,” Johnson says, “they will hire you.”

Real Estate Express is one of the nation’s premier online real estate schools, providing pre- and post-licensing courses, continuing education courses and professional development to hundreds of thousands of real estate agents across the country. Real Estate Express, along with its sister schools McKissock LearningSuperior School of Real EstateAllied SchoolsThe Institute for Luxury Home Marketing and Hondros Education Group, helps real estate professionals achieve sustainable success throughout each stage of their real estate career. Learn more at