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As a real estate agent, it can be a big challenge to win over For-Sale-By-Owners and convince them to hire you as a listing agent. We consulted national real estate coach Sherri Johnson for expert advice on how to convert For-Sale-By-Owners (FSBOs). She shared some excellent tips on how to approach FSBO leads and successfully get your foot in the door, so that, if and when they’re ready to list, they’ll choose you as their listing agent.

1. Congratulate them.
When you contact an FSBO lead, it’s important to be nice and respectful. Start by congratulating them on their decision to sell by owner, Johnson advises.

She opens the conversation by saying, “Congratulations on your decision to sell your house yourself and save the commission dollars.” 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.”

2. Present yourself as a listing agent.
Second, Johnson recommends approaching For-Sale-By-Owners 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.

“Approach them to be the listing agent,” she says. “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, Johnson explains, you want to present yourself—first and foremost—as a marketing specialist. Then, as a secondary point, you could also mention that you have some buyers who may be interested. “How you want to say it is: ‘I have an aggressive, proven marketing strategy that gets great results. And I also have a couple of pre-approved buyers that I may be able to show the house to.'”

3. Offer free value.
To successfully convert For-Sale-By-Owners, you have to offer free value, Johnson asserts. “Offer free advice, offer free value to these people, so that they know you are helpful.”

There are several different ways you can add value, she says. You can 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,” she says. And if they aren’t getting any feedback—which is common—you could offer to help with that. “It’s very difficult for a For-Sale-By-Owner to get real feedback from a buyer,” says Johnson. So you could provide free value by offering “to call all the buyers and find out what they liked about the house and what they didn’t like.”

Another great way to offer free value, Johnson says, is to give them helpful tips in the form of a For-Sale-By-Owner report. “Put your logo and your picture on a flyer, and give them six or eight tips about how they can sell their house themselves.”

Bonus tip: Generate FSBO leads by creating a landing page for the For-Sale-By-Owner free report, Johnson advises. Then share the link on social media and boost it to five or six cities. Include a call-to-action that says, “Selling your home by owner? Click here for a free report.” Make it so that people must provide a phone number and email address to get the free download.

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.

For example, you can say things like:

– “I’m not coming to list the house, I just want to come and see it.”

– “I realize you might want to continue to be by-owner for some more time, and that’s okay.”

– “I’d like to show you my marketing plan and help you with a few staging tips.”

– “I have a formula for why your house isn’t selling. I’d like to come share that with you.”

Then you tie it down by saying: “What’s better for you? Thursday at five or Saturday at 10?” It’s important to offer two specific appointment times, Johnson says.

5. Land the listing.
The most important thing is to get an appointment, Johnson reiterates. “And then once you’re there, you can have another conversation with them 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 meet with them in person, follow through with that offer by giving them good tips and presenting a solid marketing plan. “When you add so much value,” Johnson says, “they will hire you.”

To help convert For-Sale-By-Owners and land the listing, Johnson says you can ask questions like, “At what point is it not in your best financial interest to continue to sell by owner?” or “How much money are you going to save if it never sells?”

When you’re trying to convert For-Sale-By-Owners, you can contact them via mail, email, phone or stop by their house. No matter what method of contact you choose, Johnson asserts, you should be communicating your value every time.

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

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