“Mr. FSBO, You’re an Idiot and I’m Not!” Yeah, that’s persuasive…

By
Education & Training with Sell with Soul

(The other day I promised to do a little series on applying Go-Giver principles to real estate - while this blog wasn't written with that in mind, I realize that it DOES indeed reflect a Go-Giver philosophy! So, let's consider this the first in that series, k?)

I was just talking to an agent who is going through a corporate-sponsored FSBO training program.

Sigh.scared

It’s typical stuff. Under the guise of being helpful, the program advises you to scare the guy to death about everything he doesn’t know about selling a house. Bring in a stack of complicated contracts and disclosures, “just so that he’ll be prepared if an offer comes in.” Include intimidating documents that he won’t actually need at contract (like a deed of trust and personal property bill of sale) just to beef up your pile. Provide a “helpful” info-sheet about the dangers of letting strangers into your home.

Again, your basic FSBO scare-tactics.

And again, sigh.

Hey, someone decides to FSBO their home because they think they can do it. They think they’re smart enough to do it and they don’t see the point in paying some smarty-pants real estate agent a whole bunch of dollars to stick a sign in the yard and do an open house. In most markets, they can pay a few hundred bucks to get on the MLS and borrow a For Sale sign, so they’re good to go.

And you know what? Maybe they are smart enough. But it doesn’t matter if they are or they aren’t; what matters is that they think they are. So, when you come in with your brow all furrowed with faux concern and your “helpful” material in hand, all you’re really doing is insulting the seller’s intelligence. You’re basically saying “You’re an idiot for trying to sell your house yourself! You can’t possibly succeed without me because I’m SO much smarter than you are.”

Oh, I know that’s not what you’re saying, but that’s what he’s hearing. And we wonder why FSBO’s can be hostile to us smarty-pants real estate agent types!

How about let’s be straight with the guy? If you think you can actually help this guy sell his house, then PROVE it to him. BE helpful without strings attached. Authentically CARE about his situation instead of mastering that look of faux concern. Be genuinely willing to walk him through contracts and answer his questions. Provide informative market reports to help him price properly.

Contrary to popular belief, demonstrating your expertise by sharing your knowledge won’t eliminate the seller’s need for you. I hope not, anyway; shoot, if it’s so easy to sell and close a house that we can explain it in an hour or two, that seller truly DOESN’T need us!

No, being cheerfully and genuinely helpful, caring and GIVING is gonna go a whole lot further with a suspicious FSBO than all the scare tactics in the world!

 

 

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Re-Blogged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Chris Webster 08/28/2010 03:20 AM
  2. Don Spera 08/28/2010 06:14 AM
  3. Randy Elliott 09/03/2010 01:48 PM
  4. Sue Puleo 09/03/2010 02:25 PM
  5. Michele Hanigan 06/12/2011 12:10 PM
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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,085,613
Bryant Tutas
Bryant Tutas-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc - Poinciana, FL
Broker/REALTOR, Tutas Towne Realty, Inc

Jennifer. There was a time when I used to ride around on weekends trying to bump into FSBOs. I found weekends were when they were working in their yards or having a garage sale. I'd just pull over and strike up a conversation. Of course we talked real estate. Then I would offer to send them  an analysis for their property and be available if they had any questions while going through the process of selling their own property. I also offered to connect them with a mortgage broker to screen the potential buyers and a title company to handle the closing for them. NEVER did I actually ask for the business. But it would usually only take a few days before they called me asking me to list their property.

My experience was that they were FSOBs because they had had a bad experience with an agent before.

August 28, 2010 05:31 PM #43
Rainmaker
145,055
Temple Schneider Callahan
Connect Real Estate - REALTOR / BROKER (DRE Lic: 01427063) - Ventura, CA
Search Ventura County Homes For Sale CA

Hi Jennifer,

Wow, your post was truly interesting to me.  I've always avoided FSBO's in the past because they are usually hard to deal with, want to offer 1% commission to a Buyer's Agent, think we don't do anything special, etc.  Well, after I read your post, I felt myself re-evaluating the situation!  Thank you!

- Temple Schneider-Callahan

Connect Real Estate Services

Ventura, CA

August 29, 2010 01:06 PM #44
Rainmaker
432,324
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

I'd love to hear more of your thoughts, Temple!

August 29, 2010 01:59 PM #45
Rainmaker
589,571
Jim Hale
ACTIONAGENTS.NET - Eugene, OR
On the Move for You! - Eugene - Springfield Oregon Real Estate

People work with people they think well of.  Contacting a FSBO with a know-it-all attitude does not conform to that reality.

August 30, 2010 04:23 PM #46
Rainmaker
589,571
Jim Hale
ACTIONAGENTS.NET - Eugene, OR
On the Move for You! - Eugene - Springfield Oregon Real Estate

People work with people they think well of.  Contacting a FSBO with a know-it-all attitude does not conform to that reality.

August 30, 2010 04:24 PM #47
Rainmaker
432,324
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Jim - I'll elaborate on your comment to say that people work with people who think well of THEM - that is - people who respect their intelligence and don't insult it at every opportunity!

August 30, 2010 04:36 PM #48
Anonymous
Anonymous
Robin Holliday

Hi Jennifer,
As always... you hit the nail on the head! We are all in this bad economy together and if someone is trying to save a little money, who are we to judge that decision! If you can put yourself out there by helping one another, that act of selflessness can be the start of a wonderful thing! Great post!

September 02, 2010 10:26 PM #49
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

I'm not a real estate agent, I'm a presentation skills trainer and came here via Bob Burg's Go-Giver blog. I loved your article and your perspective. It seems to me it's a question of short-term vs. long-term vision. By scaring an FSBO into listing, an agent may gain one sale, but by genuinely helping, they gain a friend (and a fan!) for life. Who knows what business and referrals that may lead to?

September 03, 2010 07:16 AM #50
Rainmaker
432,324
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Robin - Oh, my goodness... you GET it. I'm positive your clients and prospects feel blessed to have you as their agent!

Anonymous visitor - Thanks for visiting! I was very pleasantly surprised to see Mr. Burg blog about ME - how cool is that!? And yes, that's exactly correct.

Here's a link to Bob Burg's blog about THIS blog, BTW: http://www.thegogiver.com/blog/2010/09/02/963/

September 03, 2010 07:34 AM #51
Ambassador
448,376
Paul McFadden
Environment Control - Kent, WA
Janitorial. Kent, WA.

Jennifer: Thank you. Bob Burg recommended this and I totally agree with your line of thinking. Have a great day!

September 03, 2010 09:44 AM #52
Rainmaker
228,031
Linda Jandura
Raleigh Cary Realty - Apex, NC
Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist

You are so right! I've tried the "you're an idiot and I'm so smart" routine because that's the way I was taught. Surprise surprise that it never worked!  Congrats on being blogged about by the "go- giver"!

September 03, 2010 12:24 PM #53
Rainer
116,331
Randy Elliott
Realty World Premier Associates - Stockton, CA
REALTOR : Lodi / Stockton, CA

Hey Jennifer,

I've been getting your emails for some time now, and being new to AR I'm so glad I found you here as well.  Great tips on how to be not only true to ourselves, but true and helpful to our clients and especially possible clients...meaning everyone.

September 03, 2010 01:38 PM #54
Rainmaker
973,701
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - Fleming Island, FL
Your Fleming Island Relocation Agents.

Jennifer, this is just another illustration about how the old ideas don't work anymore. In fact, I'm rethinking our listing presentation. Today we met with a couple and instead of making them sit through who we were, who our company was, what great marketing we do, blah blah, Frank got right to what they really wanted to know - 'what's my house worth and what will it sell for?" After we discussed that, they relaxed and actually listened to the marketing and asked questions. We had a great dialogue and I think we have a good chance to get that listing. It made me realize that people might not really be listening to you as much when they're really waiting for the house's value. I'm thinking about getting that out of the way up front, then talking about the marketing and all the rest. What do you think?

September 03, 2010 11:45 PM #55
Rainmaker
432,324
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

F&S - In concept, I think it's a great idea to just get down to business and answer the question(s) THEY want answered. I approach it differently, though - I don't talk about pricing in my first meeting with a seller prospect - I consider that meeting to be purely for information-gathering and rapport-building purposes. I look at the house, take notes, ask a lot of questions about the seller's situation and understanding of the process, and then I schedule a follow-up visit in a day or so to discuss pricing.

But I stopped doing a formal presentation a few years back and found my listing appointments were much more effective.

Oh, also, I try to get the commission question out of the way as soon as possible. My seller prospects usually know what I charge before we even meet - it's on my website and I direct them there if they ask... in my experience, THAT's the other burning question they want to know the answer to!

September 04, 2010 06:21 AM #56
Rainer
21,125
Julie Metteer
Real Living Northwest - Kirkland, WA

Your "sigh..." after the words "Corporate sponsored FSBO training program" is priceless... I had a mortgage broker a few months back give me this EXTREMELY VALUABLE FSBO System Booklet, and promised that if I follow it to the letter I'll have 12 listings in 3 months.  I think he was trying to get my business, but I could barely get through the first few pages without totally gagging. Frankly, I won't be referring him to anyone because of this. It basically described the "Tactics" you are referring to and it just feels so wrong. Buffini be darned, I would rather build a genuine rapport with a client and help them as much as possible rather than resorting to scripts and scare tactics!!  

September 04, 2010 06:31 PM #57
Rainmaker
432,324
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Julie - anything that makes you gag is just WRONG! What is it about our industry that doesn't understand that simple concept? Good for you for trusting your gut.

September 05, 2010 10:45 AM #58
Rainer
9,033
Jason Grams
none - Roseville, CA

Best article I have ever read about working with FSBOs.  You NAILED it!

January 09, 2011 03:00 AM #59
Rainmaker
432,324
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

So glad you enjoyed it, Jason! I know I enjoyed writing it...

January 09, 2011 07:31 AM #60
Rainer
22,351
Michele Hanigan
Keller Williams Realty Plano, Texas - Dallas, TX
Realtor - Dallas & Plano Real Estate - (214)738-5555

Jennifer, great blog.  I've kinda been on the fence with FSBo's, and this blog just reminded me why!  Probably the best route is just to be patient and when their home doesn't sell after a longer period of time, and then sweep in and offer help.  Asking them questions at that point is probably less offensive, as they now know their way didn't work.  No-one wants their nose shoved in it. Who wouldn't want help if offered in a kind, respectable manner?

 

I think I just answered my own question on to FSBO or not to FSBO.  :)

June 12, 2011 12:09 PM #61
Anonymous
Anonymous
Kerry Carloy
Jennifer, This blog is very timely for me! I was thinking about approaching a FSBO owner to just start being acquainted. I'm genuinely interested in this seller's odyssey. I want to offer to do a CMA on the house (forgive the choice of words) and, as you say, establish a no pressure relationship where I really appreciate the courage of this individual in selling his own property.
August 15, 2011 02:07 PM #62
Show All Comments
Rainmaker
432,324

Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn

Author of Sell with Soul
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