There are many advantages to soliciting “expireds.” First of all, they have identified themselves as our favorite demographic – a seller! Much of the work and cost in lead generation systems comes from the identification of a hot demographic and “expireds” have already done that work for you. If you can identify that there is still existing motivation with the expired, the acquisition of an appointment to solve their needs is not as difficult as many other lead generation groups because they have already gone through the trials of selling and know the drill.
There are only two goals for an expired contact via phone or in person:
#1 — To determine if there is still motivation to sell
#2 — To obtain an appointment for a listing appointment
When the expired owner says that they are going to re-list with the same agent, congratulate them on their loyalty and ask if they would like for you to evaluate their home. An evaluation will consist of as many brand new ideas that you can think of to make their sale faster with a higher net. You can then ask the seller to share these ideas with their real estate agent should they choose to re-list. The secondary effect of this appointment will be for you to show them that the more you become educated on their property, the better the chance you have of explaining and selling it to your buyer database. Once you meet with the seller, show them your plans, and show how you put their needs in front of yours — they may just consider not renewing with their existing real estate agent and try the marketing process with a new enthusiasm.
If the seller is saying that they would like to wait a while, you may inquire about their motivation. Typically, motivation does not reveal itself on the first question. For instance, if they say that they would like to move to the Midwest, you might have to say, “What state?” When they say that they are moving to Illinois, you might have to say, “Mr. Johnson, what will moving to Illinois do for you?” If you ask these questions in a warm and caring way, you should be able to obtain answers. When they say that moving to Illinois will allow them to be closer to their kids and grandkids, you might say, “Well, how will that make you feel?” When they tell you that it will allow them to see their grandchildren grow up, you could say, “Well, Mr. Johnson, if you would grant me the permission to meet with you and your wife for just 15 to 30 minutes tonight, maybe I can show you a plan that will be successful in getting you closer to your grandchildren.”
The goal of these presentations is to get the appointment, if the need to sell is there! If they tell you that they no longer wish to sell, then help them through their discouragement. You can say, “I understand that living in a ‘fishbowl’ is no fun; however, may I ask why you first put your property on the market?” If you are nice and do a good job of matching and mirroring the client, they just may tell you! When they do finally tell you, say, “May I ask what has changed about achieving (insert their goal for selling)?” If nothing has changed, all you have to say is, “If I could show you a marketing plan customized to your home and to meet your goals, would you meet with me? Would 5pm or 6pm be better for you?” As you can see, it makes no sense to take the property off the marketing, if the need is still there to sell.
Even if they go ahead and list with their old real estate agent who failed the first time, should the property expire a second time — I guarantee that you will be the first in line for consideration, especially when you implement the expired watch program.
One of the problems you might have in determining motivation and obtaining an appointment is that before you determine either one, the seller might want to make a commission demand or start a discussion regarding the same. Remember, on the phone or in person, the only goal with a potential seller is to determine motivation and get the time, place, and day for the listing appointment! You can say, “In my whole career, commission has never gotten between a client and their goals. Can we talk about this when we meet? Would 4:30pm or 5pm be better for you?”
Expired solicitation has a lot of competition. Each time a real estate speaker comes into town, everyone is calling “expireds” for a while. This is a temporary phenomenon. Once the fire dies from the seminar so will the feverish calling. The key to my expired program is consistency. When you are consistently delivering multiple phone calls, quality mailings, voice mails with lead ins to your website, and personal visits, the expired listing will have no choice but to believe that you are the most enthusiastic and hardest working real estate agent in the area. After all – that is what they really want! Remember, the expired seller believes the only reason their property did not sell was due to an under-performing agent.
The only way to consistently solicit this fine seller demographic is by time-blocking your schedule. There should be a time-blocked section each day for research, letter generation, phone calls, and personal visits to the previous day’s “expireds” that you were unsuccessful in reaching. You should also time-block one-hour a week for “clean-up” calls on non-responsive leads. By time-blocking, you are saying that there is nothing more important to do during that pre-scheduled time…except a listing presentation or a family emergency! The interruptions at the office, non-scheduled coffee breaks, just making that one return phone call, or even answering incoming phone calls/E-mails must have time allotted for those activities, or they should not be done. The top real estate earners actually control their interruptions. Nothing should get in the way of this your money-making times. When you can deliver a consistent and high quality expired solicitation program everyday, you will find that a large percentage of your income will be derived from this new system.
There are numerous offshoots of the expired program. One of my most popular is the end of the month, holiday, and end/beginning of the year rush. Real estate agents use dates sometimes suggested by their clients and sometimes self-imposed to determine when an expiration date should happen. For instance, most real estate agents who are listing properties in June, July, August, and September will usually write a listing expiration date of December 31st or January 1st. This means that the expired volume can be ten to twenty times the norm on the first day of the year. If you are ready with pre-made packages and a delivery system with a cleared calendar, you can absolutely “beat the drums” of the competition. In fact, I was so successful on the January 1 to January 5 expired run that I could list as many as twenty properties in January from the 100-200 “expireds” that we had during the first week of the year. The same phenomenon happens before or after major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and it is also true at the end/beginning of each month. Being prepared for the high volume days when your competition is not ready and it will increase your expired hit ratio.
Another expired subsidiary is the expired watch. This is the ability to calendar a callback date for someone who tells you that they have re-listed the property and you can obtain an expiration date on that re-list. You can mark your file to watch these properties, if your MLS does not supply the actual expiration dates. This will allow you to monitor the expireds every morning and match it to your expired watch list. Someone can also be added to your expired watch list when you meet someone who realizes that they should have listed with you but they did not, i.e. an old friend, family member, etc. that you just “forgot” about you! Once the person is set “straight,” your database can be calendared or this person can be put on an expired watch. You can then “sleep” on their doorstep once that expired actually comes up.
Another offshoot of “expireds” is all the “maybe” clients that you can pad your database with for calendared callback dates. These are the people who have decided to take their property off the market for a period of time and they require a callback later for follow-up. This group is what I call my listing leads “B.”
Listing leads “A” are people you generate paperwork on and they are going to be doing something soon. Listing leads “A” maybe people to whom You have already made a listing presentation to and they just haven’t decided yet. Listing leads “A” can also be people who have promised to list…just not yet. When people were classified as listing leads “A,” their information was put into a low-tech organizing rack on my desk so that I can call each of listing leads “A” at least once during each week as a time-blocked activity. Listing leads “A” were leads that were going to list in the next sixty days. I would not let them fall through the cracks. All generated paperwork was within reach for the weekly time-blocked call.
As you can see, it is important to start your expired system, all its subsidiaries, and time-block its implementation. Tomorrow, we’ll break down the process into an easy-to-follow series of steps. Stay tuned!
Lead generation is what builds your business and keeps your pipeline full, no matter what the market says! Grow Your Leads: Just Add Wa(l)ter is a thick book full of detailed and complete prospecting systems, and it includes the data CD (digital copy). This is also a great manual for an assistant.
Check out the details: http://www.waltersanford.com/shop/grow-your-leads-just-ask-walter/. Call 800.792.5837 and ask for the $50 blog special on this system!