Here’s another installment in our series on prospecting tips. This post focuses on prospecting sellers of expired listings.

Like all prospecting, doing your homework before contacting the potential client, in this case the owner of an expired listing is essential. Since your goal here is to convince the seller that you’d do a better job selling their home, you’ve got to find out through clue gathering why that home didn’t sell in the first place.

Chances are the home didn’t sell because it wasn’t priced properly but here are other things that will help you “convince” the seller that you’d do a better job selling their home this time around.

  1. How long was the house on the market?
    1. Were there multiple price reductions?
    2. How many months did the house just sit at being overpriced?
  2. What about the marketing?
    1. Was the home professionally photographed?
    2. Did the listing accurately and engagingly describe the home?
    3. Since you likely haven’t seen the inside of the home. ask around your office if any of your colleagues did.
  3. What can you learn about the previous agent?
    1. What firm affiliation?
    2. How long in the business?
    3. Does the former agent have a good online presence?
    4. Does the former agent have strong networks and references?
  4. What can you determine about the homeowner?
    1. Retiring?
    2. Moving to another state?
    3. Check out their social media to get a feel for their personality so you can tailor your pitch to that specific personality and to their needs.
  5. What can you tell about the condition of the home?
    1. Curb appeal?
    2. Landscaping?
    3. Exterior finishes/sidings?
    4. Roof?
  6. Was the home staged properly?
    1. You can tell by the photos.
    2. Can you find any photos of the home vacant?

If you’re crafting a letter to the owner of the expired listing or cold calling that owner, personalize and individualize your communications based upon what you’ve learned from your homework and research about that property and homeowner. Why? You’re competing with other agents who want that listing

  1. Talk/write about specific needs/solutions.
  2. Use simple, direct and conversational language.
  3. Choose 1 of 4 different approaches and stick with that approach.
    1. Casual
    2. Empathetic
    3. Neighborhood expert
    4. Outstanding agent
  4. Include reviews from former clients who are willing to link their phone numbers so the seller can call them.

When to call or send a letter? Some people say to contact the seller immediately before 25 other agents do. Some people say to wait a week or two so the seller can get over the disappointment/rage of not selling the property after putting so much time into the sales process of keeping the house perfectly cleaned, leaving during open houses, etc. This is your call…do what’s comfortable. Most importantly, do it.

Once you’re talking/writing to the seller, build trust by showing empathy. Something like…

You’ve likely received dozens of calls/letters from other

Agents so I’ll be brief. Selling a home is incredibly

Difficult, stressful and time consuming. For your best

return on investment, you have to take another leap

of faith. As you’ve learned, it doesn’t always work out

But I’m contacting you because I’m confident I can help

you in this process.

Next you want to focus in and describe the problem in detail. Be honest…say exactly what you think didn’t work and say exactly what you would do differently…one, two, three. This is where your homework/research is so important.

Stick with these three things (more than three is too overwhelming.) Say something like…

Here’s a quick summary of things I would do…

  1. I noticed inconsistent updating in your last experience. The updated pricing was listed only on MLS, not on Zillow. We update all of our listings automatically and instantly on all channels via our XYZ program on our website.
  2. I noticed that there were no social media postings about the listings. We consistently and regularly promote all of our listings on as many channels as possible.
  3. I noticed poor photography and staging in your last experience. We use an outstanding professional photographer, free 3D house tours, aerial drone photos and flythrough videos for all listings.

Wrap things up with a description of your business and a call to action. Give the seller your contact information, cell number, email address, Linked In and Facebook links so the seller can know what to expect from you. Thank the seller for giving you his/her time. And close by saying something like…

I look forward to hearing from you in X days but if something unexpected comes up for you on your end, I’ll give you a call by X days to hear your thoughts about proceeding to sell your house.