More Expired Real Estate Scripts: Avoid the Traps

by | Aug 1, 2015 | Grow to Greatness in Real Estate, Real Estate Moms

I have had an enormous response from you all about the first set of Real Estate Scripts. I had a couple of you send in more examples of objections and some that felt like they were being trapped by the expired real estate leads they were talking to.
It is true; some consumers like to set traps for unsuspecting agents. Armed with an attitude of sincerity and motivated by the opportunity to secure a new listing, every agent needs to avoid the traps set by expired home owners.
They say: “If I can’t get $XXX,000 for my house, I can’t afford to sell.”
This statement sounds innocent, but sets a major condition for taking the listing. A pre-set price without clarification or reasons is a trap to avoid. I suggest you simply reply: “I am just curious, how did you determine that price?” The objective for your curiosity is to ‘peel-back-the-onion’ or to reveal the expired seller’s motivation for having a pre-set price, not to mention the expectations that may exist with that price. Because the property has expired from the market, the price was probably rejected by the market. (But always keep in mind the possibility of location and condition as reasons for a property expiring.) Peeling back the seller’s motivation is key in determining your next step. An expired seller’s motivation for pre-selecting a price can range from: simple greed to having a second mortgage to another agent priced the home to the seller looked on-line at Zillow to the price reflects current tax assessed value to the cost of their new home or future lifestyle costs. Once you determine the motivation or reason behind the price tag, you can select your next step in successfully listing or walking away from the seller. Without peeling-back-the-onion, you may foolishly spend your time and money AND emotional energy. Avoid the trap of motivational ignorance.
They say: “How come you did not sell it while it was on the market before?”
There is nothing innocent about this statement, and it likely makes every agent cringe. This is the ‘blame trap’ and caution needs to be exercised. There are two clear directions an agent can take to avoid the pitfalls of the blame trap: One is to address the emotional feelings of failure of the expired seller. I suggest using the ‘feel-felt-found’ strategy. “I understand how you feel. I have spoken with many other sellers who have felt the same way. What they found is once we go through the factors that impact a home successfully selling, they understand why all buyers and agents may not see or show every home on the market.” “Would you be able to meet this evening or tomorrow to discuss these factors?” The second strategy is to directly address the factors or reasons all agents and buyers do not see every home. I suggest an introduction like…”There are several reasons that every buyer or agent may not see or show a home for sale. All of the reasons are related to five factors: Price, Location, Condition, Amenities, and the Exposure your home was receiving while it was on the market.” I like to follow-up this statement with a series of questions related to the results of the previous agent’s marketing. “How many showings did you have?” “How many open houses did you have?” “And, how many lookers were at the open houses?” “Did you have any second showings?” “Did you have any offers?” My intent should be clear. I am taking control of the conversation and collecting valuable information as I show real interest in the expired seller’s home. Avoid the blame trap.
They say: “Can you send me some information on your experience first?”
This request comes in many forms and I call it the ‘pre-condition trap’. It may be worded as: “Can you send me the price you think you can sell my house for before we meet?” Another way the ‘pre-condition trap’ is used is when a consumer suggests you drop off your market ahead of time. And the most common ‘pre-condition trap’ is, “how much do you charge?” In an attempt to be respectful of the seller’s wish, I immediately close for a time when they will be home, giving me the opportunity to meet them and quickly review the information they have requested. It sounds like this: “I have a brief resume of discussion points on my brokerage and my personal experience. When would you be available for twenty minutes?” Avoid the pre-condition trap.
They say: “Have you ever sold a house in my neighborhood?”
This is a challenge for the majority of agents. After all, we can only have a definitive number of sales in a year’s time. More important than the direct question is the motivation behind the question. The seller’s motivation for asking will determine your response and course of action. You may want to ask: “I am just curious, did your last agent have a lack of knowledge about your neighborhood?” Or, “Are there some benefits of living in your neighborhood we can use to market your home?” Or, “Are you asking if I can service a listing in this location?” Do not dodge the question, but do ask for clarification. Usually, only one agent will dominate a neighborhood and it is probably the expired agent. I call this the ‘statistically improbable trap’ and it can be tricky if you are not prepared. Avoid the statistically improbable trap.
They say: “How about if we just list it with you for a month and try it out?”
The ‘test-drive trap’ is very common among expired sellers and we cannot blame them for being a little cautious. After all, they may have endured a six month contract with zero showings and very little contact with their previous agent. Embrace the ‘test-drive’ with empathy and a guarantee. Here is a possible response: “I understand that you want to be cautious about entering another long contract. How would you feel about a ‘seller service guarantee’? If we do not provide the service you are expecting, we will cancel the contract — no fees?” This response is not for every agent. If you do not intend on servicing the listing and providing a list of service points with a guarantee, then you will need to respond differently. Avoid the test-drive trap.
They say: “I am frustrated that our house has not sold yet.”
This is not an objection. This is a statement of feeling. Use empathy and paraphrase their feeling. But, do avoid the possible trap of becoming their counselor. Remember, you run a real estate business not a counseling center. You want to establish yourself as their real estate market expert, not the human emotions expert. Try this: “I understand how you feel. I have spoken with several other people that have felt the same way. They have found some comfort in understanding the current market conditions. When would you have twenty minutes for me?” This should sound familiar; it is the ‘feel-felt-found’ strategy. Avoid the counselor trap.
They say: “I don’t think our agent did their job.”
Remember OUR Code of Ethics and stay true to its spirit and avoid the ‘mud-slinging trap’ at all costs. Try a response like this: “What did your last agent do that you liked?” And follow with, “How could have the last agent improved their performance?” This is a great opportunity for you to hand-craft a marketing program for your new listing. The expired seller is giving you their personal list of dos and don’ts. What could be more valuable when listing a home? Take advantage of this opportunity. Avoid the mud-slinging trap.
They say: “My last agent was not able to sell our house in six months, what makes you think you can?”
Repeat after me: “We are not interchangeable parts!” And believe it! As many different and unique brokerages as there are, there are equally as many levels of training and agent proficiency. I like to answer this question with a simple statement: “When can we sit down and compare what you experienced over the last six months with what I am offering?” Or, “There are three basic reasons I think I can secure a buyer for your home. When can we sit down and discuss them?” Remember: Not all agents are created equal, and we all need to develop our personal Value Proposition. Avoid the interchangeable-parts trap.
They say: “My last agent did not do much to sell my house. I think I am going to try it myself.”
The ‘give-up’ trap is a signal of readiness for a hungry agent who wants to work side-by-side with a motivated seller. And treat this opportunity just that way: “It sounds like you are motivated to sell your home and have some ideas on how to get the job done. Am I right?” “Would it be all right if I stop over tonight to discuss your ideas and possibly make a plan for your home?” The key is to dignify the seller’s ideas and see if they fit your marketing plan. It may be as simple as having the seller preview the flyers, MLS input, photos and 800 recording prior to the list start date. Some sellers just want to be empowered. Do it! Avoid the give-up trap.
Tip from the Coach: When a consumer offers an objection in the form of a statement or question, the consumer has an underlying motivation, reason or concern. The key to successfully handling all objections is to reveal that consumer’s motivation