Here's the first installment in a series - Turning Cheese into Soul.
For the record, I have never seriously pursued Expireds or FSBO's myself; however, I have BEEN an expired listing and have appeared to be a FSBO, so I speak from the perspective of a consumer, not a real estate agent or trainer.
And I tell ya - the expired and FSBO campaigns I've personally been the recipient of are pretty darn cheesy. Obviously the agents are taking a shotgun approach to getting business from us poor saps who desperately need their "professional services." The good old Numbers Game - throw enough doo doo against the wall and eventually something will stick. And most of it is, indeed, doo doo.*
Here are some examples of the cheesy marketing I've gotten from agents who want my business...
- Daily postcards addressed to "Property Owner."
- Postcards with a hand-written "Call me! I Have a Buyer for Your Property!" (uh, the house was on the market for the last 9 months).
- Envelopes with my name misspelled (at least that's a step above "Property Owner")
- Letters with promised "enclosures" missing (e.g. "enclosed is a list of homes that have recently sold in your neighborhood!")
- A laughably cheesy series of letters with an insultingly condescending tone.
I've also been cold-called, of course, although not nearly as much as I expected. In almost all cases, the caller was obviously calling from a list and was not in the least bit prepared for a real live human bean to answer the phone. They were usually nervous, probably due to the fact that they were not at all prepared to intelligently discuss the specifics of my listing. I guess they were just shooting for the appointment, and didn't bother to "waste any time" in preparation.
Here's the thing.
The owner of an expired listing or a FSBO probably really WOULD like to hear from you... if you have something to offer aside from a cheesy canned marketing piece and a desperate desire to get a listing agreement signed. These people are not the enemy - they're, yes, real live human beings who have a need they'd love you to fill. But no mass-mailing or cold-calling campaign is going to convince anyone you're the right (wo)man for the job.
What to do instead?
Quality over Quantity. Instead of simply shoveling out postcards, brochures and missing enclosures to as many targets as possible, take the time to personalize your approach to a few. Drive by the home. Take a close look at the expired MLS listing or the FSBO brochure. Note any marketing challenges you see and think about how you would address them. See if you can identify why the home hasn't sold - it may be price, but it very well may not be. Try to figure out if the property is a short sale; that will affect your approach. Ask yourself - "CAN I SELL THIS HOME?"
That's what your target audience wants to know. Can you sell their home?
If I had received just one personal letter (and I don't just mean a hand-written envelope) from an agent who had taken the time to actually LOOK at my situation and address it specifically, that agent would have had a great shot at my business. If one of the agents who called me actually knew where "Doe Run Estates" is located and why it's special (and challenging), I'd have been impressed. If any of them had indicated they had a clue why my property didn't sell, or even a sincere desire to find out, they might have caught my attention.
But, sigh, no. All attempts to entice me to take the next step were in vain. Hopefully they had more luck with their 99 other targets-du-jour...
*For the record, I like Borino's Expired Plus system. It's not cheesy and it's not simply a series of letters designed to beat down a homeowner's resistance. It's aggressive, but do-able for a soulful sort.