Using a Consultative Approach with Expireds - the Favorit-est Tips!

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

consultativeLast week we did a little teleseminar show in the SWS Virtual Studio called "Using a Consultative Approach with Expired Listings," where we discussed a better way (IMHO!) to work with frustrated homeseller wannabe's than the traditional pushy, salesy nonsense that's preached as gospel in our industry. 

By "consultative" I mean that you go in with an attitude of "What Went Wrong and how can we fix it?" as opposed to an attitude of "please sign this here listing agreement so I can put MY sign in your yard for another six months and oh, yeah, you were overpriced, that's why you didn't sell, see ya in six weeks when I show up with a price reduction amendment for you to sign." 

During the show I described an approach that helps both the agent and frustrated homeseller wannabe figure out exactly What Went Wrong and if it CAN be fixed to maximize the likelihood of a better outcome this go-around. I asked the audience to take notes and at the end of the show, tell me which tip or strategy was their favorite of the day... 

And here are the results! 

Favorit-est Tip #1
Approach the homeseller wannabe with a list of questions about their prior (unsuccessful) listing experience (including asking them why they think the home didn't sell) instead of coming in with a fancy-schmantzy presentation and sales pitch.

Favorit-est Tip #2
Go in with the heart of a detective (i.e. a consultant) with the goal of discovering What Went Wrong instead of a goal of Getting a Signature.

Favorit-est Tip #3
Related to #1 and #2, have a CONVERSATION with the homeseller wannabe instead of making a presentation; listen more and talk less.

Favorit-est Tip #4
Use a multi-step process - your first visit is solely to gather information, and on the second visit you present your analysis of What Went Wrong. 

Favorit-est Tip #5
Take a close look at the prior agent's MLS listing looking for red flags that might have impeded the sale of the home. Examples of red flags include: important fields not completed properly, the listing describes showing restrictions, the buyer agent co-op isn't competitive, the home is priced just above a natural threshold, or the listing description overpromises.

Favorit-est Tip #6
You can actually CHARGE to perform this "What Went Wrong" analysis as a separate service and offer to rebate the fee at closing if hired to list the property.

Favorit-est Tip #7
You might discover when doing your analysis that the property simply isn't sellable right now.

Thanks to everyone who attended the show and participated in the Favorit-est Tips survey! 


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Comments (30)

Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Jennifer,  Great list.  Taking a softer, consultative approach would make you stand out from the hard sell bunch !

May 29, 2012 02:42 AM
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

All great "favorit-est" tips!  But #3 rings bells, Two ears and one mouth... Listen twice as much as you speak!

May 29, 2012 03:03 AM
Jim Hale
Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website

The seller may not know why their home did not sell.

But they probably have an opinion.  And you really need to know what that is.  So your "consultant approach" seems an excellent way to find that out.

When you go in, you really need to know what your own opinion is....whether or not you choose to disclose it on a first visit. 

Price is very likely the elephant in the room - you need to go in with an opinion of price already in mind - with the expectation that you may modify that view when you have seen the full premises. 

But you need to know if there were agent performance issues.  On your way in, you need to know something about how the previous agent does business.  But you need also to let the seller tell you what they think happened - because this home may have been an exception to what that agent normally does.

May 29, 2012 03:59 AM
Debbie DiFonzo
Debbie DiFonzo - United Country VIP Realty, SW Missouri - Lebanon, MO
Lebanon MO and Buffalo Missouri Real Estate

I signed up but couldn't make it -- will you be sending out a replay link?

Great stuff!

May 29, 2012 04:33 AM
Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

Jennifer, thanks, your list just became one of my favorit-ests reads! :-)

May 29, 2012 04:42 AM
Valarie Swanson
CENTURY 21 Award - San Diego, CA
San Diego Real Estate

I attended the teleseminar, but thank you for the recap. I make it a point to come at each client meeting or conversation as a consultant. The old ways of hard selling don't work like they used to. Consumers are far more savvy now and demand higher levels of service from the professionals they choose to hire.

May 29, 2012 05:49 AM
Sharon Sanchez
Ace Home Realty - Carson, CA
Your Number "1" Source For Real Estate.

Jennifer your approach can help me convert a lot of expired listings to my listings.  Thanks.

May 29, 2012 11:57 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Great post.  This is an area of business I have not worked that hard.  But I should.

May 29, 2012 12:39 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Interesting - I furnish real estate agents with pre-written prospecting letters, and your consultive approach is very similar to the approach I used when I wrote my Expired Listing Letter Set.

I think that must mean I agree with you!

May 29, 2012 01:32 PM
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Respectfully, every opportunity has a goal which requires a signature and that is to close, doesn't it? The art of closing is simply asking the right questions that ultimately leads to a solution based strategy, so whether you use a consulting or analyzing approach, it's all about securing the answers to your discovery questions that will determine your performance, won't it?

May 29, 2012 04:00 PM
Charlie Ragonesi - Big Canoe, GA
Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros

I enjoyed reading the summary of tips and number seven unfortunatley is often the case. Thanks fo sharing these

May 29, 2012 11:15 PM
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Thanks for all the comments! For those who say they'd like to give this approach a shot - I'd love to hear how it goes for you. Later in the summer, I'll have a similarly-themed teleseminar about working consultatively with sellers (who aren't expired listings)... It just makes more sense to approach someone this way, don't you think? 

May 29, 2012 11:24 PM
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Jennifer, great post and list of ideas.  I like to refer to our role as "counselors". lol

May 30, 2012 07:06 AM
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I have the same approach with expireds. We explore reasons why the home didn't sell. They are usually related to one of two issues--price, condition or both. Then we talk about the ways to rectify the situation. If they aren't agreeable to all the ways (price usually is the hang-up), then I go my merry way. They re-list with another agent and sit until the next time their listing expires.

May 31, 2012 04:26 AM
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

JA, Great post! This list reminds me of the approach that the best sales trainer ever heard used. His name was Bill Brooks and he developed the High IMPACT sales system. It was all about asking questions. Bill is dead now, but his company The Brooks Group still lives. You might want to check it out.

Jun 04, 2012 02:38 AM

Great insight, I just started learning about real estate investment and this post was a great help too. So thanks and keep up the good work! 

Jun 05, 2012 08:13 AM
Bobbie Smith
Stroudsburg, PA

Jennifer, Great ideas. It certainly does seem to be a better way to approach expireds - let them vent then show how you can help.

Jun 11, 2012 09:38 PM
Paul Royal
BHG RE / The Masiello Group - Exeter, NH
Seacoast NH Premier Service

Great post... thanks for today's inspiration!

Jun 14, 2012 04:09 AM
PRG Real Estate - San Jose, CA
VA Home Loan Specialist - SF Bay Area

Great, Great, Super Great List!! This approach makes the seller feel more at ease. I will try this out asap!

Jun 15, 2012 08:51 AM
Brian Park
Park Realty Investments - Murray, UT

Want to know the number one tip. I am willing to share now that I am reaching full retirement time. Consultation is my key but the first thing to focus on are the sellers themselves, forget the property in the beginning even though that is what the sellers want to focus on. I would tour the home with them, but when we sat down my first question was. 'Tell  me if you could wave a magic wand right now and have this house sold this very minute, what would you do next?

"Is that what you wanted to do when you first placed your home on the market before, or did you have other ideas at that time and your plans changed?"

"I know you want to know why your house didn't sell and hindsight may give us the answer, but what is important now is if we can sell it in this market at a price and terms that will allow you to go ahead with your plans, and what has to be done to accomplish that. Sometimes I feel like a Doctor telling a patient you have a problem and there is no cure, or you have a problem and your not going to like the cure. But that is really what you want me to do, and that is the way I work, I don't chant and dance and sprinkle some kind of dust on you and tell you I'm curing you. At this time you need to select the right doctor whether it be me or someone else, just don't pick a witch doctor with a lot of promises and very few cures."

"Let's examine your situation and see if we can find the right way to get done what you want done and actually get it done"

.Basic fact is yes the problem may have been a agent that bought the listing, but too often it is bloated seller expectations and low motivation. If they haven't returned to earth I will pass on listing them and be willing say you are being your own worst enemy at the moment and here is why... and it may be best to wait until....I also don't knock the previous agent directly and I have on occasion said your former agent is a very good agent and I know he was marketing your property properly, why not give him a chance to finish what he started, no other agent is going to do more then he has done, I will be very happy to join with him and review everything and see if there is any thing else he can do in this current market that he or you weren't doing.

people first, property second, property doesn't sign contracts.

Jul 17, 2012 01:42 AM

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