Making the initial contact

Making initial contact with owners of FSBO homes is the toughest step for most agents, so I recommend that you make calls as soon as you see a FSBO come onto the market. I've had coaching clients who would buy the Sunday paper on Saturday afternoon just to get the FSBO classifieds. By doing this, they could call owners of new listings to have a professional conversation before the onslaught of calls from other agents began to come through.

By being the first to place a call over the weekend, before other agents made their calls on the next workday, my clients found owners more open to dialogue. They also found it easier to distinguish themselves when they were the first to get through, rather than after 50 other agents had already done so.

Another benefit to calling FSBO owners early on Saturday or Sunday is that you leave your afternoons free to drop in on some FSBO open houses. Meeting owners face to face in their own homes presents an effective way to establish contact. The owners are sure to be home, they're expecting visitors, and they're ready to make contact and discuss the sale of their home.

Putting the mail carrier to Work

Due to the four-to-five week sales cycle involved in converting FSBOs to listings, you can use mailers more effectively with them than you can when dealing with expired listings. By mailing helpful items once or twice a week, you give yourself a reason to make follow-up phone calls on a regular basis.

After every face-to-face or phone contact, follow up with a handwritten thank-you note. The owners are getting mail from many other real estate agents, so to avoid the round file (aka the trash can), personalize your notes with handwritten exterior addresses.

Also, use your mailers to send useful information that the sellers may need. Too often, agents act like adversaries of FSBO sellers. Take a different and better approach by helping them out. Most have no idea what they really need to do to complete the sale. For example, if they receive helpful advice from you every five days, when it comes time to sign their home over to a listing agent they're more likely to think favorably of your interview invitation.

To use mailers effectively follow the following suggestions:

i Send the owners a property disclosure form and information on disclosure laws, including how the law affects the value and sale of their home. Buyers can back out even at the last minute if the owners don't handle this detail properly.

i Send a sample purchase and sale contract and maybe a counter offer form, along with the explanation that nothing ever gets agreed upon in the first contract.

i Send owners of older homes a lead-based paint disclosure form to give to the buyer of the home, if appropriate.

i Ask your lender to prepare a financing sheet that the owners can give to the buyer.

i Send numerous other items to service FSBO sellers and create a connection, including:

• Sample net revenue sheets

• Sample walk-through inspection forms

• Updated market analysis reports of comparable properties

• Sample brochures or photos of the owners' home

• Guest registers for use at showings

• Lead tracking forms to log information on people who call about the home

• Lists of homes that would meet the owners' needs if they're looking to purchase a new home in the area.

• Free reports about selling their home.

Free reports are an effective device because they enable owners to educate themselves and increase their likelihood of success while simultaneously positioning you as the expert. By sending these reports, you establish yourself as a strong resource to help them succeed. Then, when they don't succeed, you'll be there to pick up the pieces and list and sell their home.

As you prepare to send free reports, consider using titles such as: "Selling your home yourself for the highest possible price" or "The seven mistakes most FSBO homeowners make that cost them thousands in their sales price." For free downloadable samples of these types of reports, go to our Web site at www.realestatechampions.com.

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Dead Organized

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