In a few of our recent Productivity Coaching sessions, we discussed what holds many of us back from aggressively pursuing FSBO sellers. In almost all cases, what most agents fear is not knowing what to say when sellers serve up one of several different objections.
We therefore set about to tackle these knee-knocking situations head-on. Our operating premise was that if we could confront these objections during our preparation and role play/practice time, we would be infinetely better equipped to handle these objections. Here are the biggest, scariest objections we could come up with and the appropriate responses that we came up with:
1) “I can’t afford to pay a commission”
You might run into this one either on the phone or during an appointment. Our groups agreed that the best strategy is to help the seller to think in terms of the net proceeds from the sale.
Response: “Mr. and Mrs. Seller, would it be fair to say that as far as the financial aspect of selling your home goes, what you net is wha’t's really most important you? And would it also be fair to say that if you knew that you would net more money by having a talented agent manage the promotion and negotiation of your home, that discussing strategy with such an agent would be time well spent?”
2) “You are going to make more money than me in this deal”
We felt that in this case, it’s important to direct conversation away from the fact that as agents we are compensated for the value we bring. We need to guide the discussion back to the fact that it’s the net proceeds from the sale that really matters to the seller…even if that’s an amount of money the seller has to bring to closing.
Response: “Ms. Seller, I definietly understand what you’re feeling. May I ask you this though? If you knew the surest path to netting the absolute maximum from your home that the market will support, you would take that path, right? And if you knew with confidence that that path meant having a talented agent working on your behalf in the promotion and negotiation of your home, you’d at least consider that option, wouldn’t you?”
Alternate response: “Mr. Seller…you mentioned a few moments ago that the reason you are selling your home is because you start work at a new job out of state in 6 weeks. Is it fair then to say that whatever method nets you the most money for your home in the shortest amount of time would be the smartest course of action?”
3) “Will you take a reduced commission”
After discussing this objection in our Productivity Coaching sessions, we all felt that this objection stems usually from an emotional and not a logical reaction in the minds of sellers. Too often sellers do the quick math in their heads of what they think their home is worth times 6% and mentally they create an image of their listing agent going to the bank to deposit a check for this amount.
We felt that if we could remind our sellers that we run a relatively low margin business and that as far as commissions go, we only look to maintain a modest profit margin. We felt that it might help to be mindful of the costs of doing business so that sellers understand that we have expenses and in most cases, net far less than the gross commission.
Response: “Mr. and Mrs. Seller. I understand what you are asking and I know full well that there are lots of agents, particularly those who are struggling, who are offering to cut their commissions. I run a business though and I know my operating costs and my cost of sale and I know that if I discount commissions like some other agents offer to do, I know that I don’t have any margin left to deliver the service and promotion that my sellers deserve. You might ask yourself why you don’t ever see agents who advertise discount commissions survive in the business very long. My business philosophy is to reinvest in what works for my clients in order to net my seller top dollar. I feel that cutting my services to save a buck and to work for less money is a lose-lose all the way around.”
4) “We’re not going to list our home right now”
This is a very common objection you’ll get when calling for a FSBO appointment. In our Productivity Coaching sessions, we agreed that you should mentally remind yourself that when a seller says this, what they are really saying is “We are going to list our home…we may just not want to list right this minute”.
Response: “Ms. Seller, I totally understand and I’d like to commit to you that when I stop by, I promise that I won’t ask you to list your home. The perfect scenario for me is if I could bring you a buyer who felt that your home was the perfect home for them. If I were able to do that, would that be ok for you?”
5) “Man, what is it with you Realtors…you are like the 20th call today”
Yes, the angry seller can strike fear into the hearts of even the most courageous and talented agents. It’s important to remember here that it’s emotion and not logic talking. In most cases, what the seller is saying is “Man, I thought this would be easy. But I’m getting barely any calls from ready, willing and able buyers. And those that do call don’t even want to come to the house to look at it. The only ones who are calling are Realtors. I don’t really like the fact that I’m floundering at this.” Be sensitive to what they are feeling and get on the same side of the table as the seller. Chris Heller’s demonstrated this response masterfully at Keller Williams’ Mega Agent Camp recently:
Response: “Boy do I know what you mean. You think you’ve got it bad? I have to work with all these Realtors all day long.”
More often that not, that will cause the seller to chuckle and let thier guard down just a little. Follow that with good questions to keep comfortable conversation flowing.
6) “We already have a friend who is a Realtor and we’ll probably use them if we hire an agent”
This is a great opportunity to detatch from the outcome and show the sellers that you are the real deal. The key to making this script work is speaking with total confidence but with complete sincerity at the same time.
Response: “That’s great Mr. Seller. Many of our past clients have friends who are agents as well and we have always given them this advice. If you interviewed my team for the job and if your friend offered all of the value and expertise that we do and were more qualified to bring you the top price that the market will support for your house, then without question, you should hire your friend. And by interviewing us, at least you’ll know that either way, you’ve made the right decision.”
Remember, there are just a small handful of objections that you are going to run into when talking to FSBO’s. I recommend that you write each objection down on a 4×6 index card and write your appropriate response down below it. Then PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE them. Once you’ve internalized your responses, you can then listen and engage in the conversation with your heart and not with your brain. When you don’t have to think about the response, you can spend more of your conversational energy being a better listener and can better process when to pause, when to speak, and when to empathize.