FSBO Chapter 08

Land FSBOS With No Prospecting

I hate prospecting.

Yep, that’s right. I’ve done my fair share of it. In fact, I’ve been pretty good at it. I’ve even made a lot of money from it. At one point most of my income came from prospecting.

But, I still hated it. It’s true. Which is why today I know that…

One of the biggest mistakes I ever made was…

Thinking that prospecting was the ONLY way to be successful in real estate.

It’s a lie. Anyone who has ever told you that prospecting is the only way to succeed in real estate lied to you.

Yep, I said that. If prospecting were the only way to succeed, then how come so many successful agents don’t prospect at all?

I used to prospect all the time. I prospected for 2-3 hours a day, 5 days a week.If they say “No” again, then tell them again about how this will help them and ask for the appointment.

I hated my job.

I hated going to work. I hated the real estate business.


The answer is simple. I hated prospecting.

Then, someone suggested that I try to list homes using direct mail.

They told me that other people were using direct mail to sell their products. Why not real estate? Hmm! I’d never thought of that.

But, I was skeptical.

“Yeah right”, I thought to myself. I did not think anyone could list a house using direct mail. At least not on a consistent basis. Then they showed me a bunch of success stories.

Apparently, people in a lot of other industries were generating leads and selling their products thru direct mail.

So I decided to try it out for real estate. I built a direct mail marketing campaign for FSBOs. It took a lot of trial and error. I made a lot of mistakes. But, eventually I got it to work.

Here is how I developed a direct mail system that enables me to list FSBOs without prospecting.

First, I did a lot of research. I researched how FSBOs choose which Realtor to hire. Here’s what I found.

FSBOs hate to be “Sold.” But, they love to “Buy.” Let me explain how this works for you and me.

Do you look forward to going to a car dealership and experiencing a salesperson try to shove you into a car that you don’t want? No one enjoys it. I learned this lesson very early in my real estate career.

A lot of buyers enjoyed working with me because I didn’t try to “sell” them on buying a certain house.

In fact, they often told me, “We like working with you. The last agent tried to push us into buying a home we didn’t like. I finally realized he saw us as just another commission check.”

When you try and “sell” someone you usually push them away.

Now, contrast that with helping someone buy. People love to buy! I’m a guy so I don’t get the same thrills from shopping that my wife does. (She loves shopping.)

But, I still enjoy certain aspects of shopping. I bought a new pair of shoes the other day. It was fun to go pick out a nice pair of shoes, try them on, and buy them.

Don’t laugh at me. I don’t love shopping. But, I do enjoy it – especially when it’s a stress free experience. However, if there was a pushy salesperson hovering over me, then it wouldn’t be any fun. Make sense?

Anyway, how does this relate to FSBOs?

Don’t make the same mistake that most agents make with FSBOs.

They act like the pushy car salesperson. They try and “sell” the FSBO on why they should hire them.

And, they do something even worse.

In fact, I’d say they commit a Cardinal Sin.

They tell the FSBO they are stupid to try to sell their home on their own. “Have you ever asked a FSBO, “Do you cut your own hair?”

I used that script for years and it usually only made the FSBO angry.

“What do you mean? Of course I don’t cut my own hair! I’m not stupid”, they would reply angrily. The angry people rarely listed with me!

Au contraire! It usually makes them angry. Most people will never do business with someone who tells them they are stupid.

How are agents committing this sin?

Here is what most agents do. They try to convince the FSBOs to list with them by telling them the statistics. “91% of all home sellers hire a Realtor”, they tell the FSBO.

Even though this logic is sound, the FSBO doesn’t care. Most of the time they feel insulted. And, they usually don’t list with that agent.

I analyzed the FSBO market and realized I was making this mistake myself.

If we shouldn’t try to “sell” a FSBO, then what can we do to convert them into a listing?

First, make sure you understand how they buy. Then, help them buy. Sound complicated?

It isn’t. Let me explain.

My Secret Strategy To Listing FSBOs: Help Them Buy.

Imagine the FSBO is holding a 300-pound weight over his head. That weight is the work of selling his home FSBO. Of course, he’ll start to buckle under the weight.

Eventually, he’ll drop it. BUT, WHEN?

You know they will eventually list. You just don’t know WHEN.

This is why prospecting doesn’t work very well for FSBOs. Most agents try to list the house on their first call. But, most FSBOs are not ready.

So, what does the agent do?

They move on to the next lead. They try to list that home right away. Now, every once in a while an agent gets lucky. They call a FSBO at the exact moment that FSBO is ready to hire an agent.

And they get a listing. Yay!

Actually, it’s really bad.

None of these agents ever think about all the FSBOs they are losing, because they didn’t call at just the right time.

That is why prospecting is the worst way to list FSBOs.

What are you going to say the next time you call the FSBO? “Hey, you didn’t want to list the last time I called you. Do you want to list today?”

Follow up calls are uncomfortable because you don’t know what to say. I have listed a lot of FSBOs with prospecting. But, I was never good at the follow up part, because I didn’t know what to say.

I didn’t have anything of value to provide to them.

I felt like a pest who was bothering them. I would try each FSBO a few times. But, if they weren’t interested, then I would focus on the new leads. New FSBOs. New Expireds. Other NEW leads.

I left all of old FSBOs to someone else. Yep. That’s right.

Someone else listed all those FSBOs that I could have listed.

That was a big mistake. Looking back I can’t imagine how many FSBOs I missed out on.

If only I had followed up with them. If only I had had something of value to provide to them. Back then I didn’t. Today I do.

I built an entire marketing system that enables me to list FSBOs using Direct Mail.

Today, I list 6-8 FSBOs a month without doing a lick of prospecting.

You could do the same. It starts with direct mail or email. We have a system or you can use your own. Just mail letters out to them once or twice a month. Use the checklist from the last chapter. Send them things that are going to demonstrate your value. This will build that trust we been talking about. Then when they list, they’ll call you.