Be sure to download the free expired listing follow up guide with templates for writing the perfect expired listing letter:
I changed my phone number a couple of years ago. About a month later I began receiving phone calls from real estate agents about my “expired listing.”
Apparently, not only did the homeowner who used to have my phone number not sell her home, she went incognito in the process. And, lucky me, I ended up with her phone number.
Call after call, day after day, I must’ve heard from every agent in the Las Vegas valley.
If I didn’t personally know so many brilliant, caring real estate agents, I’d easily have walked away from the experience thinking you all are vultures and my house is dead meat.
Amazingly, not one of them had anything compelling to say to keep me on the phone. And while it’s not fair to hope that all agents have the cold-calling, expired listing follow up skills of Borino, it is fair to say that most of them probably shouldn’t be trying to drum up business over the phone.
A homeowner with an expired listing doesn’t have to be contacted by telephone. In fact, if it’s a common practice in the industry in your area, you might want to consider door knocking, or an even less-intimidating follow up method: write an expired listing letter.
“But an expired listing letter is so old school”
Direct mail marketing is old school. Which is why many marketers have such great success with it. As an increasingly large number of agents drop direct mail as part of their marketing plans, it becomes a better strategy for those who include it.
“The engagement is growing as the clutter declines”
according to the pros at the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).
Sure, this is the “digital age,” but direct mail marketing is still very much alive. Response rates for mail sent to prospects are three times higher than just three years ago, according to the Data and Marketing Association (DMA).
In its 2018 edition of the Statistical Fact Book, the DMA found that 64 percent of Millennials say said they prefer scanning for “useful information” in direct mail than in their email boxes.
So, let other agents make those clumsy, annoying cold calls while you lick stamps to stick to envelopes stuffed with your brilliant first-contact expired listing letter.
The anatomy of a powerful expired listing follow up letter
The most important aspect of any marketing piece is to know your audience. In this case, it’s a homeowner who had his or her home listed with an agent until the listing expired.
Now that, and the fact that the homeowner is getting calls from tons of agents, is what we know for sure about them.
What we don’t know, despite many real estate advice-givers claiming otherwise, is their frame of mind. We don’t know if they’re:
- frustrated that the home didn’t sell. They may, in fact, be elated
- angry with their former agent (or their relationship to that agent, if any)
- still interested in selling
- interested in hiring a different agent
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Assuming we know how the recipient is feeling is a big mistake. In a Trulia.com thread about expired listings, a Fairfield, CA agent warns that during the time the home was on the market, “something didn’t go right and making an assumption of who’s to blame could lead to embarrassment for you and/or the seller.”
- expired listing follow up that express sympathy that the home didn’t sell
- stating in your expired listing follow up, categorically, that you know exactly why the home didn’t sell (what you think you know is only a guess until you discuss the situation with the homeowner).
- laying down your resume or a list of ways you’ll get the home sold (the chances are good that most of them will be identical to every other agent contacting them).
The entire focus of your letter to the homeowners with expired listings should be on getting a face-to-face with them to discuss what happened, from their point-of-view, with the sale of the home
Tom Toole’s expired listing letter does just that. You’ll need to trade your contact info to download the case study that includes the expired listing follow up letter, but you’ll find it on the Tom Ferry Coaching website.
The Ardmore, PA RE/MAX agent begins by acknowledging one of the few things he knows for sure: The homeowner is receiving a ton of calls from real estate agents. The very brief paragraph on how many homes he listed and sold after another agent failed is impressive.
A more effective use of that space in the expired listing follow up letter, however, would be a testimonial from an expired listing-client he’s helped.
“My home was on the market for one year with another agent. When the listing expired, I hired Anita Deal with Anita’s Real Estate and she had the home sold in three days.” Jack Frost, Anchorage
Social proof always beats out anything you can say about yourself.
The key concept with the expired listing letter is to set yourself apart from all the others who are jockeying for this listing. You can do that by avoiding the same, tired real estate clichés other agents use:
- “Your home is your largest investment,” or “your most valuable asset”
- “I am the neighborhood expert”
- “The home sales process can certainly be a stressful and exhausting process”
- “There is more to selling a home than putting it in the MLS and putting a sign in the yard”
Get that expired listing follow up out to the homeowner
Whether you are hand-delivering your expired listing letter or mailing it, put it in an unbranded envelope and hand-address it.
Hopefully, you’ve decided on how you’ll handle future follow up contacts with the homeowner. Postcards seem to be the most popular method, but many agents also use doorhangers.
Don’t neglect the expired listing follow up. Remember, these people are getting beat to ca-ca by other agents and will be all day, every day for at least the next two weeks. Impatient agents will give up, which is why you shouldn’t.
Be different. Show up in person and if they aren’t home, leave your follow up materials somewhere they will be sure to find it.
If by some chance you luck out and the homeowner is there, and willing to talk, remember the one question that will be at the top of their mind: “How are you going to help me?”
So, ask a lot of questions and listen to the answers. Then, summarize the situation from the homeowner’s point of view, “so that you get a “that’s right” answer.
“Don’t go for a ‘yes,’ go for a ‘that’s right!’” suggests Christopher Voss, former head of hostage negotiation for the FBI and founder and CEO of the Black Swan Group.
Get more tips on landing expired listings, right here on Easy Agent Pro.
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Looking for a great source of expired listings? Check out this video on how to get expireds through Facebook: