When are you going to hire the right Realtor to get your home sold? Working expireds the smarmy way.

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*sigh*

It seem like an everyday occurrence. Some real estate agent somewhere does something slimy, thereby adding significantly to much of the general public’s negative perception of real estate agents.

Yet we wonder why we consistently rank at or near the bottom of job respect polls. In a 2009 Harris Interactive poll, only 5% of people surveyed said they felt real estate agents/brokers occupations had great prestige. That was the rock bottom of the list (by far) of jobs surveyed, below members of Congress, lawyers and union leaders.

Geeze, we might as well be snapping pictures of our privates and sending them to college girls, or start boffing the nanny…

This morning I was served up a healthy dose of real estate agent buffoonery as demonstrated directly to one of our clients.

The Backstory

We recently listed a client’s home for sale AND for lease. They are relocating out of state and needed to do something with their home quickly. The gist of it was if we could get it sold fast, great. If not, we were asked to lease the property and act as the property managers.

Unfortunately, a sale couldn’t happen quickly enough, but a tenant was swiftly located, screened and approved.

So our agent cancelled the sale listing in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). And here is where things turned ugly fast.

There are many agents that “work expireds”. They pull reports from the MLS that show which listings have expired or been cancelled. They then approach the home owner and solicit them to relist the home.

This isn’t necessarily a bad tactic. One might assume that if a for sale listing expired or was cancelled that the home owner might be interested in getting the home relisted for sale.

But maybe not. As in the case with our client, the last thing she wanted right smack in the middle of an interstate relocation was to be bothered, some might say harassed, by real estate agents coming out of the woodwork soliciting her business.

Yet that’s exactly what happened.

The Email Exchange

Below are some emails that were exchanged between our client, her agent, and myself. Some information has been redacted to protect the privacy of our client, and the identity of a particular expired-working agent and their very large national franchise brokerage.

Some might be asking themselves why I’m protecting this agent and brokerage. Well, I’m bound by a Code of Ethics that says I can not disparage another agent, even if their douchebaggery makes all other agents look like morons and accelerates the free fall of the public perception that ranks us lower than Congress and union leaders. If I name these people, I can be taken to an ethics board and fined.

Yes, it’s stupid. But it is what it is.

Please pay particular attention to the words our client Lisa uses when she describes the tactics of these agents…

Lisa Redacted 2

Nice huh. Here’s a real estate buyer and seller feeling like some agents are snakes and pathetic.

And who can blame her?

Calling at 8:00 in the morning?

Strongly implying that the agent she chose to work with doesn’t know what they are doing?

Digging up a home phone number and name?

“When are you going to hire the right Realtor to get your home sold?”

Really??

Hell, that’s downright insulting to the client.

This is a brilliant tactic. Let’s intrude on people’s lives — when we have NO CLUE what has been going on — and insult their intelligence and ability to select an agent. Maybe they’ll give us some business!

Lisa is spot on in her “snake and pathetic” assessment. And this isn’t some lone agent out there. Floating this sort of hot air has apparently been encouraged and trained by a large national brokerage. Gee, I wonder what Lisa’s opinion is now of this particular brokerage? Think she’ll recommend them to her friends and family?

Perhaps a better approach would be along the lines of, “Hi, this is Johnny Agent. I see your home that was for sale is no longer in the MLS. If you are interested in relisting your home, I think we offer some unique marketing methods that just might do the trick. If you’re interested, feel free to contact me.”

Simple enough, lacks smarm, doesn’t denigrate the other agent and most importantly doesn’t insult the client you are trying so desperately to land.

Just call at a reasonable hour…

 

PS: The State of Alaska recently released redacted emails from former Governor Sarah Palin. They released printed versions (24,000 pages worth). Why kill all those trees instead of, oh I don’t know, using a $20 thumb drive? Because according to the Anchorage Daily News, “The state says it is providing printed copies because it doesn’t have the software to electronically redact information from emails.” Note to the State of Alaska – buy a copy of Adobe Acrobat.

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About the Author
Jay Thompson

I'm a real estate broker in Phoenix, Arizona and the publisher of the Phoenix Real Estate Guy blog. I tend to drive too fast and scream at the University of Texas and Denver Broncos football teams. My two kids are smarter than most adults I know and my wife is simply amazing.

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Comments

  1. Alex Aguilar says:

    I had a similar nasty experience with a real estate agent and blogged about it on my site. When you have first hand dealings with with some of these unprofessional, aggressive jerks you start to understand the public’s disdain for real estate agents.

  2. Jim Gatos says:

    Good Morning, Jay, hope I don’t offend you by replying to your post at 6:41 E.S.T. (LOL)…

    Of course, we all know that the line; “when are you going to interview for the right agent to sell your home” is a “Mike Ferry” based script. And yes, I do agree with you; that CAN sound a little Too Aggressive and off center when you don’t even know the other person on the other side of the phone.

    So, yes, I agree with you on that point.

    However, I personally do make it a point to approach expired listings, but not with THAT script. There are other, more mellow ones, more to the line that you are suggesting. For me, I would say a combination of techniques I picked up over the years from trainers like Roger Butcher, Floyd Wickman, and others, especially from former and present “Starpower” agents.

    Mike Ferry was ALWAYS a hard pill for me to swallow. It has to do with someone’s style. His system, like Floyd’s, Roger’s and countless other trainers, have made some of his followers money. They would probably get VERY defensive or ignorant reading this post, because they would look at their business, and justify their methods accordingly.

    I honestly consider it my duty to check on the status of an expired listing. So much misinformation is out there. When an agent “lets” the contract expire and doesn’t even bother to tell their client their property is NOT on the market for even one day, THAT’S a DISSERVICE to me. When the agent mis – explain certain clauses in their contract with the seller and lead the seller to think they have a “self renewing” contract, THAT’S a DIISERVICE to me. There are a LOT of formerly expired listings I have relisted, some by “prospecting”, some by personal referrals, etc, that I DID in fact, sell, and sometimes it wasn’t even the price. I feel it’s my duty to help people, seriously. Very seriously. My whole marketing plan is based on building trust with my clients. They can cancel at anytime, for ANY reason, before it goes on deposit (of course).

    Now, sometimes the seller’s at fault, don’t get me wrong. They either wouldn’t reduce the price previously or they “hear what THEY want to hear” when something is explained to them. There’s no way to answer that. Life can sometimes be unfair.

    Your approach is more along the lines of what I would be more apt to do. It’s all up to the agent. It’s a free economy and the economy needs all the stimulation it can get. Stifle calls like these and you stifle free competition. It’s up to the public to either accept or reject the incoming message, or method.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      You make good points Jim. I have no issues with agents working expired listings, it’s just the approach in this case rubbed me wrong — and obviously rubbed the client wrong.

      There are good, bad and ugly ways to approach anything. This one fell under ugly, IMO.

  3. And also, how ignorant of the agents to not cross reference first within the MLS to make sure that the property hadn’t been listed for rent at the same time? The first thing I do before reaching out to an expired listing is check to make sure that it hasn’t been re-listed with another agent, or that it was rented instead. We have an agent (not public-facing)remarks section in MRIS that can be used to say “do not contact, home has been rented” which also makes a difference here. Sadly, these kind of bonehead actions don’t surprise me at all…8 am? Really? Ugh.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      We have the same sort of field here Heather. It helps, but it won’t work if agents don’t read or care….

      *Excellent* point about doing a little research BEFORE approaching an expired. It’s not that difficult to do.

  4. Sara Bonert says:

    I am sorry to say that I went through the exact same thing with my last attempt to sell that ended up in lease. I bet I had at least 15 phone calls. Being in the industry, I understood what they were doing, and honestly I don’t mind the tactic of working expired listings – I am going to have to hire another agent at some point since we were only able to lease.

    But here were my two biggest complaints: 1) Almost every call used the exact same script and same questions poised to me (if you were to sell, where would you move to). I felt they should of at least shown a little creativity and came up with their own material. 2) NO ONE did any research to customize their pitch. For example, “I know the home across the street just sold for X” or “insert something creative about the neighborhood”. It was obvious they were dialing for dollars off a list.

    The best was how everyone was an expert and does a lot of business in my neighborhood. But when I looked them up in the MLS, they didn’t have any listings anywhere near my home nor had they done any transactions there (it isn’t hard to look these things up!). Oh yeah, I did have access to the MLS because I was a REALTOR when I lived in Chicago. I told half of these callers as much…. I’ll let you guess what the conversation morphed into then. Why on earth would I want to join your firm when I just told you I am relocating out of state?

    Anyway – In my opinion cold calling isn’t easy and does take guts. It’s something I have a hard time with so I appreciate the effort, as I know they are just trying to make a living. But I think if they just would have slowed down and make 10 quality calls instead 100 speed dials – the results could be different.

    As usual – you’re the cream of the crop Jay!

    • Jay Thompson says:

      “But I think if they just would have slowed down and make 10 quality calls instead 100 speed dials – the results could be different.”

      Vastly different I suspect. Thanks for the great contribution Sara! I’ll see you at ICSF in a few weeks!

  5. How sad that your client was relentlessly bombarded with phone calls. When my own home was taken off the market a few years ago I got over 30 letters from agents asking to relist my home (I kept every one of them) but not a single phone call. The funny thing about the letters is that at least 25% of them had ridiculous spelling errors. Ever heard of spell check? Sigh…

    • Jay Thompson says:

      If they can’t take the time and effort to proof a letter soliciting business, why would someone trust them to sell their home?

      Attention to detail is kind of important in this business…

  6. HURRAH! Jay- As always you show tremendous class even while calling out “douchebaggery”! LOL

    You also win an extra gold star for the laugh given with the dig to the State of Alaska

    Jas’ very first listing was obtained by reaching out to a near by expired- using almost word for word the approach you suggest-so I can see the value in this technique when done appropriately and without smarm. I agree with those that say you need to cultivate your own “scripts” based on the property, your personality and RESEARCH conducted and not just start dialing.

  7. Scott Warga says:

    Jay,
    If I were a betting person I would bet lunch I can name the company these agents are with.

    I did an office presentation a few months ago at an office and they discussed the day of the week and time that several of the agents would be making these calls. They called it their Expired Power Hour” or something like that.

    A few of the agents even gave their opening spiel and it resembled what you have written.

    I think ADRE should do a sting. Have agents sit by the phones of the expired listings with a recorder. When the person asks,When are you going to hire the right agent? or says anything else that could be taken as a slam against the listing agent, they can file a complaint.

    I am guessing it would only take a few of these before that practice would stop.

    Of course you must understand this is being written by a Home Inspector in Gilbert that is looked down upon by those same agents because I tell the truth about a home instead of trying to sell it.

    Every house has a story, I just write it down

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Nothing wrong, ever, with telling the truth Scott.

      Don’t think I agree with a sting type operation. Would it work? Maybe, but probably not. Ethics complaints and results of ethics hearings are shrouded in secrecy, with all parties agreeing not to discuss the matters. That’s sad in many ways, because so many educational opportunities are lost.

      Education is the only thing with a chance of working. Unfortunately, many are deeply entrenched in their ways of doing business and see absolutely nothing wrong with scripted nonsense, not bothering with doing any research, and apparently putting getting the listing over everything, including the potential clients private life and privacy.

      Call me pessimistic, but I don’t see this sort of thing ever changing in my lifetime.

  8. Jim Gatos says:

    Mr. Warga;

    I’m sorry but your post just “bothers” me.. Or maybe it’s your attitude. Not liking the scripts are one thing; I can see your point. Recommending “stings” for agents who make phone calls so you can get people in trouble; well, that does bother me in a couple of ways.. Maybe THAT kind of attitude is why some agents give you the impression they “look down” on you… Although I don’t agree with what the script says, I don’t think I have the right to tell people to stop using it. Censorship is for the weak who are too lazy to argue their point in a constructive manner…

    I personally don’t expect any inspector to “sell” a house. Lying is NOT selling.. “Puffery” is NOT selling. At the right price, ANY property can be fixed. Your job is to give a property report on the present physical status of the property. The buyer has the final call. I find it very rare that a even a buyer themselves will say they were “sweet talked” or “coerced”.

    I’m sorry but I just had to say something….

  9. Phil Hoover says:

    I recommend everyone forget the tricky scripted “gotcha” closing techniques taught by the supposed real estate guru’s.
    What ever happened to just offering information and responsive, caring service?

  10. Anita Clark says:

    Working expireds is a good way to generate new listings but requires using a little common sense and alot of courtesy. Sadly, all it takes is a couple of bad apples to ruin the whole bushel!

  11. I wish some Realtors would be more professional. Bad agents give us all a bad name.

  12. A fascinating discussion. I personally have never worked Expired listings. However, if the quality of the sales pitches are as crap in my market as you describe them to be in your market, I’m thinking this could be a very easy segment of the market to distinguish myself in. ;) Then the question becomes whether to write an impeccably hand-written, hand-delivered note or whether to call at a reasonable hour with a thoughtfully crafted question. I can think of several obvious ones that would get the immediate attention of the seller and I can guarantee you they’re not part of any smarmy sales scripts!

  13. Jim Gatos says:

    As bothersome this script sounds, top respected agents all over the country will swear this approach DOES, in fact, work. OF course, there are other methods that work just as well. When something works, and has it’s adherents, it will be almost impossible to stop people from using it. I have actually heard other agents use this type of script without getting the backlash this post seems to be giving; I suspect the delivery of the “script” also matters. All a Top Producing user of these types of scripts has to ask a critic to justify their usage of their scripts is “How many sales do YOU make?”, and usually the argument ends right there. I suggest Jay forwards this post to the Mike Ferry Organization; from what I understand, Mike is the creator of this script. Having first prior first hand experience with Ferry’s group, I kinda have a feeling I know what the reaction will be…

    • Jay Thompson says:

      I’m sure it is effective Jim. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Our client certainly didn’t. She can’t be the only one that feels that way.

      As for forwarding it to Mike Ferry, no thanks. I’ve spent two years trying to get off his mailing list and may have finally done so. The last thing I want to do is give them another opportunity to add me to the incessant mailings. Besides, you and I both know exactly what the response would be…

  14. Why did they call at 8 am?
    Well if what you say is true and every agent is using the same script, wouldn’t it be more effective to be the first agent to deliver that script?

    When are you planning on hiring the right agent to sell your home?
    I don’t see the controversy in this question. If your last agent failed to sell your home, were they really the “right” agent for you? The right agent might have a clever marketing angle, actually have a list of active buyers in your area, might just work a bit harder, or more likely, they’ll be honest with you and tell you your home was priced too high for the market. If your last agent was the “right” agent, your home would be sold, right?

    If your home failed to sell, don’t you think you may be better served by hiring an aggressive agent this time around who will tell you the truth and actually sell your home, not just list it?

    Jay, I understand your frustration with this particular home that was leased. But snake and pathetic are just not accurate descriptions of most agents whether they work expired homes or not. I doubt that correctly describes the agents who called either. Learning a script and using it does not make one a snake or pathetic.

    Insulting to the client?
    We owe it to our clients and prospective clients to be honest in our dealings with them. Sometimes that honesty may be a bit insulting to our clients.

    Ever had to tell one of your clients that their home smelled like cat pee? Ever told them they had to be better housekeepers in order to sell? Told them that their idea of pricing “a little high” may result in a lower sales price and longer marketing time? We’ve all had those and many other uncomfortable conversations with our clients, it’s part of what they pay us for.

    If we didn’t need to suggest, nudge, prod and at times insult our clients to help them reach their goals, we’d all be out of a job.

    As someone stated in an earlier comment while taking a jab at the home inspector. Lying is not selling.

    There is no shame in being an honest, ethical sales professional. It’s one of the skill sets we need in this profession and something a would be seller should expect from their real estate broker.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Why did they call at 8 am?
      Well if what you say is true and every agent is using the same script, wouldn’t it be more effective to be the first agent to deliver that script?

      Or, in other words, the agent was more worried about getting the listing than invading a potential clients personal space. ie: they put themselves ahead of the client. Personally, I find that in poor taste. Maybe instead of bothering people at home at 8:00am they need to find a less intrusive way to secure business?

      30 seconds of research would have told these people the home was leased. But it’s probably easier and faster to just call, again proving the agents selfishness. This particular client had young children that were woken up. But I suspect the agent didn’t care about that. Get that sale!!

      Wouldn’t it be more effective to try something original, demonstrate your unique selling proposition, and be respectful of the personal life of the client you’re trying to land?

      But snake and pathetic are just not accurate descriptions of most agents whether they work expired homes or not.

      Well, “snake” and “pathetic” are exactly what the home seller feels are appropriate and accurate descriptions… There is a lesson in that. A powerful lesson.

      If your home failed to sell, don’t you think you may be better served by hiring an aggressive agent this time around who will tell you the truth and actually sell your home, not just list it?

      Those are some pretty wild assumptions Brett. There are countless reasons and situations why a home may not sell in the time frame a client needs. You are assuming our agent: 1) wasn’t aggressive enough; 2) didn’t tell the truth; and 3) “just listed” the home. And none of those assumptions are remotely correct.

      There is no shame in being an honest, ethical sales professional.

      I agree completely. What I don’t agree with is that it’s OK for an agent to bother someone at 8:00 in the morning, use some line that implies the other agent wasn’t competent, and insult the sellers intelligence with a broad stroke assumption that they don’t know how to chose the “right agent”. I think it’s a smarmy sales tactic. And there are at least a few home sellers out there that apparently feel the same way.

      Others are, of course, entitled to a different opinion. Thanks for adding your commentary Brett!

      • Jim Gatos says:

        Jay,

        Your reply is extremely respectful and I concur. There is only one thing that bothers me.

        Suppose you are prospecting for expired listings, and you are, on a given day, THE ONLY ONE that’s honest and ethical out of, say, 10 other agents. And you decide, due to your respect for a hopeful seller client that you don’t have under a listing agreement yet, that you won’t call them THAT early, at 8 am. So you wait until oh, let’s say, 5:30 pm. How would you feel if you called at 5:30 pm and the seller tells you they ALREADY signed up with an agent who already called them this morning?

        Now, let’s not forget; we already said, in this hypothetical example, that YOU were the only good agent out of all the agents that went after that expired listing. In a way, you indirectly hurt the seller by not calling up at 8 am! Your good intentions led them down the path of someone else who isn’t as honest, forthright, and as effective as you.

        Wouldn’t that shake you up?

        Although I agree I think the script in question is too strongly worded and I personally wouldn’t use that script, I also remember that old adage …”the early bird gets the worm…” and I really struggled with this myself. I have no issue with calling at 8 am. You may actually be doing the seller a favor, if you’re as good as you claim to be. You have to…

  15. Awesome article, it causes a lot of interaction on this page!

  16. Apparently they all took the same “get more business” seminar right after the snake oil sales pitch.

  17. Fleur Rowan says:

    Estate agents are `sales’ people. That’s their job. Find the property, find the customer, get the sale and make the money. So time is money. Taht’s why they’re unadventurous and cut to the quick. They haven’t got time to be social and personable. They just want the money. The method is fine. The way in which it is done is not. Customers are not names on a data list or database. They are real people. So treat them like a real person i.e. a human. Jay, you have it right, be friendly, be professional, offer them something they can either think about or act on. But treat them like a proper person.

  18. I suspect we’ll need to agree to disagree here, but I’d like to tackle your response Jay. It’s also important for you to know that I wasn’t targeting your agent in my response. I have no idea what they did or did not do to get the home sold. My response was meant to address the most common issues when prospecting expired homes.

    Or, in other words, the agent was more worried about getting the listing than invading a potential clients personal space. ie: they put themselves ahead of the client. Personally, I find that in poor taste. Maybe instead of bothering people at home at 8:00am they need to find a less intrusive way to secure business?

    30 seconds of research would have told these people the home was leased. But it’s probably easier and faster to just call, again proving the agents selfishness. This particular client had young children that were woken up. But I suspect the agent didn’t care about that. Get that sale!!

    Wouldn’t it be more effective to try something original, demonstrate your unique selling proposition, and be respectful of the personal life of the client you’re trying to land?
    I’m not going to challenge your opinion that 8am is too early for you to receive a phone call. I routinely take calls at that hour, respond to emails and make outbound calls. To me, 8 am is not too early, but for you it may be?

    I don’t agree that calling a homeowner who has just expired is somehow putting yourself before the prospective client. An agent who chooses to call expired listings has no idea what situation they are getting themselves in to. Until an agent has made some sort of contact with the homeowner, how are they to know the very best way to communicate with them? Some home owners prefer to text, email, phone or deal with their agent face to face. Until I’ve had a chance to learn what their preference is, I have no idea what works best for them. A phone call is not an invasion of someone’s personal space. The phone call recipient can always choose to not answer if they choose. They can also register on the do not call list.

    Well, “snake” and “pathetic” are exactly what the home seller feels are appropriate and accurate descriptions… There is a lesson in that. A powerful lesson.
    Yes there is a powerful lesson to be had here. Learn your scripts, personalize them and deliver them in a conversational way.
    Yes, I know that most of the public and many agents feel scripts are a horrible, disingenuous way to deal with people. If you feel that way, I suggest you are dead wrong.

    A “script” is nothing more than a system. Systems are implemented in all types of businesses. What did the McDonalds employee say the last time you pulled into the drive thru? Probably the same damn script they use at the McDonalds across town wasn’t it? Hell, they are now trying to up sell you on apple pies for only .50.

    If you were walking down the street and 10 consecutive people asked you “How’s the weather?” You’d probably develop a script at some point. I’d bet person 6-10 would receive a “script” from you.

    One of my favorite scripts goes something like this.
    My 6 year old son says to me, “I’m Thirsty”
    Here’s my script…”Nice to meet you Mr. Thirsty, my name is Dad, nice to meet you!”

    Whether you learn and use a script someone else provided you (Mike Ferry) or develop your own over years of experience, it’s still a predictable response you can rely on. Doesn’t mean you don’t care about the person you are speaking with. It just proves you’ve spent some time considering the potential objections you may encounter in your profession.

    Brett’s wild assumptions
    Again, I wasn’t intending to call your agent out on the carpet.
    However; There are not countless reasons why a home will not sell. I think most agents and brokers would agree that the number one reason a home fails to sell is improper pricing. It’s not a stretch to assume from the onset that the expired home was most likely overpriced for the market. It’s also not a stretch to surmise that the former listing agent failed to tell the home sellers the truth that it was overpriced.

    Does that mean they need a price reduction right away? Maybe, maybe not. We may be able to more correctly input the listing into our mls than the previous agent (happens a lot), we may be able to have a home stager showcase the house correctly, but most likely, the price is too high for the market.

    My response to Jay’s summation
    Yes,it is completely acceptable to call an expired listing at 8am in the morning.
    It is not an insult to the intelligence of the seller to suggest they may have hired the “wrong agent” to sell their home the first time around.

    I have no idea what “SMARMY” means, I guess I’ll google it later.

    When dealing with expired listings, the agent would be well advised to concentrate on what the majority of disappointed home sellers are looking for. (aggressive agent) Focusing on a small percentage that feel you are too aggressive or snake like or pathetic is a recipe for an early exit from your profession as a real estate agent.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Smarmy – 1: revealing or marked by a smug, ingratiating, or false earnestness.
      2: of low sleazy taste or quality

      No problem with disagreeing, or agreeing to disagree Brett, it makes for good, educational exchanges.

      It’s also important for you to know that I wasn’t targeting your agent in my response. I have no idea what they did or did not do to get the home sold.

      And there was no way for you to know. None of the agents that called my client knew either, but they had no problem assuming he wasn’t the right agent for the job, and probably made the same assumptions you did — that the home wasn’t priced right, the agent wasn’t aggressive enough, etc etc.

      They *did* target my agent, without even remotely knowing the facts and apparently without even attempting to do a modicum of research before calling.

      That’s the problem I have with this approach. It’s based on a whole bunch of assumptions. Each and every one of which was (in this case) wrong. Are those assumptions true sometimes? Certainly. But when all the assumptions are incorrect, the agent calling and soliciting for business looks like a bumbling fool.

      For the record, I don’t have any issue, at all, with using scripts. It’s the unthinking, robotic delivery of those scripts that annoys me. I think you’re spot-on that scripts need to be developed and personalized. (Incidentally, I worked at McDonald’s 30 some odd years ago and upsold a LOT of apple pies. The scripts haven’t changed much if any.)

      An agent who chooses to call expired listings has no idea what situation they are getting themselves in to.

      True, they have no way of knowing what method of communication the person they are calling prefers. But they *can* do some very fast, very minor research about the property. In this specific example, it would have taken 30 seconds to see the property had been rented. I would think a cold caller could use that knowledge to their advantage. It also doesn’t take much time to run a quick CMA to see if the house was indeed overpriced (in this case, it was not).

      “Are you ready to hire the right Realtor” sends a strong suggestion that the previous agent was not the “right” agent. Personally, I think people would have more success with these types of calls if they explained what makes them good, rather than implicating their competition sucks. No question that “negative campaigning” works. It works in politics, and it works in real estate. But I don’t have to like it.

      You’re right, there are not countless reasons a home doesn’t sell. That was a poor choice of words on my part. I agree that price is the most important lever. But it is not the only one. Location, condition of the property, the seller’s circumstances, how many short sales and foreclosures are within a nine iron of the subject property, market conditions and dynamics, the financial stability of the HOA, the design of the property are all a few other factors that play an important role. When a cold-caller makes the assumption that it’s all price, it’s just not a safe assumption in many cases.

      They can also register on the do not call list.

      I don’t have any data, but I bet the number of agents working expireds that cross-check the DNC is small. Whether or not 8:00am is too early to call or not is of course very subjective. This particular client thought it was. I don’t like getting called that early. I’m sure the expireds trainers stress the “the early bird gets the worm” and it’s pretty common knowledge that many people pick the first agent to contact them. So I’m sure calling early increases success rate, and I’m pretty certain some agents don’t really care if they piss someone off – they’ll just move down the list and call the next guy.

      And that’s their prerogative. I’m not foolish enough to think that I can change the industry, or my way is the only way. I’m just weary of the same-old-same-old in real estate. Apparently some of the general public is too. Much of the general public if you believe the job prestige survey numbers. I can’t change the real estate industrial complex, but I can set the way my brokerage and our agents behave.

  19. Kevin Hughes says:

    I can’t even recall the number of times which I have thought with no small amount of frustration “I can’t change the real estate industry”… and yet perhaps we can in time. There are many agents reading this discourse who are probably opening their eyes to another perspective- the Seller’s. Clearly, an agent attempting to work expired listings is not intending to offend or alienate a potential future client. In reading commentary from experienced, successful & professional agents here and in other quality forums, perhaps more real estate agents will recognize that many commonly used sales “techniques” are really not so very clever and that Sellers are in fact being offended by disingenuous sales pitches. Much of our agent population has gathered a lot of their industry “skills” from seminars which are often taught by folks who created the materials without ever really applying it in the real world. There have been a lot of good insights shared during this discussion which can and probably will contribute to some real estate agents becoming more proficient at what they do. Courtesy, professionalism and doing our homework prior to dialing the next potential customer will result in a more effective presentation, better results and ultimately a better perception of our industry by the public.

  20. Can’t do it. I just can’t work the phones for the expired listings. Comes down to one simple thing for me…..I wouldn’t want to be the one receiving a call like this. It would annoy the heck out of me. So I can’t make them.

  21. Unfortunately that is real estate. Does not mean the Realtor who follows the Code of Ethics is doing anything wrong marketing an expired listing? No but be respectful of the owner. In New Hampshire our trained professionals send out a letter before calling. We also inform the Seller to expect to be marketing aggressively by other Realtors once the listing expires. Educating your Sellers and Buyers is the key!

  22. Ben Fisher says:

    Couldn’t agree more. I’m not a fan at all of the Mike Ferry way of driving business. It works for some people for sure, but I would rather not piss people off for a living.

  23. Jay, I feel it’s intrusive to call, especially at unreasonable hours. Some agents may think that makes them seem like a go-getter, and maybe it does to some, but I think more often it makes them seem annoying. I would rather reach out to someone in a way that allows them contact me back.

  24. Jacob says:

    You’re a snob. There is nothing wrong with working Expireds (as you noted) but calling those of us that do “snake and pathetic” is horrible. I’ve relisted 6 Expireds in the past month and a half and have sold 4 of them (closed on 3 and about to close on the 4th this week). And you can bet your butt that I was obviously the “right agent to sell their house” (btw I hate that line and don’t use it – nor do I call people before 1 pm). If I hadn’t been a “snake”, the people would have probably relisted with the same agent or gone with another agent that couldn’t get the job done. So, again, you’re a snob and this was a horrible article to post. Oh – and for those of you too scared to work Expireds — it accounts for an average of $110k of my yearly commission (and just for my own justification that I am not a snake nor pathetic :-) , I have a 100% sell rate and an average DOM of 26 days). (Texas Realtor, 3.5 yrs experience)

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Jacob – you are certainly entitled to your opinion. I’m pretty confident though that for anyone that knows me, “snob” would be the last thing they would call me.

      Curious though, in your opinion is our client — who called these agents “snakes” and “pathetic” — also a snob?

      You might try reading with a more critical eye. I never said everyone that works expireds are snakes and pathetic. Some of the tactics employed by some are pretty pathetic.

      Next time you comment here, how about backing off the name calling? You certainly could have made your point without stooping to that.

      Congrats on your success.

  25. Jacob says:

    Dude! You wrote “Lisa is spot on in her “snake and pathetic”!

    Do I think that the clients are snobs? No, just not informed (nor do they need to be). If they were agents saying that – I would

    I’m sure you’re as much as a snob as I am a snake. I was just offended by this article — just as you were by me calling you a snob.

  26. Jacob says:

    Sorry – one more comment :-)

    I know you did not say everyone that works Expireds are snakes — but overall, the post reads like you think most agents that do, are.

    • Jay Thompson says:

      Jacob – If what I wrote led you to believe that I feel most agents that work expireds are snakes, I apologize. That wasn’t my intent. Nor was offending you. One thing I try to do here is help other agents, and when a client sends a very telling email, I think that may help SOME people realize the impression their tactics are having on some home sellers.

      I do think that calling people at 8:00am and using a ridiculous and insulting line like, “When are you going to hire the right Realtor to get your home sold?” is snakey and pathetic. Heck, you yourself said you hate that line and don’t call before 1:00pm, so it would seem you also disagree with this particular tactic.

      I wouldn’t say I was offended by you calling me a snob. I think it was rude, and it clearly violates my blog comment policy, but I’ve certainly been called worse. I do think name-calling degrades your argument. If you read through some of the other comments here you’ll see others who disagreed with me but were civil about it. Disagreement is OK. Good in fact as it makes people think and helps us all learn. But when you start off a comment with, “You’re a snob” it makes it difficult to take anything said after that very seriously.

  27. Jacob says:

    It was the proper word for how I wanted to respond and get my message across. I won’t be offended if you delete the post since it violated policy.

    I like your posts overall (my favorite is “How not to sell your Phoenix home” and really appreciate your intentions.

    Keep on Truck’n

  28. Jeff Turner says:

    This post, and every coomment, are the last things I will read before shutting off my computer for the rest of the weekend. There’s a very good reason why your blog is so widely read… it’s worth the time.

    Have a great Sunday, my friend.

  29. Liz Benitez says:

    I was doing “expireds” a while back (year or so ago). Might start up again someday. It was a process – pull the expired list, check to see if it is listed elsewhere, check do not call registry, pull up current home address, hand write address and sign letter, set aside time later in the day to call – a long process that used up a lot of time. Especially when doing it in a non snakelike way :-D

  30. Love the email exchange, ive personally had some similar exchanges, maybe its worth making a post and telling a story lol!

    Cheers, Paul

  31. GerriBara says:

    Back in days gone by, before I was a Realtor myself, my husband and I were trying to sell one of our rental properties through a Realtor we absolutely loved. (In fact, she was part of the reason I decided to enter this field myself… sort of a role model.) Anyway, trough no fault of hers or ours, the house didn’t sell, and we decided to just keep it as a rental. The day it went into expired status, the calls started. My first reaction was to be astounded. At the pushiness, the rudeness, the NERVE of these bottom-dwellers who would DARE insult Kim (and our decision to hire her). Reaction #1, Astounded, turned into reaction #2, PISSED, in about a nanosecond. I’m generally pretty nice to people when they call on the phone. Everybody has to make a living, right? Not that day. Not to those agents. I’d have burned the darned house down before I’d have ever listed with any of them. Believe me, if you think a potential client is stupid, she (or he) will know it. And, as Ron White says, “you can’t fix stupid” when it comes to bad marketing.

    • Jim Gatos says:

      “bottom dwellers”?

      LOL

      Some of THE TOP Producers IN THE COUNTRY are using these “Mike Ferry” styled scripts.. I know first hand, who some of them are..

      Your opinion is yours, and that’s fine.. You don’t want to list the home, that’s fine.

      The scripts do work. Case in point; YOU.. Is your property sold? If not, then the scripts DO work. They “weed out” the unmotivated sellers.. So the top producers who actually do the expired listing community a great service and SELL what another agent couldn’t can FOCUS on listing these properties and actually SELLING them..

      Sincerely don’t mean to sound nasty, but after really reading through this article, I’m focusing on what works and who wants to sell their home. not the occasional “here and there” seller who has nothing better to do than pick fights with hard driving agents..

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