While postcard marketing, email marketing, or Facebook ads are great ways for newer agents to get leads, at the end of the day you’re still using a shotgun when you should be using a sniper rifle. Prospecting For Sale by Owner, or FSBO, leads can yield much better results because these leads are already ready and willing to sell their home.
Why FSBO Leads Are Easier to Convert
Contrary to what most newer agents think, FSBO leads are actually some of the easiest leads to convert. On the surface, this may seem counterintuitive because they went through the time, effort, and possible expense to list their homes themselves. You might think they would be harder to convert. There are a few reasons why this is not the case.
- FSBO leads are ready to sell their homes NOW The fact that FSBO leads have listed their homes on the market shows that they are ready to sell fast. Think about it, of all the seller lead sources you have, how many of them have sellers that are ready to sell now instead of a few months or even years from now?
- They more than likely have worked with an agent before. Expired listing leads have probably already dealt with an agent and had a bad experience. They probably had a few dozens strangers tramp through their home, several open houses, and heard lots of fruitless advice from their agent.
Put yourself in their shoes. You’d probably be a little bit fed up with agents and may or may not want to try to sell your home again. Taking a few months off after a failed listing is not unusual for homeowners whose listing expired before it sold. Sure, they might hire a new agent eventually, but many expired leads take a break before choosing a new agent.
- Selling a home without an agent is a lot of work with a small ROI. Since you already know they want to sell their home, the only question is why they want to sell it themselves. The answer is invariably that they want to avoid paying a commission. While this seems like a perfectly logical rational for most homeowners at the start, they may quickly realize that the return for their hard work is not what they were expecting.
Where to Find FSBO Leads
Option 1. Web-Based FSBO Lead Services
In the past, finding FSBO leads to reach out to was very difficult. Agents had to scour Craigslist, local newspapers, and other sources in order to find FSBO leads. Luckily, there are services today that take all the legwork out of finding FSBO’s. These companies scour hundreds of newspapers and websites to find FSBO leads along with accurate contact information. They then send you fresh leads every morning. All you need to do is call them and sign up.
Since they save a ton of time and frustration and are very affordable, we highly recommend newer agents purchase leads from a FSBO lead service. Here are a few of the more popular FSBO lead services and what they offer.
REDX (Starting at $29.99 per month)
One of the oldest and most popular lead services, REDX sends agents fresh FSBO, FRBO (for rent by owner), expireds, and pre-foreclosure leads every day. While they don’t disclose their sources, REDX claims to scour leads and contact information from thousands of sources. While no lead service can guarantee 100% perfect contact info, users report REDX is pretty good at getting the right contact info.
Rather than just send you leads in a CSV or XLS document, REDX takes it one step further by offering leads in a web-based prospecting platform called Vortex. Vortex allows agents to organize and tag leads in endless variations. It also offers space to record notes on each lead as well as store FSBO scripts to make cold calling easier. Best of all, Vortex is totally browser based. This means that you can access and call your leads from any web enabled device. No more being stuck behind your desk in the office.
For expired listings REDX allows you to search back as far as your MLS will go. For FSBO listings, you can only search back 30 days.
They charge $29.99 per month for FSBO leads. The charge is different if you want to purchase other lists: $59.99 per month for expired listing leads, $79.99 for FRBO (for rent by owner) leads, $39.99 for pre-foreclosure leads, and $99.99 for the Storm Dialer, REDX’s autodialing software.
REDX accounts are month-to-month, and there is no minimum contract. That said, they do offer discounts for pre-paying. Paying quarterly will get you a 5% discount, paying every 6 months will get you a 10% discount, and pre-paying the year will get you a 15% discount.
Landvoice ($40 per month)
Providing leads for realtors since 1991, Landvoice is another extremely popular lead service. Like REDX, Landvoice allows agents to access their leads through a browser-based prospecting platform. Landvoice’s platform also allows agents to organize, tag, and sort their leads. They can also store notes with each lead.
Landvoice also allows you to access the last six months of leads (REDX only goes back 30 days). This means that you can contact a lead, then wait a few months until they get fed up selling on their own and then contact them again. If you sign up to receive expired listings ($60 per month) as well , Landvoice displays status updates on older leads so you know when an old lead takes their home off the market, sells, or lists with another realtor.
Landvoice is also month-to-month and does not require a contract.
Vulcan7 ($149 per month FSBO Leads, CRM, and Autodialer)
Vulcan7 is a newer lead service that many agents have been talking about. Like REDX and Landvoice, Vulcan7 also provides FSBO leads in a browser-based prospecting platform that you can use on any device. They also provide emails which can be very useful for people who would rather email than cold call.
While Landvoice and REDX allow you to buy lead a la carte, Vulcan7 only sells leads in a package with their autodialer and CRM.
Vulcan 7 is also month-to-month and doesn’t require a contract.
Option 2. Finding FSBO Leads on Your Own
Like I said before, we highly recommend newer agents take advantage of one of the lead services mentioned above. They can be purchased for as little as $1 a day and if used properly, will result in more closed deals. I honestly can’t think of a better investment for agents getting their feet wet with seller clients.
That said, there can be advantages to scouring websites for FSBO leads. Some of the places you can look include:
The biggest advantage for going DIY is speed. Employees for lead services have to find, vet, and find contact information for leads and THEN wait until the next morning to send them out. If you find FSBO leads on your own, you can reach out to them immediately, which is potentially an advantage.
What’s the Best Way to Contact FSBO’s?
We recommend new agents start out with cold calling to contact FSBO leads. I know, that might not the answer you were hoping for. But if you’re prepared, cold calling is nowhere near as scary as you think it is. If you want to learn a bit more about cold calling, check out our article 25 cold calling tips from the pros here.
Door knocking, email, and direct mail are other ways agents reach out to FSBO leads. While these can all have great results for the right agent, cold calling will yield better results and has the added benefit of helping you hone your sales skills.
When to Reach Out to FSBO Leads
There a couple schools of thought here:
- Right away – Many realtors will tell you that you need to reach out to FSBO leads as soon as humanly possible. Their rationale is that FSBO leads will remember the first agent that calls them because every agent that calls after they do will tell them a variation of the same pitch.
- After it’s Been Listed a Few Weeks– Other realtors will tell you that this approach is a fool’s errand. They think that FSBO leads who have taken the time and effort to list their own homes will at least try to sell on their own for a few weeks or months. According to these agents, the best time to reach out to FSBO leads is when they’re just about ready to throw in the towel.
If you manage to be the very first person to call a FSBO lead, it’s true that you will get the opportunity to pitch them first on the same basic ideas that every other agent will. However, the problem with this approach is that FSBO leads may be very reluctant to even listen to your pitch when they first list their homes. They may cut you short on the phone or even worse, block your number and email. Even if they don’t do that, they will forget you in a heartbeat unless you have great follow up skills, something many newer agents lack.
Despite these issues, Los Angeles realtor Bryan Casella recommends that agents call first:
“There are two reasons to call immediately. 1, it’s always better to be first, than last. If you’re one of the first people, the conversation will typically be much more positive and you will be able to create a better initial connection. 2. If they are a FSBO who is absolutely clueless, which happens more than you think, you have the opportunity to convert them immediately and demonstrate the value of hiring an agent. Call early and call often.” – Bryan Casella, LA realtor
Ultimately, there are advantages to each approach. You should try to reach FSBO leads as soon as possible in order to be one of the first agents to pitch them. If you can’t, it’s not the end of the world. The most important thing is that you are reaching out to them. You never know what stage of the decision making process they are in.
Do Your Research Before Contacting FSBO Leads
Whenever you reach out to a FSBO lead and whichever method you use, you need to do your research first. Pull up the listing and assess the seller’s pictures, description, and general marketing strategy. Are they posting on Zillow? Craigslist? Are the pictures professionally shot? Is the home listed at a fair price? If it’s listed on StreetEasy, has it been saved by a lot of people? How long has it been on the market?
You should also look up previous selling prices for the home in your MLS. This might give you clues about the owner’s motivation to sell.
Making the Initial Call – Why You Should Use Scripts
Now that you’ve done your research, it’s time to finally reach out to your FSBO lead. In order to do this effectively and systematically, you’re going to have to use a script. I know what you’re thinking: scripts are for telemarketers, you’re a better salesperson than that! Here’s the truth. Even the best cold callers in the business who have 8 figure sales volumes use scripts. There are a couple very simple reasons for this: they work, and they save you time.
Think about it. You’re going to be selling basically the same thing to very similar people who will have very similar objections. Why wouldn’t you use the same arguments more than once instead of reinventing the wheel each time? That’s all a script is. It’s your words, your arguments, written down and organized.
What About Emailing FSBO’s?
While we recommend newer agents cut their teeth cold calling before jumping into emailing FSBO leads, we know some of you won’t take our advice. If you insist on sending emails, check out this great FSBO email script from Archagent to get a sense of what you should be sending them.
After the Call – Following Up
Once you’ve called your FSBO lead, you shouldn’t just sit back and wait for the phone to ring. You need to follow up in order to stay top of mind. Remember, they may or may not be ready to throw in the towel when you call them. Here are some ways to follow up without seeming desperate.
- Add them on LinkedIn. This will have the dual benefits of expanding your sphere of influence and giving them a quick reference to who you are when you call back in a few weeks.
- You can also add them to your email list. This is a great way to stay top of mind as well as give them an opportunity to get to know you. The only caveat here is that you need to ask their permission before adding them to your list. If you want to learn more about email marketing for realtors, check out our in-depth guide here.
- Follow up by phone. If you called them as soon as their home was listed, then you should wait at least a few weeks to follow up with them. If you can, watch their listing to see if asking price, pictures, or their general marketing strategy changes.
The Bottom Line
FSBO leads are some of the warmest leads you can work as a real estate agent. In order to work them effectively, you need a great FSBO list as well as the right strategy. That includes researching the listing, cold calling, using scripts, and following up.