May 24, 2018

When a Friend Goes FSBO

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When a Friend Goes FSBO

Problem: You’re driving through your market area when you notice a past client—someone you’ve maintained a friendly relationship with during the past three years—has a FSBO sign in front of his house. What do you do?

Solution: Rather than immediately calling to ask him why he isn’t planning to work with you, do a little research. Dig out the old files and examine the last transaction you had with the client. There might be clues as to why he’s trying the FSBO route. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Were there significant problems with the transaction that the client might be blaming on you?
  2. Did you follow up as well as you should have during and after the transaction?
  3. Did the transaction go quickly? Perhaps your friend thinks you didn’t do much work or need much skill on the last transaction and, therefore, he could do it himself and save money.

Once you’ve evaluated the file, get in touch with him as soon as possible. Keep a friendly tone. Your goal is to discover why he’s going FSBO without expressing shock, anger, or disappointment.

One possibility might be that his family is in financial straits and he’s embarrassed. Ask him how things are going with the marketing and let him open up. He’ll know your underlying desire is to snag the listing. But also let him know what’s more important to you: helping him through this difficult time in any way you can—whether that means giving him advice on his marketing, sending buyers his way, or helping him understand the ramifications of a short sale.

If your friend doesn’t have an explanation, then you can ask, without bitterness: “I wonder if you could tell me why you didn’t consider calling me. I work hard to maintain good relationships with past clients, and many do come back to me when they’re ready to move again.” Let him know you’re a little confused because you felt that you gave his family great service. If he says the last transaction seemed easy, smile and thank him. Tell him you take great pride in making every transaction appear easier than it really is. Then review all the steps and tasks you take in a transaction to make it go as smoothly as possible. Most people probably aren’t aware of everything you do.

If there was a problem with the last transaction, discuss it openly. Explain that had the sale been handled by another practitioner or tried FSBO, it might not have gone through at all.

If the conversation doesn’t get you closer to winning the listing, then treat your friend professionally as you would any other FSBO. Follow up frequently. Offer friendly assistance. He’ll soon see how difficult it can be to sell on his own. By then, you’ll have regained his trust and, with luck, his listing.

Source: Joe Meyer, GRI, Joe Meyer Presentations Inc., Lake Grove, N.Y.,

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