Expired Listing Marketing System – How to Build One
Expired listings are the hottest “cold lead” you can find. These people tried to sell their home, and the market unapologetically told them it didn’t want it, which creates a more motivated seller with a dose of realism. If you’re in a reasonably busy market, you could probably make a healthy living from just expired listing marketing alone.
There are several people representing their system as the magic bullet for this booming market. In this article, I’ll show you how to leverage some off the shelf parts and very quickly, and efficiently create your own expired listings marketing system. Our goal for you is creating a very turn-key system that simply delivers leads to you with minimal to no work.
Any expired listings system will require several parts:
First, you’ll need source data of expired listings. Typically this coms from your MLS, but there are 3rd-party providers of this as well, which will attempt to run a name-match on the address, and will send you data in a format easier to deal with. One such company is TheRedX (no affiliation), though you can certainly get this data free from your MLS. What one pays for is ease-of-use, as they will email you a CSV file. My opinion is this service is definitely worth the cost, but for those concerned more about money than time, you can certainly pull this data yourself, then key it into a reverse-address-lookup to try and get a resident’s name.
Second, you’ll need a way to get in front of these potential listings, which will require using postcards. In most cases, a phone number is not available or the resident is on the do-not-call list. It’s not enough.
Here you have a few choices:
a. You can wait until the listings stack up to 100 or more, then use a postcard service to print and send them all at once. This is inferior because expired leads depreciate in a matter of hours, and within a few days are pretty much worthless. You need to reach the potential seller very quickly. You need the right information seen by the right people at the right time.
b. You can deliver them to the house, or have someone else do it. This is the best for timeliness, as if you’re first in line, you can “lay a bear trap” for other real estate agents, as I’ll show you in a bit. This helps you get the listing, but is time-consuming, or costly if you hire someone else to deliver these for you.
c. You can pre-print the postcards, then hand-address them as you get the data. This is a bit of work to set up, but low cost overall. The biggest drawback to this is that it will require your time every day, and most people quickly fall off doing this as soon as they get busy. Also, if you use multiple cards, this can get complicated quickly, as you’ll have certain people on day 1, others on day 2, others on day 3.
d. You can purchase a postcard automation system which will print, stamp, and mail, in your own handwriting, even multi-card campaigns for roughly $.52 per postcard. This is especially effective for postcard campaigns, where doing it oneself would get horribly complicated and time-consuming. This card automation system allows for pre-created campaigns and typically includes scanning of your handwriting to turn it into a font. One upside to this is if you subscribe to a 3rd-party data source, you can even, with a bit of work, make this 100% hands-free.
Third, you’ll need your message. This can be a bit tricky, because it’s easy to fall into being the bearer of bad news. Personally, I’m a big believer in using video, because people are busy, and sometimes lazy. If they need to read a lot, you’ll need to catch them with a killer headline, or your postcard will go straight to the trash. Two proven techniques I’ve seen work are to first, tell them it’s more than just about the price, and second to make it clear “the Market” has told you the house isn’t worth that. Using a video, phrased as a 3rd party, can also deliver news the seller doesn’t want to hear – which is that the house was probably overpriced.
Only 1.5% of all agents follow up over 5 times, yet 60% of sales happen after the 5th contact. See the pattern? Now you know the reason for the 80/20 rule, about 20% of the real estate agents outselling the other 80%. The trick: automated followup, via email sequential autoresponders and card campaign automation.
Your expired listing marketing system should let the potential seller know it’s about pricing, promotion, and presentation. They may be able to leave the price as-is, provided they increase how the home is presented (read: add staging, re-paint, cosmetic repairs, etc.), and promotion (read: reach a wider audience). If you are the one to tell them their house is overpriced, they’ll shoot the messenger. Don’t be that casualty. Instead, try “the market of supply and demand has told us in it’s current condition, the price requires adjustment.” I like to remind people I’m like the weatherman – I don’t make the weather, I just let you know how to prepare. Expired listing sellers are probably frustrated, so use caution in your language.
Our company, has produced a customizable video called “Help! My Home Won’t Sell” or “Why Didn’t My Home Sell?”. If you decide to produce your own video, be sure to have a crystal-clear “call to action” for them to call you at the end, and illustrate the value by doing so.
Whatever course you choose, I hope this helps you get more business. Real estate marketing is competitive, but can lead to many closed transactions and millions in income. Investing just a few hours to set up your turn-key expired listings marketing can provide a pillar of business for years to come.
Written by: Roger V