Across all of our accounts, we see a response rate to Buyer Concierge campaigns of approximately 2%. Our best campaigns see a response rate as high as 10%. There are three categories of homeowner replies, each of which is discussed below.
1. How to Respond to the Owner Who Isn’t Interested in Selling Now
In your farm, approximately 5 out of 100 homeowners will list their home in the next 12 months. That means 95% will not list. Most homeowners are not near term sellers.
Nonetheless, if you play the long game, you understand this group is the one to target. Over time, it is awareness amongst this broad group that will get you to 10% to 60% market share in your farm. All agents who reach Celebrity Agent status — a market share of 10% to 60% in their farm — have established awareness within their farm.
Here is an example below we just saw with an agent in Charlotte, North Carolina playing the long game. A Buyer Concierge campaign went out. An owner in her farm replied that she wasn’t interested in selling, but noted her neighbor four doors down was listing soon. She wished the buyer good luck and recommended exploring that home coming soon.
Most agents would concentrate their effort on the potential listing four doors down and forget about the woman not interested in selling. But not this smart agent in North Carolina, who replied:
A Celebrity Agent in San Diego County that we work with has our software send a thank you note to every owner who replies that they are not interested in selling. These generous moves over months and years lead to large rewards. That SoCal agent enjoys a market share consistently between 10% and 20% in his farm.
Eventually every owner in your farm becomes a seller. Position yourself such that when that time comes, they think of you first. Accordingly, when a homeowner in your farm replies to a Buyer Concierge campaign, whether by phone or text, take the opportunity to build your brand with them. Be polite. Stay in touch.
2. How to Respond to the Owner Who May Want to Sell Now
Of course, the most exciting replies for you as the agent are those replies from the seller who wants to sell now. Buyer Concierge campaigns come from your buyers and mention you as their agent. When the homeowner responds to the buyer directly and is potentially interested in selling, do as follows:
- Identify yourself as the agent referenced in the letter; and
- Ask what times are available for your buyer to view the home.
Here is a specific example:
Hi, Linda. I’m Max Lo, Jake’s agent that he referenced in his letter to you. Jake asked me to contact you to arrange for him to see your home. Can you provide a few windows this week that would work for you?
The key to the above is that you are making it clear to the homeowner that the letter from the buyer was legitimate, the buyer is legitimate, and the buyer’s interest in the home is sincere. There is no bait and switch. Whether the buyer purchases the home or not, you have credibility with the owner and a listing opportunity.
Sometimes we see the buyer who initiated the Buyer Concierge campaign going into escrow on another home prior to the homeowner of the off-market property replying. In this case, if you have another buyer who could work, substitute them.
Hi, Linda. I’m Max Lo, Jake’s agent that he referenced in his letter to you. Jake asked me to contact you to let you know that he is in escrow now on another home in Hillsborough at 20 Downey. Thank you for contacting Jake.
Would you be willing to let me bring another buyer I have through your home who may be a good fit for it? Her name is Theresa. She lives in San Mateo now and is looking for a home like yours in Hillsborough.
Again, the above makes it clear to the homeowner that the letter from the buyer was legitimate, there is no bait and switch, and you have credibility. In fact, you are working with at least two buyers for a home like hers.
If you don’t have another buyer, you can be more general, replacing the last paragraph above with:
I work with a lot of buyers here in Hillsborough. Can I preview your home to see if it may work for one of them?
Of course, the above reply is not as good as the others. But sometimes you have to do the best you can with the hand dealt.
*I’m adding a note here regarding the common occurrence in real estate of getting the listing lead who wants more for their home than you know the market will bare. In general, it is a mistake to tell these sellers, whether explicitly or with your tone of voice or body language, that you think they are crazy. Resist the urge. If you play the long game, you realize forces like inflation will eventually make the high number a reality. You want to be positioned to get the listing when seller expectation and reality intersect.
My message comes from experience. In 2007, I had one seller who wanted approximately 20% more than what their house was worth. I decided not to waste my time on the person and told them their expectation was unrealistic. It took the seller a couple years, but the seller got their price. 15 years later, that same seller has bought and sold a half dozen properties in the city, and my brokerage was not the agency on any of these transactions. That’s a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars. “Smart people learn from their mistakes. But the really smart ones learn from the mistakes of others.“
The above does not mean you need to waste too much time on this seller type. A good response is: “In this market, you never know what someone will pay. Comps like X and Y would suggest a price closer to $___. But in real estate, we are constantly surprised. It only takes one buyer. I’m happy to help you try to achieve your goal.”
Thereafter, bring real buyers through the home. Let your buyers balk at the price and suggest to the owner that he or she lower expectations to sell now.
3. How to Respond to the Owner Who Tells You to Get Lost
On rare occasions we see owners who respond angrily. Here’s a response one of our agents recently received:
Just received your postcard in mail. Respectfully, PLEASE REMOVE my name, address, any contact info from your database. I have no clue what s.o.b. sold my name….
In the case of the above, we identified the owner and marked him as “not to be contacted again.” Sometimes, we will need to ask the owner for their address so we can remove them.
Replies like the one above are thankfully rare but unfortunately unpreventable. As a real estate agent, you are dealing with the public. Most of the public are sane and nice, but as you know from hosting open houses, a small percentage are strange. Here is a document with response suggestions for the most common negative replies.
It’s rare in real estate to find a listing lead generation tool that simultaneously provides you with great branding to raise market awareness in your farm. Buyer Concierge does so. We encourage you to embrace it.