From Listed to SOLD - How to Sell Those Listings You Work So Hard to Get!


Using a Consultative Approach with Expireds - the Favorit-est Tips!

consultativeLast week we did a little teleseminar show in the SWS Virtual Studio called "Using a Consultative Approach with Expired Listings," where we discussed a better way (IMHO!) to work with frustrated homeseller wannabe's than the traditional pushy, salesy nonsense that's preached as gospel in our industry. 

By "consultative" I mean that you go in with an attitude of "What Went Wrong and how can we fix it?" as opposed to an attitude of "please sign this here listing agreement so I can put MY sign in your yard for another six months and oh, yeah, you were overpriced, that's why you didn't sell, see ya in six weeks when I show up with a price reduction amendment for you to sign." 

During the show I described an approach that helps both the agent and frustrated homeseller wannabe figure out exactly What Went Wrong and if it CAN be fixed to maximize the likelihood of a better outcome this go-around. I asked the audience to take notes and at the end of the show, tell me which tip or strategy was their favorite of the day... 

And here are the results! 

Favorit-est Tip #1
Approach the homeseller wannabe with a list of questions about their prior (unsuccessful) listing experience (including asking them why they think the home didn't sell) instead of coming in with a fancy-schmantzy presentation and sales pitch.

Favorit-est Tip #2
Go in with the heart of a detective (i.e. a consultant) with the goal of discovering What Went Wrong instead of a goal of Getting a Signature.

Favorit-est Tip #3
Related to #1 and #2, have a CONVERSATION with the homeseller wannabe instead of making a presentation; listen more and talk less.

Favorit-est Tip #4
Use a multi-step process - your first visit is solely to gather information, and on the second visit you present your analysis of What Went Wrong. 

Favorit-est Tip #5
Take a close look at the prior agent's MLS listing looking for red flags that might have impeded the sale of the home. Examples of red flags include: important fields not completed properly, the listing describes showing restrictions, the buyer agent co-op isn't competitive, the home is priced just above a natural threshold, or the listing description overpromises.

Favorit-est Tip #6
You can actually CHARGE to perform this "What Went Wrong" analysis as a separate service and offer to rebate the fee at closing if hired to list the property.

Favorit-est Tip #7
You might discover when doing your analysis that the property simply isn't sellable right now.

Thanks to everyone who attended the show and participated in the Favorit-est Tips survey! 


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Comment balloon 30 commentsJennifer Allan-Hagedorn • May 29 2012 05:59AM


Tip #7 it the most common.

Posted by Ron Aguilar, Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995 (Continental Mortgage) about 8 years ago

Consultant approach is genius! I will use this in my work, thanks for this great post!!! ;)

Posted by David Evans, HUD NLB Cumming GA (RE/MAX TOWN AND COUNTRY) about 8 years ago

Well, thank you David!!

Ron - do you find this a lot - that the property simply isn't sellable?

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) about 8 years ago

I have really made a push to go after expired listings here lately. They want to sell AND they are already willing to use a Realtor! I think your suggestions are terrific once in front of the seller. I guess my only question would be...what is your approach to getting infront of the seller?

Are you knocking or their door, making a phone call, sending a letter? What have you had the most success with?

Thanks Jennifer!

Posted by Sean Williams, Your Louisville Realtor (AcklesWilliams of Semonin Realtors) about 8 years ago

Funny you ask that question, Sean... honestly I have no idea how to get in front of expired listings - I never did it intentionally, but I did list a lot of houses that had failed to sell with their prior agent, using this consultative approach. I just never made the first move to call upon an expired 'cause I'm a scaredy cat. But my best advice would be to, from your very first words on the call or visit, make it all about THEM and their needs, with an attitude of "Let's figure out what went wrong here and if we can do something different next time."

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) about 8 years ago

Great ideas, I need to get back on the expired bandwagon.


Posted by Robby Leviton, Knowles Team (Keller Williams Realty) about 8 years ago

Very helpful insight.  Our team literally just launched a new strategy to go after expireds in our market.  BTW, is the class you held available to stream now?  I'd love to watch it!

Posted by Kate Akerly, Manhattan Beach Residential Sales (Kaminsky Group) about 8 years ago

Excellent!  I think that sellers do just want to have information, not the hard sell.  And very few agents take the approach you outlined to you are bound to stand out from the competition.

Posted by Kathryn Maguire, Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach ( (757) 560-0881) about 8 years ago

Thanks Jennifer. I signed up for the webinar, but at the last minute had a scheduling conflict. So I appreciate the re-cap.

Posted by Ann Cordes, Home Ownership is Not a Distant Dream (Century 21 Randall Morris and Associates, Waco) about 8 years ago

I like those tips.  My favorite is also #1.  Clearly those are the pet peeves of the seller.  Regardless of whether you are working with an expired seller or not, you should find out what their needs and wants are and then tailor your style to make them happy.

Posted by Nancy Pav, Nancy Pav, Your "GottaHave" Realtor (Century 21 Redwood Realty) about 8 years ago

Hi Jennifer,  Great list.  Taking a softer, consultative approach would make you stand out from the hard sell bunch !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) about 8 years ago

All great "favorit-est" tips!  But #3 rings bells, Two ears and one mouth... Listen twice as much as you speak!

Posted by Robert Rauf (HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ)) about 8 years ago

The seller may not know why their home did not sell.

But they probably have an opinion.  And you really need to know what that is.  So your "consultant approach" seems an excellent way to find that out.

When you go in, you really need to know what your own opinion is....whether or not you choose to disclose it on a first visit. 

Price is very likely the elephant in the room - you need to go in with an opinion of price already in mind - with the expectation that you may modify that view when you have seen the full premises. 

But you need to know if there were agent performance issues.  On your way in, you need to know something about how the previous agent does business.  But you need also to let the seller tell you what they think happened - because this home may have been an exception to what that agent normally does.

Posted by Jim Hale, Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website (ACTIONAGENTS.NET) about 8 years ago

I signed up but couldn't make it -- will you be sending out a replay link?

Great stuff!

Posted by Debbie DiFonzo, Lebanon MO and Buffalo Missouri Real Estate (Debbie DiFonzo - United Country VIP Realty, SW Missouri) about 8 years ago

Jennifer, thanks, your list just became one of my favorit-ests reads! :-)

Posted by Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES, Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living (Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch!) about 8 years ago

I attended the teleseminar, but thank you for the recap. I make it a point to come at each client meeting or conversation as a consultant. The old ways of hard selling don't work like they used to. Consumers are far more savvy now and demand higher levels of service from the professionals they choose to hire.

Posted by Valarie Swanson, San Diego Real Estate (CENTURY 21 Award) about 8 years ago

Jennifer your approach can help me convert a lot of expired listings to my listings.  Thanks.

Posted by Sharon Sanchez, Your Number "1" Source For Real Estate. (Ace Home Realty) about 8 years ago

Great post.  This is an area of business I have not worked that hard.  But I should.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) about 8 years ago

Interesting - I furnish real estate agents with pre-written prospecting letters, and your consultive approach is very similar to the approach I used when I wrote my Expired Listing Letter Set.

I think that must mean I agree with you!

Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) about 8 years ago

Respectfully, every opportunity has a goal which requires a signature and that is to close, doesn't it? The art of closing is simply asking the right questions that ultimately leads to a solution based strategy, so whether you use a consulting or analyzing approach, it's all about securing the answers to your discovery questions that will determine your performance, won't it?

Posted by Kimo Jarrett, Pro Lifestyle Solutions (WikiWiki Realty) about 8 years ago

I enjoyed reading the summary of tips and number seven unfortunatley is often the case. Thanks fo sharing these

Posted by Charlie Ragonesi, Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros ( about 8 years ago

Thanks for all the comments! For those who say they'd like to give this approach a shot - I'd love to hear how it goes for you. Later in the summer, I'll have a similarly-themed teleseminar about working consultatively with sellers (who aren't expired listings)... It just makes more sense to approach someone this way, don't you think? 

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) about 8 years ago

Hi Jennifer, great post and list of ideas.  I like to refer to our role as "counselors". lol

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) about 8 years ago

I have the same approach with expireds. We explore reasons why the home didn't sell. They are usually related to one of two issues--price, condition or both. Then we talk about the ways to rectify the situation. If they aren't agreeable to all the ways (price usually is the hang-up), then I go my merry way. They re-list with another agent and sit until the next time their listing expires.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) about 8 years ago

JA, Great post! This list reminds me of the approach that the best sales trainer ever heard used. His name was Bill Brooks and he developed the High IMPACT sales system. It was all about asking questions. Bill is dead now, but his company The Brooks Group still lives. You might want to check it out.

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) about 8 years ago

Great insight, I just started learning about real estate investment and this post was a great help too. So thanks and keep up the good work! 

Posted by Khan about 8 years ago

Jennifer, Great ideas. It certainly does seem to be a better way to approach expireds - let them vent then show how you can help.

Posted by Bobbie Smith, 570-242-1891 about 8 years ago

Great post... thanks for today's inspiration!

Posted by Paul Royal, Seacoast NH Premier Service (BHG RE / The Masiello Group) about 8 years ago

Great, Great, Super Great List!! This approach makes the seller feel more at ease. I will try this out asap!

Posted by Jairo Arreola #SOLDBYVETERAN, VA Home Loan Specialist - SF Bay Area (PRG Real Estate) about 8 years ago

Want to know the number one tip. I am willing to share now that I am reaching full retirement time. Consultation is my key but the first thing to focus on are the sellers themselves, forget the property in the beginning even though that is what the sellers want to focus on. I would tour the home with them, but when we sat down my first question was. 'Tell  me if you could wave a magic wand right now and have this house sold this very minute, what would you do next?

"Is that what you wanted to do when you first placed your home on the market before, or did you have other ideas at that time and your plans changed?"

"I know you want to know why your house didn't sell and hindsight may give us the answer, but what is important now is if we can sell it in this market at a price and terms that will allow you to go ahead with your plans, and what has to be done to accomplish that. Sometimes I feel like a Doctor telling a patient you have a problem and there is no cure, or you have a problem and your not going to like the cure. But that is really what you want me to do, and that is the way I work, I don't chant and dance and sprinkle some kind of dust on you and tell you I'm curing you. At this time you need to select the right doctor whether it be me or someone else, just don't pick a witch doctor with a lot of promises and very few cures."

"Let's examine your situation and see if we can find the right way to get done what you want done and actually get it done"

.Basic fact is yes the problem may have been a agent that bought the listing, but too often it is bloated seller expectations and low motivation. If they haven't returned to earth I will pass on listing them and be willing say you are being your own worst enemy at the moment and here is why... and it may be best to wait until....I also don't knock the previous agent directly and I have on occasion said your former agent is a very good agent and I know he was marketing your property properly, why not give him a chance to finish what he started, no other agent is going to do more then he has done, I will be very happy to join with him and review everything and see if there is any thing else he can do in this current market that he or you weren't doing.

people first, property second, property doesn't sign contracts.

Posted by Brian Park (Park Realty Investments) almost 8 years ago

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