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Top 5 Rebuttals for Prospecting Expired and Cancelled Listings

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The real estate market is smoking hot and homes are selling like mad.


And as a result, most people - agents and homeowners alike - think that virtually every home is selling and that they are going for full price.

However, upon closer inspection, nothing could be further from the truth.


Yes, homes are selling for a much higher average sales price than they have in a long, long time.

But, less of them are selling for full price than you might think.


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As reported in the January 2018 REALTORS® Confidence Index, only 33% of homes are selling at the price at which they were originally listed or higher.

That means for ⅔ of the homes that get listed, there’s a much higher chance they’ll either expire for not selling at list price or that the seller will cancel the listing for the same reason.


Knowing this, it makes sense that 1) you continue to prospect expired and cancelled listings on a consistent basis and 2) you know what to say when you’re on the phone to handle these calls properly.

Remember, expired and cancelled sellers had high hopes of selling their home and for whatever reason, it didn’t happen.

Now, they’re either depressed and don’t want to deal with it or they’re torqued off upset at the real estate world for their sale not going through.

Either way, you need to be able deal with whatever comes down the pike on your calls.

So, to help you convert these opportunities to appointments, here are the top five rebuttals you need to master when prospecting expired and cancelled listings.


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Here they are:


1. “We’re going to hold off on selling a while”

The best way to start the conversation here is to say “So your plans have changed?”. In saying this, you do a couple of things. First, you’re taking control of the call so that you don’t get overrun by a potentially angry seller. Second, you’re looking to see if their plans actually did change or if they just threw that out there hoping you’d give up.

Either way, you’ll still want to say the same thing:

“I understand. Let me ask, when you put your home on the market, where were you moving to?”

Let them answer, then ask: “When were you hoping to be there?”

Let them answer, then ask: “Why do think you’re home didn’t sell?” (Hint: it may not have been because of the life event, so unless they tell you earlier in the call that it was, you must ask.)

The goal here is to solve the problem as to why they are waiting, so you’ll need to be a good listener.

In most cases, you can approach the delay with “If we could, then would you…?”

  • “If we could still get your home sold at a price acceptable to you and get you to [area they’re moving to], would you be open to meeting so we could show you how to do that?
  • “If you could get the price you wanted without having to do any of the work you’re planning on doing, would that work for you?”
  • “If we could find a buyer who was willing to pay your price now and close at a later date, would that work for you?”

The key here is to identify the reason for wanting to delay and then show them how you can sell their home and still solve the problem.


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It may take a couple of shots on the same call, but if you work at it and use “If we could, then would you…?”, you’ll have some great success on your calls.


2. “We’re going to use the same agent”


This one is always fun. It falls under the definition of insanity - doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results - and honestly, it makes me feel a little crazy myself.

It’s hard to understand why you would hire someone for the second time to do a job they couldn’t get done the first time.

Pretty certain a botched surgery, an improperly completed tax return or even a bad haircut wouldn’t garner a second chance for the provider of said services. But for some reason, an agent can fail to sell someone’s most valuable investment and then get a second shot at it.

Boggles the mind.

All of this said, it happens and we still need to deal with it.

The best way to start the conversation is to as these questions:

“May I ask, why didn’t your home sell the first time?”

Strong possibility at this point they will say the agent “blames the market for it not selling”. We know that properly priced homes sell in every market, so just don’t hear that.

From here, say: “Really? Hmmmmmm. Since your home went on and came off the market, X homes have sold and the market is up X% in sales. [Pause] Let me ask, aren’t you concerned that if you hire the same agent to sell your home that you’ll get the same result?”

Let them answer.

If they say they are, close for the appointment. If they say, no, then say this: ‘“I can appreciate that. If I could show you how I could get you $5,000 to $10,000 more for your home than that agent promised they could get you, would you be open to finding out how I could do that?”

If they say yes, close for the appointment.

If not, try one more thing. Pull out the listing sheet and find any mistakes the agent made on it. Point them out to the seller and let the seller know how many opportunities they likely missed out on because their home wasn’t properly positioned online or on the MLS.

Then ask them this: “If I can show you how I can get more people through your home and get you a higher price by positioning it properly where the right buyers can see it, would you be open to meeting with me so I can show you how I’d do that?”.

If not, wish them well and move on.


3. “We’re going to sell it ourselves”


This one is pretty straightforward: “How long were you going to try selling it yourself until you would be open to interviewing agents for the job of getting it sold?”

Listen to the answer then say: “Let me ask, if I could show you a way that you could walk away with more money than you would be able to get with any other agent or by selling it yourself, would you be open to talking about that?”


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If they say yes, close for the appointment.

If not, say: “Thank you for your time. Ok if you could get a great price for your home and close in [time frame] would that interest you? The reason I ask is inventory is very low and sellers are able to name their terms and many of our buyers will wait. When could I stop by and take a quick peek at the house and see if it matches any of our buyer’s criteria?”

Set the appointment and then follow the steps detailed in this blog post here.


4. “We’re going to go with another agent”

Better late than never applies in virtually every situation in life...except when it comes to getting a listing contract signed.

The good news is that as long as there is no contract signed, every prospect is fair game. So, if you hear “We’re going to go with another agent”, don’t give up hope.

Say this instead: “Let me ask, have you signed the listing contract yet?” If yes, wish them will.

If not, say: “I’ve got a proven repeatable system that gets homesellers up to 18% more for their home than the traditional methods other agents use. If I could show you how I can get you up to 18% more than the agent you’re thinking about working with, would you be willing to spend a small amount of time with me?”.

If yes, set the appointment and go list that bad boy.

If no, then this is a good place for a performance guarantee: “Great, before I let you go, let me ask; if I could guarantee that you’re home will sell for your asking price, would you be open letting me help you sell your home?”.

If they ask how you would do that, let them know that you guarantee to sell their home or you’ll: buy it, waive your fee, reduce your commission, etc. Pick the guarantee that works best for you and offer it.

You’ve got nothing to lose.


5. “We’ve decided not to sell”


Historically, most homes that get put on the market due end up eventually selling.

Across the country, only about 5% of homes don’t sell at all. It may be higher in your market, but it’s not so high that most sellers wouldn’t be selling again.


What this means is that most of the folks you’re talking to are likely still going to sell and it’s your job to be there when they are.

When a seller says they’ve decided not to sell, you’ll pull out the same line as in rebuttal #1: “So your plans have changed?”.

Let them answer and then follow much of the same rebuttal as in #1.

Also, as with rebuttal #1, if the decision is based on a life event, you’ll want to nurture the prospect until they’re ready to sell again in the future...because they’re likely going to sell.

Knowing what to say, when to say it and how to say it is the recipe for being able to handle anything that comes your way.

The key here is to KNOW at a very deep level, which if you practice daily, will take you less than 6 months to master.

The best part is that as you’re working your way to being bulletproof on the phone, you’ll still pick up listing opportunities on the way.


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