4 Ways To Turn “Sleepy” Owners Into Motivated Sellers

by Peter Thomas Ricci

By Bob Corcoran

This article is about turning yourself into an alarm clock. “Okay Bob,” you might be thinking, “you’ve finally lost your last marble. What are you talking about? Alarm clocks? What?”

If you’ve been selling real estate for any length of time, you’ve run across a “sleepy” homeowner who drags his or her feet about deciding whether or not to put the house on the market. You know the kind – they feed you every excuse in the book – “procrastinate” is their middle name.

So, what do you do to wake this potential seller up? Slap him or her around? Put smelling salts under his or her nose?

Nope, you make yourself an alarm clock – and here’s how:

  1. Understand that each seller has a different timeline. When I work with my clients on this topic, I like to categorize sellers into A, B and C slots. An “A” seller is looking to sell immediately – definitely within 30 days. “B” sellers will typically be ready to list in 30 to 90 days. And “C” sellers are looking to list beyond 90 days. Understanding what category a particular seller is in helps set your own expectations. Yes, in a perfect world, we want all sellers to be “A” sellers, but as you well know, this is far from a perfect world. So first, just take time to get to know potential sellers and where they are in their timeline.
  2. Develop a contact plan for each category of seller. Here’s a rule of thumb that I ask my clients to follow so that they’re constantly in touch with all of their potential sellers each month: you must always have a face-to-face appointment with an “A” seller. The “B” sellers should be called the week of the first and the fifteenth of each month. The “C” sellers should be called the second week of each month. This ensures a consistently filled pipeline with prospects while keeping people moving along in that pipeline from initial call to the closing table – in other words, it keeps sellers awake and thinking about selling.
  3. Understand the current market and use the facts to explain the importance of acting. This is a critical step, especially in today’s market. It’s tough to argue with facts, and the facts today favor sellers getting their homes on the market. Why? Because the market is starting to warm up and buyers have started waking up. CoreLogic, a real estate research services company, has reported that 42 of the 50 markets recently surveyed in the United States have started to rise. What’s more, housing affordability is the best it’s been in two decades. Add to this interest rates that are at rock-bottom (in fact, they’re at 60-year lows) and you have fertile ground for sellers to actually sell their listings.
  4. Finally, stir in the urgency. When you’re explaining today’s market, you have to do so with a sense of urgency. If I can guarantee you anything, I can guarantee you this: those interest rates will not stay as low as they are. Potential sellers need to hear this loud and clear, and it’s your job to be yelling that into their ears. Sellers (and buyers, too) need to act now to take advantage of what may never be available again in our lifetimes. And remember, in a buying situation, people hate to lose opportunities. Emphasize what they may lose if they don’t act now in all your communications with consumers.


Bob Corcoran is a nationally recognized speaker and author who is founder and president of Corcoran Consulting Inc. (CorcoranCoaching.com, 800-957-8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into the residential or commercial broker or agent’s existing practice.

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