Should you tell sellers or potential clients you have a buyer?

Some agents love to tell sellers that they might bring them a buyer. I call it the “I have a buyer” listing strategy.

In fact, some agents will call sellers and tell them that they might have a buyer interested in their house. They will ask to preview their house to see if it would work for any of their buyers.

Here’s how this strategy works. A realtor will call a for sale by owner or an expired and say, “I might have a buyer interested in your house. I wanted to see if I could preview your home to see if it might work for any of the buyers that I’m working with.”

Then the agent goes out and previews the house while trying to develop a relationship with the seller in the hopes of getting a listing. Sometimes the sellers will be open to a listing presentation from that agent. Sometimes they won’t. But, occasionally the agent will have developed a good enough rapport and get the listing.

That is how the strategy works. You may get some listings but it’s not a good use of your time and there are a couple of negative side effects that arise when you use this strategy.

One of them is that sellers will oftentimes hear what they want to hear.

If you call them up and say, “I want to preview your home to see if it might work for one of my buyers.”

They don’t hear, “I want to preview your home to see if it MIGHT work for one of my buyers.” Instead, these sellers often hear, “I have the perfect buyer for your home.”

The owner thinks that you just have to check out the house and then your buyer will buy it. They think it’s almost a done deal rather than realizing you just want to preview the house to see if it might work for one of your buyers.

I don’t recommend using this strategy. Another pitfall of doing this happens when you try this with expireds. The other agent may realize what’s going on and tell the seller you don’t really have a buyer.

Then your reputation is damaged. Here is what you should do instead.

Instead of telling sellers that you’re going to bring them a buyer, show them how you can do a better job at marketing their house.

I call this the “I’m a better marketer” strategy. It gives you a better chance of getting the listing. Here’s why.

If you approach them by saying you have a buyer, they’re going to think it’s a done deal. When they realize you don’t have a buyer for their home, you’ll actually look worse than your competition.

Here’s what will separate you from your competition. Show them how you can market the home better than other agents and sell it for more.

If they accept a meeting with you because you are a better marketer, it puts you in much better position.

If they meet with you, they’re interested in what you have to offer and there’s a very good chance that you’re going to get the listing.

Here’s how I know this. I remember the first house I listed using the “I’m a better marketer” strategy. 

The seller’s home had expired. I talked to him and his wife over the phone. Then I mailed them my book.

Arthur lived in South Carolina and he had an extra house in Florida that he was going to sell. He was going to be in Florida for a doctor’s conference. He met with me on his drive back home.

Arthur's home

Arthur’s home

On the morning when Arthur was going to meet with me, his wife called and asked me a bunch of questions. I didn’t realize what was going on.

She was asking me all these questions, and it wasn’t until later that I realize that she had been burned by her previous three realtors. That’s why she was so skeptical.

She really wanted an agent that could sell her house rather than just an agent that could make lots of big promises. They had already had the house listed three times with three realtors and it had expired three times. I was realtor number four.

I answered her questions as best as I could over the phone.

I didn’t realize this but they were mostly pre-sold in hiring me. She just wanted to make sure that she was making a good decision before they locked themselves into a six-month listing contract.

I met with Arthur and was prepared to do a fancy listing presentation. I always err on the side of presenting more and selling more and overselling sellers in hiring me rather than on selling less.

I didn’t realize this but Arthur was ready to hire me when he met with me.

They had already been sold by the book and by what I had told them about what I could do to help them sell their house.When I met with him I didn’t even have to do my big presentation. He just simply listed his house with me because they were pre-sold on hiring me.

Here’s how you can use this strategy to list more homes.

When you’re contacting leads your time is very valuable.

Rather than contacting them and asking to preview the home and then meeting with ten sellers to get two or three listings, spend more time on the phone with more owners. Tell them why you can help them sell their house for more money.

Only use your time on a listing presentation if they’re interested in what you have to offer.

Show FSBOs how you can sell their house for more money than they will sell it as a for sale by owner. Talk about how you’re going to take better pictures.

Tell them you’re going to get them more activity in the MLS and realtors that have buyers. Show them how you can get more money for their house.

Always respect their perspective.

Their perspective is that they can save money selling their house for sale by owner. Always respect that perspective but let them know you can get them more money.

Don’t let the FSBO tell you that they aren’t motivated.

A lot of FSBOs will pretend they’re not motivated. They’re concerned if they tell this to the realtor it will pressure into listing with the realtor.

Here’s the biggest reason I don’t bring a buyer. When I was selling real estate at the time recently I lived in Lake City, Florida.

Most of my listings were about an hour to an hour and a half away in Jacksonville, Florida. Any listing appointment I went on, I didn’t have time to meet with them because I was an hour and a half away.

So instead of doing lots of I’ll bring you a buyer listing appointments, I used my books and pre-sold sellers in hiring me.

  • I didn’t waste time previewing houses with a low chance of getting the listing.
  • I don’t like to make up stuff and fluff the numbers to mislead people in order to get a listing.
  • I prefer to be direct and show people exactly what I can do to help them sell their house.

Am I suggesting that you never use the I have a buyer approach? No.

You have to find what works for you. The “I want to bring you a buyer approach” might work for you. If so, good for you.

But personally, it’s never worked for me.

If you are going to do that approach, here are a couple of suggestions to get better results.

When you meet with sellers don’t just build rapport. Leave them something of value. One of the best things that I would suggest is to leave them a copy of your book that shows them how to sell their home for more money.

How can you get a book like that? Well, you can license my books.

I’ve actually got a number of different books that you can use to get listings. I’ll even give you a sample of the exact book I use. You can give it to sellers, they’ll read through it, realize you’re the real deal, and list their house with you. Below is a link where you can get a copy of the sample book.