I can understand Tman suggesting you by-pass the agents in the transaction as he's either naive, unethical or doesn't know the process and legalities of a listing in force on the subject property. But Mr. Swell should. This is the stuff of lawsuits Mr. Swell. I agree with JR, by-passing the agents to the transaction to get a better deal is a FSBO routine which is best left to the FSBO marketplace.
Derek, What is the listed price of the subject property? Is it $2,000,000? Therefore your offer would be in the 20% range in offering price. Not uncommon in this price point at all (of course, depending on your market conditions--don't try this in Pacific Heights in San Francisco or Tiburon in Marvelous Marin County across the Golden Gate Bridge!!) but if the listing price is $800,000--now you're talking 50% off. A harder pill to swallow!!
I would make a larger search area for your comparables. If you've got NO sales for 6 months then I think you're searching a very finite area. Expand your search. If you take the advice of Mr. Swell and Tman and start going directly to the Seller to get the best deal then you risk alienating the Listing Agent and maybe the Seller also. I think a stronger strategy would be to see the property WHEN the Seller is present. But you're there to gain rapport, make a connection with the Seller so when your offer is presented S/HE remembers who you are. I had a client who was a rare book dealer. I showed him a home when the market was red hot and all offers where being "faxed" in and a time for presentation 5 days in the future. My client noted some very rare books in the library where Mr. Seller was seated. I directed my client to chat him up about the books. Turns out he also was a rare book dealer and collector. They hit it off like crazy and I had to drag him out of there! His wife also sat in the kitchen with Mrs. Seller and talked about teenage kids. When I presented the offer via fax I had my buyer send a letter (with photos) of HIS library, teenage kids, etc. Suffice it to say--of the 15 offers received WE got the property! The agent, a friend of mine, said "I don't know what you had on my Sellers but they raved about your Buyers. You got the house for $10,000 less than three other higher priced offers!"
But please-be careful with the strategies of going directly to the Seller. A ticked off listing agent would slam your offer! The Seller may think your actions illegal or unethical. Get a good, hardworking buyer's agent who knows what s/he's doing!!