By Dirk Zeller

Representing sellers and taking real estate listings is the best way to leverage your business and create future business. A listing creates more leads and opportunities for any agent. Although an agent’s marketing ability and online presence can somewhat make up for a lack of listing inventory, the bottom line is that listings are always king! This list helps you nail your listing presentations and win more clients.

Win the seller with preparation

What you do before you arrive at the listing presentation sets the tone for your engagement with the sellers. What you ask before you meet them can be the difference between success and failure. Ask questions about when and how they’re going to choose an agent. The agent who has the most information about the sellers and their thought processes has a huge competitive advantage. It enables you to adjust your presentation to fit their needs, wants, and desires.

Know your competition

The percentage of referral-based and non-competitive business is dropping. Consumers are shopping agents both online and in direct interview situations. Technology has given consumers the ability to search multiple real estate companies and read through numerous online reviews about agents. Competition is increased, and referrals are decreased. When you access a prospect, it’s just as important to gather information about your competition as it is to find out the prospect’s buying or selling needs. Ask which other companies and agents they’re interviewing. This way you can do some research and find out how to plan your presentation based on your competitive points of difference.

Stick with your strategy

Some flexibility is essential during a listing presentation. However, a wholesale strategy change usually doesn’t end well. When preparing for a listing presentation, choose either a one-step or two-step strategy:

  • A one-step process has you go to the home or meet with the seller once. You don’t go out in advance to see the home and connect with the seller. You prepare your CMA (comparative market analysis) in advance and deliver your sales presentation at the one visit. The goal is to walk out after this meeting with a signed listing contract in hand.
  • A two-step process has you meet the prospect and see the home. Then you complete your value analysis, or CMA. You then meet again to deliver your findings and tell the seller why you’re the best for the job.

Forget about a “be back” listing

A “be back” listing is when the seller stalls, objects, gives brush-offs, and doesn’t sign before you leave the presentation. When you walk out the door, the odds that you’ll secure this listing have been cut in half. If you’re in competition with other agents, the seller probably won’t remember all or even most of the differences between the agents. She is more likely to select the agent who gives the highest list price or lowest commission fee.

All the presentations start to run together in sellers’ minds after a few days of decision delay. If you don’t get a signed contract at your listing presentation, you need to act fast to stay in your client’s mind. What you do after the presentation is vital to the seller’s decision. Be sure to assertively follow up after your presentation; call, email, text, and send hand-written notes.

Use technology to impress a prospect

In today’s technological world, a flip chart or a presentation without visuals won’t cut it. You need a tablet or laptop computer to make your presentation sleek, tech-savvy, and visually stimulating. Show them something innovative, creating a single moment during your listing presentation.

With a technology tool like Dotsignal, you can demonstrate the text-back feature, which sends listing information and pictures directly to a buyer’s smartphone. Your phone receives a text showing that a potential buyer sought information about that listing, allowing you to contact the prospect within seconds. Demonstrating this technology at a listing presentation impresses seller prospects — it shows that you can capture buyers and aligns with sellers’ needs to get people into their home.

Convey your benefits clearly

Too many agents sell features instead of benefits. A seller buys benefits but yawns at features. Your presentation has power and punch when you showcase benefits that answer the question, “Why should I hire you?” What’s in it for them? If you can connect your company, technology, personal service, and whatever you’re selling to a specific set of benefits, the seller will respond and see how you’re different from other agents.

If you’re a newer agent, sell your company’s benefits more than your own.

Insert trial closes strategically

You want to place trial closes after every few benefits and services you highlight for the seller. Use powerful statements like “Do you see how this creates an advantage for our sellers?” or “Is this the type of service you desire?” These lead the seller to confirm that you’re heading in the right direction — that your service and value are aligned with what they expect.

Talk about value rather than price

The real purpose of a CMA is to determine the value of the home based on today’s market conditions. It’s not to determine the price. The price of the home or anything else you sell is a marketing decision. It determines how many people will be interested. The value doesn’t change just because your sellers want to overprice their home.

If you focus on the word “value” rather than “price,” you can shift the discussion to how the value is determined by the marketplace, the replace-ability of the property (meaning how many other similar homes are available on the market), and competition from other sellers, rather than what the sellers want or hope to get. Everyone always wants to price their home higher than the actual value of the property. Your goal is to delay the discussion on price until you gain agreement on the value of the home. The truth is that homes can be priced at any price, but it will not change the value.

Be willing to walk away

If a seller is demanding, confrontational, and unrealistic in his expectations of your service and the value of the home, it’s probably better to walk away from the listing. The amount of emotional energy you invest to service an overly demanding and unrealistic seller isn’t worth the commission or aggravation. The empowerment you receive by saying no is unmatched. And the look on most sellers’ faces when you turn down the business is priceless.

Clarify service and next steps

After being at the listing presentation for 45 minutes or more, the typical agent wants out of there as quickly as possible. But when you complete the signing of the listing agreement, disclosure forms, and other documents, you need to pause to debrief sellers about the next steps.

Spend even just five to ten minutes sharing the following information:

  • What your service steps will be in the first 14 days
  • When the listing will go live
  • When to expect showings
  • How communication and feedback systems work
  • What happens if you haven’t secured a buyer in a specified timeframe

When you invest five to ten minutes to go through these steps, you’ll have clients who are less stressed out and more satisfied. They’ll be less likely to call you or feel that you’re not calling, texting, or emailing enough. You’ll deter them from Monday-morning quarterbacking everything you do.