The listing presentation is one of the most misunderstood areas of real estate sales. There are as many theories about this presentation as there are licensed agents in North America. Although the listing presentation has changed and has been altered dramatically in the last five to ten years, an efficient and professional presentation will enable the agent to control his clients properly. What are the elements of an efficient, professional listing presentation?
First, it is necessary to clearly define a purpose for the listing presentation. Now I know that you are thinking, “Of course, the purpose is to take the listing.” You would be partially correct. Certainly the objective is to get the contract signed. The true purpose, though, is to identify the clients’ problem in an efficient manner and convey to the clients that you are the person who will provide them the best opportunity to solve their problem in the marketplace. These are really the objectives of a professional’s listing presentation.
The first part, identifying the problem, has two issues that must be resolved. The first issue is identifying the actual problem itself. The actual problem has a baseline that stems from price. “Price will fix everything else in the equation.” The price is like the known variable in an algebra equation. You need to search for the other potential issues or potential problems, but they all flow through the known issue, which is variable price. By lowering the price, you can sell a property in poor condition, poor location, busy street, functionally obsolete, a “buyer’s market,” or poor marketing. The list of fixable problems is never ending. Price has a direct correlation to all of these issues. These issues or problems may or may not be interconnected with each other, but price is the only guaranteed connection to all these issues or problems. Your listing presentation should be focused and centered on price, so that you will have an opportunity to get a sale rather than just a listing. Both you and your client want the sale. Neither of you just wants the property listed.
The second key issue, during the identify the problem stage, is to get your client to agree on the problem. This one certainly is the harder of the two issues. You musthave agreement with your client about what the problem is before you can proceed forward. Since the problem is most often price, you must have a mutual agreement on price. The stronger you are regarding the price, the better chance you have of a sale. Many agents will delay the hard reality hoping it will go away. Deal with it up frontrather than 30 days down the road. You must have the integrity to tell the client the truth. “It won’t sell for what you want. You need to lower the price.” Do not hedge or mince words. Tell the client straight up that it will not sell. Get an agreement with the client on price before you move on. There is no point in continuing if you and the client do not agree on price. You will be just wasting your time. I urge you to have the conviction in your skills as an agent to truthfully interpret the market even though most agents will not. Be honest. Most agents want the listing and are unwilling to risk losing the listing even though they know the property will not sell for the client’s desired price.
Once you have resolved the pricing issue you are in the home stretch. Your job now is to convey that you are the realtor for the job. Brevity is crucial to success in this arena. Most people do not want to listen to someone talk about how great they are at selling homes. Ask them specific questions to see what kind of services they are looking for from their realtor. Find out the type of realtor they are looking for to sell their home. Most people will just say, “We want someone who can sell our home.” This is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your confidence and conviction that you are the realtor for the job. Look them straight in the eyes and tell them your track record of success and ask them if they are looking for an agent of your caliber. If you do not have a track record, sell your company’s record. You may even need to sell a little of both. Finally ask the clients to sign the paperwork.
This section of your listing presentation should last less than ten minutes unless they ask a lot of questions. All during this presentation, pepper them with trial closure. For instance, “Do you want a lock box or appointment only? Are there times that would be inconvenient to show the home?” If you have a concern about the condition of the property, ask the clients if they could fix these items. There are a million trial closes; use a few to test the water. Most people will answer them and proceed forward.
When you have set up a few trial closes and you have already agreed on the price, you have arrived. You have arrived at the moment of truth, simply ask for the order. It does not have to be elaborate, just ask. Here are a few examples: “I think I have all the information I need; I just need your o.k. in the box” or, “Do you believe I can sell your home?” When they say yes, ask them to sign. If they say no, ask them to tell you why and listen to their answer. Once you have heard their answer, handle their concern, and ask them for the order again. Do not give up after the first setback. The average sale is made after the fifth or sixth customer refusal. Be persistent; do not give up. If you firmly believe that you are the agent for the job, that belief will come through. People want to select winners to sell their homes.
Many agents do not understand the concept of brevity. They have a two hour listing presentation. What in the world are they doing for two hours? The seller wants to know each agents version of the problem, wants to know how that agent can solve the problem, and which one is the best Agent for the job. The rest of the presentation the seller really does not care about. If you want to be the chosen agent, focus on the problem and the solution. Spending endless amounts of time on other stuff, will just weaken your listing presentation.
Lastly, once the contract is signed spend a few minutes debriefing the seller. If you have staff, introduce them to the seller. If you have a routine of communication or system you use that may be unique, fill them in. A few minutes of explanation will save you the frustrated seller phone call in thirty days. Let them know you care, appreciate the opportunity, and move on to the next appointment.
A truly dynamic real estate listing presentation is short and to the point. It also stays on focused for the entire time of the presentation. Do not break your momentum by going too long or not staying focused during the presentation. Stay directed, focused, and solve their problem.
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