Listing Appointment Tips
TIP 1 – Arrive on Time
So simple, but so often this rule is broken by real estate agents. Simply start the appointment off on the right foot by arriving on time. “On time” means showing up right at the pre-determined set time for the appointment. Often you are going to do the listing presentation appointment at the home of the sellers, so do not show up early. They may be rushing home from work to clean up a little, or may be finishing dinner. Showing up early can disrupt their schedule as much as showing up late. Don’t throw them off, and don’t start the appointment in a chaotic fashion by showing up early. If you get to their neighborhood early, just drive around for a few minutes. Drive by a few other homes for sale to better refresh your memory of the competition, then arrive right on time.
And obviously, do not show up late. Nothing shows more lack of consideration than to show up to an appointment late. It also appears to be very unprofessional. Why would they list the biggest asset they own to someone who is inconsiderate and unorganized? If you are going to be running late and it cannot be avoided, give them a quick call or text (not while driving!) and let them know. Usually that is just fine. It shows you are indeed considerate of their time, and organized to handle changes throughout the busy work day.
TIP 2 – Be Prepared
Another very simple tip here. You simply cannot do a listing presentation without being fully prepared. Going on a listing appointment to just “wing it” is not a good idea. Our Steps to Success Custom Listing Presentation enables you to always have a strong listing presentation fully ready to go at all times. You’ll keep this on your iPad, tablet, or laptop and it will always be ready to present. You will also need to prepare a good CMA to discuss the neighborhood’s market activity and pricing trends. The more time you spend looking through these details, and fully knowing all the homes in the area, the better. Believe me, with today’s easy access to real estate information online, the seller will know all of them very well. Nothing is worse than showing up to a listing appointment, and the home seller knows the market in more detail than the real estate agent.
TIP 3 – Let the Comparables Give the Answer of “What Price?”
Basically when doing a listing appointment, let the comps dictate the price. So when the seller asks: “What price do you think I should list at?”, do not answer with your opinion, because that is just basically an opinion of yours. Now your opinion may be right on, but you could offend, or lose, or frustrate the seller. Many sellers think all real estate agents just want to convince them to price low, so they can get a quick easy sale and move on to the next deal. Instead, lay out the comps on the dining table. We recommend printing MLS 1-Up client reports, with maybe a second page of photos. Fan them out on the table, with actives, pendings, and solds. Take a blank white piece of paper and ask the seller “Lets see where we think your home fits in?” Let them talk through all the comps with you, and determine logically where the home should hopefully sell at, and then where the home should be priced at to best get those results. This process can be so rewarding. Instead of telling the seller what you think, you both work through the market conditions and data, and come to a final conclusion together. This process makes it very difficult for a seller to over-price their home. It’s all in black-and-white (or probably color) right in front of them. If the comps are saying $525,000 and they want get $585,000, its so easy to point out “Mr. Seller, I’d love to see you get $585,000, but if a buyer was able to purchase X property for $525,000 why would they buy yours for $60,000 more?” Here is an article showing this CMA technique.
TIP 4 – Don’t be Desperate for the Listing
A very tough thing, especially in challenging markets is to go to the listing appointment “needing” the listing. The desperation will show through in your presentation. Yes, you want the listing, but more importantly you want a profitable and worthwhile business transaction. If the seller is going to be too difficult, too demanding, or wants to price too high, you may be better off passing on the listing, politely of course. If you appear desperate at all, it shows through and the seller will either not hire you to sell the home, or they may take control of the appointment and lead you down a path of time wasting.
TIP 5 – How to Handle Overpriced Listings
Almost every seller is going to think their home is so much better than all of the others in the neighborhood and therefore they deserve a much higher price. Again, the first step is to use Tip #3 and let the comparables dictate the price. Hopefully the seller will allow an open discussion on the comps to figure out a fair selling price. Then remember Tip #4, and don’t be desperate for the listing. If they want to overprice, it may not be worth taking on a listing only doomed to fail.
If they are going to be reasonable to work with, but really do want to try a little higher price, here is a great method to handle that. Let them know that, Ok you will both try together at the higher price because you also would love to see them do well. But, if the home is not under contract (in escrow) in maybe say 4 weeks, you both agree to lower the price to the recommended amount. What works really well here is to pre-sign a MLS change form for the price reduction. This way they know you’re going to give it the initial 4 weeks, but if not sold, the new price will go into effect. Its much easier to get the price reduction ahead of time, rather than having to go back to the seller to explain why the showings have not produced a buyer, and why you are asking for a price reduction, at that point it often feels like it is your fault as the agent. It rarely goes well. The pre-signed price reduction feels more like part of a well thought out, strategic plan.
TIP 6 – Leverage Your Brand
Too often, the more experienced veteran agents want to talk all about themselves. That can work for many of them, if they truly do have the success and recognizable name and history in the market. But for new agents, what do you do? New real estate agents can focus their listing presentation more on the brand, or brokerage to show credibility. If you are an agent with a national company like Prudential, Keller Williams or Sotheby’s you have a lot of high-end brand recognition and power to use, that’s why you pay those fees to use the name. If you are within a smaller, boutique brokerage, then use that as an advantage to promote. Every agent at every brokerage has many quality reasons why to use them. The key is determining what those are and incorporating that into your listing presentation. Big brokerages are powerhouses with proven success. Small brokerages can promote focusing on a “quality vs. quantity” business model better serving the client. Also, leveraging your brand is helpful in deterring cuts or discounts in commission amount.
TIP 7 – Empathy
When on a listing appointment, it is important to not only impress the seller with your expertise and professionalism, but you also want to connect with the seller. This will make them more friendly and easier to deal with down the road. Too often salespeople, real estate agents included, want to talk all about themselves and what they have to offer. Remember to LISTEN during the listing presentation appointment. Let the seller know you are there for them, to help them, and to do what is in their best interests. Maybe they are new to the process, take the time to explain it to them. Maybe they had a bad agent before you, listen to what went wrong. Listen to their concerns. Listen to their needs. Take the time to place the client first, and the success will come.
TIP 8 – Presentation First, Talk Price Second
When you arrive to your listing appointment there are always two main questions the seller has: 1 – “How will you market my home?” and 2 – “How much can you get me for my home?” So too often you get trapped into talking about all the great places you will advertise the home, how you plan to think “outside the box”, and how much money you can get them. Don’t get trapped into this.
First, let them know that you know it is a big expense to sell a home, and you want to be sure they know all the things you’ll be working on for them. You want the opportunity to walk them through your well thought out plan, not just for the marketing, but for the entire listing and transaction process. Get them to run through the entire presentation first. In our Steps to Success Listing Presentation we have Step 2 that focuses on pricing strategy, but we only talk pricing theory here, not specific pricing for their home. You want to run through the entire presentation first because it sets you up as the knowledgeable and experienced professional. They will see in the presentation how pricing works, and how the marketing works. They will get a chance to see and understand that if the pricing is wrong (too high) the marketing efforts will go to waste. Then in the later part of the presentation they will get a preview of the offer and transaction process.
Once done with the presentation, if they are on board, and probably will be, you can then pull out your prepared CMA. We recommend individual 1-Up client reports from your MLS system for all the active, pending and recent sold comps. At this point they will have a good understanding of the entire process, and will be much more mindful of pricing accurately. And as we mentioned in Tip #3, walk through all the comparables and decide together where the home would fit in, in regards to pricing.
TIP 9 – Maintain Control of the Meeting
It is very common to go to a listing appointment where you have a good chance that you are going to leave with the listing, or really you have the listing secured before you even go meet up, and the meeting is just to talk price and marketing. You want to set proper expectations for the seller right from the start, so you must establish a plan for the meeting, and maintain control of the meeting. Let them know that you want them to hire you based on what you are offering to do, not just for the fact that you are already friends. Get them to go through the presentation, and show them how the entire process works. Maintaining control of the meeting will enable you to educate them, so when you leave with the listing, you are not getting calls once a week asking what is going on, and what is being done to get the home sold.
TIP 10 – Don’t Just Win the Listing, Win the Seller
This is probably the main, overall concept we have been talking about. This is also the main overall goal of how our Steps to Success Listing Presentation is set up. Really, its quite easy to win a listing. Simply promise the world, and you’ll get the listing. Many agents do it, and then hope for the best. This is a great way to set yourself up for failure. Instead of over promising, and under delivering, you want to educate the seller, not sell the seller. If you win the listing, but do not get the property sold in the listing term, most likely its going to go to another agent next, they will get the price reduction, and it will probably sell quickly, happens way too often.
When you take the time to run through a well thought out listing presentation that educates the seller and involves the seller in the process, you not only win the listing, but you also win over the seller. Basically the seller becomes more of a team player, rather than an adversary throughout the listing term. They will respect you and view you as the professional you are. They will be more willing to work with you, and if the price does start out a bit high, they will understand the need for a quick reduction. If the listing term expires, there is so much more of a chance of them extending with you, and together you will work on a solution to get the home sold. It will be much, much harder for another agent (especially the ones who pursue all expireds) to swoop in and take the listing away from you.
In the end, you will have a better chance of selling the home sooner, and a better chance at a smooth under-contract process. And you will have another very satisfied client who will be very willing to work with you again, and willing to recommend you to others.