I’m always amazed by the number of REALTORS who go into a potential seller appointment and wing it – despite the thousands of dollars they could potentially make. Today we’re looking at tactics and strategies to help you prepare for the listing appointment.
#1: Change Your Mindset
As REALTORS, we’re taught that ‘listing presentations’ are an opportunity to go in and “pitch” a potential seller. We’re taught to think of it as an audition or an interview – a dog-and-pony show. But what if you thought of it as a consultation instead of a presentation? What if instead, you thought of it as an opportunity to understand the seller’s needs and goals and communicate how you can help? What if the meeting was about them and not you?
I’m obsessed with Joe Rand’s Book ‘How to Be a Great Real Estate Agent‘. The book is based on the idea of consulting vs selling, and it’s well worth the read. The section on seller appointments is especially excellent.
One of the easiest ways to impress a potential Seller is by demonstrating you’ve done more research than any other agent they meet.
- Drive-by the house: What do you see? Is it well kept? How does it compare to the neighbours? Does anything stand out? Do you see any evidence of kids or pets? How could what you see help you in connecting with them?
- Research the house’s story: The house’s past sales history on MLS is just the beginning. Google the address – you’ll be surprised by how much information you’ll find. Don’t forget to check if the property has ever been listed on the MLS and didn’t sell – that can be a big part of the house’s story too. If you’re in Ontario, pull up the address on Geowarehouse and look for anything out of the ordinary.
- Research the real estate history on the street: This is real estate 101. How much are similar houses selling for? How long are they taking to sell? How does that compare to the rest of the neighbourhood? What’s not selling and why? Are there any listings or sales you should know about that everyone knows about (crazy bidding wars, asking price of $1, a sale the media picked up on)? You never want the seller to have more information about the sales in the area than you.
- Get to know the neighbourhood: In what school district is the house? Where are nearby parks, restaurants, shopping? Where’s the closest grocery store? The closest Starbucks? We always pull up a report from HoodQ to help us better understand a neighbourhood. Will anything in the neighbourhood impact the price positively or negatively? If it’s a neighbourhood you don’t typically work in, take the time to visit a coffee shop and get a vibe for the community.
- Research the sellers: Google their names. Search for them on social media. What can you learn about them that will help in building rapport and help you solve their real estate problems?
- Know the stats: Memorize the critical stats for your market (average price, days on market, sold price to asking ratio, inventory levels) and be prepared to speak to them. If the overall stats for your city differ from their neighbourhood, be ready to explain why. People tend to skim news headlines – and we all know the media often spins a different story than what we see in the trenches.
#3: Have Gorgeous Consultation Materials
Whether your listing presentation materials are in digital or hard-copy format, they need to make an impact. Some things to keep in mind:
- The look/feel of your marketing needs to be consistent with the rest of your brand (for example, your business card and website). They need to tell one story – yours. Your content shouldn’t be generic – and make sure to avoid the temptation to ‘borrow’ from the internet. If your brokerage provides a canned presentation, make sure to customize it. What makes you and the services you offer different? How will that benefit the seller?
- There should be a logical flow to your content – it needs to take the seller on a journey and answer their questions.
- Don’t just talk about you! While your results and experience need to be part of your materials, they shouldn’t be the focus. What’s your process? What services do you provide? What should they expect? Why does any of that matter to them?
- There can’t be any spelling mistakes. Ever. And the font needs to be big enough for all ages to read )bigger is always better).
- Hire a professional designer and invest in high-quality printing. You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.
- Print samples of your feature sheets and all of the other listing marketing you do and have it available for the meeting. It’s easier for people to see than to imagine.
- Re-visit your presentation materials at least twice a year (if not every quarter). The health of your market, the statistics and your own experience change over time and your materials need to reflect that. Using 2018 statistics isn’t OK after Jan 15 2020. Think of your presentation as a fluid document – not a one-time, scratch-it-off-the-list project.
#4: Be Ready to Read Your Audience
People respond differently to different types of presentations. Reading your audience and being able to adjust your style is critical in getting the listing.
There are some great personality tools out there – DISC is my personal favourite. It’s easy to use and not only tells you about yourself but helps you read other people by ranking them on four personality traits:
You can take the test online or just read through the descriptions below for a quick and dirty guide to reading people during a listing presentation:
Dominance – People with a high Dominance want immediate results and want to take action. They tend to speak quickly, interrupt others and are assertive. They respond mostly to facts and don’t want to spend a lot of time chit-chatting – they want to get right to the bottom line. A high Dominance person won’t want to sit through an entire presentation – they want to to know how much their house is worth and what you’re going to do to sell it. If a high dominant person was a bird, they’d be an eagle.
Influence – People with a high Influence score are social and are motivated by relationships with others. They want recognition and want to be involved. They respond well to social conversations and during a listing presentation will want to build rapport with you. They’ll ask tons of questions (including personal questions) and will hire you because they like you. If a high Influence person was a bird, they’d be a peacock.
Steadiness – People with high Steadiness scores are patient and good listeners. They’re calm (and tend to speak more slowly than high Dominance people). During a listing presentation, they want lots of information and will likely enjoy a more formal presentation with lots of statistics and information. If a high Steadiness person was a bird, they’d be a dove.
Compliance – People with high Compliance are interested in following the rules. They are process-oriented and concerned with quality and accuracy. High Compliance people will respond well to having the home selling process laid out for them and knowing that there is a method to selling. If a high Compliance person was a bird, they’d be an owl.
You should be prepared to deal with any of the 4 DISC personality types during a listing consultation – meaning you should have both a formal and an informal presentation ready and details and statistics available for those who want them. Of course, during a seller meeting, you’re often talking to a couple who likely have different personality types, so you’ll need to be ready to deal with the fact that they may require different kinds of assurances. Being well-prepared with leave-behinds is a good way to keep focused during a presentation for a high Dominance person, but still provide a high Steadiness person with the information they need.
You don’t want to be rifling through your presentation like it’s the first time you’ve seen it. Whether you’re using a digital or hard-copy presentation, know your content and practice the transitions. You don’t want to sound rehearsed – but you do need to sound like you confidently know your material. Some other things to keep in mind:
- Prepare the questions you want to ask in advance. Remember: you’ll be doing more listening than talking during a consultation, so it helps to have a plan of how you want the conversation to flow.
- Practice your key messages out loud, in front of a mirror to help you see what they see.
- If your personal results stats aren’t in your presentation, make sure you know them.
- Be ready to answer common questions and respond to typical objections.
The chances of getting the listing increase substantially when you prepare. Invest the time and reap the rewards.