Some would say that your listing presentation is your one chance to create a first impression. However, Google tells us that your customers are searching online for up to 90 days before even contacting a real estate agent. (Google Stats 2014) If that is the case, once you get to the kitchen table, it’s almost too late. So what is the goal of a listing presentation, and how do you create one that makes a real impact?
The truth is, most of your competitors see this as an opportunity to talk about themselves. Some may even feel like they have to “sell themselves.” But I’ll let you in on a secret: that’s not what your customer is looking for at all.
Have you ever had a piñata at your birthday party? You are blindfolded, handed a stick, and told to swing at a paper mâché figure that is hanging somewhere in front of you. You swing at it with all your might while being shouted at from every direction. All the while, the target is being pulled and bounced out of your reach. All you really want is for someone to tell you exactly what to do to get to the candy. This is what it feels like to buy a house. The listing presentation is your chance to tell the customer exactly what to expect, and how you can make the process less painful. In short, it’s about taking off the blindfold.
What you do before you get to the kitchen table can be the most important part. Having a solid pre-listing process is key.
Start by asking some critical questions: Will all of the decision makers be present? What are their expectations? Have they met with others, or are they meeting with others after you?
Next, give them some homework. Provide them with an action plan; a checklist for each room, with suggestions as to items that may need to be cleaned, decluttered and repaired. This sets the tone that selling a home is a team effort and they will need to actively participate in the process.
Lastly, provide them with sample listing agreement documents. Highlight the sample clauses and terms and note that these will be the items you will be discussing. Give them a chance to read and prepare ahead of time.
Every great story has a beginning, a middle and an end. A great listing presentation follows the same formula. Having a system keeps you on track.
First, tour the home. Ask lots of questions and listen closely to the answers. Take notes. This is your chance to learn the seller’s motivations, concerns, and timing.
Next, set expectations as to what you need to discuss and the items you will cover. This is where you explain your WHY, your values, and how you do business. Resist the urge to jump right into the comparable sales or the marketing – this is important stuff! This is your opportunity to set expectations for how you work, your communication style, and what your past clients say about you.
Be prepared to discuss stats and numbers. Your competitors will also show comparables sales, so come equipped with more information. You should compile your own stats, such as your average list to sale price ratio vs. local average, or even your average days on market vs. other listings. Present these as case studies or visually for the most impact. Remember, you are educating the sellers on the market trends at this stage. You aren’t just promoting yourself. This is where you start to set expectations about the local market, inventory, pricing trends and days on market.
Include your industry partners — stagers, home inspectors, professional photographers, contractors, pest inspectors, lawyers, mortgage reps – the list goes on. You won’t be helping them navigate the sale of their home alone – you have a team of people who will assist them too. Each of them plays a really important role.
Once you have explained the value of great photos and visuals, it’s a good time to explain the ways you’ll be marketing the home to get the maximum number of eyeballs on it. Include examples from previous sales. Because the potential buyer is likely looking at the listing online, explain the value of a virtual showing experience. Features like iGUIDE floor plans will help the buyers emotionally move into the home, even before seeing it in person.
Remember the piñata? At this stage in the conversation, show them a sales process flowchart, outlining all of the steps in selling a home. Include everything that could happen along the way. Take the time to educate the seller not only on all of the potential challenges along the way but also what your role will be in helping them navigate each one.
Don’t forget the details. Keep in mind that most people don’t sell a house every day, so they’ll need a refresher on the showing, offer, and negotiation process.
Lastly, talk about your pricing strategy. Outline how and why you will suggest pricing the home above, below, or at market value. Once you have talked about pricing strategies, it’s time to show them their competition in the market. Prepare your CMA to showcase all of the recently sold properties in the area. Then show them what is currently on the market, and how it is similar or different to theirs. Take a look at the prices. Here is where your neighborhood experience and expertise comes into play. Your goal is to show them when in the spectrum their home would fall, and why.
Once you have discussed price, the time has come to look at the listing agreement documents and get started on the signing process. This is also where you explain how you are paid for the work that you’ll do. It’s important that you explain this. Your seller may have some objections. The key with objection handling is to be prepared. Create a list of common objections you’ve encountered and be ready to validate and respond to them. Consider each question an opportunity to educate and set expectations. The more you educate them on the process and your role along the way, the fewer objections you will face.
Remember, the key to a great listing presentation is to look at it as an opportunity to educate your sellers. Do your homework and be prepared with your system ready to go. Demonstrate your value as a real estate agent, not by “selling yourself” but by explaining how you will contribute your experience in every step of the transaction. And lastly, go the extra mile by looking for ways to do what your competition isn’t. This is what truly sets you apart.