The Confident Rookie Series - SECRET SEVEN - Let Your Seller Prospect Talk!

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

New agents are always nervous before their first listing appointment. Probably before their second, third, tenth & twelve, too. It does get easier, I promise, but here are some tips for getting through those nerve-wracking firsts...

My absolute best advice to first-time listing appointment-ers is to LET THE SELLER DO MOST OF THE TALKING! Two reasons for this.

First, this seller has probably already endured two or three sales-pitches from other real estate agents who barely took a breath to let him talk. They very likely didn't express much of an interest in him and his situation - they just directed his focus to their fancy-schmantzy listing presentation. Have you ever sat through one of those? BORING. I'd tune it out in about five minutes if I were a seller.

Second, you need to know as much as you can about the seller's situation and motivation before you can properly advise him. Heck, you need to know this stuff before you can decide if you even want the listing! So, besides the fact that the seller will love you if you let him talk more than you do, it also gives you the opportunity to better understand if, and how you can best help.

So, here's what to do when you get to the house. Have the seller show you around, ask questions, take notes, and really listen to the seller's answers. If this is the first time you've seen the inside of the seller's house, you can't really be expected to tell him what it's worth - you have to go home and do your homework. Nothing wrong with that. But the more you listen and show interest, the more that seller will be impressed with you - seriously! LISTEN, and the seller will trust you. Leave your sales pitch in the car.

That said, you do need to be prepared with a marketing plan in case the seller asks for one. You might be surprised how often they won't, but if they do, it's probably a good idea to have an answer. This is where the process of putting together a formal listing presentation is helpful. It forces you to figure out what the heck you ARE going to do to get that house sold and what services you'll offer. There's a sample listing presentation at my website - just go here.

To Present or Not to Present?
Houses Aren't Pet Rocks!

The Confident Rookie Series:

  1. Know Your Systems
  2. Practice with Your Printer (sounds silly, I know)
  3. Preview, Preview, Preview
  4. Drive Your Route Ahead of Time
  5. Cheerfully Waste Your Time
  6. Find a Handyman
  7. Let Your Seller Prospect Do Most of the Talking
  8. Get Comfy with Your Commission
  9. Admit that You're New
  10. What to say when you don't know the answer

 Stay tuned...

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Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495


I can relate to the poor seller who can't get a word in edgewise!  Listening is an art, and artists don't arrive in the world "full-blown."  Like every art, listening takes lots of practice.  Great series!

Mike in Tucson

Apr 13, 2009 11:51 PM #1
Charlie Ragonesi - Big Canoe, GA
Homes - Big Canoe, Jasper, North Georgia Pros

I love this post. I went on a listing presentation yesterday and it went just like in your blog. The seller showed us around and eventually said those 3 magic words. "I am sold."

Apr 13, 2009 11:53 PM #2
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Jennifer, great post and so true.  Some of us just love to hear ourselves talk, we know so much about the market, pricing, etc.  But the client needs to feel we are listening to them not dictating terms.

Apr 14, 2009 12:00 AM #3
Bob Gentile
GO Solar in Palm Beach County, Florida - Abundant Energy Inc - Boynton Beach, FL

Jennifer great post and something that we ALL have to get better at, especially if your a rookie...

Apr 14, 2009 12:33 AM #4
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

Good tips. . my most memorable listing presentations was when I hardly say anything and my clients did all the talking for me. 

Apr 14, 2009 12:45 AM #5
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Fernando - It took my being on the other side to realize how important it was to me that my listing agent listen to me!

Bob - I hear ya! I still probably talk too much...

Gabe - The more respect you show your sellers, the more they'll show you...

Charlie - Congratulations!!!!! Now go sell IT!

Mike - It's brutal to be on the receiving end of a well-rehearsed sales pitch. YAWN!

Apr 14, 2009 01:17 AM #6
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

Listening is SOOOO important.... and taking notes shows that you are interested and attentive, and may even force you to be attentive, considering the average sales person is ADD by nature, taking notes is a must!

Apr 14, 2009 04:13 AM #7
Ken Tracy
Keller Williams Realty Infinity - Naperville, IL
Helping clients buy and sell since 2005

Hi Jennifer.  Great advice. 

Thanks for writing,


Apr 14, 2009 06:58 AM #9
Ellie McIntire
Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate - Ellicott City, MD
Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville

Jennifer- There are so many agents who have a "canned" listing presentation. I always try to "go with the flow". I always ask the seller to tell me why they chose this house in the first place.

Apr 14, 2009 02:25 PM #10
Sabrina Kelley
ERA Herman Group Real Estate - Woodland Park, CO
Woodland Park Colorado Mountain Homes and Land

I actually used this technique on my last listing presentation and it went well.

I think that upfront and in this age of tech. sellers need to be assured that you are going to be able to market their home on the best and most pop. Internet platforms.

Apr 14, 2009 05:05 PM #11
Sheila H. Bragg, ABR
ERA Southeast Coastal Real Estate - Guyton, GA

Jennifer, thank you.  I don't have a super-wow presentation (I have one that I can go through but I try to hit on the highlights of "why list with us" kinda thing) and I go in there to find out what the sellers need and wondered if I was doing the right thing.  You answered that question for me.

Apr 15, 2009 07:51 AM #12
Steve Blaisdell

I never even meet some of my sellers in person!!! They live in somehwere like Jersey and I am here on the Beach in Kitty Hawk.

If you prequalify (ask the right questions!) and send out a pre listing package then your formal  presentation should be no more than three questions.   I send out a CMA with two or three prices accroding to motivaton. Like this - price number one $$249,000 means you are ready to sell , $259,000 makes you a 5 on a 10 point motivation scale and $269,000 helps sell the other listings making you-' Mr Seller"a 9 at least on the motivation scale. I can usually expect the agreement to be e-mailed or faxed back quickly with the right price inserted.  Relax- keep it real - no need for a wide screen power point .

Apr 17, 2009 07:57 AM #13
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