Over the years, I have gone on hundreds of listing appointments. These days, it seems as though I am competing less and less often, since they probably found me through a friend of mine or a past client. When I do compete, I haven't really kept track of the percentage of times that I win the listing, but I would estimate that about 9 out of every 10 choose me. No, I am not exaggerating.
Why have I had such a strong track record with listing appointments? Hey, I'm glad you asked. You did ask, right? Well, either way, you may find this post useful.
I have a few tips that I have developed which may help you during your own appointments. Feel free to use or discard whatever you like from my list.
BE HONEST. This is probably the primary key to success in the listing arena. Sometimes that includes painful truths, such as changing décor choices or making necessary repairs. You can also enlist the help of a professional stager on some of these items. The hardest part is being direct and upfront about pricing, especially when it might mean that they will clearly lose money on their home.
DON'T USE A CANNED SPEECH. I have never been one to use PowerPoint or to force a potential client to endure a spiel of mine as we flip slowly through a listing book. I do have a listing book that I take with me, primarily to illustrate previous homes that I have sold and advertising that I use. It has been my experience that we may or may not even touch the book until the end of our talk. Do you enjoy hearing a pre-prepared sales speech when you are buying something? Neither will your clients.
SET THE TONE YOURSELF. Upon arriving at the home, I usually ask them if I can put my book and folder somewhere while we look around the house. When we sit back down, I tell them that I have brought some information that I plan to leave with them, and some info about recent comparable sales. I also go out of my way to tell them that I don't have a planned presentation (see above), which tends to make them more relaxed. I have a conversational style and I may spend more time just listening and "interviewing" them in order to understand their goals.
BE CONFIDENT. If you are confident (or if you lack confidence), it shows. When I started in real estate, I had no problem listing luxury homes even though I was in my mid-20's. Why? Confidence (and a dose of hunger, too). Often times back then, I was really just winging it, and they probably realized that, but my willingness to look them in the eye and be direct and forthright worked wonders in my early career.
GO THE EXTRA MILE. I can promise you that most other agents will not offer to do this, but I have found that clients respond well when you offer to show them their current competition. Put them in your car and show them the homes that are the closest competitors. Sometimes, that is all it takes to get them to a more realistic place when it comes to pricing and condition. I have often said something like, "We can certainly try your price, but we will probably have to wait until ____home sells before yours will." No one wants to think that they will have to wait.
TELL THEM HOW IT IS. This may sound like just being honest, and it is, but in a more detailed way. If I know that there are three other agents competing for their business, many times I will leave a parting comment such as, "Whatever you do, don't choose an agent based on the listing price that they give you. Just because someone says that your home is worth more, that doesn't make it correct. The market can only bear a certain price." Even though they may do it anyway, at least you have given them food for thought.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO TURN ONE DOWN. Sometimes, it simply doesn't make sense, either because of the pricing or because you get a bad feeling for some other reason. If this is the case, you don't have to be abrupt. I usually say something like, "Because of _______, I don't feel like I would be the best choice to market your home." Typically, this is because of the price.
IF YOU DON'T WIN, BE A CLASS ACT. This one is probably not necessary to mention, since I'm sure you are a true pro, but I might as well throw it in as a bonus tip. On the rare occasion when I have lost a listing to someone else, I always react in roughly the same way. I simply say, "I'm sorry to hear that. I hope things work out well with your agent. If not, please keep me in mind." Sometimes, I am the second agent for them, when they have been through the wringer and they are more anxious to sell.
I hope you found this list of tips helpful. Clearly, this is not an exhaustive list, but it should provide a good start.
Please feel free to ask any questions, either here in the comments or via email or phone. I would love to be of assistance.
Thanks for taking a few minutes to read this post!