Are You Presenting When You Should be
Having a Consultation?
While the difference may seem subtle, the value and impact of having a consultation is far more significant from a seller's perspective.
And it’s a mindset shift for many listing agents.
I recently attended the CRS Sellabration in Dallas last week for 2 days of intense education, great networking, meeting new people, and a wonderful ActiveRain meet-up.
There were several discussions on listings, and a clear message the focus should be on having a consultation with those who are considering selling a home, and not a presentation.
The word “presentation” implies a one-sided event, with the presenter (the listing agent) providing something to the audience.
Armed with visuals, a market analysis, collateral materials, and personal and company information, the intent of the presentation is to convince the audience to buy, in this case to hire the listing agent.
Depending on the person and the format of the presentation, or with inquisitive sellers, it may not be all one-sided. But the impression a seller might have when setting the appointment to listen to a listing presentation is they will be “presented to” rather than have a discussion about their situation and their needs.
And a listing agent, wanting to share their wonderful and informative presentation, may be more focused on what has to be conveyed convincingly rather than emphasizing the homeowner’s specific wants and needs and addressing them. There is no “one size fits all” presentation, is there?
I worked for an IT consulting company back in Boston years ago while in Corporate HR. The focus of the consulting practice, in general, was on helping corporate clients (1) identify the problem(s) they needed to solve, (2) arriving at viable solutions to those problems, (3) creating a strategy for implementing those solutions, and then, based on an agreed-on budget and a contract, (4) helping them put the strategy in place to meet the goals.
Sounds a bit like what we should do, if we have a true consultation with a homeowner who wants to sell a home, doesn’t it?
And of course asking for the order as part of the consultation is a key component!
While the primary goal is to sell, the seller may have other goals in mind – a certain price, timing (when to go on the market, selling by a certain date), and terms and conditions that are important.
And what about the goals of having someone help remove all the hassles, educate them about the process and what to expect, and to provide needed guidance on how to best prepare the home for the market.
Understanding the seller’s motivations and goals is essential, and having a discussion about these should be a critical, and early, part of the consultation, beginning with the initial contact. It’s critical to ask plenty of specific questions, and listen carefully, to fully understand the seller’s particular situation and needs.
Be sure to probe the answers you are given, such as “why?” and “tell me more about that!” Asking pointed questions is far better than making assumptions about what you need to do for them and why.
That way in your consulting role you can explain what you are going to do for them that specifically addresses their needs and concerns, rather than sharing a generic presentation that applies to any seller.
Who wants an automaton as a listing agent?!
Remember – each seller is unique and it’s all about them. At least they think so and want to, and should, be treated that way.
Part of successful consulting is earning the trust of the client, and showing them that you are listening to them, and understand and care about their needs. If the focus in on presenting TO them, this could all roll right on by you!
The other risk is you will miss the seller’s non-verbal cues – the body language – that will provide valuable information to you.
While you may already focus more on having a discussion with the seller as opposed to a canned presentation, the use of “consultation” creates different and more positive expectations for the seller, and is a more effective mindset for you, the listing agent.
And one could argue the same general principles apply with home buyers!