Are You Presenting When You Should be Having a Consultation?

Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CalBRE License #01490977

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.


CRS logoI 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!


moneyWhile 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.


automatonBe 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!


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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD  - that is such a wonderful example of how we should consult with potential sellers, keeping in mind what is in THEIR best interest. Selling may not be!! Thank you for that tale. I bet your would-be clients were ever so pleased to have your excellent advice and a solution to their problem!


Feb 14, 2018 08:21 AM #41
Kathryn Acciari
Cameron Real Estate Group - Shrewsbury, MA
RSPS, SRS, REALTOR(R) Sturbridge-Shrewsbury MA

This should be taught in Listings 101! Very nicely state, Jeff. We are dealing with people, after all.

Feb 14, 2018 09:10 AM #42
Harrison K. Long
HomeSmart, Evergreen Realty - Irvine, CA
REALTOR , GRI, Broker associate, Attorney

Thanks, Jeff, for this valuable post with encouragement for Realtor agent "consultations" with home sellers and not so much one-way "presentations".

Feb 14, 2018 09:16 AM #43
Marvel "Kay" Peterson
HomeSmart Professionals - Palm Desert, CA
Marvelous Desert Homes

Great article Jeff,,,question? When consulting on a first appointment how do you handle the timing of the literature you have brought?

Feb 14, 2018 09:24 AM #44
Corinne Guest, Managing Broker
Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
Barrington, a Luxury, Country Suburban Lifestyle.

I presented once, lost the listing, never again. Since then I have always discussed, found the pain, offered a solution and while I don't get them all, some I turn down, but I am happy with what I do get.

Feb 14, 2018 10:26 AM #45
Mike Bjork
American Pacific Mortgage - Redondo Beach, CA

Great reminder, Jeff!  Very important to be a Professional (vs. a Commodity)!

Feb 14, 2018 10:34 AM #46
Coach KC™ The Prosperitor™
Prosperitor LLC dba Secured Futures - Phoenix, AZ
Marketing • Productivity • Business Development

Great post, Jeff. When I was in Automobile sale, I would always ask salesmen, are you talking when you should be listening..?

Feb 14, 2018 10:56 AM #47
Carol Williams
U.S.: I specialize in helping agents who have been in the business 2 years or less create a thriving business. - Wenatchee, WA
"Customized Mentoring & Marketing Services"

Excellent post, Jeff.  A well deserved Feature.  As you point out so eloquently, there's a big difference in presenting and consulting.  

Feb 14, 2018 11:01 AM #48
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Jeff - you reminded me of the agents who came to look at my son's duplex. I finally cut their presentation short by saying I had somewhere I had to be - Couldn't wait to escape from them!

Feb 14, 2018 11:46 AM #49
Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line

What an excellent post. This is something that should be taught to every real estate agent, well maybe only those on AR. Thank you. Again, it is all about them and their needs!

Feb 14, 2018 12:32 PM #50
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Connecting you to the L.A. real estate market

It totally makes sense. How can we present what we can do for a client if we don't know what they want. 

Feb 14, 2018 12:48 PM #51
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad


Margaret Goss - I suspect we tend to get comfortable doing things a certain way. I haven't done a "canned" presentation in years. And I think we have to be careful to not overwhelm with too much detail, especially for those who are big picture people!


Feb 14, 2018 02:15 PM #52
Paula McDonald
Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury - Granbury, TX
Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

You were here in Dallas close to me! This is great advice for us all. Another excellent post.

Feb 14, 2018 02:17 PM #53
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Kimo Jarrett  - You have made excellent points!!

M.C. Dwyer  I have had the same experience with sellers. I try to focus on what their issues and concerns are.


Feb 14, 2018 05:35 PM #54
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089  - I think that's pften true. most of my listings are referrals and people who know me so there is no need for a presentation at all!

Hi Carolyn Roland-Historic Homes For Sale In Delaware and S. Chester County PA  - yep that's a turnoff for me. I have sat through too many presentations and you know what's coming.


Feb 14, 2018 05:37 PM #55
Marti Steele Kilby, CRS
Steele Group Realty - La Mesa, CA
Broker/Owner, San Diego, CA

"Ninja Selling" by Larry Kendall.  Life and business  changing read.

Feb 14, 2018 05:44 PM #56
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
PK Real Estate Utah South - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Sellers are not one-size-fits-all clients and deserve to be treated as individuals who have different needs. Taking it all down to the human level is the right thing to do everytime, this is a people industry! Congrats on the feature, great points Jeff.

Feb 14, 2018 06:04 PM #57
Carla Freund
Keller Williams Preferred Realty - Apex, NC
Raleigh - Cary Triangle Real Estate 919-602-8489

Great blog Jeff Dowler ! I agree that it is important to ask a lot of questions and understand what is important to the seller. 

Feb 14, 2018 06:25 PM #58
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Excellent points, Jeff! And, I love Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD comment. You know, it's never about US or the money - they proved it and the 'consultation' approach is one that should always be used - both in name and theory.

Congrats on the feature! 

Feb 14, 2018 07:55 PM #59
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Specializing in Brookside, Waldo, Prairie Village

Agreed!  So often sellers don't want to look at all the material you brought--they want to talk and hear the agent's thoughts. After walking through the house and collecting that data...finding out improvements, things that need to be done, it's better to have a conversation than a lecture.

Feb 15, 2018 09:46 AM #60
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Jeff Dowler, CRS

The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad
What's my Carlsbad CA Area Home Worth??
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