We are beginning to see a shift in many real estate markets across North America. The importance of knowing how to counsel a seller through a changing market is something many Realtors© need to learn how to do properly. As the homes begin to take longer to sell, activity lowers and the competition increases the importance of a consistent process managing listings and sellers is key. Let’s look at this 10 step process and begin to manage our listings and sellers expectations before they consider firing us.
How to Counsel Home Sellers in Market Shift
#1 – HOT BUTTONS, You Must Know What Your Seller’s Hot Button Is. The only thing that moves their emotional meter is the avoidance of pain - What are they running from? Or the gain of pleasure - What are they running to? Take the time to question them 7 questions deep to identify their hot button. “Why do you want to sell?” “So why is that so important?”...... Identify the hot button and remind them of the outcome if they chose.
#2 – CREATE A PROCESS, "wing it" and get "wing it results". Implement a plan to manage the sellers expectations. The most powerful way to manage their expectations is with education and communication. It is now time to become their trusted advisor and not the time to hide and not be proactive. To them your silence is deafening and they blame us for the market.
#3 – ESTABLISH PREFERRED METHOD OF COMMUNICATION, we can’t assume the method we choose to communicate with our sellers is the method they would choose. Sit down and ask how they would like you to communicate with them? Phone? Text? Email? FB Messenger? Face to Face? Set the expectations for communicating and make note of the method in your process.
#4 – ESTABLISH FREQUENCY OF COMMUNICATION, we can’t assume the amount of communication we choose to connect with our seller is what they hoped and wanted. Sit down and ask how frequent they would like to hear from us. Remember to make note of it and then over deliver and not under promise that frequency. We are in the customer service business, right?!
#5 – CREATE THE SIMPLEST SHOWING PLAN, we need to take time and educate the seller on the importance of an easy showing plan for their property and the importance to them getting the physical activity they want and expect. Set the showing plan so it is easy and not an Indiana Jones adventure to try showing their home for the selling agents. Take the time to explain to them paradigm shift of virtual showing activity of their home and how it has taken over for physical showing activity of their home thanks to internet, drones, photos, video and interactive floor plans.
#6 – EDUCATE THEM ON QUALIFICATION, other than MLS, marketing and negotiating the most important skill they hire us for is our ability to qualify the perspective buyers considering their home and eliminating the time wasters. Share your list of qualifying questions with them that you use to question the public and the list of questions you use for qualifying the co-operating agent and their buyer to ensure the best of the best are physically viewing their property. This also helps us deflect the issue of no physical showings in a slower market because they think we are doing such an outstanding job at qualifying!
#7 – SHOWING FEEDBACK, is always something that can hurt any listing agent and their relationship with their sellers. Have a system to get showing feedback from selling agents. Have a system to give showing feedback to your sellers consistently and agree on that system together. Pick a set day? Time? Remember even just a call saying you tried multiple times to get feedback from the showing agent and have to assume no news is not great news, but we tried is better than not calling them at all.
#8 SELLER COUNSELLING REPORT, is a vital tool to managing the sellers and their listings. Pick a set day and time during the week to report to our sellers. Create and deliver a weekly or bi-weekly report by email, postal mail or better yet hand deliver it. Remember to kill them with communication ( sample seller report – Attwater report May 6th ) Items you should include with your reports:
a) Auto emails of new listings, sale and expired listing alerts to the sellers
b) List of your ongoing marketing activities you presented them at the listing presentation ( they forget )
c) Local Board Market Stats
d) Local real estate related media reports
e) Showings – Feedback comments
f) Sign calls, Ad calls, Email enquiries
f) Salability checklist ( one marketing idea a week ) something other than dropping their price to change up the marketing. (AgentsBoost - Saleability Checklist )
#9 – 21 DAY FACE TO FACE OFFICE MEETINGS, you schedule every 21 days a face to face meeting at the office to review the previous and upcoming weeks activities on their property. Remind them of their hot buttons. Ask them what they think we should do different? Next? What are they waiting for? Why are we not repositioning the property? It is good face to face time to lean into your sellers and act like a trusted real estate advisor, hence them coming into your office for the meeting.
#10 – THE PRICING PROCESS, we all know any price will cure any property or market problem. Consider at the initial listing getting a pre signed price reduction at time of taking the listing to allow you to reach out to the co-operating agents and their buyers to notify them of the change in price within the first 14 days of the listing to avoid losing those buyers to other properties. Consider ordering a third party bank appraisal to help with pricing. I always like to physically bring my office pricing team of 6 agents to view and write their estimated sale price on the back of their business card. One last tip is remember as a listing agent we can always prepare with our sellers a reverse offer (seller initiated) for that agent and buyer just lurking for days in the bushes!
So there you have it! A simple and powerful 10 step process to excel as a listing real estate agent and deliver excellence to your clients in the midst of a changing market. I hope you can implement and execute this system and take your business to another level.
Strength and courage,