Every top-producing listing agent we know agrees that there are only three things agents need to do to win every listing appointment: 1. Be prepared, 2. Be prepared, and 3. BE PREPARED. Everything else is window dressing. A listing appointment checklist is one way to keep you on track.
Of course, for newer listing agents who can’t brag about their past success, preparing for a listing appointment can be very stressful. That’s why we asked some of the most successful listing agents we know to tell us what they do to prepare for listing appointments.
They provided a ton of hard-won knowledge, but if you’re short on time, you can simply download the listing appointment checklist (plus scripts) as a PDF here:
1. Write & Practice Delivering Empathy-driven Closing Lines (Scripts)
Pitching a homeowner is a bit like walking a tightrope over a canyon—it doesn’t matter how well you do in the middle if you lose your balance and fall a foot away from the other side. The closing line, when you ask for the listing, is where most new agents fall. If you want to get better at delivering closing lines, you need to focus on empathy: What are your homeowner’s goals and how can you help them realize those goals?
Nile Lundgren, licensed associate real estate broker at SERHANT and capstone consultant for the Sell It Like Serhant Pro Membership, tailors his closing lines to what is important for the homeowner:
“If you ask for the seller’s goals, you should already know what is important to them in the sale. Is it price? Time? Is it an agent who over communicates, or is it overall experience? Once you uncover what’s important to the seller, use that to close:
“What I hear you saying, Mrs. Seller, is that you want an agent to over-communicate due to past experiences with other realtors. As I mentioned, I have a weekly report that gives you a snapshot of the showings, feedback, listing analytics, and more. Why wait to sign with me, meet another agent, when my seller communications program is exactly what you’re looking for?”
Here are a few more closing lines you can use once you know the homeowner’s goals:
“After everything we’ve gone over today, are you confident that I am the best fit to sell your home quickly and for the best price?”
Honesty & Empathy:
“Thanks again for taking the time to allow me to talk to you tonight, _________. I am ready to go to work if you’ll have me.”
A Quick Sale:
“I think the best strategy would be to get the paperwork out of the way tonight so we can get your house up on the MLS by Friday. I would love to go over the listing agreement with you so we can make that happen.”
“Since you seemed to like the idea of virtual staging so much, I would love to have my photographer come by this weekend to take some pictures that we can virtually stage for you.”
“I am 100% sure that the marketing strategy I laid out for you tonight will sell your home quickly and for the most money. If you agree, can we take the next step and go over the listing agreement?”
“Have we gone over enough information today so that signing the listing agreement would be the next step?”
If you don’t already have a listing presentation ready to go, check out Chris’ step-by-step article: This Buyer Presentation Converts Leads to Clients in 15 Minutes.
2. Learn How to Anticipate & Overcome Emotional Seller Objections (Scripts)
Even if they’re a hundred percent sold on hiring you and ready to sign, most homeowners will throw up at least some objections. They’re not doing this to intimidate you or poke holes in your pitch, and chances are they are not all that concerned with saving a few thousand dollars in commissions. Like anyone making an important decision, they just want to make sure they are doing their due diligence.
This is why it’s crucial to anticipate and prepare your objection handlers before you even think about sitting in their living room and asking them for the listing. Here are a few objection handlers to address the most common objections you will get on a listing appointment.
“Can you lower your commission? Other agents we talked with said they would do it for less.”
“Look, I get it, nobody wants to spend more than they have to, but there is a reason these agents discount their commissions and it will almost always mean walking away from the closing table with less money, not more. Think about it. These agents are advertising to the world that they don’t think their services are worth very much. While you might think that lack of confidence means more money in your pocket, remember that this agent will end negotiating with a buyer’s agent to decide how much money your home actually sells for. Are they going to fight for every penny that your home is worth? Why would they? They don’t even fight for every penny that their own services are worth!”
“Your presentation was great, but we want to talk to some other agents before deciding.”
“Totally understandable. Frankly, I would be a little concerned if you didn’t talk to multiple agents! This is a big decision! Was there anything we went over today that you would like me to clarify right now while you have me here?”
“We think you’re great, but your price is way too low. We think we can get much more for our house.”
“I understand you want to get more money for your house, but keep in mind that many agents have no problem being dishonest just to get a listing. They think that telling you what you want to hear will get them the listing and they can fix the over-pricing problem later. I can tell you from experience that this is a huge mistake, even in a seller’s market like we’re in now.
“I’ve seen it happen over and over again. Look at 12345 Main Street. It was priced at $795,000 and it sat on the market for more than five months before the price was cut to $725,000. Three months later it sold for $675,000. The asking price I came up with is based on actual market data going back five years from multiple highly reputable sources, not just my research. I am happy to go over my CMA with you again to explain how I arrived at this price.
“At the end of the day, I have a fiduciary duty to you and can price your home as high as you want to. But that same fiduciary duty means that I have to give you my honest opinion as a professional before doing so.”
While memorizing a few common objection handlers is a great way to perform better on your listing appointment, learning how to anticipate emotional objections is a skill that takes time to learn. Top-producing agent, broker-owner, coach, and Close contributor Sean Moudry has an excellent guide to learning how to do just that: How to Anticipate & Overcome Emotional Seller Objections.
3. Make Sure Your Listing Presentation Looks Polished & Professional
No matter how you deliver your listing presentation at your listing appointment, it needs to look polished and professional. Even if your content is amazing, a poorly designed presentation will take the focus off what you’re saying, and put it on your lack of graphic design skills—a key component of digital marketing today.
Along with hundreds of social media templates, Lab Coat Agents Marketing Center has a very attractive and professional listing presentation template that’s super easy to customize. Check it out here:
4. Preview Every Nearby Listing You Can, Then Preview Some More
Luckily, the best way to prepare for your listing appointment is also the easiest: go out and preview every listing you can, then preview some more. This is one thing every top-producing listing agent we know works into their daily schedule. Previewing listings helps you get a sense of what’s really on the market competing with the listing you’re pitching, instead of what other listing agents show on your MLS. Let’s face it—many MLS listing pictures are about as accurate as a Tinder profile. Knowing what’s really out there will give you an edge.
If you make time to preview homes every day and take notes, in a few years you will even be able to comment on details of the comps you present in your CMA. So instead of saying, “Like your home, 1234 Main Street has three bedrooms and sold for $550,000,” you could say “1234 Main Street sold for $550,000, but when I toured it last year I noticed the bedrooms were very small. Your bedrooms are much larger, so this makes your home more attractive to buyers.” Which response do you think a homeowner is more likely to be impressed with?
[Related article: How to Do a Comparative Market Analysis: A Step-by-Step Guide]
5. Practice Gratitude to Build Genuine Confidence
While it might seem a little woo-woo, one of the best ways to get over the pre-listing appointment jitters is to practice gratitude. You worked hard to get to this point, and someone has recognized your hard work and is considering you to help them with the largest transaction of their lives.
So instead of panicking, be thankful! If you find yourself getting stressed when preparing for your appointment, remind yourself how lucky you were to be able to get where you are today. On the day of your listing appointment, make sure to express that gratitude by thanking the homeowner right away.
Many new listing agents get so caught up in pitching homeowners they forget they’re actually dealing with a human being who let a stranger into their home. In order to break the ice, the very first words out of your mouth on your listing appointment should be “thank you.” If you focused on gratitude while preparing for the appointment, that thank you will be genuine and they will feel it.
You don’t have to gush—just say something like:
6. Schedule Your Listing Appointment on a Busy Day
While this one might seem counterintuitive, scheduling your listing appointment on a day that you’re busy can actually help you perform better. Think about it. Which cold call do you perform better on? Your first cold call of the day or your last? If you’re like most agents, you’re going to do much better on that last call.
So instead of sitting around worrying and running over scripts the morning of your listing appointment, practice the night before, make sure your listing presentation is solid, and spend the day of your appointment doing what you do best—working with people who want to buy or sell real estate.
7. Create a Custom Listing Marketing Plan for the Home
Even though your listing marketing plan will probably not change much if you get the listing, you should still work to create a custom marketing plan for the homeowner. Every homeowner wants to believe that their home is unique enough to warrant customized marketing. Indulging that emotional need will help build rapport with the homeowner.
A great way to do this is to start with a multi-pronged listing marketing plan, then decide which marketing strategies you will use if you get the listing. Present this to the homeowner and explain why you are choosing some marketing strategies and not others.
[Related article: Sean’s 47-Point Ultimate Real Estate Listing Marketing Plan (PDF Checklist)]
Bonus Tip: Stick to Your Daily Wellness Routine on the Day of Your Appointment
One of the best ways to stay fresh and confident for your listing appointment is to stick to whatever wellness routine you normally do. If you normally work out in the morning and then meditate before breakfast, then this is exactly what you should do on the morning of your listing appointment.
The morning of your listing appointment is not the time to try a new meditation technique or do another mile on the treadmill. Instead, stick to whatever wellness routine is already working for you. This won’t eliminate the stress, but it will help trick your brain into thinking it’s just another day doing what you love.
Over to You
How do you prepare for listing appointments? Let us know in the comments.