If you’re reading this, chances are high that you could use some help perfecting your listing presentation. After all, even the most experienced real estate agents make mistakes that can leave them walking away without a listing. We’ve put together the 15 deadliest listing presentation mistakes—and how you can avoid them. Review our tips and then tweak, hone, and practice yours to deliver the pitch that no homeowner can resist! 

1. Being Unsure Who Owns the House

You walk in, offer a smile, a handshake, and give the best listing presentation your market has ever seen. The person you’re talking to smiles back, nods, and loves everything you’re saying. You’ve nailed it.

The problem is you were actually talking to the homeowner’s cousin’s aunt’s brother’s uncle, not the decision-maker: the homeowner. It happens more often than you might think.

For example, think of adult children who want their parents to sell. You give the listing presentation of your life, but they’re still not the decision-makers—their parents, the homeowners are.

How to Avoid This Mistake & Land the Listing

Before you even start a listing presentation, make sure the person you’re talking to is one of the prime decision-makers. Many agents ask directly, but sometimes you might need to use some detective work and ask leading questions such as: When did you first purchase your home?

2. Relying Solely on the MLS for Comps Research

MLS for Researching Comps

Your MLS probably has the most in-depth historical property information in your farm area, but the problem is, you’re the only one who has access to it.

Many homeowners are relying on Zillow and other sites that use (often error-prone) algorithms to come up with an estimate of a home’s worth. The homeowners feel like they have all of the information since the Zestimate they see is a data-based opinion from a trusted brand. 

If your target valuation differs significantly from the estimates on these sites, it could cause your prospective seller to question the number and maybe even your abilities. 

How to Avoid This Mistake & Land the Listing

Like so much in real estate, this problem can be easily fixed by predicting what your homeowner will say and being prepared to address it.

Instead of just running comps on your MLS, check the Zestimate, the HouseCanary valuation, and every other valuation you think they might access. Figure out what all of the valuations have in common and how they relate to the professional comparative market analysis (CMA) you prepared.

Be ready to answer their tough questions and explain how your CMA is superior to whatever they might find online.

Related Article
How to Do a Comparative Market Analysis: A Step-by-Step Guide

3. Not Restaging the Home or Retouching Old Listing Photos

Staging Listing Photos

If you’ve ever done any hiring, you’ll know that the most prepared person for the interview is usually the best fit for the job. After all, you want the person you hire to go above and beyond the call of duty.

A standout way to go above and beyond in your listing presentation (which is basically an interview) is to take old listing photos of the home and have them professionally retouched and staged.

How to Avoid This Mistake & Land the Listing

With a service like Fiverr, you can have photos retouched for as little as $5. There are even freelancers who specialize in virtual staging who can add furniture, alter lighting, and make the listing shine. Money well spent!

Visit Fiverr

4. Not Bringing All Your Paperwork With You

This one’s a no-brainer. Let’s say your pitch goes amazingly well, and the homeowners are ready to sign. Oh wait, you left your listing contract in the office. What do you think could happen between now and when you reschedule that signing?

How to Avoid This Mistake & Land the Listing

Bring every possible agreement with you, not just the exclusive sales contract. Grab all of it: exclusive right to rent, state disclosure forms, co-broker agreements—everything you have. Worst case scenario, you have to carry a half-inch stack of paper from your car to the front door and back again. And be ready to explain what all of these documents are. You’re the professional here, and they’re looking to you for your expertise.

If you use e-sign software, you’re one step ahead of the game! If you’re not and want to, consider DocuSign. DocuSign has an easy-to-use interface making signing complicated documents simple and straightforward.

Visit DocuSign

5. Talking About Yourself Too Much

Many agents think it’s necessary to talk about themselves ad ​​nauseam at a listing appointment. But the truth is, listening well and asking questions is what will really set you apart. 

Think about it. All of the other agents are going to talk about how awesome they are, how superior their marketing is, and how much more money they can get for the house. But no one wants to listen to agents drone on and on about how great they are.

How to Avoid This Mistake & Land the Listing

We’re not saying you should sell yourself short. Talk about your experience and achievements, but also try to engage with the homeowners during the listing presentation.

Ask plenty of questions and listen to the answers. Not only will your prospective seller feel heard and valued, but you’ll also probably learn something that could help you in your pitch.

Related Article
5 Easy Steps to Master Your Real Estate Listing Presentation

6. Talking About Your Brokerage Too Much

listing presentation mistakes

This dangerous mistake is common with new agents, whose experience is better measured in days and minutes than in years. You should definitely talk up your brokerage (assuming you belong to a good one), but if you overdo it, they’re going to thank you for your time, call reception, and ask for someone at your incredible firm who actually knows what they’re doing.

How to Avoid This Mistake & Land the Listing

Write one solid paragraph for your leave-behind that talks up your brokerage. Also, make sure to highlight your brokerage’s biggest strength—having the right tools to sell homes. If you focus on the wrong strengths, say, their number of exclusive rental buildings, homeowners won’t be impressed. After all, why should they be? How will that help them sell their home faster and for more money?

Related Article
What’s the Best Real Estate Company to Work for in 2022?

7. Not Adapting to the Homeowner’s Communication Style

The thing that sets top producers apart from everyone else is that they are highly adaptable. These chameleons can “read” people and instantly react or change course based on what they’re seeing. 

You too can learn how to be adaptable and “read” people’s communication styles, the way a good comedian or DJ “reads” a room.

You’ll find that some prospective sellers want all the juicy data and will go over it with a fine-toothed comb. Others want to be swayed emotionally or be told a story. You have to tailor your listing presentation to suit your audience.

How to Avoid This Mistake & Land the Listing

Learning to “read” someone’s communication style can take years, but if you focus on how your audience is responding to what you’re saying, you’re halfway there.

For example, let’s say you’re trying to run through all of the comps you’ve pulled, but you notice your homeowner’s eyes glaze over. That probably means you should try another technique. Maybe build a story around trends you’re seeing in the neighborhood and explain how they can affect your seller and the home’s price.

If you want to learn more on the subject, check out Straight Talk’s guide to understanding someone’s communications style.

8. Relying Too Heavily on Visuals

Like brand-new graphic designers, new agents can get caught up in the “more is more” aesthetic and load their listing presentation up with tons of pictures, graphs, charts, and even YouTube videos!

All you’re going to do is confuse (and probably annoy) your homeowner. After all, who can concentrate with 100 images flying by every second?

How to Avoid This Mistake & Land the Listing

Stick to the basics. You might include your CMA data, a few charts on pricing, a chart or two on absorption rate, and a seller’s net sheet you can edit on the fly. You can make it look visually sleek and appealing without being excessive.

9. Not Using Enough Visuals

On the other hand, not using enough visuals can also hurt your listing presentation, although not as badly as using too many! Most people expect charts and graphs when they’re being pitched, so don’t let them down.

How to Avoid This Mistake & Land the Listing

Our advice here is the same as it was above: stick to the basics. Make your presentation visually appealing and find that sweet spot between too many or too few. You want your message to be clear, clean, and professional. But not boring. Never boring.

10. Getting Too Creative With Visuals

After using too many or too few visuals, the other deadly design sin many agents make is using “creative” visuals. Think charts with a million colors, dozens of graphs on one page—a cluttered, colorful mess.

How to Avoid This Mistake & Land the Listing

Remember, you’ll probably be presenting your pitch on an iPad, and your prospective sellers will probably be on the other side of the table. While your deck might look pretty stunning on your massive computer monitor, you have to think about how it’ll look to your prospective sellers across the room.

If you’re short on time and want some expert help with your visuals, take a look at LCA Marketing Center. Everything is customizable, brandable, and, perhaps most importantly, they’ll help you avoid these deadly design pitfalls.

Visit LCA Marketing Center

11. Not Adequately Practicing Your Pitch

practice listing presentation

We get it. You don’t want to sound “salesy.” But does Robert De Niro sound “salesy?” How about Sir Anthony Hopkins? Meryl Streep?

Just like any of the greats, to get ahead, you need some talent and a LOT of practice.

How to Avoid This Mistake & Land the Listing

Take a cue from Malcolm Gladwell’s famous axiom: Masters of their crafts practice an average of 10,000 hours before they become famous. The Beatles, Gene Krupa, Meryl Streep, and many, many others have risen to stardom from the discipline of practice.

While we’re not suggesting you rehearse 10,000 hours (though that would be great!), we are saying that you should practice seriously, often, and with people who will help you get better.

12. Not Practicing Your Objection Handlers

There’s a quote that I had taped on my computer monitor back when I was an agent in Manhattan. Instead of inspiring words from Tony Robbins or Greg Young (one of the best ever real estate coaches in Manhattan), mine was from Mike Tyson:

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

So what’s your plan when the homeowner inevitably asks you why they should hire you instead of that other agent with 10 years more experience? What’s your plan for when the homeowners tell you they’re probably going to hire a family friend or cousin?

How to Avoid This Mistake & Land the Listing

Study your objection handlers as much, if not more than your pitch. After all, if you stumble a little during a long pitch, it’s not the end of the world. But if you stumble or even hesitate when they’re the ones asking the tough questions? Bye, bye listing.

Related Article
How to Anticipate & Overcome Emotional Seller Objections

13. Trash Talking Your Competition

Trash talking might sound cool coming from LeBron James, but in a professional setting, it’s the one thing that everyone agrees you should avoid. After all, if you’re willing to talk behind your colleagues’ back, what else are you willing to do…?

How to Avoid This Mistake & Land the Listing

You can (and should) point out the mistakes a former agent has made. If that agent’s marketing or pricing fell short, you can mention it with a tone of pity or concern rather than anger or pride. 

For example, “Well, I love Agent XXXX. He did a lot of great work in his day, but unfortunately, he hasn’t quite kept up with the times.”

14. Not Preparing Your Clients Who You’ve Used As References

give your reference a heads up

Having former clients willing to act as references is one of the most powerful arrows in your sales quiver. That’s why you need to treat it like the rare and precious thing it is. It’s easy for references to feel taken advantage of if they get calls out of the blue or if they hear more from your prospective sellers than from you!

How to Avoid This Mistake & Land the Listing

Schedule a drink or coffee with your reference a few days before your listing appointment to give them a heads up and say thank you at the same time.

15. Failing to Ask for the Listing

You would be surprised to learn that agents will often craft beautiful listing presentations and practice them until they are blue in the face—but they never work in the most crucial part of the pitch. The Ask. It sums up the whole reason you’re there—you want their listing!

Many agents we’ve talked to said they feel awkward asking. They feel it was somehow too forward or too “salesy.” Well, guess what? You’re a licensed professional salesperson, and “salesy” people build empires.

How to Avoid This Mistake & Land the Listing

This one’s simple. Just ask them for the damn listing! Look that homeowner in the eye, feel confident in the hard work you’ve done, and make the ask. 

You can be cheesy (“cheesy” people also build empires) and say something like, “I don’t list houses, I sell houses—and I would love to sell yours.” Cheesy, yes, cliche, yes, but effective.

Over to You

Have you or your fellow agents made listing presentation mistakes that cost you some business? Let us know in the comments. After all, we can’t solve a problem unless we first identify it!

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