Getting all the way to the listing appointment and not signing a new client is like dropping a birthday cake after the candles have been lit. You’ve put in all the hours to find your prospective client and prepare a real estate listing presentation. Now, you’re ready to celebrate … if you can make it to the table.
If you’re not walking out of a listing presentation with a new client, chances are your listing presentation needs some work. Read on to learn how to prep for your presentation, what your presentation must include, and how to send effective follow-ups.
What To Know Before You Go: Preparing Yourself for a Real Estate Listing Appointment
In this guide, we’re going to outline the five most important elements of your listing presentation, but before we get there, you have to show up to your listing appointment prepared.
Here are the three most important things you’ve got to do before you arrive at your prospect’s front door.
Learn About The Property
Ask the best salesmen for any product and they will all tell you the only way to successfully sell something is to first learn everything there is to know about the product. In order to demonstrate to the owners of a property that you’re the most qualified person to help sell their home, you have to show them that you know enough about their home to price it well, market it effectively, and ultimately negotiate on their behalf to get a price and terms that are fair.
This process starts and ends with a comparative market analysis of the subject property. If you’ve never done a comparative market analysis (CMA) don’t sweat it. All you really need to do is go into your MLS and compare the home to similar sold listings in order to estimate its current market value as accurately as possible. If you’re a little shaky with your comparative marketing analysis process or would like some best practices on how to tighten your predictions, check out our comprehensive CMA guide here.
Learn About The Seller
After you’ve learned everything you can about the property you’re going to sell, it’s time to learn everything you can about the sellers. In the same way that knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the home you’re selling is important so you can get an accurate estimate of market value, knowing as much as possible about how your sellers tick is important too.
Start by checking out their social media activity. If you discover that your sellers are very active on social media, it’s reasonable to assume that having a social media component to your marketing strategy is going to make them more likely to be on board with your plan of attack.
Next, make sure you verify their familial status. If you discover that your sellers have very young children, you can also probably assume that early morning or evening showings are probably not something that would work, and being sensitive to this when building your vision for how the property is represented to the buying community is going to score you big points.
Learn what’s important to your sellers; what makes them tick. The more information you can get about them ahead of time, the greater your advantage when it comes time to sit down together and convince them you’re the perfect person to help sell their house.
Of course, there’s no substitute for the honest conversations you’ll have with your sellers during your listing appointment, so don’t go into that meeting with your mind made up about your soon-to-be clients until you’ve actually spoken to them. But, knowing more about them than the next person who’s interviewing for the opportunity to list the home for sale will put you in the best light possible.
Learn About The Community
Once you’ve learned all you can about your subject property and about your potential sellers, it’s time to complete your research triangle by learning everything you can about the community the home is located in. Depending on your market, this can mean the entire city or town, the neighborhood, or even just the street the property is located on.
I’ve heard it said that a local city’s board of tourism should be made up of real estate agents since we know the best elements of every block in town. As a listing agent, it’s your job to sell buyers on not just the amenities in the home itself, but also the amenities offered by the community.
Here’s a list of the community features every agent doing a real estate listing presentation should know about:
- Top five restaurants in the home’s immediate surrounding area
- The best coffee shops, corner markets, and convenience stores within walking distance
- The best parks and green spaces nearby
- Unique community amenities like museums, colleges and universities, or recreation facilities like community pools or YMCAs
- Anything else that makes that community different from the surrounding communities
Think of this research as doing two things: The first is preparing you to list the home by preparing your ad copy and strategy in advance. The second is demonstrating to your potential sellers that you know everything there is to know about the community they’ve called home for the last few years and that there’s nobody better equipped to sell this neighborhood than you.
The 5 Critical Elements to Real Estate Listing Presentation Success
OK, now that we’re properly prepared, it’s time to talk about how to crush the appointment itself. Over the course of my career, I delivered literally hundreds of listing presentations, and combining that experience with our interviews of top producers from around the country, we’ve identified the five critical elements every listing presentation needs to be successful.
Pro Tip: Looking for a real estate listing presentation template? We’ve got a fantastic one available in our online course, “6 Simple Systems To Transform Your Real Estate Business.”
In it you’ll find 200 pages of step-by-step guides, actionable checklists and templates, including an expertly designed listing presentation in module two, “Creating and Delivering Foolproof Listing Presentations.”
OK, let’s take a look at the five steps smart agents use to create a killer listing presentation: The Lead, The Setup, The Delivery, Q&A, and our favorite for obvious reasons, The Close.
1. The Lead (60 seconds or less)
The first critical component of your listing presentation is called The Lead. In this opening section of your presentation, you formally introduce yourself to your prospect, sharing a little about your background and your basic qualifications. This section can feel a little awkward, especially if you feel like maybe your prospect already knows some of these things about you.
Remember: up until this point, your seller prospect’s knowledge of you has depended largely on what they’ve been told by other people and what they’ve read online and what you’ve told them over the phone. Don’t miss a chance to share your qualifications again, that supplemental knowledge could fill in a gap that ultimately wins you the listing.
Here’s an example of some of the language I like to use in my Lead:
“I’m excited that you’ve got some plans for the next chapter in your homeownership journey, and even more excited that you’re considering letting me help you make those plans a reality. Let’s take the next 10 minutes and talk about why right now is a great time to sell your home, why I’d be the perfect person to help you sell it, and of course, answer any questions you have. Does that sound all right? Great.”
You should wrap up The Lead by setting expectations about the remainder of your listing appointment. Let your prospect know what you’re going to talk about, how long you’ll be talking, and reassure them that they’ll have a chance to ask questions along the way.
Giving your sellers this information upfront will help them focus on exactly what you have to say, anticipate what’s coming next, and make them more attentive and participatory throughout the process.
2. The Setup (2 – 3 Minutes)
Now that you’ve made your intentions clear and set your appropriate expectations for your seller, it’s time for the next element of the listing presentation: The Setup. Here you’ll capitalize on all that research that you’ve done to show that you know the property, you know the community, and ultimately, you know what the market will bear for this particular home.
The Setup paints a picture of the current market conditions and helps to show the seller that not only is this a good time to sell their home, but that you know everything there is to know about the market and factors that would affect that sale.
Here’s an example of some language I’ve used in my Setup:
“Compared to last year’s averages, home prices in our city have risen by almost 6%, and there’s no sign that the last part of this year is going to slow down. That is definitely some aggressive growth, something that’s tough to maintain, which means this year is an opportunity for sellers.”
By the time you’re done with The Setup, your clients should know the results of your comparative market analysis and your expectations for how the property should perform, assuming it is listed and priced appropriately.
Since this section is where it’s easy to start to lose your seller’s attention, make sure you’re hitting the high points and not getting lost in the details. If your prospects have questions about individual points, they will ask. Remember, you’re telling a persuasive story about why these homeowners should list with you, not delivering a book report, so keep the narrative moving.
3. The Delivery (2 – 3 Minutes)
If The Setup answers the question, “Should I sell my home?” The Delivery answers the question, “How would we do it?”
Properly presented, The Setup portion of the listing presentation should excite homeowners about selling their home, but leave them asking, “OK, what’s the plan?” The Delivery lays out exactly what you as a listing agent will do to get the home to market, to position it in front of the right buyers at the right time, to keep it relevant as new properties (competitors) become available, as well as get it sold for the best price possible in the current market.
Here’s some language from The Delivery of the listing presentation we created in our course 6 Simple Systems to Transform Your Real Estate Business. Notice how we’re taking care to outline the marketing initiatives that are going to be important for the specific seller and the specific market. These specifics will change for you, but this is a great place to start.
“Knowing how much the home is worth in a strong market is only half the puzzle. The other half is knowing how to position your property in front of the right buyers at the right time and market it so that the best features of your home are highlighted.
The first thing I’d do to assure that your home is represented properly to all buyers is hire Mike Thompson and his team to shoot photos and do some video for us. I know you’ve seen Mike’s work around town, they really know what they’re doing over there, and always deliver the best listing photos you can get.
Plus, their video work, I’ve got an example of it here, nets a TON of views and is a vital component to effectively marketing your property online. Video is king online, especially on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, and listings on Zillow with videos are shown to get upward of 30% more views and saves than those without.
As soon as your listing goes live, I’d start spreading the word about your property in my private real estate agent Facebook Group, a spot where over 500 of our area’s top professionals belong and let them know we’ve got a great listing that just hit the market, one they need to come see ASAP.
I’d also hit the go-button on all our sharing networks, including our public social media, where we have more than 15,000 collective followers, our local MLS’s new property share board that gets another 5,000 views a week, and submit your property to Local TV 9’s “New For Sale in the Neighborhood” segment.
The MLS will pump your home and all our great media and ad copy out to more than 900 websites, places like Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, just to name a few. The moment your property hits the market, EVERYONE will know about it.
We’d also put an open house on the books for the first weekend your property is on the market. Events are very important for property marketing, a chance for people to actually set foot in your home, and I take that opportunity seriously. We’d advertise our event, you’d have the full complement of flags and signs, we’d have great snacks, drinks, I’ve even started bringing yard toys for the kids. The open house I did for the 456 Pinetree Lane just last month had 76 people attend with two offers written, so we’d be looking to replicate that success with your home.”
When The Delivery is complete, your sellers should know the high-level strategy you’d put in place in order to sell their property.
4. Q & A (2 – 3 Minutes)
If you haven’t been peppered with questions at this point, get ready, because you will now. I always suggest to agents that they have their sellers hold their questions to the end so that you can make the most effective presentation. This way, after you’ve demonstrated your knowledge of the market and the subject property, as well as laid out your plan of attack for getting the property sold, it’s time to open yourself up to questions.
In this section, don’t just wait to see if questions exist, ASK your sellers what you can make clearer. Solicit their feedback. This is the best section of your listing presentation for your seller prospects to get involved with the conversation; the more they feel like a part of the process, the more likely they will want to collaborate with you on the selling of their home.
Pay attention to their reactions through The Lead, The Setup, and The Delivery. Were there things your prospects seemed to pause at? Furrow their brow over? If there are sections of your presentation that your sellers felt hesitant on, solicit questions from there first.
5. The Close (60 Seconds or Less)
The last section of your listing presentation is the shortest, it is the easiest to memorize, the most nerve-wracking to deliver, but definitely the most important. The Close is where you ask for, in no uncertain terms, the sale.
Left to their own devices, sellers will waffle back and forth for days (or longer) about a decision to list their property with a particular agent or to even list it at all. This is frustrating for all parties involved, so give your seller an opportunity to do what they want to do in the first place; ask them specifically for a yes or a no.
Here’s our favorite language for this, feel free to copy or alter it to fit your market and clients:
“I’d be honored to represent you in the sale of your home. Are you ready to get this process started by signing listing paperwork today?”
6. Getting To Yes (5 Minutes or Less)
OK, I know, we said that there were only five sections of the listing presentation, and officially that is true. However, in the event that your seller didn’t immediately stand up and applaud your perfect plan to sell their home, begging to sign on the dotted line, you’ll have to overcome a few objections.
Here are some of the most common ones, and what you can do about them.
“We’re still not sure if this is the right time to sell.”
Sellers who are constantly waiting for the market to improve are going to wait forever, because the market is always going to change. A great way to handle this objection is to go back to step two of your presentation (The Setup) and remind your sellers that nobody in town has a crystal ball; that you and any other real estate expert will tell them that trying to time the market is a fool’s errand, the best things a homeseller can do is take advantage of favorable conditions happening right now.
“We’re going to interview some more agents before we make a decision.”
If your seller is considering other options, the best thing to do here is be supportive and proactive. Try saying something like:
“There are lots of qualified professionals in our area, I’m sure you’ll have some good conversations. I’m confident that I’ve got the best plan to sell your home for the most money and in the shortest amount of time, but if there are things you hear from other Realtors that resonate with you, I’d love a chance to speak about those things to see how we could incorporate them into our strategies.”
“We were expecting to get more money for our home.”
In a day and age of instant home valuations and Zestimates, there are lots of “estimations” of what a property is worth floating around online, often to the detriment of real estate agents who are conducting listing appointments. If your seller thinks their house is worth more than the CMA you prepared for them, offer to incorporate their price into your strategy, just to see how the market reacts. But, do so with a caveat: If the home doesn’t receive the attention it deserves (which we know it probably won’t) because it’s priced incorrectly, immediately drop the price to where it belongs.
After The Presentation: Up Your Conversion Rate With These Follow-up Tips
Your listing presentation is complete, you’ve shaken hands and you’re on your way; now what? Hopefully you’re heading back to your office to make an appointment for a photographer to get photos of your new listing. If not, you’ve still got work to do.
Regardless of whether they told you they need some time to think about it, or gave you a thanks-but-no-thanks, here are some basic follow-up steps you should take to increase your odds of converting them down the road.
Always Say Thank You
Not only is this good manners, but it’s good business. A “thank you” ensures that the sellers know how much you value their time and the opportunity to speak with them, and it also provides an easy point of follow-up contact.
This is especially valuable if you have prospects who have yet to make up their mind about who they’re listing a property with, since the “thank you” can also be easily extended to “Thank you, and, are you sure there’s nothing else I can help with?”
What’s the best way to say thank you? You could go with something non-confrontational like a postcard or a letter, but that sort of indirect communication doesn’t give you much of a chance to keep the conversation going. A text message is a great way to break the ice, a phone call is even better.
Get Them on an Email Drip
After a “thank you,” the next thing you should do with any of the homeowners you’ve pitched but didn’t close is get them on an email drip. Email marketing has continued to show itself as one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to reach your sphere, and regardless of how your listing presentation turned out, you should have a drip campaign ready to go for the sellers you’ve just pitched.
Keep The Sellers Current On The Market
If you don’t end up winning the listing, keep an eye on the market to see if the home gets listed with another agent. If they end up going with another agent, your communication with them can’t be more than friendly (The NAR Code of Ethics prohibits actively soliciting business from individuals known to be contracted with other real estate agents,) but if the property remains off-market, chances are you’ve got a seller with some cold feet.
These are perfect soon-to-be-clients to get on an aggressive email drip about the state of the market. Give them stats that are relevant to their neighborhood, to homes like theirs, create opportunities for more conversations with every email.
Did you Score the Listing? They Should Be on an Email Drip Too
If you got the listing, get them started on the “new listing” drip. Populate this email sequence with messages to help prepare your seller things like listing photography, showings, how to negotiate with and hire a moving company, etc.
If your email drip game isn’t where it should be, consider using an affordable CRM like LionDesk to organize your contacts and craft messages that will hit your sphere of influence at just the right time. If you have to type and hit send every time you write an email, you can only grow by as many hours there are in the day. Up your efficiency by getting your emails scheduled using a platform like LionDesk.
Bringing It All Together
The listing presentation is a critical component to getting your prospects across the finish line and converting them to clients. If you want an even deeper dive into the world of creating a fool-proof listing presentation, complete with a 26-page e-book and video, check out The Close’s exclusive course, “6 Simple Systems to Transform Your Real Estate Business.”