I know that listings are the holy grail and 90% of the battle is getting the lead. If you have worked your ass off and scored an appointment to meet with a seller, the last thing you want to do is show up for the appointment, swallow your stage fright to recite a cold calling script and walk out of there without the listing anyway.
You can try to be the best and the cheapest like all the other agents, or you can approach the process from a fresh angle, get the listing, and change the game completely.
Stop Calling it A Listing Presentation!
Ready for my confession?
I don’t have a listing presentation and have never had one, and used to think there was something wrong with me because of it. My manager kept telling me to create one, to use it like a cold calling script, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
I felt like crap and told myself that I was lazy and disorganized…yet somehow I was getting listings anyway! I finally realized the reason I didn’t have a prepared presentation wasn’t because there was something wrong with me, it was because there is something wrong with them.
They are creepy and they aren’t authentic.
I hate that term Listing Presentation because it implies that I am on stage trying to impress or entertain the seller rather than make a human connection with her and see how I can help her.
It feels phony to me.
The Easy Way Out
There is so much pressure put on the listing presentation– and that term right there is 90% of the problem. You shouldn’t be presenting, you should be problem solving.
It might seem easier to rely on a cold calling script or prepared listing presentation, but in order to best serve the client and to create a true connection, take the time to learn your business and some simple conversation skills so you can be a problem solver instead of a cheesy salesperson.
Change your mindset and the rest will fall into place.
Sales is service and the way to get a listing is to find out why the seller needs or wants to sell and their motivation. Rather than recite a cold calling script to them, we need to ask lots of questions and figure out what the problem is so we can offer a solution.
It’s Not About You
I will say that again. It is NOT about you. The listing appointment is about the seller and how you can help them.
But how can you offer them help until you know what they need?
If you go in with a cold calling script or a listing book, bragging about how great you are, how fancy your office is and how many millions of dollars you sold last year- how does that give you any information about the seller and how you can help her?
My Date With Ira
My cousin from NY set us up for dinner, so I took a chance and went. Ira was a well known for his volunteer work- which is totally in line with my values. He lives in Manhattan, which is the city I was born to live in. We were similar in age, religion and all the other boxes that one checks when imagining the perfect match.
The evening was full of promise until we sat down at the table and Ira opened his mouth.
Once he started talking, he barely paused for a breath the rest of the evening. I squirmed in my seat as he blathered on and on about himself.
I was still on my first glass of wine when it became clear to me why he was still single.
My Dinner With Ike
I wasn’t as hopeful about meeting Ike. On paper we didn’t seem to have much in common and he lived in the suburbs. I am a die hard urbanist, and sadly, this is usually a deal breaker for me.
Ike started off asking about my work and then moved on with rapt attention to what book I was reading, my childhood, and my favorite band. Somehow we ended up three hours later closing the place with cold food still on my plate.
The time flew by.
I was shocked as if I had just woken from a dream and was sitting across from someone I had known forever.
It was magical, and I will leave the ending to your imagination.
Be Like Ike
Think of a listing appointment as more like a date and less like an audition.
Will your seller be impressed if you perform and show off? Do you think they will feel a connection? Do you think they will feel special?
Or do you think they would feel the magic if you asked them questions and showed interest in their answers so you could ask more questions and find out everything about them that you needed to know.
Who do you think they would rather deal with?
If you aren’t sure of the answer, roll over in bed.
Did you bump into Ari or did you land on Ike?
Connect, Don’t Convince
If your seller is motivated and wants to sell, you do not need to work on convincing them to list it.
They already want to, so simply go in and ask what they need.
Slow down and listen. You might be surprised at what you hear.
The Construction Paper Card
Asher: Mom!!! MOM!!!!!!!!!!!! Mom. Mom. Mom
Me: I am on the phone.
Asher: But Mom. Mom. Mom. MOM!
Me. Asher! I am on the phone!
Asher: Maaaaaaaaam! MOMMY!!!!
Me: WHAT?!?!?! What do you want from me? Can’t you see that I am in the middle of something? Why are you bothering me? Can’t I have 3 minutes to myself? Arghhhhhh!
Asher: I made this for you.
Me: Tears well up as I open the construction paper card with crayon hearts and YOU ARE THE GREATEST MOMMY IN THE WORLD all over it.
Sellers will often ask for things that seem annoying or don’t make sense. It is so easy to give them an off the cuff lecture as to why they are wrong.
Slow down and wait for the construction paper card.
1. Why are they selling?
Some great starting places are why they are selling. You want to understand why they are selling so you can support them emotionally as well as logistically.
Oftentimes even though people choose to sell their property, they are bittersweet about it. Connect with them as a human being and listen! They might need support.
It can be emotional and traumatizing to sell their home for lots of reasons. Are they going through financial trouble? Downsizing? Divorce or death?
Be there for them. Find out what is going on in their world. Meet people where they are, but treat them the way they could be.
Be human and be supportive.
2. What is the Seller’s Timeline?
There are many moving parts to a real estate transaction, and part of assisting a seller is helping them coordinate their sale and move.
There are many factors that the seller might not even know to consider and it is your job to put it on their radar. You might uncover a loan with a prepayment penalty, or a grant program with a soft second that needs to be satisfied, or suggestions on coordinating a bridge loan to ease them into their new purchase.
Ask lots of questions to uncover potential roadblocks.
Then put on your cape and save the day.
3. What do you love about living here?
Ask this to 100 people and you will get 101 different answers.
Some sellers might gush about the yard, others the neighborhood, some about the house number being lucky.
Ask this question and listen. Close your mouth and really listen and you will learn so much about your seller.
Take a pause and really pay attention. You will hear clues about what your next question should be, and uncover what your seller really needs, so you can be the solution to their problem.
4. Does the Property Need TLC
Understand FHA financing and explain about the possibility of repairs so she can make an informed decision about what types of financing she will accept.
Start a conversation about getting the property ready for market and be sensitive about repairs. Determine the seller’s mindset and financial status before demanding she fix things.
Sometimes sellers just need to let go and sell As-Is for emotional or financial reasons.
5. My Network
I admit that the internet has leveled the playing field as far as marketing goes and that my strengths lie in other areas, like negotiations, understand all the moving parts of the contract, and holding their hand through the entire process.
During your conversation with the seller, listen up for areas where you could help by referring someone you know, like, and trust.
Listing appointments are networking opportunities where you can be of service by offering the solution to her problem simply by sharing someone’s contact information.
Reach Into Your Tool Belt
Once you discover what your seller needs, the rest is easy. Just reach into your tool belt and pull out the tool you need to fix their problem.
Don’t Know WTF to Say?
Agents tell me that the reason they use cold calling scripts is because they don’t know what to say.
You can’t hide the fact that you are reading from a script. No matter how much you practice, chances are you will sound like a robot and they will know that you are just reading your lines
Instead of spending your time memorizing scripts, how about using it to learn your business and brush up on your conversation skills so you aren’t intimidated and you know what to say?
Role Play (the G-Rated Version)
Grab a friend and pretend they are going to sell their property. Assign your roles and do not character break.
Go over there and try to list the property. Walk in and start asking questions as if they were really going to list their house. Ask them to respond as naturally as they can and go through the appointment as naturally as possible till the very end.
Record it so you can go back and critique it. Ask for honest feedback from your partner.
Do it over and over again. Practice makes perfect.
Learn What to Do. Learn What Not to Do.
Follow a seasoned agent and listen to them as they have conversations with sellers.
Make sure you choose someone who does not use a canned presentation to hear what to do.
Follow someone on an audition to learn what not to do.
I once went on a listing appointment with an agent who actually had a book that his assistant prepared.
The first 25 pages were all about him and how great he is. Photos and ads of awards and bragging about how many millions of dollars he sold.
The seller’s eyes were glazed over by about the 3rd page. It took 30 minutes before he started asking questions. It was painful to witness.
I don’t remember if he got the listing, but that isn’t the point. He gets lots of listings, but at what cost? He spent hours there presenting when he could have just asked a question then shut up and listened.
And he spent hundreds of thousands (yes hundreds of thousands) per year on advertising, so he has to get lots of listing to feed the machine.
He is a heavy hitter and has his face on billboards, but he also works non stop, suffers health problems from stress and has to hire so much help to take care of the business and the rest of his life that he has no way to exit.
This business model creates a vicious cycle with no way out. It has created burnt out and I never want to be that way.
I keep my overhead low so I don’t have to close nearly as many deals as he does, yet I enjoy about an equal net income to his and my lifestyle is much more balanced and stress free.
If my goal were to have my name on a billboard and receive accolades for how many millions of dollars a year I closed, then maybe I would do it his way.
But that is NOT what I care about. I do not want to work just for the sake of working: You see, I am not motivated by being the biggest or closing the most deals.
Helping people and making real human connections is hat motivates me. That is why I do it my way. That is why I have never used a cold calling script to try to get listings.
The people I work with do not want to hear them. They want to be heard. They want someone to listen to them and solve their problem.
Trash the Cold Calling Scripts
If you go in using cold calling scripts once you get the appointment, you run the huge risk of sounding like a robot. You level the playing field to the lowest common denominator and are just competing with all of the other script reading agents.
Unless you are the biggest and best or reduce your fee so low that the seller sees no other choice than to hire you.
Listings should be customized because one size does not fit all.Rather than circle the drain, it’s time to break free from the cold calling scripts mentality and start treating your sales business as a service business.
Focus on being a problem solver and seeing how you can be of service.
First, be human. The money will follow.