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How to Improve Your Listing Presentation

by Mary Ellen Collins

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No matter how many listing presentations you've made in your career, preparation remains the key to winning clients' confidence and business."

Matthew Ferrara

You cannot wing it," says Matthew Ferrara, CEO of The Learning Network. "You wouldn't put a play on Broadway without rehearsing. You wouldn't send soldiers to war without boot camp. There are people who believe that if they just keep talking, they can talk their way into a situation, but every consumer knows if you're winging it, and you'll lose them."

Clients deserve your best effort, so brush up on the basics and work for that listing.

Conduct Wide-ranging Research

Julie Antunes"You're there to market yourself and impress the seller, and they value the fact that you take the time to learn as much as possible about their home," says Julie Antunes, ABR, CRS, a REALTOR® with Sonoran Desert Lifestyles Real Estate in Scottsdale, AZ. 

She photographs the property, using those pictures on her Competitive Market Analysis. In addition to running comps, when time allows she also visits those properties to get a better sense of them. 

Antunes stresses the need to know all of the things that make a property unique, like being located in a flood plain or in the flight path of an airport. 

Ferrara recommends that REALTORS® gather information, such as the unemployment rate and the last 10 years of property tax changes, to illustrate the full community environment. He also believes it's important to learn all you can about the seller.

"We spend too much prep time studying the house and not the human," he says. "Do you know anyone who knows seller? Do they have kids? What activities are they involved in? The house won’t make the [listing] decision. The human will."

Share Comprehensive Information

"The more complete your presentation package is, the more the seller will open up to you because they see how committed you are to getting their listings," according to Antunes. She's created a checklist to make sure she doesn't omit anything from her comprehensive listing packet, which includes:

  • Market analysis
  • Comps with photographs
  • Tax records
  • Net proceeds estimate
  • Marketing plan
  • A professionally designed brochure that highlights her background
  • "From Offer to Completed Sale" sheet
  • Seller's Guide that explains selling a home from the title perspective
  • Seller FAQ statement customized to her area
  • Booklet of forms required in the selling process

Although you don't need the latest technological bells and whistles to woo a client, you do need to show that you're comfortable with technology. 

"Everyone wants to know where their listing is going to be on the Web," says Antunes, who uses a small laptop to demonstrate how the real estate sites work. "But you very much have to understand your audience. That's why I do print-outs of comp listings for people who like paper. Younger clients usually don’t want all the paper, and ask if I can e-mail documents. It's whatever the client wants."

Ferrara suggests showcasing your use of technology by focusing on outcomes, such as "Every listing we have has 25 photographs and three videos," or "Our Web strategy generates xx buyer inquiries per month."

Communicate Effectively

Before discussing the property, Ferrara recommends determining the seller's priorities and explaining your company's unique contribution to the marketplace. 

"Everyone thinks every seller wants the highest price for the house in the shortest amount of time, but that's not true," he says. "Do they want the lowest price possible or highest possible level of service? You have to figure out what the seller values before you can go forward."

"I have to convince the seller that we're the best choice for them. We show how my company and I are performing in this market with measurable, objective standards of performance, e.g., 'Most companies sell a home in 200 days, we do it 180 days' or 'Most companies get 93 percent of asking price, and we get 95 percent.'"

Ferrara reminds agents to devote three times as much effort to asking questions as you do talking at the seller. Always repeat what the seller says to confirm your understanding, and always ask for the person's business!
Listing presentations allow you to shine a spotlight on your expertise and your willingness to go the extra mile – and that's an opportunity too important to waste. 

"Sellers will give you back what you put in," according to Antunes. "If you walk in and put down a three-page market analysis and say, 'Here's my business card,' you'll get a 10-minute conversation before they say good-bye. If you do the work, you’ll get the results." 

Mary Ellen Collins is a freelance writer and essayist in St. Petersburg, FL. She writes for a variety of trade, business and lifestyle publications. Her Web site iswww.maryellencollins.com.

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