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The Listing Conversation – Techniques to Win More Listings, Part II

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By Darryl Davis

RISMEDIA, July 4, 2008-Last week, we began to look at techniques that agents use to win more listing presentations. While these examples don’t offer the only way to do a listing presentation, they offer more incite to how you currently approach this process. My objective is not to teach you how to get the listings you’ve already been getting, but how to get the ones you’ve been losing. So this week, we will break down the four steps even further and provide actual dialogue that you can use with clients.

Step 1: Build rapport.

Make sure that you bring the right attitude to the door. Give them a friendly greeting when you arrive, and guide them to the kitchen table. Why? Because that’s where friends go; it’s more comfortable. Here’s how I used to do it.

I would take my briefcase and say, “Let me just go put this down” and I’d walk right into the kitchen. When you walk right in and say those words, I promise you they will follow.

Preview the house.

Before I sat down and opened up my book, I previewed the house. Here is when you begin to communicate, connect and coach. I believe that we owe it to them to first preview the home.

davis_darryl.JPGMy suggestion is to have them take you through the house. You do this to build rapport and show them that you care. This is an opportunity to bond. You see golf clubs, you can talk about sports. You see a workbench and say, “Oh, great!” You can spend a half hour previewing the home and there’s nothing wrong with that. Why? Because they’re not going anywhere tonight. If you need to take four hours with these people, take it. As long as it takes for them to feel comfortable about you and what you’re doing. Have a genuine interest in them and their home; don’t just zip through.

Another thing here is to acknowledge the pluses and point out some of the flaws. I used to think that if you went through the house and said, “That’s a really nice room and it’s spacious,” they were going to think they’d get more for their house. But that’s not true. When you go through a house and say, “Hey, nice windows,” “Cool carpeting,” whatever it is, you’re really acknowledging them personally. After all, a home is a very personal thing, right?

Now, you should point out some of the flaws, too, but be subtle about it. I mean if a room smells from the dogs you can go, (sniff, sniff) “Hmmm. So you folks are dog lovers, huh? Yeah, I like a dog or two. Six is my limit.”

Go back to the kitchen table after you’ve previewed the home. This is when you sit down.

Handling interruptions.

I want to address something here. As you’re walking through their house, or when you sit down at the table, the sellers may throw out a few questions. They might even do this in the middle of your presentation. Here’s how to handle what comes up.

Seller: Now that you’ve seen my home, what do you think it’s worth?
Darryl: Well, Seller, you know that the price on your home is determined by how much marketing you do. Here, let me show you what I’m talking about. See to get the best possible price, we want to get as many buyers to the door to look at the house, wouldn’t you agree? It’s better to have 100 buyers interested versus just one. How we do that is we give the house as much exposure as possible. That means we expose the house to anybody looking in this price range for this style home. How we do that is through a number of marketing tools. The more tools you use as a homeowner to market your house, the more exposure, the more potential buyers, and the better your odds of getting the best price. Does that make sense? So I can’t tell you the price right now because I’m simply sharing with you the tools that I use to get the best possible price.

And then you pick up where you left off. Don’t let them distract you from your presentation. Meaning, if you’ve got ten things you want to share – MLS, lock box, etc. – and right around item number three they jump in, don’t feel compelled to answer at that time.

After we’ve built rapport, we move forward.

Step 2: Find out what they’re committed to.

When you first sit down with them, don’t open up your presentation book just yet. You begin by asking them questions about what they’re committed to. Some of you may want to write down their answers, but I don’t recommend that. I also don’t think your questions should be pre-printed. That’s too scripted, almost like a survey.

These questions should flow like a conversation. Ask whatever you need to find out what they’re committed to. I’ve culled it down to a few key questions:

- Have you looked at any houses yet?
- When do you need to make this move by?
- Have you ever sold a home before? (Why is this question important? They might say to you, “Yeah, we’ve sold a house before, that’s why we think we can do it on our own.” If this is the case, ask: “Oh, really, when was that?” “Ten years ago.” To this, you can say, “I see. Well, things have changed….”)
- Why are you trying to sell it on your own?
- What is the next step in your marketing plan? (They might say, “My what?” You say, “Marketing plan.” “We don’t have one,” they say. “Well, aren’t you lucky that I just happened to bring mine?”)
- What is the most important thing to you, the price or time? (Watch this. If they say that price is the most important, you follow it up with, “So, in other words, if it took you nine months to a year to get the price you want for the house, that would be okay with you?” “No.” “Oh, so we’re saying time is more important?” See, right there in the beginning you’re putting the entire conversation in its proper context; it’s not about price.)
- If I could help you get moved to Florida, would you be interested in me doing that? (That’s an important question. After you get clear about what they’re committed to you ask them, “If I can help you do that would that be of interest to you?” By them saying “yes” you’re getting permission to give them some coaching.)
- So what happened? (When you’re dealing with an expired, this is the best question to start off with. You just sit down, let them get it off their chest and say what they need to say.)

Has it ever happened to you that as you’re walking in the door, the sellers say to you, “Listen, I just want to be clear with you, Darryl, that we’re not listing our home tonight” … then two hours later, they’ve listed with you? My point is that whatever concerns and objections they put out in the first fifteen to twenty minutes of you being there will in most cases disappear after you’ve spent an hour or two with them. If not, you handle it at the end.

Step 3: Coach them.

This is the step when you use your listing presentation book. So, before we go on, I want to review how you put together your book and what the sections are. I teach that there are four sections. However, it doesn’t have to be four. It could be five or ten. Four is just an easy way for you to understand the flow of the presentation.

Section one should be selling yourself. The reason that you sell yourself first is because the seller has to buy into you – your credentials and power – before they’ll buy into anything else. It doesn’t make sense to do it any other way. You talk about your certificates, your license, the code of ethics, the fact that you’re a member of NAR, your community involvement, etc.

You may not use all the pages you have. Once you get a sense that they’re sold on you and your abilities, even if you have more pages selling yourself, skip them and go to the next section.

Section two is where you sell the ‘bigness’ of your company. Here’s where you’ll probably have a picture of your broker, business cards of the agents in your office, your mission statement (if you have one), your office stats, your market share, etc.

Again, once you sense that the seller is sold on your company and your franchise, move on.

Section three is the step-by-step process you go through to sell the home. Here’s where you speak about the yard sign, MLS, fact sheets, broker’s open house, opinion sheet, the local advertising that you do, public open houses, qualifying buyers, mortgage info, etc. My personal preference is to begin with MLS. I believe that this is the foundation of what we do, and it’s one of the most powerful tools that we use. Everything else I speak about after MLS ties into it.

Section four is additional support material. This is where you may have your CMA, your objection-handling visuals, your net sheet, etc.

Step 4: Invite action.

After you’ve communicated how you market homes, the last part of the “coaching” step, you move into step four, which is to invite action. It’s really important to understand that first they’re hiring you, your abilities, your company and your skill level. All this before you talk about price. I know that many homeowners hire agents based on the best price they hear. But they don’t understand that we don’t have anything to do with price. The only thing we have control over is how we market a home. So it only makes sense that they hire us for our abilities and that they recognize the value of a real estate agent.

Filling out the listing agreement.

Make sure you agree on price and “assumptively” start filling out the form. Just say, “Let me just get some information.”

Get them involved. Remember, to keep the momentum going and break silence just ask them, “What is today’s date?” Ask other minor point questions, for example, like “Are you folks leaving the washer and dryer?”

Hand them the pen and direct their signature – e.g., “press hard it’s cheap carbon” or “this is my good pen, make sure I get it back.”

Ask the significant other a question -e.g., “Darwin, are you excited about the move?” It keeps the momentum going while the other is signing, keeps the signing spouse from speaking with the one who’s waiting for the pen and helps things flow smoothly when the first signer is done.

The Brag Book

The purpose of the brag book is to keep selling you in the event you don’t get the listing from the first appointment. You do your presentation, you coach them, you try to handle their objections and concerns. You try your hardest to get them to list with you and they don’t. Now you leave behind your brag book.

Now they’ll go through it, you’re going to be by in a couple of days and they may say, “You know what, Darryl, I think we’re ready to put this on Multiple.” So you use this only in the event that you don’t get the listing the first time you’re there. Secondly, it gives you a reason to go back another time. The third thing it does is it gives you an edge over other agents.

Elements of your brag book.

Your brag book should include photos, certificates, awards, letters of recommendation, advertising and open house information, photos and listings of sold homes, community involvement, family, etc. It’s similar to Section One of your presentation book, but it’s more elaborate – with much more detail.

For the next 30 days, I encourage you to go on as many listing presentations as possible. If not for the increased production, then simply to increase your skill level. Bottom line: you need to have the integrity, the commitment and the responsibility to keep your word and move forward to achieve your next level.
Before we conclude, I’d like to reiterate the two concepts that I feel are most important. First, when you’re meeting with a seller, you want to look at yourself as a coach. You’re there to coach them and give them the best advice based on what they’re committed to. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the best thing for them to do is to hire you. The second thing is when you’re there with that seller, you must truly be present. Be present to their situation; be present to what they’re saying. Don’t talk at them, but talk with them.

For over 15 years, Darryl Davis has traveled around the country coaching agents and brokers on how to achieve their Next Level of success. He is the creator of the nationally acclaimed POWER Program, the only yearlong coaching and training course where Power Agents, on average, double their production over their previous year. Darryl is a best-selling author, one of the highest rated speakers at the NAR Convention each year, and has a career-curriculum that brings agents from “Rookies to Retirement”.

For more information, visit www.DarrylDavisSeminars.com or call 1-800-395-3905.

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