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How to Increase Conversion at the Listing Table

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By Craig Proctor

RISMEDIA, October 1, 2008-Your listing presentation is the most important contact you will have with a seller prospect, and a very important part of getting the presentation to go in your favor is ensuring that you connect with your prospect in a manner that makes them receptive to the good information you will give them.

Understanding How Personalities Interact

There are many models you can use to help you understand human personality and how different personalities will affect different aspects of your business, from the people you hire to the prospects you speak with and present to. An excellent model you should research is Marston’s 4-Factory Theory Model of Personality which categorizes people into four broad personality groups:

Dominance – relating to control, power and assertiveness
Influence – relating to social situations and communication
Steadiness- relating to patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness
Conscientiousness – relating to structure and organization

In very broad terms, High D people are very active in dealing with problems and challenges and are described as forceful, strong willed, driving, determined, ambitious and aggressive. High I people influence others through talking and activity, and tend to be emotional. They are described as enthusiastic, persuasive, warm, and optimistic.

People who score high on the S dimension want a steady pace, security, and don’t like sudden change. These people tend to be calm, relaxed, patient, and consistent, where people who score High C are people who adhere to rules, regulations, and structure, and who like to do quality work and do it right the first time. High C people are careful, cautious, exacting, and systematic.

Now while all of us probably have a little of each element in us, not surprisingly, most of you who have chosen real estate as a profession would probably score either HI-D (The Dominant Conqueror) or HI-I (The Influential Persuader) if tested.

HI-D agents are typically self-starters who thrive on challenge and competition. You are direct, positive, straightforward and take charge. You fight hard and are very happy to hand off the detailed, repetitive part of your job.

The HI-I’s among us are outgoing, persuasive and gregarious. Your basic interest is people and people tend to respond to you naturally. You get along with everyone and, because of your inherent trust and willing acceptance of others, you may sometimes misjudge people’s intentions and abilities.

It’s likely that even with such a broad description of these classifications, you probably have a fairly good idea who you are, and you’ll probably, therefore, have a pretty good idea how to deal with team members or prospects who share your dominant characteristic. D’s will feel comfortable with just how much detail to get into with other D’s and how to push things through. I’s will naturally know how to win rapport and set up a conversation with other I’s.

But how can you best present to someone outside your personality grouping. You don’t have a lot of time to make an assessment, but it’s very important that you do. Whether you get the listing or not may depend upon it. The questions you will be trying to answer before you get into the meat of the situation are:

• how “friendly” and outgoing should I be (i.e. will it be met with welcome or scepticism)
• how much time should I spend on details (all points must be covered, but can be touched on with more or less details)
• How fast or slow should I approach the presentation? The summary? etc.

Reading a person incorrectly will have a major impact on the outcome of your interaction, but there is room for refinement inside the meeting. Always be watching your prospect for signs of what’s working and what’s not, and speed up or slow down, zero in or pull out as you go. Above all, don’t talk at them, talk with them. Make sure the conversations feels right to the prospect.

Here are some tips to help you make the correct assessment before you actually sit down to give them your presentation. Let’s take a look at how the beginning or introduction to your presentation should go.

Before Your Presentation

The purpose of the beginning of your presentation is to confirm your prospect’s intent to sell, to make a positive and professional first impression, to establish a good rapport with your seller(s), and to read your sellers as well as you can so you have a good sense of how you should be approaching your presentation.
After doing over 10,000 listing presentations with clients, I’ve developed a highly effective process that works well to accomplish these goals. While the people I meet are unaware of it, every step I take, and every word I say, is strategically calculated to set the stage I want to set, and to obtain the valuable information that I need to successfully list their home. More than learning the language I will give you in this section, you will need to understand why I ask the questions I ask and what I do with the information I obtain. Every step you take should be deliberate and pre-planned, and it’s important that you understand the reasons behind each step.

As you walk in the door, you should make a point of shaking your client(s) hand(s), and then greeting them by name by saying: “Hello Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Are you folks ready to get your home sold?”

While this may sound like an obvious question, it helps you establish that you really are talking to a qualified prospect. Most of the people you go to see should have been prequalified, meaning that the answer to this question will be a clear “yes.” However, if for some reason these people are not really in the immediate frame of mind to sell, this is an important piece of information that you will want to know before you spend a lot of time with them. If they give you a wishy-washy answer to this question, make sure you probe them further about what they feel this meeting is about and what they are hoping to accomplish, and then decide how much time you want to spend on your presentation.

If they indicate that they are ready to get their home sold, lead them to the kitchen table and put your briefcase down while you ask the following questions:

“How long have you lived here?”

The answer to this question will let you know, given market trends, whether they are going to make or lose money if they sell their home. This information will prepare you for how easy or difficult it will be for them to accept your recommended listing price of their home and, therefore, for how much time you’ll have to spend on pricing.

“Where are you thinking of moving to?”

The answer to this question will help you establish their motivation. Finding out where they are moving to will help you understand why they are moving which, in turn, will help you understand need and urgency. For example, if they are moving across the country because one of them has been transferred, you will obviously know that they really need to move.

“When do you have to be there by?”

The answer to this question will further fine-tune the issue of timing which may impact pricing (i.e. if they need to sell within a short time frame, they will have to be more aggressive with their pricing.)

“Why don’t we take a quick look around your home first.”

Taking a tour before, rather than after, your presentation is important for several key reasons:

1. It allows you to make an assessment of listing price based on the features and condition of the house

2. It allows you to make a further assessment of your prospects. How they answer your questions, and the questions they ask you, will allow you to better define their personality types and, thus, the tone you should be using in your presentation

3. It will give you an opportunity to build rapport with these prospects

4. It will give you a chance to build your own credibility and establish your track record by talking “informally” about other sales you have made in the area etc.

As you tour the house, gather as much information as you can that could be useful in your presentation. To your clients, it will look like casual conversation, but in actuality, every question you ask will have a purpose. They will be giving you information and hints about themselves without even realizing that they’re doing it. When you become really good at this, every question you ask will have a purpose, and every answer they give will feed you with important information.

Here are some examples:

“What do you do for a living?”

Ask this question of both parties. This will not only give you a clue to personality type (for example, you might assume that an accountant would be highly detailed and require a lot of facts and figures in order to sell him/her), but it will also give you a basis for drawing relevant analogies and comparisons in your presentation (for example, if you have team members working with you, it would be easy to explain the team system to a doctor or other professional because s/he would work within the same kind of structure, and you could make this connection).

Other questions you might ask which would provide you with useful information might include the following:

“Do you know how old your home is?”

“Have there been any structural problems with, for example, the roof, or leaking etc.?”

“Have you spent a lot of money on upgrades to your home?”

By the time you get back to the kitchen table, you should have a strategy in place regarding how you will approach your presentation. For example, if your prospect spent a lot of time explaining how much s/he spent on upgrades etc, they are probably someone who will want top dollar for their home and thus you should anticipate the need to spend a lot of time on pricing.

If your prospects are not very talkative, you will want to keep your presentation business-like and to the point. If you find that they will likely be taking a loss on this home sale, you will want to make sure to emphasize the charts on trends and pricing. But do so with empathy (“I understand your situation”, etc.)

Now you’re ready to launch into the presentation you prepared armed with the knowledge of how best to get your prospects to really “hear” what you have to say. Doing your homework upfront in this manner will help you increase your prospect conversion at this critical stage.

“Understanding these personalities has allowed me to be more diverse, speak more effectively to my prospects and made me tens of thousands of dollars in commissions!” – Brian Moses, Nashua, NH

To find out more about effective buyer and seller presentation systems, you can visit http://www.hypertracker.com/go/cp/a32a081001/ where you can learn about my 3-day SuperConference where I train agents on the exact content of the Ultimate Listing Presentation and VIP Buyer Presentation I use in my own marketplace to successfully convert over 9 out of 10 buyer and seller prospects to a contract.

Billion Dollar AgentTM Craig Proctor has been in the top 10 for RE/MAX Worldwide for 15 years. To receive free training from Craig with no obligation, visit: http://www.hypertracker.com/go/cp/a32b081001/.

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