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How to Beat Commission Discounters, List Price Inflators and Your Prospect’s Best Friend at the Listing Table

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By Craig Proctor

office-meeting-webRISMEDIA, February 25, 2009-Your listing presentation is the most important contact you will have with a seller prospect. In most cases, it’s the first face-to-face contact you will have with this prospect, and the only chance you’ll have to help them understand how you can benefit them in a way that other agents can’t. In many cases, you will be in competition with other agents who will also be trying to sell their services. How well you do in this presentation will determine whether this prospect becomes your client or someone else’s.

Every good presentation should have a beginning, middle and an end. One should follow the other, and each should be compelling enough that your prospect is emotionally linked to points you are explaining each step along the way.

While every listing presentation you do should be tailored specifically to the individual prospect you are trying to convert (i.e. you should have a good understanding of his/her home and neighborhood via comparables, and you should try to identify their personality type in order to know how best to explain your benefits), the nuts and bolts of each presentation will be the same.

You should create a physical presentation (on PowerPoint or in a binder) to use as a visual aid with your prospects. This will serve to keep both you and your prospect on track. While you are telling them, your words will be reinforced visually to ensure they understand each point you are making. Even when you are completely comfortable with the information you are communicating, you should still use your presentation visuals for your prospect’s benefit.

8 Tips to a Successful Presentation

I tend to avoid the word “selling” because it has come to have such a negative connotation over the last couple of decades. Whether you like it or not, a “sales person” is perceived by the public to be dishonest and fast-talking; a pusher of products and services on unsuspecting customers, doing anything and everything to “get the sale.” Selling is hard work and it’s distasteful to both you and the prospect(s) you are presenting to. I believe that selling is what you do when your “words” have to take the place of any real and meaningful customer benefits. I do NO selling when I present to a prospect because I don’t have to sell. And neither should you.

The objective of all your communication with your prospects is to get them to say, “Yes, I would like you to help me and represent me.” What you say to them is a large part of obtaining this “yes,” but your phrasing and body language are also critically important. What follows are 8 tips that I have found to be highly effective in the way I present to my prospects. (Note: Pay particular attention to #s 8 and 9).

1. Establish Eye Contact with All of the People You Are Speaking with: Often you will be presenting to at least two people – a husband and wife. Make sure that you divide your attention between both of them by alternating eye contact. It is a major mistake to let one of the two feel alienated because you focused your discussion on the other. Remember that you need both parties to be involved in the decision process of whether they say “yes” to you.

2. Go in Slow and Read Your Audience: Personalities are different. Different people will require different approaches. Some of your prospects will need a lot of detail. Others will want you to get straight to the point. Remember, the secret to successfully helping your prospect make the decision you want is to help them the way they want to be helped — not the way you want to help them. Give yourself a minute or two when you first meet with a prospect to gauge their personality type and thus which presentation style will work best with him or her. This doesn’t mean that the essence of the information you deliver should be different. You still must share all the information with them about the systems and tools you will use to get their home sold successfully. But the manner in which you deliver the information may be embellished for some and abbreviated for others. Start slowly to determine which of these roads will most effectively convert this particular customer. Find out what they do for a living, listen to the questions they ask you and how they ask them. All of these are clues to their personality type.

3. Use Your Prospect(s) Names: Know who you’re speaking with and use their names when you’re speaking with them. Let their names become a natural component of your conversation such as: “Susan, I want to show you this particular chart,” or “The real estate market peaked in 1989 Bill, and what that means is . . .” (Caution: Overuse of this technique may become annoying and obvious to your prospect.) The key is to subtly use this technique every once in a while to catch them off guard, invite them back into the conversation, and let them know that you know who you’re talking to. Everyone likes to be acknowledged. Your prospects are no different.

4. Use Touch Effectively: Touch can be a very powerful presentation tool but, if over-used, it can be a major turn off. Use touch to your advantage, and that means use it judiciously. A warm, sincere handshake (with all parties) when you meet and when you part is a basic. In addition, there may be a time in your presentation when a light touch on their arm to focus their attention on something specific may work to your advantage. When used properly, this technique will make your prospect feel special. When over-used, it will make your prospect feel that you are invading their personal space. As always, read your customer. If you tune yourself in to their personality, you will know if and when to use this technique.

5. Get Your Prospects to Say Key Points For You: You have a lot to tell your prospect. Getting them involved in the delivery of key points is a highly effective way to get them, and keep them, on board with the presentation you are giving. If part of it is told in their own words and out of their own mouths, if you get them to draw the right conclusions as you go along, you’ll have a much better chance of securing the final and most important “yes” at the end of your presentation. Here’s an example of phrasing which will help your customers understand, and say, the points you want to make: “A very common problem for home sellers is trying to juggle the sale of their old home and the purchase of their new home. Timing can work against you. You could be put into the situation of owning two homes or none at all. How would you feel if I told you that we will eliminate this problem for you by guaranteeing the sale of your present home before you purchase your new home?” (Let your prospect respond) As always, use your judgement as to how often you will use this technique. You don’t want to harass your prospect into doing all the work, but effective use of this tool can give your prospects a much deeper understanding of the points you want to make.

6. Ask Them Questions They Cannot Give You a “Brush Off” Answer to: Remember that your goal is to get your prospect nodding their head in your favor – you want them to answer “yes.” Instead of saying: “Would you like to make an appointment to meet so we can discuss the listing of your home?” say “I’d like to show you what we can do to sell your home. Would Tuesday or Wednesday evening be better for you?”

7. Never Call Down Your Competition by Name: Clearly, the purpose of your listing presentation is to show how and why your prospect should list with you versus any other agent. Therefore, the tone of your presentation must be competitively focused. You want them to walk away with the conviction that you are the best person for the job. Which strategy do you think would most effectively win your prospect to your way of thinking?

A. Tell them that you are the greatest and that you sell more houses than any other agent.

B.Tell them what a poor job other specific agents are doing and make the point that you will do a much better job than these other agents.

C. Show them how you have built a system designed around their needs which is something no other agent has done and explain to them how each of these programs will uniquely benefit them

The answer, of course, is “C” because you’re starting with your prospect’s needs and giving them detailed and specific information that they can intellectualize and understand. Very simply:

“A” talks about you,
“B” talks about other agents , and
“C” talks about your prospect and how you can help them.

Which do you think your prospect will most want to hear about? Of course they will want to hear about themselves. Following strategy “A” is like asking your prospect to take an exam without teaching them the course. You’ve given them the answer, but you haven’t given them any reason to believe that the answer is correct. The fact that you sell more houses than any other agent may sound impressive to you, but, without further explanation, it is not necessarily a consumer benefit – it raises too many unanswered questions and issues (such as low-ball pricing and skimpy service) that you must address first. Furthermore, every other agent you are competing with is using this strategy. Open up the real estate section and read what the others are saying. They’re all claiming to be #1, or to have the best service or lowest commission or promise the highest price. Because everyone is shouting the same thing at the same time, with no substance to back up their claim, the prospect is confused. Worse, s/he is skeptical.

If you take strategy “B” – i.e. bad-mouthing other specific agents – this actually has the opposite effect to the one you desire. Instead of adopting your view that this other agent is ineffective, your prospect is more likely to view this agent as a poor underdog who probably doesn’t deserve this criticism. You’ll be doing this agent a favor by highlighting them. If your most compelling argument is that you’re better than Agent X or Y, you can’t have very much to say about yourself. From your prospect’s standpoint, you’re in business to help them, not put other agents out of business.

Of course, to effectively use strategy “C,” make sure you have tested, proven and specific systems that will get your clients consistent and successful results. The agents who use my system are able to offer truly compelling and innovative systems such as the Guaranteed Sale Program, Tour of Homes, Team System and so on. Figure out what systems you can use to put you head and shoulders above your competitors. Remember, price is only a factor in the absence of value.

8. Always Focus on Your Prospects Needs as the Basis of All Your Discussion: Remember why you are making your presentation in the first place. You are there to demonstrate to your prospect that you can help him or her better than anyone else can. Before you can effectively make a link between their needs and your service, you must show them that you truly identify with and understand what their needs really are. This must always be your starting point. State what you know their problem is, and then show them specifically how you are going to solve this problem.

willie-miranda-cp-b-0341

Willie Miranda

“Before being introduced to Craig Proctor’s system, I was trained to take listings with a yellow pad and a company brochure. I was introduced to Craig’s listing presentation on PowerPoint and decided to give it a try. The results were amazing and I was able to show every listing prospect all of the benefits I had to offer and was able to demonstrate all of the unique consumer programs I had to offer. This listing presentation allowed me to keep my presentation on track with my captive audience. I usually get my full commission without hassle because the Seller understands all of the value they are getting with me and my team. Cost is only an issue in the absence of value, and listing prospects want value when listing their homes. – Willie Miranda, Clifton Park, NY

Billion Dollar AgentTM Craig Proctor has been in the top 10 for RE/MAX Worldwide for 15 years. Craig consistently sells over 500 homes per year to earn almost $4 million in annual commission. Over 25,000 agents nationwide use Craig’s system to make more money in less time. To learn about free Craig Proctor workshops held year round in cities across the country, visit: http://www.hypertracker.com/go/cp/a19c090225/.

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