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By Darryl Davis

RISMEDIA, May 6, 2008-Listings are the backbone of the real estate business. It’s important to build your inventory of listed properties, and service and market them well. But most agents don’t do enough with listings once they get them.

davis_darryl.JPGThe following concepts will help you get your inventory sold, as well as help you service your sellers. What’s important is that you put a system in place that helps you achieve these important goals.

Concept 1: Sellers want communication. Most agents think the only thing homeowners want when they list with an agent is to sell their house. Of course this is important, but from the time they list with you to the time it sells, the No. 1 thing they want is communication. A frequent complaint about agents is that they list homes and are never heard from again. So keep in touch with the seller through various means, such as phone calls, e-mails, notes, and face-to-face meetings.

Concept 2: Commitment counts. Some sellers are totally committed to price, and less committed to moving. There’s nothing wrong with taking an overpriced listing as long as you communicate up front that it’s overpriced. Make sure sellers know that by being more committed to price, they may not be able to sell.

Concept 3: Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Your job is not to out-promise your competition in order to get the listing. Keep the few promises you make rather than make many promises and break them.

Concept 4: Sell the agents, not the buyers. To boost your chances of selling, you need to have more agents through the door, which means more showings. Get agents excited so that of all the homes on the market in this particular price range, they remember your listing. Have the mindset that your job as a marketing agent is to motivate the other agents in your market – not just to sell a home.

Concept 5: Price it right. If your inventory isn’t selling, either your price or the marketing is wrong.

Here are tips and techniques to market your listings:

– Hold brokers’ open houses. If selling the agents means getting more buyers, then a brokers’ open house is one of the best tools to use. You should look at it as an opportunity to introduce the product. It ideally should be done in the first one to two weeks that a house goes to multiple listing. It might take some time to build the reputation and to get a good turnout, but eventually it will happen. Make the open house something special – more of a party or an event. Promote it by making fliers or sending faxes. It’s also a great vehicle for promoting listings that are not getting a lot of activity.

At the open house, distribute opinion sheets. The most important question on the sheet is, “What price do you think the house is going to sell for?” After the open house, sit down with the seller and go through the sheets to find out what most agents think. Then, you can give the option to the sellers to adjust the price accordingly so that you’ll get the activity that’s needed, or leave the price as is and hope you’ll get the activity.

Also, attend other agents’ open houses as well, because you want the same support from them.

– Public open houses. These are time consuming, but the major plus is that it promotes you and highlights your listing. It shows the seller you’re servicing them and most importantly, you’ll get listing leads.

– Showcase your listings. Run a larger-than-usual ad in a local paper, and instead of promoting a public open house on just one listing, promote four to six at a time. Put all the information about these houses into the ad and announce open houses that one weekend.

– “Just listed” letters. These can be like “just sold” cards. They are highly effective and lot easier to do if you are computerized. If you’re going to do these, don’t do postcards.

– Call 100 surrounding neighbors of a house you just listed. In addition to telling them about the listing, ask if they know anyone else who might be selling in the area. Also, ask them if they themselves might be thinking of selling, and find out if they know anyone who they’d like to make their new neighbor. If you include this as part of your servicing campaign for sellers, it won’t seem like cold calls; it will seem like “just listed” calls.

– The 10-10-20 rule. Since the general rule of “knocking on 100 doors” takes a lot of time and energy, it is more useful to knock on 10 doors to the left, 10 to the right and 20 doors across the street. People in these homes are the most likely to know the listing family personally, and therefore are most likely to want to help them find a buyer.

– Advertise in specialized papers. For example, let’s say you just listed a waterfront property. Then, advertise in boating magazines and other such publications.

– When one of your listings sells, give a gift to the selling agent. You’ll then establish a reputation so that agents know whenever they sell one of your listings, they’ll get a great gift from you.

– Fax your hot listings to other agents. I suggest creating a form to showcase your hot listings.

– Use report cards. This helps you track the activity of other agents calling on your listings. If you have a listing that’s been on the market for 30 days and you’ve gotten very few calls from other agents inquiring about it, then you’ve got to communicate that with the seller. This helps you get either a price adjustment or terms adjustment.

– Hold periodic reviews. Meet with the seller at the 30-day and 60-day mark to discuss price adjustment, terms adjustment or marketing.

– Have an individual folder for each listing. Even if you’re computerized, there are still papers and forms you must keep.

– Place your listings by your phone with the price and expiration date. It’s a constant motivator and keeps you focused.

– Get a higher commission. One of your tasks is to sell other agents to help you sell this home. A higher commission will surely help you sell the agents (Check out a great website

– Bi-monthly calls. Stay in touch with the seller every two weeks. Discuss what the competition has sold or when you’ll be running an ad about their house or about what kind of responses you’re getting from agents.

– Agent evaluation cards. Send one of these to agents every time they show your home. This is based on the assumption that you’ve created a good reputation for yourself.

– Farming agents. Create a mailing list of successful agents in your area. Personalize any mailing you send to them. That way, they get the personal attention they deserve.

– Common sense pricing. Pricing of houses should be listed in such a way that they show up in more searches, meaning more exposure.

Communicating and deepening your relationship with your sellers will enhance your reputation, build your sales and set you up well in your career.

For over 17 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 Agent Coaching 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 or call 1-800-395-3905.