Many real estate sellers and buyers out there believe that all real estate agents are created equal. They may think one is no better than the other, and that all agents have the same knowledge and skills. Of course, that couldn’t be further from the truth. But unfortunately, there are enough ineffective—or downright bad—agents out there who perpetuate the myth. As a result, buyers and sellers pick the agent with the cheapest rate or the one who lists a property super high, even if it is overpriced, rather than the most talented one.
So what do you do to ensure that you are the one winning the new real estate listings? Use the seven steps outlined below.
1. Conduct a pre-interview to obtain a new real estate listing
Before you start working with a new real estate client, you need to know if the two of you can effectively work together. Your personalities have to mesh, and you need to ensure that you can meet the person’s expectations and requirements. Schedule a quick phone call with clients to learn:
- Their reasons for selling
- When they hope to complete the sale
- Their previous real estate buying or selling experience
- What they want from you
- Their ideal price for the property
If they raise some red flags—such as unrealistic pricing expectations—dig a little deeper to see if you can negotiate on some issues. However, if the differences are too great, you may need to walk away, rather than commit to a bad relationship. Once you decide you want to work with the person, immediately schedule an in-person listing presentation. Don’t delay or you could lose the potential client to a competitor.
2. Prepare an agenda
When you meet in person, it is your chance to sell both your services and abilities, so don’t take your preparation lightly. Create an agenda to stay on track and ensure that you cover everything. Then share it with the owners ahead of the meeting. A sample plan might include:
- Review updates or news since the first call.
- Tour the home.
- Discuss the owner’s objectives.
- Go over your qualifications.
- Establish the listing price.
- Fill out the necessary paperwork.
Limit the entire presentation to 45 minutes or an hour. Any longer, and they will lose interest or become frustrated, neither of which bodes well for you winning the listing.
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3. Be mindful of how you communicate
What you say is important, but so is how you say it. Your body language, including facial expressions and gestures, your tone of voice, and how well you listen are critical to effectively conveying the right message to potential real estate clients.
Follow these tips when trying to land new real estate listings:
- Offer a firm handshake and make direct eye contact to reveal that you are both confident and trustworthy.
- Establish rapport. The first 10 minutes of your presentation are the most important, so convey a friendly, service-oriented attitude.
- Recap the highlights of the pre-listing evaluation. Ensure that you correctly understand the seller’s motivation, needs, and expectations regarding the sale.
- Speak everyday language that everyone can understand.
- Listen more than you talk. Ask questions and then allow the client to tell you what their wants and needs are. Focus on what they are saying and never interrupt.
- Be direct, honest, and concise.
- Avoid gestures that make you seem closed off or hurried, such as crossing your arms or clicking your pen.
- Watch the client’s body language for cues that you should keep talking, stop talking, or ask a clarifying question.
- Summarize the seller’s statements to show that you were listening and understand their needs.
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4. Establish your professional credibility
To win new real estate listings, potential seller clients have to believe in your ability. So take a few minutes to talk about your accomplishments and prove that you are better than the competition. For example, you can present your selling statistics or tout your firm’s track record, and explain how those statistics beat the market average.
Even though you are selling yourself to your clients, also tell them how your accomplishments benefit them. For example, perhaps you sold 40 homes last quarter. Just stating that fact only proves that you are doing your job, not that you are any better than your competitors. It’s better to say: “The 40 homes I sold last quarter were on the market for less time than the local average. That means that I may be able to decrease the number of mortgage payments you have to make on the property.”
5. Discuss the listing price
If you conducted the pre-listing interview, you have an idea of the seller’s expectations for pricing the property. Now you want to revisit that and offer them the amount or range that you believe the house is worth. If you use a range, keep it small to avoid overpricing.
Next, explain why you chose that specific price or range, and share any factual data, including comparables and market data, which support your decision. Spend some time talking with the client until you can agree on an exact price—before you obtain and close the contract.
6. Close the contract
If all goes well, as soon as you mutually agree on pricing, directly and confidently ask your prospects to do business with you. Present the listing contract to them, give them time to look it over, and answer any questions they may have. After they sign with you, outline what comes next, and assure them that they have made the best choice by hiring you.
If they do not sign with you at the end of the presentation, ask them when you can expect an answer. Then, do some immediate follow-up work such as mailing a written thank you note, calling them the next day to provide further information, or securing another in-person meeting.
7. Overcome sellers’ objections
If things don’t go as planned, and the seller shares doubts and objections with you, don’t get discouraged. It’s a regular part of the process. Here are few steps you can take to handle objections effectively:
- Rehearse in advance. The two most common objections raised by sellers are property pricing and commission rates, so practice your responses in advance. Your broker may have scripts you can use, or you can ask your mentor, a confidant, or your broker to do some role-playing with you.
- Answer politely and confidently. You know that you have done your homework and can back your statements. Plus, you know your worth as an agent. Be confident and rely on your training, market statistics, performance record, competitive market analysis, and other tools to prove your point respectfully—and never defensively.
- Address issues at the end of the conversation. Politely ask the seller to defer their point until later in the discussion. Most sellers will not bring up the issue again because you either address their concerns or they forget about it altogether.
- Think before you speak. Listen to the objection carefully, pause, and collect your thoughts before answering. Doing so prevents you from reacting too quickly or in a manner that upsets the seller.
- Ask clarifying questions. Ensure that you understand the objection clearly by asking some questions. Then summarize their concerns, and ask if your take on the subject is correct.
Sometimes agents with bottom-barrel commission rates and unscrupulous antics may beat you to the punch when it comes to landing new real estate listings. But, by taking these steps, you can increase your chances of winning the listing and closing the contract.