Listing Don'ts: Why Generic Presentations Get Generic Results

Featured in Inman News
As partially excerpted from Plan to Win.

I don’t know why they went with another agent,” complained an agent I had just started coaching. Let's call him, "Learner Larry". Instinctively, I asked Learner Larry to go through his listing presentation with me.  I cringed as he proceeded.  Learner Larry's presentation was painfully generic. And frankly, it was no mystery as to why he was not hired to list the home.  

Perhaps his mistakes and our subsequent discussion can help you along the path to win over every listing prospect.

What it Means to Have a Generic Presentation (and How to Fix It):

Simply Print the CMA Report from your Local MLS  
In less than 5 minutes, we can typically log into our local MLS site and print a market analysis for would-be home sellers.  What a time-saver, right?  Not quite, especially if the home seller is interviewing multiple agents (which you should always assume that they ARE).  You need something to set up apart.

Real estate sales pros, whether new or experienced, at times, get caught in this generic trap because it seems to save time.  But time saved in making a better presentation is not really beneficial if you do not win the client.  In truth, a run-of-the-mill, ordinary presentation can cost us more time, money, and energy if we have to find more leads to make up for the ones we lost.

To win listings, not only do we have to stand apart from other sales agents but we also have to prove over savviness trumps that of the Google-searching homeowner.  Typically, a generic report does not do that.

THE FIX: Create a customizable SWOT template to add to each of your listing presentations and market analysis.  Congratulate their home’s strengths, politely point out property weaknesses that may be deal killers or price reduction instigators, discuss the opportunities in the market (including the best time to sell/list based on seasonal trends) and warn of threats (such as rising rates, re-districting, etc.) that could compromise selling at the desired price. The time-saver comes into play if you specialize in neighborhoods that have the same market opportunities and threats, meaning these sections can be re-used.

Also, make your presentation memorable.  Usually, basic printouts are not.  If your presentation does not spark an “ooh” “ahh” “aha” or “wow” from the prospect, then you may not be primed to win. Make a show of:
1. Deliverables from other listings you (your team or firm) have marketed
2. Before and after staging pictures
3. Cool examples of properties that used VR technology (i.e. MatterPort, etc.)
4. Your online marketing (i.e. Search Alliance/HomeASAP, Facebook Ad metrics, etc.)
5. And whatever else you do to get a home sold

If you are at a loss for a snazzy presentation design, Canva is a very user- and budget-friendly option.  If you want to be able to track opens, shares and other metrics combined with a slick, online interface, ISSUU is an impressive alternative. And if the homeowners do not mind, connect to their Apple TV or Chromecast to enhance their visuals or travel with your own (suggestion courtesy of Nobu Hata).

Stick to the Printout
Some sales agents not only print a non-customized CMA but then dispassionately read it verbatim, offering little or no expertise tailored to the homeowner’s needs.  Often, when this happens, you may find that the homeowner then preempts your presentation or downright takes over your talk.

THE FIX: Dig deeper.  Look up and even visit the comparables properties.  Plan to discuss their strengths and weaknesses compared to your prospect’s home.  This all seems intuitive but when there is a time crunch this is likely compromised.

Just Talk Numbers
Homeowners are concerned about price, and rightfully so.  But the sales agent’s objective must always be to convey value not just talk numbers.  If you allow the conversation to focus only on numbers, then you may compromise the listing price or your commission in desperation to get the listing.  No bueno.  
THE FIX:  Demonstrate your value.  This is one of the foundational purposes of the listing appointment.  Share client testimonies (if you are a new agent share the testimonies of your team or firm).  Outline your specific duties and process to help make the transaction smooth.  Do not be modest or time-conscious here.  List everything you do in detail, especially tasks that differentiate you or your firm because not all home sellers understand or appreciate your role.  Truthfully, I find that many agents that lose out on listings do not do this well.  This is your time to shine unapologetically.

Do All The Talking
It is vital to stay in control of the presentation but not at the expense of not hearing a peep from the homeowner.  With today’s technology, many homeowners can find general selling reports but those documents cannot do what you do - add a personal yet professional perspective and sales strategy.  But that first takes listening to the homeowner’s needs.

THE FIX:  Prior to the in-person appointment, take a needs assessment.  Find out:
1. Why they want to sell
2. What financial obligations (e.g. multiple mortgages, tax lien, divorce, estate sale, etc.) and time constraints (e.g. school starts, job/military relocation, etc.) may restrict the sale
3. What made this home special, which tells a story that can attract buyers in your marketing

"Learner Larry" did indeed learn these lessons to avoid generic presentations so I hope this helps you too.

Sound off - I would love to hear from you!  Give me a shout on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+ or by visiting LearnWithLee.Realtor.  And, be sure to tell the real estate agents you know to get a copy of the 5-star rated workbook, Plan to Win, to transform their real estate sales game plan.  Here's to your success!
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