There are six presentations that are the foundation of every successful real estate career:
- Seller/listing presentation
- Buyer presentation
- Showing homes
- Offer presentation including negotiating
- Offer writing
- Price-reduction presentation
The success of your career is based on your effectiveness with these presentations.
Your seller presentation
There are many weapons to strengthen this. Asking great questions over the phone is a technique that gives many less experienced agents an advantage over more experienced ones by creating a strong relationship before you arrive at a prospective client’s house. Of course, asking the questions includes actively listening, making thorough notes, and probing for details that will help you to help them. The three key questions to build that strong relationship are:
- Why are you considering this move?
- Ideally, when would you like to have the move complete?
- How important is it to get the move done in that time frame?
Presenting your marketing plan powerfully is another weapon. Being clear on the price you recommend while at the same time making certain that the client clearly understands that they are in control of the price is a huge weapon. It also needs to be understood that you take as long as necessary to prepare your pricing recommendation so that you have complete confidence in it.
Your buyer presentation
The questions over the phone are similar to the seller presentation.
In place of the marketing plan is your service plan. Most agents miss this step, to their detriment. It is a complete review of what happens from the moment you meet them until they are happily moved into their new home, and how you service each of those steps. Another powerful weapon is a folder or book that contains information that will give the client confidence in the whole process.
Additional useful materials for buyers:
- Copies of the most common forms they may see as they go through their purchase
- Information on all the other professionals, attorneys, inspectors, appraisers, etc., and their roles in the process as well as tips on working with them
- All the phone numbers for completing their move including those for utility companies, schools districts, etc.
There are dozens of other pieces of information you can include.
What makes this such a strong weapon is that you review it all during your presentation but they only get to keep it if they make the commitment to work with you as their agent — best if this is by exclusive contract.
Your best weapon here is your ability to recognize when you are showing them the house that they will want to buy and your skill at leading them to a decision. There are some basic sales skills to use here:
- Tie-downs. These are simple phrases that you use when the buyer is showing positive interest in some aspect of the property. As an example: "Is this the type of island in the kitchen you had in mind?" or "I could really see myself enjoying that Jacuzzi tub, couldn’t you?" These are only used when you know, for certain, the buyer likes the thing. Be careful not to overuse them — just enough to create positive momentum.
- Alternative choices are ideal when a negative shows up. For example, a buyer says, "This yard would take me all day to mow." You respond, "If you wanted this house would you get your own tractor mower or just hire that out?"
- Open-ended questions can also be effective in any situation. A buyer walks into the master bedroom and says that it really needs decorating. You say, "What would you do with it?" Or you know they like to landscape, they are admiring the yard, and you say, "What would you plant?"
- Decision-makers are questions that require clear "yes" or "no" answers and can lead directly to a decision. You are walking down the driveway back to your car. You look back and they look back with you. You say, "I kind of like it for you. Do you want to sit down and see if the numbers work on this house?"
Use these skills once you are quite certain you are in the house that the buyer wants, as applying them in every home the buyer sees or one the buyer does not like makes you appear forced and awkward.
Offer presentation and negotiating
The art of presenting an offer has died or at least is dying. Agents are faxing offers and leaving this wonderful skill in the past. (Can you tell that I am nostalgic for it?) So, let’s focus on the fun and excitement of negotiating:
- Your greatest weapon here is the information you have about your client and the other party, particularly anything and everything you know about their motivation and urgency.
- One other is your focus on the goal of the client’s purchase or sale. Real estate clients are usually completely naive negotiators. Their experience in negotiations is probably limited to being abused by unscrupulous car dealers. (There are great ones, too. But some in that business use abusive negotiating tactics.) So, your best weapon is to keep the negotiations to going back and forth the fewest number of times. Write the best offer possible. Get the best counteroffer.
- Your secret weapon is to prepare the buyer or seller at your buyer and seller presentations for how the negotiating process is going to go. You can literally shape how it will go. You can prepare clients for how you want it to go and how to make it easier on them (and on you) while assuring them it is the best way to get the most for them. You do this by simply explaining how you are going to direct and control the negotiations. You do this early at your first presentation when they are completely open to it.
Offer writing is one of the most important presentations in your business. It can make or break the deal. It can make your transaction smooth or it can make it excruciating for months. The weapon you employ here: taking the time to review the documents with your clients in detail. Explain the decisions they make regarding price, possession, financing, personal property, etc. Explain exactly what is going to happen to the paperwork from that moment until it becomes a final agreement on their purchase. What other professionals are involved? What is your role through all of it? If you anticipate any particular glitches because of the type of property, financing, inspections, or the price they offer, prepare them for how you expect that to go.
Too many agents write the offer, get signatures, and do not explain all the details. Then, as normal situations arise the agent gets upset that the client is being difficult. Preparation and explanation are the weapons of offer writing that can give you control, peace, loyalty and more referrals.
The weapon here, as in negotiating above, is in the way you prepare the seller for the price-reduction presentation at your listing presentation. You can use this price-reduction presentation three or four weeks later and every three or four weeks until the property is sold.
The secret weapon is to frame your price reduction into a marketing conversation. There are six reasons a property will or will not sell:
- The markets
You introduce this list at the listing presentation. You are actually framing how the seller looks at the salability of the property. You are literally controlling how the conversation about reducing the price will go later, if it becomes necessary.
Another weapon is presenting this as a marketing update meeting, which is, in fact, exactly what it is. All six reasons relate to the marketability of the property. The closing line when introducing this in the listing presentation is, "I promise that I will not discuss changing the price until we have addressed every other issue that may get your property sold."
Above are just a few brief descriptions and examples of how you can truly add power to your presentations. Start with just a few of the suggestions and you may find you are getting more listings easier and with more confidence — and showing fewer homes to buyers, with fewer negotiations and more referrals.
Rich Levin is a real estate coach and speaker. He is president of Rich Levin’s Success Corps Inc.
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