David Michonski’s new book, “Winning Listing Presentations (For Life),” is packed with great scripts and strategies that can help you convert more listing appointments into signed listings. Which ones will you use on your next listing appointment?

“Winning Listing Presentations (For Life)” is a must-read for any agent who wants to improve his or her listing presentation, with one major caveat: Michonski’s approach trains you to focus on how to present yourself and your skills to a seller. The book and scripts are packed with “I” language, which places the focus on the agent rather than using “you” language, which focuses on the seller. Here’s a script from the book that illustrates the issue:

“May I tell you a little about how I work? I’m having a package delivered to you. In it you will find information about me and my company, the market, and what others have said about my marketing.”

Now compare this agent-focused script to a seller-focused script that uses “you” language instead:

“Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the marketing of your home. Later today you will be receiving a package that contains the latest market statistics plus a premium marketing plan designed to help you achieve the highest possible price for your property in the shortest amount of time.”

Questions coupled with give-to-get

Where Michonski really nails it is using a questioning approach tied with “give-to-get” marketing (i.e., the law of reciprocity).

“Make a leap of faith to a question-based presentation and reverse the actions to: “Don’t tell; do ask.”

The book contains dozens of questions that will help you build rapport, uncover what matters most to the sellers, as well as being able to close them more easily. Two questions that allow you to probe these issues are:

  • “What do you like most about the area (the subdivision, condo complex, etc.)?” and
  • “What are your best memories of this house?”

An important part of rapport building is giving compliments. For example, if the sellers have a beautifully manicured garden, compliment them on it and follow up with a question: “Do you do your own gardening or do you have someone else help you?”

Finally, once you secure the listing, Michonski suggests giving sellers a small thank-you gift (e.g., a $15 Starbucks gift card) as a final step in your presentation.

Overcoming pricing objections

How many times have you heard the objection, “But Zillow says my property is worth more!”? Michonski has some powerful strategies for coping with this as well as other pricing objections.

When possible, Michonski suggests that you “park” the pricing discussion until you have had time to deeply probe the sellers’ past experience, their expectations, and their motivation for moving.

The next step is to let the sellers know that you specialize in the type of property they own. One of the best techniques for achieving this goal is to share testimonials from past customers whose properties were in the same price range, geographical location, and that have recently sold. Also make sure that you have permission from your past sellers to share their contact information. He also suggests that you include the percentage of asking price at which your listings sold.

To overcome the “Zillow objection,” Michonski recommends that you use the “various indicators” approach. For example, if the seller wants to use Zillow’s pricing model, point out that there are various other indicators of the price. These can include services such as the HomeSnap app (which lets you photograph the property and it generates a comparable sale amount), the local taxing authority, past comparable sales from the local MLS, as well as a valuation from a professional appraiser.

This approach illustrates that every property has a range in which it will sell while simultaneously helping the sellers understand that there are numerous ways to price their property.

A different approach is to take the sellers out to view the various competitive listings or to do it virtually in their living room using the online photos. Ask the sellers to rate the various properties, including which properties have better, similar or poorer features. This will help the sellers see how their property compares and persuade them to be more realistic.

Objection-overcoming strategy

Michonski employs a powerful strategy that works well with almost any type of objection. The first step is to repeat the objection and to then ask the sellers, “Did I repeat that correctly?” Next, validate them for asking the question. The simple act of repeating and validating may be enough to make the objection go away.

If it doesn’t eliminate the objection, you can follow up by asking, “Would you like to get the highest possible price, sell in the shortest time possible, or some combination of both?” Depending upon how they answer, you can then go on to discuss the various services you provide to help them achieve their personal selling goals.

If you want some great ideas, scripts and strategies to upgrade your listing presentation for 2014, pick up this book and apply some of the strategies. Also, be sure to eliminate the “I” language from your presentations and use “you” language to keep the focus on the seller.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of the National Association of Realtors’ No. 1 best-seller, “Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success.” Hear Bernice’s five-minute daily real estate show, just named “new and notable” by iTunes, at www.RealEstateCoachRadio.com.

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