The listing presentation in real estate is all about the soft skills. A real estate agent’s personality, communication style and rapport will largely drive the success or failure of this critical conversation.

This spring, Inman is obsessing over helping you to tune-up your listings business, with actionable insights, the best advice from top agents and hundreds of helpful stories from all over the world. This is the final part of a five-part editorial series on improving your listings game (and general success in real estate) this season. View the rest of our “Spring Cleaning” stories here.

The listing presentation in real estate is all about the soft skills. Sure, you can’t convince a seller to put what’s likely their biggest financial asset in your hands without knowing your stuff inside and out. But a real estate agent’s personality, communication style and rapport will largely drive the success or failure of this critical conversation, according to Inman’s research.

But that doesn’t mean the presentation should be all about you.

“I worked in consulting for over 20 years before I became a Realtor,” a former Illinois consultant commented in Inman’s survey last year on listing presentation success. “We had lots of sales training and the best lesson I learned was to always ask: ‘So what?’ after everything I want to communicate. So often people sell features about themselves, for example: ‘I’m the top agent in my office.’ A seller needs to know, ‘so what does that mean to me?’ Whenever I make a statement, I try to translate it into a benefit for the seller.”

Rising above the competition

How agents articulate their strategy for marketing a seller’s home and the comparative market analysis are second and third on the list of listing presentation influencers, and to stay alive in competitive markets, some agents are finding little but impactful ways to go above and beyond and stand out from the crowd.

Brandon Doyle, a Minneapolis-based Realtor, uses a couple of tech tools in his business to make an impression: Homesnap — to give clients a range of real-time statistics on details like neighborhood pricing and school zones — as well as Realvision, which allows agents to capture 360-degree tours with an off-the-shelf camera. Doyle brings iPads to let the client navigate a number of examples of his marketing prowess.

“It’s a pretty powerful piece, and it sets us apart,” Doyle told Inman. “I know we’ve had instances in the past where we’ve interviewed a seller, and as they’ve interviewed several other agents, they’ve said: ‘That’s one thing you did that other agents didn’t.'”

In a podcast interview with real estate veteran Pat Hiban, listing legend Russell Shaw boasts of a no-hassle listing process and offered some key tips for agents, from advice that’s as simple as be on time, to less obvious tactics like finding the right setting inside a home to sit down and talk that feels both professional and comfortable.

“After Shaw has viewed the home and selected a good spot to give his listing presentation, he’ll often ask for a glass of water,” wrote Hiban, describing Shaw’s strategy. “When presenting to couples, this helps him determine who the decision maker is and allows him to focus his attention on him or her while presenting.”

Paul Domenech, an agent based in Shalimar, North Florida, shows prospective clients funny videos highlighting how he’s gone the extra mile by improving properties for sellers — such as by helping them paint or fix a fence, he shared in Inman’s special report on listing presentations. He even once took the furniture out of his own home to help stage a vacant house.

Moreover, Kristin McFeely of the Philadelphia-based Philly Home Girls likes to create a book and tailor the presentation to each client.

“We have a book that we use with our own photographs, our own content and it’s branded to us,” she said. “We kind of make the listing presentation an event that’s specific to them. We leave them with something of value. It’s a real book that oftentimes we’ll come back and find it sitting on their coffee table after the fact.”

First come, first serve

Once they’ve got a listing appointment, some agents will send over a pre-listing package to share a little about themselves, their personal stats and how they go about selling homes. This paves the way for a more relaxed listing presentation, during which the seller gets to talk first and answer questions before you tailor your presentation to them on the spot.

Citing a study from the National Association of Realtors, real estate coach and trainer Greg Lyles wrote in a piece for Inman that 70 percent of homeowners will only interview one agent before listing, and 87 percent will only interview two. If you’re not first in the door, you’re likely not getting that listing.

The perfect pre-listing presentation contains a few key elements, according to Lyles, including a catchy name, an introduction letter and short personal bio, an agent’s track record of results and some information about how the agent plans to generate interest in the sellers’ home.

“A pre-listing presentation enables you to get your proven approach to marketing homes into the hands of homeowners before they are ready to talk with agents,” Lyles said. “This places you ahead of the competition.”

Email Patrick Kearns

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