Use these tips to develop a better rapport with prospective sellers, and you’ll be well on your way to developing solid relationships with clients who trust you.

Looking for more advice? Check out Inman’s New Agent Essentials.

This article last updated March 10, 2022.

Listing presentations are a basic building block for a successful real estate career. Done poorly, listing presentations cost you clients, and that means lost business and no commissions. Done properly, however, listing presentations can help you quickly build trust among clients, their family and their friends, which goes a long way to building a successful, long-term career in real estate.

But listing presentations can be intimidating. Just you and the client and the market analysis — and all they really care about is the dollar figure on the last page. To help you stand out and win the confidence of your potential seller clients, here are 10 tips to make a lasting impression on your next listing presentation.

Presentation prep

1. Study hard, and know the market

Know more about the recent comparable sales and on-market competitive properties than anyone else they will talk to. You should spend two to three hours reviewing the listing competition and recent sales.

It’s always impressive if you can recite recent home sales or recall the competition in conversation with your prospective client without referencing your notes.

You’re the expert, so make sure this new client feels confident in your knowledge by demonstrating it with ease.

2. Create a marketing strategy that appeals to your ideal buyer

An organized plan of what you will be doing should you win the listing should roll off of your tongue when the time presents itself during your meeting.

First, who are the potential buyers? Your prospective client’s profile may be the best clue. Think about who might be interested in the home, and be prepared to speak about the possible buyer profiles.

How are you going to reach those buyers? Write down a plan and present your ideas in a cohesive way with dates attached if possible.

Not sure where to start? How about this: “The 10 things I will do to sell this home.”

In many cases we attach a one-page marketing sheet to our listing exclusive to guarantee to our client that we intend to follow through on things promised. You could offer this as well.

3. Dress appropriately 

Dress for success, and dress to your audience. In my market, I’ll opt for an open collar shirt on downtown listing presentations and throw on a tie for an uptown pitch.

Many assumptions can be made by your prospective sellers based on your dress. They could even be led to believe you won’t be able to relate to the probable buyer based on how you are dressed.

A disheveled appearance can send the message of apathy or disorganization. Why would they trust you with their most valuable asset?

4. Come prepared, even if you think it’s in the bag

Did your best client just make an introduction to their sister or mother to sell a property? You might walk in the door to a glass of wine and hors d’oeuvres, but don’t come unprepared.

I’ve learned to bring my full marketing presentation and sale valuation even when it seems a foregone conclusion that the listing will be mine to sell. Don’t take it for granted you are getting the listing.

During the presentation

5. Listen more than you speak

As agents, we are eager to get into our presentation and dazzle our potential client with all of the great technology and marketing that is available to them should they hire us instead of our competition.

Instead, how about starting with a generous ear? I feel my presentation is going well if 20 minutes into our meeting, the client is speaking more than I am.

Good listening can signal the highest priorities or concerns for the seller, and you can direct your presentation in a way that addresses those priorities and concerns.

6. Ask the right questions

Of course, to be a good listener, you have to ask questions. During listing presentations, I’m curious to hear about why they are selling.

Learning details about the sellers and their love for their home can help you market it to future buyers. Believe it or not, clients will be surprised if you stop your presentation, take a moment and ask them a few questions.

Ask questions like:

  • Why are you selling?
  • Where would you like to live after you’ve sold your home?
  • What do you love about your apartment/home and neighborhood?
  • What is your favorite or least favorite part of the home?
  • Why did you buy the apartment?
  • How did you find it?
  • Any challenges?

When asked genuinely, questions can invite conversation and help build a relationship.

Everyone wants to feel appreciated, and having a deeper conversation shows you’re interested in the homeowner’s well-being, not in just making a quick sale.

7. Explain why they should choose you — briefly

You might know how hard you work, how trustworthy you are and how much you want to do right by your clients, but your potential clients don’t know this — and they won’t believe you just because you say it.

Instead, take a page from a good storyteller’s book: Show them, don’t tell them.

Rather than telling the sellers how you (and your team) are hard workers, provide an illustrative example of how you helped a similar homeowner. Be specific. Tell them exactly how hard you worked to help out those sellers. Just leave out any identifying details (you don’t want them to think you go around telling other people’s secrets).

Another option is to present your experience and your education and show how it will help them get top dollar for their home.

For instance, if you’re known in the neighborhood, show them your years of experience and knowledge with the area. If you’ve taken courses to improve your skillset — such as negotiating skills or home staging — let your clients know.

And if past clients leave positive reviews, present them in an easy-to-read manner, while offering a little insight into how you helped that client.

Just remember, don’t take up too much of their time talking about you. (We suggest practicing your “I’m the one” pitch and get it down to three or four minutes, max!)

8. Use data cleverly

With the internet, every piece of information is easily accessible through any gadget. One way you can use this easily accessible information is to provide context. While most agents will offer a comparative market analysis, consider upping the game by offering a bit more.

For instance, do the homes in the area that sell the fastest always use the same listing descriptions? Point this out. Or perhaps three-bedroom homes are in demand, but only in the winter months. Point this out.

The more contextual insight you can offer to the everyday statistics your client can find, the more useful you will be to the client — and that translates into trust in your abilities to get the job done.

9. Leave the price to last

For most listing presentations, the “suggested” list price is in big bold letters on the front of the listing presentation. To help you build rapport and spend time with your prospective clients, consider turning the presentation around, and starting from the back.

This means, explaining a bit about why you’re the right person, before helping them understand the current market and how their home fits into the selling environment. The idea is to grow their knowledge and show your expertise while building a sense of anticipation. That way, when you do get to the “final” page — the list price — your clients will be waiting with bated breath.


10. Personalize your follow-up

In addition to an email follow up with a PDF copy of your presentation, send a handwritten thank you note to the client within days of your presentation. Make the investment in personal stationery on heavy card stock.

Besides being reminded of you again when they receive your beautiful card, the prospective seller is getting a dose of how you will follow up with prospective purchasers when you are marketing their listing. The handwritten note is above and beyond.

Use these tips to develop a better rapport with prospective sellers, and you’ll be well on your way to developing solid relationships with clients who trust you.

Josh Doyle is a real estate agent with Compass in New York City. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Mustafa Abbasi is the president of Zolo Realty in Canada. Follow Zolo on Facebook or Twitter.

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