Join the exceptional and become a Sotheby's International Realty agent.
Luxury real estate agents have to connect with clients half a world away, and while we’re well-equipped for remote work, there are certain situations that pose challenges — including now, as clients around the world are being requested to practice social distancing. Knowing that fewer clients are able to meet in-person — but still want to sell their homes — how can you create and deliver an effective listing presentation?
In my market of Los Angeles, as with any market in the world, the challenges of virtual listing presentations are inherent:
- Fostering relationships with clients when you can’t engage face-to-face.
- Tailoring presentations when you haven’t visited the property in person.
- Relying on technology for virtual presentations, when not everyone has the same tools or experience navigating online platforms.
Despite these variables, you can create a virtual listing presentation that will win over your would-be clients. Here are five of my top strategies.
1. Have modular presentations prepared
Since it may not always be possible to visit a property before making your presentation, look at similar homes you’ve listed in the past. My team and I maintain a number of previous presentations that we can use to help prospective clients visualize how their homes can be marketed.
Do your due diligence and learn everything you can about the home — its architecture, its history, its neighborhood — but at the end of the day, it’s your past experience with similar properties that will help win you the listing. Work with your marketing department to craft a customized piece that speaks to your target sellers as specifically as possible.
2. Mine your clients’ knowledge
Oftentimes, the only way to answer all of your questions about a given property is to ask the homeowners themselves — and this is a great opportunity to gain pointed insights for your presentation. When connecting with potential sellers for the first time, here are some topics to focus on:
- For your listing presentation, what kind of communication technology are they comfortable with? Can you FaceTime with them? If they’re business professionals, they may have access to Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Perhaps they’d prefer a good old fashioned phone call — but whenever possible, opt for video to allow you to gauge client responses in real time.
- In the luxury space, it’s common for homeowners to be selling a second or third home where they’re not currently living. If that’s the case, it’s worth asking if they have an assistant, housekeeper, or relative at the residence that can walk you through it ahead of your presentation.
- Above all, find out what your clients would like to talk about and learn from you during your listing presentation. Ask them what they love most about the home they’re selling — it’s these personal memories and anecdotes that will paint a more lifelike picture of the home and help you create a truly impactful marketing strategy.
3. Provide digital and physical resources
Regardless of the technological capabilities of your audience, cover your bases by sending a copy that your client can print well in advance of your scheduled appointment. As you talk them through your presentation, it’s helpful to be able to reference page numbers — and if you’re having a phone conversation, you have the peace of mind of knowing your clients have a physical asset in hand.
4. Keep it a discussion
The term “listing presentation” is a misnomer. Rather than a speech or formal pitch, It’s imperative that your listing presentation is an interactive, two-way conversation in which you listen more than you talk. Ask your clients what their top priority is in selling this property: 90 percent of the time they’ll say the price, but this isn’t always the case and it’s critical to not make assumptions. Timing may be the most important factor for them when it comes to the sale, or they may be motivated for personal, professional, or financial reasons. As an agent, it’s your job to really hear and acknowledge where your clients are coming from.
For virtual listings presentations, it’s also helpful to be conscious of how long you plan to talk. A phone call or video conference that lasts for two hours will likely be tiring or awkward for the homeowner; when working in this format, focus solely on the essential points.
5. Alleviate uncertainty with clear next steps
To cinch the listing, be prepared to share an informed launch strategy. Be aware of what’s happening locally and globally: will you go to market within weeks, or gauge the situation over the next month? It’s a very case-by-case consideration, but one that should be addressed in your conversation.
This is also a good time to go through the digital marketing tools your real estate company has at its disposal, such as high-quality videography and virtual 3D tours. It’s technologies like these that will differentiate a luxury listing at a time when buyers may be less willing to travel abroad to view a home.
Times are changing — and so are our marketing and media strategies. We have everything we need to take our listings presentations online, enabling us to provide high-value service to our clients and prospects no matter where in the world they live.
As a licensed attorney and real estate broker, Joe Cilic is affiliated with Sotheby’s International Realty in Los Angeles, Joe has a true passion for real estate and has extensive personal experience buying, renovating and selling homes for a profit. His clients often leverage his keen eye for design, whether it is to prepare their home for sale or envision the possibilities with a home that they are considering for purchase. When he isn’t working or volunteering, Joe can be found spending time with his wife and two young children in Pacific Palisades.
About Sotheby’s International Realty
Sotheby’s International Realty was founded in 1976 as a real estate service for discerning clients of Sotheby’s auction house. Today, the company’s global footprint spans 990 offices located in 72 countries and territories worldwide, including 43 company-owned brokerage offices in key metropolitan and resort markets. In February 2004, Realogy entered into a long-term strategic alliance with Sotheby’s, the operator of the auction house. The agreement provided for the licensing of the Sotheby’s International Realty name and the development of a franchise system. The franchise system is comprised of an affiliate network, where each office is independently owned and operated. Sotheby’s International Realty supports its affiliates and agents with a host of operational, marketing, recruiting, educational and business development resources. Affiliates and agents also benefit from an association with the venerable Sotheby’s auction house, established in 1744. For more information, visit www.sothebysrealty.com.
The affiliate network is operated by Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC, and the company owned brokerages are operated by Sotheby’s International Realty, Inc. Both entities are subsidiaries of Realogy Holdings Corp. (NYSE: RLGY) a global leader in real estate franchising and provider of real estate brokerage, relocation and settlement services. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC and Sotheby’s International Realty Inc., both fully support the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act.