How can you convert more listing appointments into signed listings? Tami Bonnell, the CEO of EXIT Realty, says it starts with the mind-body connection, asking four key questions and becoming the solution to your clients’ problems rather than being the local expert or “trusted adviser.”
I normally wouldn’t expect the CEO of a major real estate franchise to be an expert on listing appointments, but in this week’s video, Bonnell shares a powerful approach that not only helps you take more listings, but also create customers for life.
The mind-body connection
According to Bonnell, who is also a third-degree black belt, martial arts is more about the mind-body connection and being in control as opposed to fighting.
In the circumstances we’re facing right now, she advised that the more you can stay in the present tense, the better off you’re going to be.
“For me, when I’m in the present tense, and I’m really present, I’m actively listening to another person,” Bonnell said. “I make [the conversation] personal — completely about that person. I put myself in their shoes. I do homework on the human being more than I actually do on the product, to find out what’s really important to that person, what their personality type is.”
Bonnell then Googles them, friends them on Facebook, connects with them on LinkedIn and finds out what’s going on in their real world. Whenever someone tells her that she seems to do a lot of homework, Bonnell typically responds by saying that the client is important enough for her to do that homework.
‘Value equals income’
According to Bonnell, the most important question an agent should ask is: How can I add value to your life? It doesn’t matter who Bonnell is in front of, her goal is always to add value to her clients — whether they list with her today or not. Sometimes, Bonnell said, the timing is just not right for them.
At the end of the day, Bonnell’s mindset is focused on being the solution that helps people solve their problems.
Whether it’s helping them push back their mortgage payments a few months or showing how they can capitalize by investing in “opportunity zones” as a strategy to reduce their capital gains tax on their investments, this is what builds value and strong relationships that result in more listings and referral business.
The 4 questions that create value
After one of her talks on creating value, Bonnell was approached by one of her agents who was going on a listing appointment later that day and was competing against three other agents. The seller was a man his 70s who owned a business and was possibly retiring.
Bonnell advised him to do the homework (search the seller on Google, friend him on Facebook, check his LinkedIn profile, and find out more about him as a person). She then told him to ask the four following questions:
- Where do you see yourself in the next one to three years?
- What are your real estate dreams?
- If you could wave a magic wand in a perfect world, paint that picture for me.
- Why are you having me over to list your house? Do you want to list today, or is there something you want to get for a return out of listing your property?
The agent followed Bonnell’s advice. He discovered the seller wanted to retire to a waterfront property on the North Carolina coast in two or three years. The agent advised the seller that area was appreciating rapidly, and it would be smart to buy as soon as possible. The agent then referred the seller to another agent who could help him with his purchase.
The agent also recommended that it would smart to delay selling his current property because it was still appreciating. The agent would stay in touch to keep the seller apprised if there was any change in the trends.
This advice stopped the seller short. The three other agents were only focused on taking the listing. The agent also explained the benefits of investing in opportunity zones.
The bottom line was the seller bought the home in North Carolina. By waiting to sell his existing property, he received $150,000 more than he would have if he had sold earlier.
Moreover, with the agent’s help in terms of understanding short-term rentals and opportunity zones, the seller ended up paying off the investment property in two years. This agent helped the seller increase his net worth by about $2.4 million.
Be the solution
Bonnell explains the benefits of using this approach. Although you may not always get the listing, what you’re attempting to do is a build a reputation that you’ll always work directly with the client on their behalf and find solutions to their problems.
Too many people are worried about the gadgets and gizmos galore. “I believe in the human behind the device and the human behind the transaction,” she said. “If we can do any of those things that’ll make the transaction easier, smoother, faster, more effective, I’m all in.”
However, she added, technology can never replace the value agents can bring to the transaction. Agents have an opportunity to pour not just their hearts, but also their vast knowledge and expertise into their clients so they can make the best decision possible based on where they are right now.
“We’ve got to get rid of that salesperson mentality and get into that solution mentality,” she said.
If you want to earn your keep, justify your paycheck, and compete against the $8.8 billion that was spent with disruptors last year, you must be able to show your sellers how you will give them a great return. If the seller gets a great return, do they really care how much they pay you in commission?
Bonnell had this final piece of advice about what you can do to take more listings. Take 120 seconds at the beginning of the day, before any appointments, to picture how you want your day or that appointment to go. Picture how you want the people to feel. The end result? You will come closer and closer to what you picture every time.
For additional information on ways you can provide more value to your sellers on your next listing appointment, be sure to watch this week’s video above with Tami Bonnell.
Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateC