So now you’ve generated a seller lead, and you’ve pre-qualified that lead (you had better!). That means that the seller(s) have a need, or compelling reason, to sell. Furthermore, when pre-qualifying, you find out they don’t owe more than it’s worth (unless you want to do short sales, and I’ll talk about short sales in a future post).
Hopefully you’ve sent them a pre-listing package, or at the very least you have one prepared to bring them (I preferred to send them ahead of time). With all do respect to some big named real estate companies and the printing shops…lose the shiny, glossy hand-outs. You really only need a few things in the package, everything else is overkill.
Think about it, when Publisher’s Clearing House sends you the “You may already be a winner” envelope, if you actually want to enter, or order a magazine, don’t you just blow through all the letters “from the President” of the company, and ads for microwaveable plastic no-wash dishwear for 9.99? It’s the same with a pre-listing package. Cut the fluff. Just include the CMA, your references/testimonials, your track record (or your office’s) and what you’re going to do to sell their home. Leave the 21 point advertising/marketing system back at the office.
1. Don’t be surprised by your competition – And don’t be fooled into thinking you’re the only one they’re talking to either. During your pre-qualification or appointment confirmation you need to find out if they’re interviewing other agents. This accomplishes two things: 1) it allows you to know your competition, so you can compare stats on your appointment if they favor you, 2) it allows you to choose when you want your appointment. If they’re interviewing more than 2 agents (including you), then you will want to go first or last. That’s your choice, based on your self-confidence and skills. I won’t tell you what you should choose, because either has it’s pro’s and con’s (list below), but don’t be in the middle if you can help it. You’ll get lost in the shuffle.
PROS – Good first impressions last; you can “help” them interview your competition by giving the sellers questions/objections to ask; you can get them to sign with you and offer to cancel the other appointments for them; signing with you might also take a load off their shoulders since they don’t want to keep interviewing.
CONS – You have to be aggressive in closing which may come off as pushy; they’ve committed to other agents, so cancelling may not be an option for them; studies have shown that your chances of getting a listing signed drastically decrease when you leave the house with no signatures, especially if they’re interviewing other agents.
PROS – You’re like the mop-up person, cleaning up the mess left by the other agents – they’ve been through the rest, now here’s the best; they’re glad to have the interviewing over and ready to do something; they have no obligation to anyone after you, so it’s easier to get them to sign.
CONS – Someone good (or who tells them what they want to hear) may have gotten to them ahead of you, and you’re one of the appointments that gets canceled; you still have to be somewhat aggressive in closing them because they may want to digest everything they heard from all the agents (we want to think about it, we always take 24 hours before we sign a contract, etc.).
2. NEVER go on an appointment if it won’t be with everyone who has to legally sign the listing – You doing a presentation might wow someone into signing. Mrs. Smith translating your listing appointment to her husband, who was working late that day and couldn’t be there, will not work at all. Think about it like this: is it more inspiring to see your favorite singer/band in concert (or even just listen to their music on CD), or to hear someone tell you about them?
It’s a waste of your time to do the appointment for a partial party, and only two things will typically happen: 1) you won’t get the listing, or 2) if you’re lucky, you’ll have to drive back and do the appointment over again.
So, when confirming, make sure all the signatures will be present, or reschedule for when they will be.
3. BE PREPARED!!
A. Mentally – don’t compare yourself to your competition; practice your presentation; listen to motivational/inspirational CD programs or music on the way over; psyche yourself up.
B. Verbally – practice, practice, practice; you need to have a script for any sales presentation, something you can fall back on so you’re not winging it and umming your way through; practice objection handlers (click here for our Now What Do I say? objection handler product line of books and audio programs).
C. Physically – show up on time, or a little before; dress professionally, clean yourself up; have your materials prepared in the order you will refer to them; smile!
4. Focus on the sellers – The sellers don’t care about you and how you’re number one, etc. They care about getting their home sold for the most money, and quickly. You’re a neccessary evil. If they could point and click on their computer and their home would be sold, they would do that. Don’t make the mistake of thinking they want to have a friend or hear all about you and your dog, Zippy.
A. Learn how to get into instant rapport – At You’re The Difference, we have telecourses that teach you proven methods of getting in rapport with anyone, anywhere, anytime. And, it starts with focusing on them, and not yourself (by the way, it isn’t finding a common ground with them, or being extra nice).
B. Ask questions – Selling isn’t telling. Questions get you answers, telling gets you “thanks, we’ll let you know, buh-bye.” Questions give you answers to their motivation, so if you listen to the answers, you can help them better. And, when you ask questions of people, it signals you’re interested in them, and that makes people happy.
C. Listen – I’m sad to have to put this in here. You need to listen to their answers. If you have your response on the tip of your tongue before they finish the sentence, you aren’t really listening and you’re just trying to show them how smart you are.
D. Keep thinking, “How can I help them?” – self explanatory, I think.
5. Be honest and pre-frame your sellers – Be honest means just that. Don’t artifically inflate the price to “buy” the listing. Don’t tell them you’ll do things you won’t actually do. Don’t promise things you won’t deliver on. Don’t make up stuff about your competition.
Pre-frame means to set your sellers up for what’s coming down the line. If you tell them about potential price reductions after 21-30 days with no offers, you won’t surprise them with the bad news when the time comes…they’ll be prepared.
Some agents actually write in automatic price reductions in the listing agreement (or have the separate, post-dated sheet signed).
6. Ask for the order – Just like I mentioned with buyer appointments, if you don’t ask them to sign the contract, they won’t. A survey was done recently and something like 90% of all salespeople don’t actually ask for the order. What a shame to waste all that time. Lead generation, pre-qualifying, preparing the package and CMA, driving to the appointment, doing a great presentation…and then leaving on a “thanks, we’ll think about it and get back to you. Have a good night.”
Until they sign the contract, they aren’t your listing. And if you walk out without a signed contract, you’ve almost guaranteed they’re not your listing. So, the worst thing that can happen when you ask them to sign the contract is for them to say “no.”
And you need to keep asking until they sign or ask you to leave. Remember above how I mentioned that if you leave with no contract you drastically decrease your chances of getting the listing? It’s actually something like 5%. So, if you want to do all the work and put in all the time so that you can have a 5% chance of getting the listing, don’t keep asking for the order. I think you get the point.
7. Don’t ever leave on a “We want to think it over.” – That’s code for things like: the other agent said they would get us more/cut their commission, or you didn’t cover all the points we wanted to hear about, or we’re not confident you can do the job. At the very least, they have some questions they didn’t ask and you didn’t cover, so you need to flush out what’s really going on. And, if you leave without that you will never get that listing.
“Excellent! So what are you going to be thinking about?”
Then you can handle objections, show them how skilled you are, answer questions they may have, etc. **Check out our Now What Do I Say? product line for more answers to the “We want to think it over” objection handler.
8. Leave – your appointments shouldn’t be hours long. And once the contract is signed, go home and be with your family. Don’t stick around chumming it up. That’s not helping them get the home sold, and it won’t help you when you ask for a price reduction.
Enjoy your listing…now get it sold!