Listings: your life blood in tough times

In a tight market and times of economic uncertainty Real Estate agents need to develop an effective strategy to obtain the better listings. Story by Paula Irvine.

Remember you as the agent are in business for yourself. You need to find good saleable stock, then service and retain clients and customers – not just over the short term, but for life. This philosophy will lead to you being seen as a true professional, with a great reputation and long term good sustainable income.

We define ‘good saleable stock’ as a listing where the owner is genuine in wishing to sell and, within reason, you are confident that they are (or soon will be) willing to accept a fair market price.

When it comes to the skill of listing property well, it is often necessary to obtain a listing at the first opportunity of visiting the property and at the same time conduct a listing interview with all the decision makers/owner(s) of the property. This is particularly important given the competitive nature of today’s market.

The ultimate outcome is setting up two successful appointments; one for the appraisal and a second for signing the listing. But in many cases the luxury of having these two appointments are long gone. Why? Because, how well your listing appointment will go is usually in direct proportion to how well your ‘pre listing chat’ went.

If you have the ability to create a relationship of respect, trust and ability over the phone, you will be ahead of most of your competitors who have been called to provide an opinion as well. Remember, even if you are highly recommended, almost all prospective clients serious about selling their property will want to do a comparison by talking to a few other sales agents.

Tips on how to focus on client-based listings

  • Pick the people that you want to do business with – avoid nasty people or time wasters
  • Give something back to your clients and you will keep them. Note: Expensive gifts are not always necessary. A polite thank you may be all you need to do.
  • 75 per cent of all good business comes from referrals – it is just too hard working with the cold stuff most of the time.
  • You cannot ‘sell and tell’ how good you are – the only credible person able to do this is a previous, happy client.
  • Create a good client-based system to keep in touch with all clients, customers etc. Note: Make sure you do not call anyone who may be registered on the ‘do not call register’. We recommend you ‘wash’ (ie update) your database every 30 days.

Listing skills checklist

  • Stay on track and stay focused – the only successful way to achieve a saleable controlled listing is to stay on track. Staying on track is part of the tried and tested method of successful listing.
  • Get information ahead of time – try to get most of the information you need to prepare a market analysis, proposal and/or submission over the phone. For example you could say: Thank you for your enquiry regarding selling your property, but before I make an appointment, could you briefly describe your property to me so I can take a few notes? I do this so I can prepare and have some necessary information ready for you and also prepare for any questions that you might have.

When you do ask the prospects to describe the property, you start to build a rapport by supporting their description with comments like that sounds unusual.

By obtaining a description before you visit the property, you will not be a stranger when you call, and can refer back to your conversation with applicable comments. Explain that the information is required to save time at the inspection.

Then add:-Thanks for that information Mrs Smith. May I ask you; have you an idea of the price you would like to obtain for the property?”

And if they have:-Could you tell me how you arrived at the price? Was it suggested by a Real Estate agent, or have you compared your price to prices of similar properties sold in your neighbourhood recently?

The answers given will provide you with important information for your listing presentation.

Setting up the listing appointment

You will need to make sure that, if humanly possible, all decision makers/registered owners of the property will be available for the listing appointment. Set a time and day by using the ‘alternate choice confirmation’.

A typical dialogue for arranging an appointment could be: Mrs Smith, I would like to save you time and trouble by explaining my Real Estate services to both yourself and any other decision makers at the same time. By doing this, I have found that all your questions can be answered on the spot. Is that OK with you?

To set the time and day, I can come to see you early tomorrow evening but I’m afraid I might not be exactly on time as I do have to service other property owners and sometimes my early appointments run overtime. However, I can promise you that, depending on any questions you may have, my inspection and subsequent meeting should be completed in a little over an hour. So, when would you like me to inspect your property and meet with you and other decision makers? Would tomorrow night at 6pm suit you, or would you prefer 7.30pm?

Remember listings equal success in Real Estate. If you follow these few simple tips you will be surprised at the time it saves, the favourable decisions you will get and the number of listings you will have. You can learn more practical techniques on saleable stock and listings at Kaplan Professional’s new eLearning Centre. www.kaplan123.com.au

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Paula Irvine

Paula is a well respected Real Estate agent with over 25 years of practical experience across the industry and property training. Paula is the RTO Manager at Harcourts Academy.