The natural conclusion to an awesome presentation is the seller asking you, "Where should I sign?" If you're faced with objections, and you find that you have to be a closer or an arm-twister, it simply means your presentation isn't strong enough.
Your listing presentation is the most important contact you will have with a seller prospect. In most cases, it's the first face-to-face contact you will have with this prospect, and the only chance you'll have to help them understand how you can benefit them in a way that other agents can't. In many cases, you will be in competition with other agents who will also be trying to sell their services. How well you do in this presentation will determine whether this prospect becomes your client, or someone else's.
The problem is, most agents can't really put their finger on why they lost the listing - they have no way of diagnosing what went wrong and thus what they should be doing differently next time.
Here are 9 common mistakes to avoid and proven tips to overcome them:
1) Not Demonstrating Enough (Meaningful) Value
You must demonstrate to your prospects how much more you'll do for them by explaining the unique services you provide that other agents don't offer... and be specific. Explain to them what steps you'll put in motion to get their home sold, both from a marketing perspective and in terms of who will do what. Remember this important point: price is only an issue in the absence of value. Make sure you set yourself apart from your competitors by making it abundantly and specifically clear exactly how you will do a better job.
2) Talking Price Before Presenting Benefits
If you present the price first, your prospect will stop listening. One of the most important things you need to realize when you are seated in front of the homeseller is that they are not really interviewing real estate agents -- they are choosing a sales price. Rule Number One is don't give them a sales price until they have agreed that you are the best agent with the most aggressive marketing plan and that you will be certain to find the highest bidder for their home. Get them to say that they want YOU to handle the sale for them. Then and ONLY then do you move forward with the presentation of your CMA. Otherwise, the homeowner will use your price to barter with other real estate agents they interviewed and will ultimately select a sales price, not an agent.
3) Not Determining Whether Your Prospect is Interviewing Other Realtors (Prequalifying Your Prospect)
Before running out to meet with a prospect, you must aggressively qualify them first. You should only be presenting to highly motivated prospects whose timing is "now", otherwise you're wasting your time. Before you book a face-to-face appointment, you must always ask your prospects several qualifying questions over the phone to help you understand the two most important things you need to know: their motivation and timing. One of the most important questions you should be asking is "Will you be speaking with other Realtors?"
4) Not Doing Your Research and Having Stats to Brand You as the "Area" Specialist
One of the easiest ways to set yourself apart from your competition is to research and use statistics. You can significantly increase your income by motivating seller and buyer prospects to use your services on the basis of third party statistical evidence that you can use to set yourself apart. Now before I go any further, I know there may be some of you reading this right now that are saying to yourself, "Well, sure Craig was able to use statistics because he sold a lot of houses, but what about me?" Well, that's the great thing about statistics: anyone can use them. The first step you need to take is to research which areas you stand out in. It's not likely that you'll shine in all areas. Your job is to find the stats that make you look good. (You won't use the others.) What you're researching and comparing are your personal numbers vs. the MLS (or Real Estate Board) statistics. If your personal statistic on a certain dimension is not impressive, you may want to use your company statistics, and if this still doesn't look good, eliminate this particular comparison, and move on to another criteria. Bottom line, you'll use these stats to show success on your prospect's street and in their neighborhood.
5) Not Being the Last Agent (or First Agent) They Meet With
In the likely event that your prospect tells you over the phone that they will be interviewing other agents, always ask to present last. Last-in is strategically the best position because it leaves you most top-of-mind as the prospect makes their decision, and allows you to deal with any criticisms other agents have raised about you head-on and after the fact. It gives you the opportunity to have the last word. Most importantly, it gives your prospect permission to make the decision to list with you that evening because they've already done all their other information gathering. As long as you're as good as, or better, it's likely that you'll get the listing. When requesting this positioning, I would say to the prospect "I'd like to present last so I can show you how much more I can do for you to get your home sold." (If you can't be last in, the next best position is first so you can set the bar so high, no other agent will be able to compete.)
6) Not Making Sure You're Presenting to All Decision Makers
There's no point in presenting to "half of a boss". When you book your appointment, make sure that all parties who will be involved in the decision making will be present. Most of the time you will find yourself presenting to at least two people - a husband and wife. Make sure that they sit beside each other so you can comfortably maintain eye contact with, and ensure you divide your attention between both of them by alternating eye contact. It is a major mistake to let one of the two feel alienated because you focused your discussion on the other. Remember that you need both parties to be involved in the decision process of whether they say "yes" to you.
7) Not Determining the Prospect's Personality Type
The secret to successfully helping your prospect to make the decision you want is to help them the way they want to be helped -- not the way you want to help them. Give yourself a minute or two when you first meet with a prospect to gauge their personality type and thus which presentation style will work best with him or her. This doesn't mean that the information you deliver should be different - you still have to share all the information with them to show them all the ways you will benefit them, but the manner in which you deliver the information may be embellished for some and abbreviated for others. Start slowly to determine which of these roads (or which others in between) will most effectively convert this particular customer. Find out what they do for a living, listen to the questions they ask you and how they ask them. All of these are clues to their personality type. If you find yourself presenting to an aggressive, type A prospect, speed up and get straight to the point. If you're talking to Mr. or Mrs. Personality, again, maintain a fast pace, but also chat with them -- warm things up. With other more methodical prospects, you'll have to go much slower, making sure to get into all the details.
8) Bringing Too Many Comparables
A big mistake many agents make is bringing too much information which ends up confusing the seller. Remember, a confused mind does nothing. What I found works best is to bring fifteen: five that are inferior to their home, five that are superior to their home and five that you feel are very like their home. Present the inferior comparables first which they will quickly dismiss feeling that they should get a much higher price than these. Then present the five superior comparables, homes which they will clearly see are better than theirs on certain attributes and thus worth more. This will bring them back to the center which is when you will present the homes in the price range you feel they should list their property at. When you do this properly, you won't have to tell them what price to list at as they will have drawn this conclusion all on their own. Getting your prospects involved in the delivery of key points is a highly effective way to get them, and keep them, on board with the presentation you are giving. If part of it is told in their own words and out of their own mouths, if you get them to draw the right conclusions as you go along, you'll have a much better chance of securing the final and most important "yes" at the end of your presentation.
9) Not Using Powerful Testimonials to Back Up the Claims You Make
The number one trend in North American society today is skepticism. The false claims and empty promises that marketers made to consumers in the 70s and 80s have come back square in face of anybody who has anything to do with marketing and advertising in the new millennium. Your prospects will naturally distrust what you have to tell them, so third party endorsement is extremely important. Your testimonials must be specific, and full of statistics, facts, figures and details, because these kind of details don't lie. Throw your prospect a wimpy positive comment and they'll probably throw it in the garbage; throw them a specific statistic, fact or figure, and they'll probably quote it to a friend. And the more testimonials you can give, the better. If you have only one or two raving fans, perhaps you got them by accident. If you have dozens, the prospect will have to believe that there might be something to all this talk.