Consider The Following:
Selling a home can be a time of incredible difficulty and uncertainty for a seller. Sellers are dealing with several unknowns that can be highly stressful, even for the seller that has sold several homes.
They might wonder if they can get the price they are hoping for so that they can accomplish the goals they have for the next move. They may wonder about the changing market conditions. They may wonder if they can sell in the timeframe they need. They might wonder if they picked the right agent, after all.
We all recognize this intellectually, but with this framework we can then launch into the best way to serve our sellers.
Perception Is Reality
Have you ever had a listing that ultimately didn’t sell? Maybe the seller was difficult. Maybe they didn’t appreciate all your hard work. They might have been reticent to do the price reduction you had advised. Maybe they refused to remove the 1985 flowered wallpaper.
These experiences are frustrating for both the agent and the client. When we are talking about the experience of the client, perception is reality. Regardless of how we perceive the transaction, the experience of the client is what counts. In the age of online testimonials, the seller experience can potentially damage the agent reputation.
This is what we’ll address in this post.
The solution is a Listing Service Report. Imagine a place where you can share all of the information about a listing with your seller. Traffic to the portals, showing feedback, local and national news, marketing that has been deployed … all in one place.
This type of service will allow you to stand above the sea of agent sameness. Your seller will never wonder, “What has my agent done for me lately?”
In Step 3, we’ll detail all of the information that can be included, but it’s important to have ONE place where the seller can find out all the details of what is going on … the entire narrative of their listing.
Of equal importance is the agent’s ability to more responsibly advise the client because all of the information needed in ONE place. This kind of counsel is far superior to the shoot-from-the-hip, gut-feeling type of advice that is pervasive in the industry.
Timing The Communication
Determine ahead of time the appropriate frequency for delivering the Listing Service Report based on market conditions, estimated average days on market, and your client’s personality type.
If you have the likelihood of a longer listing based on market conditions and price point, every other week is appropriate. If it’s a faster moving market, weekly makes more sense.
Decide on the day that the document will be completely updated, and schedule a call or an in-person visit. I would have mine completed for Wednesday morning. The client could go online at any time and see me updating the form throughout the week, but would count on completion for Wednesday, and our weekly call.
You’ll have to consider the personality of your client when deciding on delivery. Ask the seller what their preferences are for communication. Are they comfortable accessing the information online? Do they prefer to have this delivered in person? Would they prefer ease of access and a quick phone call? It’s important to have the discussion during the listing presentation about the preferred methods of communication.
Setting expectations is one of the most critical elements of taking a listing and will ensure satisfaction and a quality experience for your client.
The key ingredient to an executable listing service system is a set form. In Step 3, we’ll delve into the pieces of potential content, the importance of each element, and how to position the discussion with your clients.
Remember, this is my master copy. To modify this, hit ‘File’ and then ‘Make a Copy’. Make your master, and then copy that master for each client and name it by the property address. You’ll notice that when you hit ‘share’ there is a link that you can share with the client. They DO NOT need to have a Google account.
Questions about using this? Come see me.
Information To Deliver
There are two critical things to consider when we are talking about the Internet marketing we promise to the client. The first is that their home will be listed on these various major portals – Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and the public facing site of HAR. The second element is reporting the traffic.
First, when a seller has listed with you, they want to see their home on these portals, and they will want to find it. Go the extra step early on and assure them that when it is there, you will post the link to that listing in the Listing Service Report. We don’t want them to feel like they have to go seek it out on their own. Provide them the link in their Listing Service Report.
Second, provide them traffic reports. These can come in the form of the Listhub reports we provide, or in reports from each individual site (which you will have to sign up for on each site through your account).
Include the links in your report because it’s important that they see them come from you. Why?
1. The client doesn’t have any frame of reference for the information they are seeing. Reports are nice, but is this low traffic? Is this a lot? They have no experience in looking at them.
2. The seller wants to know that you have viewed them. We don’t want to be in the position where they are asking questions about a report you have never seen. And, more importantly, this is a part of the overall narrative … what is going on with this listing. You need to see them over the course of the listing period so that you can responsibly advise the client.
Information provided to the client simply for the sake of information isn’t service. It’s fluff. And, they know it. They are counting on you for comprehensive insight.
BONUS: Did you know, you can see on Zillow how many times your listing was favorited by potential buyers? If you compare that with the competitors in your market, it will give real evidence to the seller that they are headed in the right direction, or they are overpriced. This kind of consumer based feedback is incredibly important because this is the type of showing, rather than telling that a seller needs to see to make sound, informed decisions.
Share with the seller each marketing effort deployed. Broker previews, email campaigns, Just Listed postcards, open house plans are all things we talk about during the listing presentation. Share with them the deployment of those marketing efforts.
Too often, marketing is discussed in the listing presentation without the seller seeing the deployment of those promised efforts. When the seller sees you doing your part, they will feel less angst about making the tough decisions they may face in terms of pricing.
Did you get a sign call or an Internet inquiry? Maybe the caller was interested, but wanted a downstairs master. What is valuable about this for the seller?
1. They know the marketing is working and that it led to an inquiry.
2. The feedback told them something. In this case, a downstairs master was important to that buyer.
We want the seller to know there is interest, even if that interest doesn’t turn into a sale. The marketing efforts are paying off, and for some buyers a downstairs master is important. Don’t miss an opportunity to log that inbound call. Sale or not, those inbound inquiries are positive and give us quality information.
You never want to get the call from your client about the house that listed down the street. You don’t want to get the call inquiring about the value of the most recent sale. You want to be the resource and you want the seller to know that you are watching the neighborhood like a hawk.
Updating the seller on new listings, new sales, new closings is critical. You want to be the person initiating that dialogue.
Set up a search for the neighborhood so that those updates come to you directly, and you update the Listing Service Report with that information. Be the resource, and then share that with your client.
Don’t be afraid to call the other listing agents to get the scoop. You may get little information, or you may get a lot. But, your client will appreciate the additional insight.
This space deserves special attention, so see Step 4. 🙂
In The News
One area that will allow you to showcase real market knowledge and expertise, and to show your seller that you are really a pro, is to pay attention to local and national news that impact their sale.
Real estate markets and neighborhoods are not static. Many things can impact demand. Interest rates, changing FHA loan limits, consumer confidence based on oil and gas prices, inbound relocation trends, unemployment rates, seasonal selling cycles, and neighborhood trends can all major factors that can impact the buyer pool growing or shrinking. This MUST be a part of the conversation when positioning the property.
And, this can’t just be covered on the day of the listing. These things are fluid, and have to be continually revisited during the course of a listing period. And, these are just the more global economic forces.
Think of the local matters that can impact a listing. Ironman schedule, or poor weather forecasts may decrease showings. Changes in school rankings – up or down – can impact demand. The opening of the Grand Parkway may be a factor. These are local matters that can all impact the increase or decrease in demand.
The seller is looking to you for not only the information, but what are the various ways that it can impact the sale of my home.
It won’t always be positive, good news. But, the trust level is magnified by your willingness to provide a comprehensive picture that includes local and national news. Any seller is much more likely to do that painful price reduction when they feel like they have a fully informed picture of their prospective sale.
CSS (Centralized Showing Service) can be a wealth of information. CSS Showing Reports is the indicator of showing trends in a given price range. It can support a price adjustment.
Again, this type of verifiable buyer trend is far more valuable than you simply telling a seller that they need to consider repositioning. If you show them, and it’s far more likely that they will not only make the right decision, but they will feel confident in that decision, and appreciative of your guidance because you are the source of that information.
Feedback is great. Whether it’s from a potential buyer or other agents, it’s great to have useful feedback. The problem is that very often we miss the opportunity to educate the client about how to evaluate that feedback.
If you educate the seller in the course of the listing presentation, I can assure you it’s incredibly powerful. Ultimately, this advice early in the listing process, will be the very thing that helps you sell that home, but more importantly, gives the seller the feeling of empowerment during that listing.
Objection Versus Condition
Feedback comes in one of two forms: objection or condition.
An objection is something they can remedy like pet odor, paint, removal of dated wall paper.
A condition is something that cannot be remedied like backing to a busy street, power lines, floorplan, or zoning for schools. If certain conditions come up repetitively, the only way to address those is in repositioning the property in the form of a price adjustment.
Note, if you have a repetitive objection that the seller elects not to remedy (dated kitchen, for example) they need to consider it a condition, and again, the only way to address those is in repositioning the property in the form of a price adjustment.
Have this conversation during the listing appointment.
“I Don’t Get Feedback”
Don’t rely solely on CSS for your feedback. Call, email, and even a text showing agents. Remind the agent of a key feature of your listing to jog their memory, and thank them for their time. A little extra effort goes a long way in getting that valuable insight.
Value Proposition & The Client Experience
Our goal is to help the seller to not only sell, but to have the feeling that the experience was one in which they were in good hands and well informed. The number one complaint from a seller is that they didn’t hear from their agent. But, it’s more than hearing from the agent that counts; it’s about the type of information that they got from that agent that inspires confidence. That information is what allows them to make the changes to the home that improve the return, or make the price reduction, or decide to postpone a sale.
In the midst of all the unknowns, they are looking to us for the kind of guidance and counsel that inspires trust, confidence and a sense that they are in good hands.
It’s from that place of trust that they are able to make decisions with confidence. It’s not our job to simply tell a seller what to do. It’s better to explain, demonstrate, and ultimately inspire.
When you do that, your clients will love you. They’ll also become raving fans that will want to tell everyone.
As always, don’t hesitate to come see me with questions. To your continued success …