Do You Have a System for Real Estate Listing Success?

5 Feb 2019

What are your process steps for getting a real estate listing?  Do you have a written or structured set of steps to take a listing, get it on the market, and then to get it sold?  After the sale, do you have a well thought out plan for getting referrals from your listing client in the future?  You may have plans set out that answer these questions.  But, do they fit into a start-to-end set of steps that are all one process for real estate listing success?  Whatever your level of success in getting listings and getting them to the closing table, are you concentrating on three short-term processes or are all three combined into a smooth flow for success?

There is a famous sales training system that is international in scope and is providing almost a half-million training hours to sales professionals each year.  The single most important factor in the success of these training graduates is that they learn an end-to-end process with 7 clear steps to the sale.  Though the process out of the box is best suited to sales with a short timeline, real estate professionals can adapt the system to their longer-term goals and higher dollar sales process.  With that goal in mind, let’s run through 7 steps for successful real estate listing, and they take you through the listing appointment or first contact through getting referrals years down the road.

Step 1: Relationship and Trust

This step is about starting out in building a rapport with your listing prospect.  In today’s Internet world, this can’t wait until the first sit-down meeting or the listing appointment.  It needs to begin on their first visit your website and continue through that listing appointment.

Actions for Success

Sure, we’re always trying to build trust with our prospects and clients, but be sure that you’re beginning that process with your website so you don’t lose them before you get face-to-face and turn on your personality.  Freely provide information and answer the common questions your listing prospects will be asking in their Web searches.  Offer more detailed info or data to generate a lead.  Consider doing one more thing that is our first system Relationship and Trust step introduction.  Add to your report or information delivery emails (or drip emails) a statement to set you apart from the competition.

It can be something like: “Your home is as individual as you are, and I want to take your home’s uniqueness into account, as well as your situation.  When we sit down to discuss your home and your desired outcome in a sale, I’ll have some questions to make certain that I’m going about the listing and sale in ways that will achieve your desired results.  If you’d like to see and maybe even answer them before we meet, take this link to my listing client information profile form.  Have the form online where they can see it and maybe even fill it out and send it to you.

Step 2: The Up-Front Contract

This is the most difficult step for sales trainees, but it also surprises them when they do it and get an answer they can work with.  Basically, it’s asking them what it’s going to take to get the listing and getting their commitment to move forward and list if you provide what they want.

Actions for Success

This isn’t a hard-sell approach.  Basically, you’re just going to ask questions that get their desires and needs out on the table.  Once you know what they want, such as their desired selling price and timeline for getting the home sold, you can then take the closing step right at the beginning.  You would ask something like “If I can set up a plan that will get you the selling price you want and get you to the closing table in the time frame you want, can we go ahead and get this listing going today?”  You’re not at this point committing to a specific listing price, as your CMA may get them to adjust their expectations, especially when balancing with when they want to move.  You’re just softly getting a commitment to list with you if you fill these two needs.  It’s an early soft close.

Step 3: The Pain Step

Your prospects want to sell, so there are reasons for it.  It could be as simple as downsizing or upsizing, or more urgent, such as the need to move for a job.  Whatever their reasons, you want to keep asking questions until you uncover their true reasons for selling.  Sometimes you’ll be surprised by what you uncover for their pain if you just keep asking questions.

Actions for Success

Sometimes, downsizing is another way to avoid the emotional statement that their children have all moved out and they want to move to be near them.  Your goal is to discover their true motivations, as you’ll close the deal if you uncover and resolve them.  If that’s the case, offering to simultaneously start searches for a home to buy where they’re moving or for a referral agent in that area starts them on the road to fixing their pain.  Maybe their pain is financial, such as a recent job layoff and the need to move to get another job.  Whatever it is, getting it out in the open and proposing solutions is what will get them to list with you.

Step 4: The Money Issues

For many salespeople, this is about uncovering what they’re willing to pay for the product you’re selling.  It’s a bit more complicated for the home sale.  However, this is where you can become invaluable to them if you know their situation and can show that you can help.  They may have unrealistic expectations, but it’s better to address them at this stage than to list at a price that will not sell and having to come back for a reduction.

Actions for Success

You may have to set another appointment that day or the next to go back and run a CMA, or maybe you can do so on the spot if they want.  It is critical to get to what you know is the best price to list that will meet their money and timeline needs.  Often it may be less than they expected, but addressing it upfront is better than later when they’re past their desired time to sell and the home isn’t showing (tell them that).  One approach can be to quickly pull some recent sold comps to show them recent sales of similar homes in their area.  You can tell them that it’s just a quick look and that you need to dig deeper and get the details and features of their home to do a proper CMA.  This can get you to a walk-through and notes about the home, which can create an obligation on their part to keep working with you due to your efforts.

Step 5: Their Decision Process

This is important, as you don’t want to be asking questions and presenting solutions to someone who isn’t making the final decision to list.  If it’s an individual, they still may be consulting with a relative or friend, and you need to know that.  As in other steps, asking questions is how you find out.

Actions for Success

This is simple; you keep digging until you know how the decision will be made.  If it’s a couple, are they both present during all of these discussions.  If one keeps leaving and you find that they’re going to be critical to making the listing decision, you need to get them into all of the discussion.  You can bet that the husband doing all of the listening and then trying to pass it along to the wife is going to leave out some of the important information.  Find out how the decision is going to be made and make sure that your information is in front of the decision-maker(s).

Step 6: Present Your Solution

You’ve now reached a point where you have a solid CMA, suggestions for readying the home for listing, and your expert opinion that your solutions will result in the right price and timeline for the sale.  You present all of this as your listing plan and ask them to sign the listing agreement.

Actions for Success

Here you use the 0 to 10 scoring to see where you are.  Lay it all out for them and ask where they are on a scale of 0 being the worst and 10 being ready to list.  A 5 or below is a warning sign that you’ve missed something.  You’ll need to go back over the price, timeline, and the actions to list to see what you’ve missed or where they have doubts.  If they’re between 6 and 9, you’re close, but you want to ask them what it will take to get to a perfect 10.  If they had unrealistic price expectations, they’ll come out now.  You may know that what they want isn’t likely to work, but you could be honest with them and get a commitment to list at their price but automatically drop it at a specified date or at least discuss it then.  It could be something else, but find out and get them to a 10 where they have no excuse not to sign the listing.

Step 7: Process and Follow Up

Get them to the closing table in your normal ways, working the listing and handling their negotiations.  Once you close, it’s not over.

Long-Term Success

From the closing table, you begin a follow-up process that lasts until they’re no longer a resident in your market area.  Do what you normally do with a new sale, helping them in relocation if you can.  Keep sending follow-up emails and stay in contact for those important referrals down the road.