Getting the Listing

From the Editor: We examine what makes an effective listing presentation.

February 1, 2006

My first video shoot with REALTOR® Magazine didn’t just renew my sense of awe in what you do; it was a lot of fun, too. Even though I was behind the camera rather than in front of it, I felt a bit like one of those HGTV hosts as I walked around the “set” for this month’s cover story, a beautiful home in Northwest Chicago. “What great curb appeal! Look at those bookshelves!”

The story examines what makes for an effective listing presentation. To approach the topic from a “watch and learn” standpoint, we videotaped three presentations made to the same home owner. In addition to getting the owner’s feedback, we showed the video to a panel of consumers and asked them to give us both positive and negative comments on the presentations.

I attended the taping not to host the video but to support our cast—four professionals who graciously agreed to travel to Chicago in December for the taping. From Denver, we had the husband-and-wife team of Melody and Mike Rivera; from Seattle, Teri Herrera; and from Northern Virginia, Ron Rush. On the surface, the presenters have a lot in common. All lead sales teams, all use Web sites, and all have a great track record when it comes to nailing the listing presentation. But we purposely sought points of differentiation, too: Teri’s a high-tech phenom, Ron heads one of the nation’s highest-producing teams, and Melody and Mike are successful niche players with a specialty in older homes. As we told our presenters, this wasn’t so much a competition as a chance to demonstrate different styles and messages.

Since I can’t declare a winner, my “Oscar” goes to our home owner, Christine, a PR executive and former journalist who also happens to be the wife of senior editor Chuck Paustian. Christine played her role beautifully, listening carefully to the presentations, challenging the presenters, and waiting for just the right moment to pop the FSBO question (“So why shouldn’t I sell the house myself?”).

Although our presenters weren’t actually competing, they showed just how intense the competition to win listings can be. A well-planned presentation provides sellers with insight into their own home, market conditions, the potential pool of buyers, and the timing of a sale. And as you well know, winning the listing is just half the battle; you still have to attract the right buyer and bring the sale to close.

Your knowledge and skills—and just how pivotal they are in keeping the real estate marketplace running smoothly—are often disregarded in the rhetoric about this industry. That’s essentially the subject of another feature in this issue, “Is real estate anticompetitive? , in which we address the oft-heard complaint that the industry isn’t open to new business models. This feature is the first of our “Great Debates” series for 2006. Watch for others this year covering the future of MLS, the battle to protect private property rights, and the push for mortgage-market reforms.

Stacey Moncrieff

Stacey is executive editor of publications for the National Association of REALTORS® and editor in chief of REALTOR® Magazine.