22 Listing Presentation Slip-ups

March 1, 2006

Before the Presentation

1. Showing up late. To make the best impression, be about five minutes early. If you get there more than 15 minutes early, you’ll be considered too eager or too rude. If you’re late, you’ve already blown the presentation.

2. Smelling like dogs, cats, or smoke. No seller will love your pet, or your cigar, the way you do.

3. Not doing your homework. Talk to the sellers before the appointment. You should know before you get there about the general condition of the home, how much the sellers are willing to do to get it into “show shape,” and their motivation for selling.

4. Not knowing the sellers’ financial situation. Do your due diligence before the appointment and know if there are any liens on the property — or, worse, if the property is about to go into foreclosure.

5. Treating the listing appointment casually. Every appointment is a job interview. Rehearse your presentation regularly and have ready answers to common questions.

6. Not visiting the homes in your CMA. If you’ve previewed each of the homes you’re using as comps in your market analysis, you’ll be able to speak intelligently about the differences.

7. Displaying architectural ignorance. An owner who’s particularly proud of the Tudor influences on her home won’t be impressed if you have no clue about Tudor style. For a style primer, don’t miss the Architecture Guide.

During the Presentation

8. Moving too quickly. Many practitioners advocate a two-step listing presentation. Use the first appointment to build rapport and view the interior. Then do your research, find the best comps, and come back to cinch the listing.

9. Not tailoring your presentation to the audience. You’ll lose some Gen X or Gen Y sellers if you talk about advertising their home in the newspaper without also talking about having a video tour, personalized Web site, and e-mail marketing.

10. Talking more than listening. Don’t become caught up in selling yourself. How can you help the sellers if you don’t know what they want or need?

11. Ignoring someone. If you’re meeting with a couple, don’t focus on only one party. You may end up alienating the true decision-maker. If you’re presenting to older sellers and their grown child, also avoid talking only to the sellers or only to their children.

12. Ignoring pets. In some households, the dog or cat is a part of the family. If you ignore or show disdain for pets, you may offend the sellers. If you have allergies to household pets, don’t let it be known.

13. Not knowing the neighborhood. Research all the homes that have sold in the area over the last six months, regardless of whether they’re comparable, and be ready to explain why a recent sale isn’t a good comp.

14. Failing to explain your systems. Have a system and be able to share de tails of it with the sellers. That means outlining all the steps you take to market and sell property and the measures you put in place to make sure nothing is overlooked.

15. Using poor-quality materials. Presenting black-and-white copies indicates you aren’t serious about your work. Use color and nice paper stock for all your presentation materials. Also, make sure your materials have a consistent look and reinforce your brand.

16. Not preparing the sellers for the process. You’ll be doing a disservice to the sellers if you don’t prepare them mentally for some of the inconveniences they’ll likely experience after they list the house: the broker tours, showings, no shows, last-minute appointments, and strangers looking at their personal belongings.

17. Appearing disorganized. Don’t tell anyone you misplaced your cell phone, notebook, or BlackBerry, and don’t shuffle through your papers to find one that illustrates your point. If you come across as dizzy, disorganized, scattered, or harried, you’ll eliminate yourself from contention.

18. Failing to recommend improvements. Sellers look to you to provide expert advice for preparing a home for market. Be ready to counsel them on every thing from curb appeal to making the interior of the home clean and presentable.

19. Letting your cell phone interrupt the presentation. Under no circumstances should your cell phone ring during a listing presentation. Your work is all about relationships, and the moment your phone rings, you tell your sellers that they aren’t as important as the person calling you on the phone.

20. Not being upbeat. Don’t let your own troubles be known. Convey professionalism, a great attitude, and enthusiasm — and focus on the business at hand.

After the Presentation

21. Not mirroring the sellers’ behavior. Are the sellers all business? If so, don’t start hugging and talking about the wonderful things you’re going to do together. The converse is true, too. If you’ve built such great rapport that the sellers seem ready to make you god parent to their child, take a deep breath and give a hug.

22. Forgetting to thank the sellers. No matter how you think the presentation went, thank the sellers sincerely for their time and for allowing you into their home. Say you’ll get back to them, and follow up in a timely manner.

Sources: Thom Brockett, Long & Foster Real Estate, Gaitherburg, Md.; Howard Chung, John L. Scott Real Estate, Bellevue, Wash.; Jon Hunter, John L. Scott Real Estate, Seattle; Linda O’Koniewski, RE/MAX Heritage, Melrose, Mass.; Terry Watson, ABR, CRS®, Watson World Inc., Chicago