How to Get the Listing Every Time

This step-by-step process from the initial call to the listing agreement will convince sellers they should list with you.

October 19, 2015

By now, you know that the amount of leverage you have to attract new buyers and sellers directly correlates to the number of listings you have at any given time. Unfortunately, many real estate professionals have been taught to operate more as customer service reps than salespeople, so when it comes to securing a listing, they have no idea what to say or how to say it. Here, I’m going to cover the three key segments of a listing: the initial call, the walk-through, and the sit-down at the table.



The Initial Call

When you first call a prospective seller, it is important to listen to every detail. It’s the little things that often tell you what matters most to them. If they love dogs, be prepared to show a lot of affection to their pets — whether you’re in a suit or not. If they tell you what their neighbor’s house sold for but they think their own home is worth more because of the birdbath they built in the backyard, that should let you know two things: 1) They’re nuts, and 2) you still need to make a big deal about the birdbath when you see it. Selling a house is a stressful time in a person’s life, so the effort you put into the smallest details will make them feel more comfortable to work with you.

Don’t get off the phone with your prospects until you’ve given them an assignment. Let them know you’ll be sending an e-mail with some testimonials and other important information about your services, but it will also include a couple of things that you need them to send back before you meet. In the e-mail, ask them to send you what they believe are the three top selling points of their house, the three top objections a potential buyer may have, and who they think the ideal buyer is. Their answers will give you an idea of what kind of seller you’re dealing with, but the assignment itself will also allow you to subconsciously take control of the transaction. When you put someone to work, it subtly asserts your control while also building trust because you are working on something together.

Make them promise not to list with someone else before you get a chance to show them your marketing plan for their house. The hard truth is that many brokers have been taught to discount their commission at the listing appointment if the seller signs an agreement right then and there. When this happens, you don’t even get a chance to present what you have to offer. While you’ve got them on the phone, say something like this: “Some salespeople drop their commission on the spot if you sign with them right away because they know they can’t market your property the way I can. Rather than add more value to the listing, they rely on old tactics of getting the listing at any cost, even if that means giving up their own money. That’s probably not the type of negotiator you want representing your sale. Now, I’m not asking you to guarantee that you will list with me; all I’m requesting is that you at least promise me that you won’t sign any contracts with anyone else before you allow me to show you what I do differently to market your property.” At this point, 99 percent of sellers will agree to this because they have no intention of signing with anyone on the spot anyway. But now they have a moral obligation to hear you out because they promised to.

The Walk-Through

At some point when you arrive at the seller’s home, say, “So who’s going to show me around this beautiful home?” It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but this simple line will reveal to you who the decision maker is. The decision maker is almost always the one to jump up and take control. Now you know who to focus on and who needs to be sold on you as their agent. The walk-through is also the time to talk about the notes you took during the initial call. Look for the things — both large and small — they mentioned about their house, whether it’s the color of a room or a bathroom remodel.

Don’t ever tell them what you think adds value or takes away value. When you see things that you know add value or take value away, if you tell them then they are going to assign their lack of value to your opinion. Instead learn to say, “Research tells us that…” This will change everything. Research tells us that leaving the dogs loose for showings makes buyers uncomfortable and decreases the odds of them making an offer. Just remember “research tells us” is your best friend as an agent.

The Sit-Down at the Table

Frame the conversation and set the expectation. This is not the time to act like a customer service rep and present your case for their listing, telling them to let you know what they decide. When you sit down, start off the conversation by saying, “On a scale of one to 10, what has to happen today in order to leave you with no doubt that I am the agent you should hire?” Their original intention may have been to interview you and compare you to other agents, but this question reframes their intention and plants the seed that if you hit the points they mention, they’ll hire you.

Don’t ever compete on price. You have to compete on process. If you think past sales in an area is the final indicator of home value, and if you regularly drop your commission to compete with other agents, you probably aren’t the best option for most sellers. Past sales often include short sales, foreclosures, and other instances where price was compromised by circumstances. If you are competing on price or using your commission as the bait to get the seller, anyone can beat you out for the listing by simply lowering their commission to a fee cheaper than yours. It can’t be about that. Not to mention the precedent that you set regarding your commission by showing that you will give it up at a moment’s notice if it means getting to the closing.

Instead, I want you to try something different. Come up with a profile of what the exact buyer most likely will look like for the listing. Then go to the Facebook Ads Manager and create a potential ad targeting that demographic. When you specify the demographics, Facebook shows you on the right side how many people meet your criteria and will potentially see your ad. (If you don’t know how to do this, you can watch a video I created that shows you how.)

Show it to the seller and say, “There are approximately [X number] potential buyers that match the exact profile of the type of person that would buy this house. I’ve already prepared for you what the ad will look like, and my marketing team is ready to go the moment you decide to list with me.” If you do this, they will be much more likely to hire you because they won’t want to lose what they already feel like they have — your targeted ad that nobody else is using.

Last but not least, you have to close! When you are done presenting what you do and how you do it differently, you have to actually ask for the listing. Don’t ever show up at a listing appointment without the paperwork ready.

Remember, a closed mouth doesn’t get fed. If you feel that you have done your job well and you really are the best option, the only thing left to do is to ask them if they are ready to make the wise decision to take advantage of your proven process and allow you to help them get the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time.

Jared James

Jared James is a national speaker and trainer in the real estate industry who has tens of thousands of followers on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube. Subscribe to get his free sales tips and videos at To connect with Jared, go to