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Where Are Those Listings?

Mar 1, 2019

Posted by

David Knox

David Knox is based in Minneapolis. He is an internationally recognized speaker on selling and negotiating and has presented more than 3,300 seminars in 11 countries. All of his 300+ training videos Read more

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Listings have always been the foundation of a successful real estate business and are becoming even more important now as conditions move back to a seller’s market.  Even in a buyer’s market, listings are the bait that attract buyers.

Here are some ideas on how agents can get listings now.  These tips come from some of our current Dave Knox online training members.  They have years of experience, so you can place great confidence in their recommendations.

The suggestions are divided into three parts:  Self Analysis, Securing Prospects and Converting to Appointments.

Part A:  Seven Step Self-Analysis

The first step to getting listings is to “get out of our own way” and eliminate the mistakes we often make.  Some of the most common mistakes and omissions observed by our members are as follows:

1.)  Evidence of passivity

Generally agents are not pro-active enough and, instead, rely on passive sources such as direct mail, internet leads or other types of prospect-initiated actions.  This may be a result of simple fear of being rejected.

2.)  Lack of commitment

In addition, if there is a general belief that the market is bad, agents may just not feel the commitment necessary to getting a listing.

3.)  Not preparing

The listing presentation is a job interview and needs to receive its due preparation.  You need to have quality materials, an organized plan, key questions to ask and specific points of difference to establish your value.

4.)  Not practicing

Every profession from racing drivers to doctors will practice before their real appointment, yet too many agents practice in the field, on real people, instead of role playing in advance.

5.)  Poor presentation skills

Once you’ve shown up on time dressed properly, you need to have the skills to uncover their needs then present benefits that relate to those needs.  The structure of a good presentation follows the process of Need – Feature – Benefit.  Summarize their need (to be moved within 90 days), describe your feature (an online response device that captures hot prospects and e-mails their information to you), then the benefit (converts leads faster and gets motivated buyers into your home soon so you can get moved).

6.)  Not listening

Salespeople in general believe that selling is telling when, in fact, sellers can’t “buy” you while you’re talking … only when you’re listening.

7.)  Not defining your value

The number one question a consumer will ask when making a purchase or selecting a professional service is:  “What’s the difference?”  You must be able to clearly define and demonstrate your value-added point of difference.

Part B:  Securing Prospects

The first step for getting listings is to really commit to securing them.  During the recent listing glut, many of you have avoided increasing your inventory.  As markets move towards a shortage of inventory, you need to have the attitude that listings are a value to your business.  This belief will cause you to take pro-active steps to prospect for listings.

1.)  Door knock around a current listing

A “for sale” sign in a neighborhood causes some homeowners to ponder the value of their own

home and where they would move if they could sell.  Tap into this curiosity by knocking on the doors of neighbors around a listing.  There are three lines of questioning:

a.)  After introducing yourself, say what follows

“It’s been my experience that when one home in a neighborhood sells that two or three more homeowners make a similar decision.  I’m just checking to see if you might be one of those people.”  Follow up with the time-based question; “How much longer do you plan to stay in this home?”

b.)  Investigate

See if they know who might be the ones considering a move.  Ask:  “It sounds like you’ll be staying for a while, so may I ask, of all the neighbors you know, who do you think would be the next to move?

c.) Asking is key

Inquire if they know of someone who would be a buyer for the listing.  Ask:  “Do you have time for one more question?  (You may even find your own neighbor is a prospect for the home that’s for sale.)  “Who do you know that might be interested in seeing it?”

2.)  Your “Sphere of Influence”

According to the National Association of Realtors®, NAR, 60 percent or more of listings were secured through friends, relatives and past clients -- all the people who exist within your Sphere of Influence.  This will continue to be the number one source of business for real estate agents.  So, when was the last time you contacted them?

Get some sort of plan together to contact them all.  Set a number of calls per day or a specific time period … but

make the calls.

Tell them you have two reasons for calling, personal and business.  Say, “I haven’t talked to you in a while and wanted to check in and say hello.”  Chat for a while then ask:  “My business reason for calling relates to this current market.  We’re at last seeing inventories shrink and market times shorten, so I’d like to ask you, of all your friends and neighbors, who do you think would be the next to move?”  And, of course, be sure to ask this specific question:  “How much longer to you plan to stay in your home?”

3.)  The “For Sale by Owner”

Here are homeowners shouting out with signs, ads and internet postings that they want to move. Drive by and introduce yourself.  Respect their efforts to sell their own home, but then ask questions such as:  “How soon do you need to be moved?” “How much longer will you attempt to sell it yourself?”  “What will you do if it doesn’t sell?” or “Would you be interested in having me present my marketing plan?”

4.)  The Expired Listing

The recent market has produced a great many expired listings.  Owners are probably very dejected about their lack of success.  Yet, at some point they did want to move.  Make contact with these owners and determine the following three things:

a.)  Have they re-listed?  Before proceeding with any solicitation efforts, determine if they’ve re-listed.

b.)  Is their home still for sale?  Find out if they have the motivation to sell or if they’d prefer to stay.

c.)  Permission to view.  Ask them if you may stop by and view their home.  Tell them that there are three primary reasons why listings expire (Price, Condition, Marketing) and if they have a few minutes you’ll be able to determine the cause.

5.)  Open Houses

No matter how you feel about open houses, when done properly, they work to meet prospects.  Hold open houses in an area and price range that is about 50 percent above the listing market range you’d like to work.  Ask visitors if they have a home to sell and offer to provide a CMA that reflects the current market.

Part C:  Convert to appointments

1.)  Be the “first responder”

The first test you must pass with an interested prospect is to respond promptly.  If you actually answer the telephone, you’ll be in an elite group of real estate agents.  When you respond to inquires immediately, you remain in that elite group because many prospects will do business with the first person they encounter.

2.)  Determine motivation and urgency

How do you know if you even want an appointment with this prospect?  That is determined by their motivation and urgency.  Ask time-based questions such as:  “How soon do you need to be settled?”  “How long have you been looking?”  “If you found a home today, what would you do?”  Or “How much longer could you stay in your present situation?”

3.)  Ask and follow up

Once you’ve created a level of rapport, ask directly for an appointment.  Few appointments are created on the first contact and most require constant follow-up.  Have a plan for consistent reminders through telephone calls, notes, e-mails and anything else that you feel will work.  Most agents give up after one contact.

Part D:  Convert appointments to listings

Here are five tried and true tips for your consideration to persuade sellers to list with you.

1.)  Know the market

A listing presentation is a job interview and must be planned with care and diligence.  First, you must absolutely know the market around your seller’s home.  They do.

To convert a prospect to an appointment, you must demonstrate your knowledge of the market and financing.  Only then will you have the expertise that prospects want to tap into.

2.)  Arrive exactly on time

     It is your first demonstration of keeping your commitment to the seller.  Dress to impress, be polite, ask permission to enter, pay attention to the sellers and children.  Have your lockbox, camera and any other items that show you’re ready to get going.

     If you’re going to demonstrate your online marketing, have the web pages cued up and as a back up, have all samples in PDF form so you can still show them even if you’re not connected to the internet.

     3.)  Listen

     There is no better listing technique than to just be quiet, ask questions and listen for the first part of your presentation.  Delay the tour of the property so you don’t get stuck discussing price too early.  Your goal is to learn their timing, urgency and motivation for moving.  Find out whether they want to sell or stay. Take good notes during this interview.

     At the end of this interview, summarize it by repeating back to them your understanding of their situation.  Make the necessary adjustments then come to agreement.  At this point you may have already won the listing just because of the attention you paid to them.

     4.)  Present

     Now it’s time to present the benefits of all the services you provide.  Relate each one to the specific need they expressed.  Demonstrate when necessary, then trial close by asking how they feel about the elements of your marketing plan.

     5.)  Ask

     Having agreed on the marketing plan, you must ask for the listing.  Don’t wait for them to close on you.  Say: “Mr. and Mrs. Seller, it sounds like you like our marketing plan.  I’ll need to gather information, take photos, place a lock box, install the sign and get it into MLS.  I need your signature on this listing agreement right here and here.”  Ask however you like, but ask for the listing!


Listings have always been the foundation of a successful business and are becoming more important as inventories diminish.  Develop your visibility and skills at prospecting to create higher quantities of leads.  Improve your questioning skills to convert these leads to appointments.  Master the elements of your listing presentation beginning with your preparation to showing up on time through active listening and statement of benefits.  And again, ask for the listing.