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Listing Presentations: The Pitfalls of Charts, Graphs and Statistics

Oct 6, 2013

Posted by

Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn

Jennifer Allan Hagedorn was a top producing real estate broker in Denver, Colorado before writing her first book in 2007. Since then, she has written several more books about the business of selling r Read more

I had an interesting email dialogue over the weekend with an agent about the use of charts and graphs and data and statistics in a listing interview.  He asked the question whether or not I use, or recommend using, statistics such as “absorption rate” and “days on market” and “average list-to-sold,” and if so, what exactly IS the best use of these statistics?

Well, my superficial, off-the-top-o ’-my-head answer was that no; I don’t use charts and graphs and statistics because my brain doesn’t work that way.  I’m not a numbers gal, so when I look at charts and graphs and statistics, they don’t mean much to me.  And I don’t want to go into a listing interview armed with information I don’t fully understand.


And I highly recommend that if you’re like me, not a math-nerd (I say that with respect and affection for math-nerds); don’t try to become one when talking to sellers.  Provide the information in a format that makes sense to you, and that you can easily and conversationally explain.

But if you ARE a numbers guy or gal, and you love your charts and graphs and stats, how can you best use this data when talking with a seller prospect about pricing?

Veddy, veddy carefully!

Here’s the thing.  The problem with graphs and charts and numbers and statistics is that they give the impression that selling a house is a random event, governed by those numbers and statistics, and not influenceable by the agent’s or seller’s efforts.  To present a chart that shows an eight-month inventory, for example, implies that it takes eight months to sell a home.  To present a graph showing an average list-to-sell ratio of 92 percent implies that a seller should build a margin into his price to account for being negotiated 8 percent down. 

But is that REALLY what the numbers are saying?  In most cases, NO.  Not even close!  And again, do you really want to give a seller prospect the impression that neither you nor he is capable of affecting the outcome of your home-sale adventure?

To me, that’s what depending on the numbers says to a seller.  That THESE are the cold, hard facts and there ain’t nothing we can do to change them.  We, Mr. Seller, you and I are at the mercy of the market.

And that’s simply not true..

Because you know what?   Whenever you come up with a statistic, that statistic is based on a range of outcomes.  Some houses didn’t take eight months to sell.  Some houses sold higher than 92 peercent of list price. And were these better-than-average outcomes simply the result of chance?  Luck?  Random events?


Of course not.

“Okay, Ms. Smarty Pants, but that’s not how I use my graphs and charts—I use them to demonstrate the reality of the market to my sellers to persuade them to price properly.  If they see those cold, hard facts, they’ll realize that they need to listen to me and my pricing recommendations if they want to have a hope of selling.”

Fair enough, and I’m inclined in theory to agree with that strategy.  But as I said earlier, it must be done veddy, veddy carefully.

You only have so much time in a listing interview to say everything you want to say.  At some point, your sellers’ eyes are going to glaze over and they’ll check out.  I’d rather spend that valuable attention span talking about what WE (he and I together) can do to maximize the chance of sale, at an acceptable price.

Besides, you know what?  If your seller prospect is interviewing other agents, they’ve probably gone overboard with all the doom & gloom and already handled that part of the conversation for you!  If YOU come in, not with a bunch of dire warnings, but rather a plan and a smile, you’ll be a breath of fresh air, won’t you?