On episode #53 of the Knowledge Brokers Podcast, hosts Byron Lazine, Lisa Chinatti, and Tom Toole discussed listing strategies that don’t get talked about nearly enough. 

And it’s not because they don’t make for an interesting conversation, as you know if you’ve already watched the episode. 

If you haven’t, make some time to watch this today. It could make all the difference at your next listing appointment. 

Read on for some of the highlights. 

One appointment does not mean you’ve made it

As Tom pointed out, you can be in the top 50% of real estate agents if you’ve had 2.7 listings for the entire year. But why on earth would you settle for that if you could get at least that many every month?

The key to getting more sales in any year is to set more appointments. So when you’ve got your first one lined up—even if you’ve got a signed contract by the end of it—every day should have a time block for making phone calls with the express purpose of setting appointments. 

You have to be willing to set more appointments. The reason why a lot of agents have 2.7 listings sold a year is because they’re not going on enough appointments. Agents will get one listing and pretend it’s a Netflix special. They’ll think everyone in the world is watching them on this one listing… Nobody’s tuning in to your one single listing. Do a great job, serve the client, follow through on every promise, go over and above what you promised, in fact. 

In the meantime, go get more listing appointments. They’re not going to rain down on you because you put one sign in the ground.

Byron Lazine

Listing appointment fails & first impressions

Every listing appointment, of course, is an opportunity to present yourself as the kind of agent you would want to hire if the roles were reversed. And like anything worth doing—and any performance that involves skill—an effective listing presentation takes practice. 

I would argue, if you want more listings, you’d better be practicing at least once a week in a real-life scenario, running through that presentation in your head almost on a daily basis. And then, when you do get the appointment, at least you’re consciously competent.

Tom Toole

Just as you might videotape yourself practicing a speech to catch little things you don’t realize you’re doing—sniffing, using filler words, fidgeting—practicing with another person can help make you aware of details you’ve gotten used to that could be off-putting to some. 

For one example, Byron then brought up the importance of a detail many agents overlook: 

A lot of times, [people] want you to take your shoes off. I was very aware of the socks that I was wearing…. Have a good solid color sock, they both match.

Byron Lazine

The smallest details can undermine other people’s trust in your ability and professionalism. So, if you get a chance, ask someone you trust to provide a fresh and honest take on your presentation. Have them play the role of a potential client, and start from the beginning. 

How long do agents have to lock in a listing?

Once you show up for a listing appointment, how long do you have to build the kind of rapport and trust the consumer needs to see you as the agent they want to work with?

When aiming to win a listing, every moment counts. You can start by building rapport before you show up to the appointment. 

Most agents don’t even think about how to build rapport before they show up. We’ve all got proven processes… Part of my proven process that gets a 71% listing sign rate—proven over a decade, selling 90 listings a year for 10 years straight—[is] sending a personalized video before you go…. Agents don’t follow proven processes. And that’s one of the downfalls when it comes to listings.

Tom Toole

Granted, the more experience you have as a real estate agent, the more likely you are to have a proven process of your own, whatever that looks like. But when you’re still new, it never hurts to try a process that consistently gets solid returns for an agent with a high conversion rate

So, if you’re going into a listing appointment, what kind of timeframe should you have in mind for building rapport with the consumer?

This is a job interview. And it’s not a job interview where someone’s got an opening, and they’re interviewing all candidates. They’re (saying), ‘Hey, I need you to protect my equity and my home. How competent are you? Are you able to deliver a predictable result? Can you meet my timeframe? Are you going to protect me against the deal blowing out?’ 

I would say 30 minutes is your time frame.

Tom Toole

Lisa agreed to the 30-minute time frame and added her own process for “priming the pump” before the appointment even starts. 

You can lose it in the first ten minutes. I think you earn it by minute 30. But I think if you don’t have an amazing first 10 minutes and walk in with the utmost professionalism… what are you doing to prime the pump before you get there? 

We actually have a courier deliver a box of cookies and a handwritten note. So, I don’t always do the video aspect of it, but we’re doing something to make them feel warm and fuzzy and like it’s a true relationship before we walk in the door. It’s not 100% transactional. But I’ve seen agents lose it in the first 10 minutes with just the littlest of things like understanding handshakes, taking off shoes, the way that they guide… From the moment you walk in the door, who’s in charge?

Lisa Chinatti

Lisa mentioned two specific points in a listing appointment that agents need to be cognizant of. Because what happens at these points can easily decide whether that appointment leads to a signature or to the agent being ghosted. 

I think there’s two points, and I think agents need to be super-cognizant of both of them: the first 10 minutes and then 30 minutes of the presentation

Lisa Chinatti

Granted, in some cases, you can do everything right and still walk away without a signed contract. But it still makes sense to be aware of the details that can sabotage rapport and cost you the deal.

Another way agents lose the deal

Another way Lisa has seen agents lose a deal is by not presenting the contract every single time. 

I tell agents, ‘Always present (the contract) and walk the consumer through it.’ Because even if they’re not going to sign it, at least you’re proving you’re a professional, you’re walking them through it. And when they do agree to sign, they’ve already seen it, they understand it, and there’s no surprises.

Lisa Chinatti

The next question had to do with whether you as the agent should leave the seller with the contract even if all the signs indicate they have no intention of signing it. Byron, Tom, and Lisa were unanimous in saying, “Yes. Every time.” 

It’s my pet peeve when the agent doesn’t at least just present all the paperwork and go over it. It’s the easiest thing you can do and just, again, shows that you’re a professional, you know what you’re doing.

Lisa Chinatti

If you never present, if you never leave them with paperwork, if those things never happen, you’re certainly guaranteed to never get the listing. You have to get the paperwork, the thing you’re trying to accomplish, the contract in their hands at some point. So, always do it on meeting one.

Byron Lazine

Another thing some agents are doing today is telling the consumer, “I’ll send you the contract electronically.” This robs you of the opportunity to walk them through the contract so they have a clear understanding of what the contract entails before they sign it. 

Trust us when we say the agent who helps the consumer understand and feel smarter about what they’re doing has a decisive advantage over an agent who sends a digital copy and doesn’t even bring a physical copy of the contract, let alone walk the consumer through it.

As Tom put it, there are generally two reasons why an agent might forego the printed contract in favor of sending a digital copy after the appointment: 

One, you’re lazy and you don’t want to stay there. Two, you can’t effectively present the contract to the consumer in a way they can understand instead of going through reading it line by line. That’s a major lack of preparation because if you’re trying to get a contract signed and you can’t even explain it, what…are you doing?

And I cannot stress this enough…you should be able to explain each paragraph, in my view, and we have a whole video training on this. ‘Hey, what’s this paragraph say in one or two sentences?’

Tom Toole

Planning ahead for effective, value-based follow-up

Of course, nothing says you can’t send a digital contract after the listing appointment. But make it a thoughtful addition to the physical version—not a replacement for it. 

Always leave them with the hard copy because you can now always follow up with the digital copy. ‘Hey, I know I left you the paper. I know papers can get shuffled around. I wanted to also send you the digital copy if this is a better way for you to review.’ …If I could get them the contract three or four different ways, I’d do it. Technology, electronic signing and all that has enabled us to do more follow-up, has enabled us to be more of a professional. It doesn’t mean you remove leaving them the paperwork when you were face to face with them.

Byron Lazine

Tom added that if you do leave the paperwork and you don’t get the contract signed during the appointment, there’s another mistake he sees agents make, and that is not having a clear plan for value-based follow-up. 

One thing you cannot afford to do is wait around for the consumer to call and say, “Actually, I would like to sign this.” 

The odds they’ll move forward with someone else are exponentially greater.