By Terri Murphy
Have you ever thought about how a listing appointment is much like a job interview? You would never show up to a job interview without a resume, the capability to discuss your plan of action to tackle the job, and testimonials on your expertise and suitability for the job. Why wouldn’t you do the same type of preparation for a listing appointment, when you're essentially applying for the job of listing and marketing a property?
With that in mind, it makes good sense to market yourself before the listing appointment by setting up your sellers with enough information to make certain you’re their listing agent of choice!
When you study success, the agents who list and sell over 100 properties a year help the seller as a resource, and not as a self-promoting marketing initiative. Smart agents study their marketplace and have learned that over 62 percent of the properties sold last year were bought by Gen X and Gen Y buyers. This consumer segment detests self-aggrandizing techniques, marketing ploys and is looking more closely at “what’s in it for them.”
One of the most proven ways to get in the door as an agent and out the door as their “listing” agent is to launch the “WOW” process right from the first point of contact. While it's not that hard to be different from your competition today, it does take a couple of extra steps to create distinction – but they are well worth it.
Start the WOW experience with the delivery of the pre-appointment package before the actual appointment. With a pre-meeting experience, and having to sign for the package, we demonstrate our intention to create a highly differentiated experience from any competitors.
Having a pre-appointment package delivered conveys an “experiential” type of differentiation that says you are serious about committing the time and energy to market their property. This action demonstrates solid proof that by organizing the event ahead of the actual meeting, you have a plan that is professional and your goal is to maximize both time and efficiency.
If you are willing to step up your game, here are a few tips to make that listing yours, with strategies to set you apart even before the actual appointment!
1. Develop a pre-listing system
This system creates the first of a series of unique experiences before the actual appointment occurs. Have a package delivered by courier when possible before the appointment that requires a signature of acceptance. Some agents have the package delivered with a small premium that brands the agent to set themselves apart at the first encounter. The packet of information that is included is not company-centric, but benefit-centric for your consumer. The idea is to include the exceptional service offerings with the emphasis on the many differentiated services and strategies that are available to the seller when working with you. Include information about your specialization (staging, senior designations, social media channel promotions, single property websites, etc.) and services of your strategic partners, processes, and more. You can still include information about your company, but the idea is to focus on you and your team services and not appear to be a marketing piece provided by the company. The seller hires YOU. The company, although important, is not a person or entity they are likely to meet. So sell the value of working with you, backed by a great company.
2. The most important step is this one!
Have a package delivered with a request for a signed receipt. This provides verification of delivery so you can follow up with your confirmation call. It is on that confirming call that you or your administrative staff can ask if their “homework,” a form that is included in the packet be completed prior to the actual meeting. By drawing attention to the homework, you are asking the seller to be prepared for the actual appointment. This action also brings to their attention your name and brand before you even get there. If the circumstances don’t allow for delivery, use an overnight service, a courier or a special mailing envelope. If your prospect is technologically sophisticated, you can consider emailing the package as a last resort.
3. Include a homework page
Just for the seller to complete prior to your meeting. When they see how organized your system is, and how another agent never required the preparation work, they will undoubtedly know you are different from your competition and be interested in meeting you in person!
4. Engage your strategic partners
Get partners to participate in the pre-positioning process. Ask your manager to call prior to the meeting to leave a message acknowledging your appointment, and then thanking them for the opportunity. Your manager, in a short message, will emphasize that the entire company will support the marketing of their property to secure the best buyer. Ask your lender partner to call or email a testimonial letter that states as part of your service team they work with you to qualify any and all possible buyer candidates to make the transaction confidently close on time and in compliance with the new TRID timelines.
5. And finally, the day of the presentation
Consider what medium of presentation will best suit your prospect’s style. Depending on your marketplace, a paperless, real time CMA evaluation is the most transparent. Using your iPad or laptop offers huge flexibility to demonstrate videos you have prepared for other properties, virtual tour upgrades, Facebook events for open houses, Twitter posts and more. Print a paper CMA for those more analytical sellers who want to “study” the information. When you do deep and expert research, and you demonstrate transparent access to similar properties and statistics, you invite the seller to participate in the pricing of the property. This is key to not only to getting the property priced right but also to get their buy-in. By offering a comprehensive combination of both digital and traditional marketing initiatives, you present a unique and customized service model that makes the value of your work and systems worth the compensation.
Creating differentiation in our crowded marketplace does take some creativity, and having a pre-appointment strategy will help you win the listing every time!
Terri Murphy, Communication Engagement specialist, is an author, speaker, communication consultant, and coach.
For more information, visit www.MurphyOnRealEstate.com.