I recently heard business consultant Doug Devitre speak at the 2013 Florida Realtors Conference & Trade Expo in Orlando. In his talk, he made one of the best arguments I’ve heard for canning your PowerPoint presentations in favor of focusing on what matters most to clients.
I remember my very first listing presentation when I was only in my 20s. I had dutifully attended my company’s new agent training. The company provided us with a beautifully bound listing presentation book. We were instructed to flip through the pages and to explain what was on each page to the sellers. The lovely older couple indulged my request, sat through my presentation, smiled and gave me the listing.
Fast-forward to the 1990s and early 2000s. Brag books were all the rage. You put together all of your marketing materials, testimonials, comparable sales plus information about all the company’s services and bound them in a very expensive leather portfolio.
The idea was to drop off your book and have the sellers go through the materials. If they had any questions, you would be back to pick up your book. If you hadn’t tied down the listing on your first appointment, this gave you a second shot at closing the seller.
Moreover, the high-quality marketing materials, leather-bound book and other supporting materials were designed to send a double message: first, that the agent was highly competent; and second, that the agent was an expert in marketing luxury property.
Fast-forward once again to today. While the approaches described above may seem to be antiquated, thousands of agents are going to their “listing presentations” and using the equivalent of the listing presentation book or the brag book when they turn on their iPads.
The challenge with using PowerPoint or Keynote in your listing presentations is that each system “assumes that customer needs to know what you know as well as the order in which they need to know it.” Furthermore, the agent often ends up having to jump back and forth in her presentation to answer the seller’s questions.
There are a number of other issues as well. When you “present,” the focus is on you and your content. Today’s consumers are focused almost exclusively on “WIIFM” — What’s in it for me?
So what’s the alternative? First, dump the “I’m No. 1″ or “Our company is No. 1″ conversation. The sellers really don’t care. They want to know how much money they’re going to net when they sell.
The first point to realize is that most sellers want to achieve the highest possible price for their listing in the least amount of time with the least amount of hassle. The way they will achieve this goal is through maximum exposure to the marketplace. So, how do you go about presenting this material?
The secret is to ask questions. For example, instead of launching into your PowerPoint or Keynote presentation, take the time to ask the sellers about what they have enjoyed about living in the property. Ask about special features or other upgrades that the sellers may have made to the property that may not be visible to buyers walking through the property.
Next, ask whether they would like to see your premium marketing plan that will help them achieve the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time. If they answer “yes,” go to your plan on your tablet and then discuss the three services that most differentiate you from the competition.
For example, if you use the listing translation services from Immobel.com, you could show the sellers how their property will be displayed in multiple languages around the world.
You could then follow up with a single-property Facebook business page that is dedicated exclusively to marketing their listing. Load this up ahead of time — including exterior shots of their home — and you have a powerful social media marketing tool that will impress almost anyone.
If you are using video, have the sellers view one or two videos you have made for your other listings.
Now here’s the secret. When you explain each of these services, follow up by asking, “Is this a service you want?” In almost every case, they will say “yes.” Each “yes” takes you that much closer to obtaining the listing.
By asking questions, you move from telling the seller about your services to engaging the seller in a conversation about what they care about most: how much they’re going to obtain from their sale and how you are going to help them achieve that goal.
There’s also one other major advantage to this approach. If the seller asks you to discount your commission you can say, “If you would like to cut the commission, I will be happy to provide you with a referral to a limited-services agent who may be willing to work for less.”
So here’s the bottom line: Dump the canned presentation, ask plenty of questions, and focus on two or three unique services that differentiate you from the competition. You’ll be glad you did!