The last two listing presentations that I have been invited to have been extra interesting because in both cases I was the final Realtor invited in. In both cases also interestingly the home sellers interviewed more than three Realtors — in the first case five and in the second case six Realtors.
That’s a lot of Realtors, time and hopefully a lot of learning.
But it is important, right?
So as the last Realtor I was curious to learn all I could about those that came before me as the home seller’s final decision would be essentially a choice of who they thought was best, who offered the most or maybe who they liked or trusted most, bearing in mind that it is a business diversion not a personality contest.
Listing presentation odds of success
A few years ago, I asked my broker about success rates with listing presentations. He told me that statistically I had a one in five chance of getting any listing that I was called upon to present for. I had always assumed that a typical home owner would interview three Realtors. Maybe they do and the odds are skewed because one is an early favourite and the others are there to offer proof of the home sellers decision.
Maybe I’m overthinking it.
For me, the fact true or not that I had a 20% chance of getting the listing takes the pressure off.
I can’t control what the other Realtors are saying, but what are they saying? Who are these competitors and how can I hope to beat the odds of success?
I asked, in both recent cases how the home seller chose me and the other Realtors to interview. In both case they said through:
- awareness (yard signs in their neighbourhoods, advertising, internet)
What Realtors say at listing presentations
So here is what I’ve learned about what comes up in listing presentations:
Realtors talk about what we do besides putting the listing on the MLS. I personally find it unfathomable that home sellers who themselves have not picked up a newspaper or a real estate magazine in a decade would find value in these things, but apparently they do.
Realtors also talk about the power of social media and how many facebook, instagram and twitter followers they have. Personally I think the only social media platform that helps even a little in selling homes is Youtube.
Lastly, another related point that came up was a Realtor’s network. All of the big brokerages have magazines that agents can refer to when looking for an agent in another city. I suppose if a client is moving from Calgary or Moncton his local agent could flip though an internal brokerage magazine and refer a client to a local agent here, but how helpful to a local home seller that is is questionable.
Personally, I feel that the whole ‘marketing strategy’ argument is misleading and gratuitous. Communication sells homes, not marketing. Marketing is just what the home sellers sees.
Good Realtors all know that good photos are necessary — after price, great photos are the most important thing. And good photos now come with floor plans, virtual tours, videos and even neighbourhood maps. Some come with drone shots from above. That’s pretty cool but also kind of gimmicky, don’t you think?
Surprisingly to me, many of the Realtors talked about target marketing. I have long been under the impression that most agents talk about how great their brokerages are and how many homes they sell every year. I thought that I was the only one who talked about who the buyer is and where they are coming from.
In terms of target marketing here are two things to think about.
- The buyer will be much like you when you bought the home.
- The buyer will be much like your neighbours.
Those are your target markets
All agents talk about open houses. Are they effective? Yes but not for reasons you might think. They are effective for:
- Demonstrating to the home seller that we are doing something
- Getting feedback from the public about a listing
- Getting the mood of the market
- Opening the home to potential buyers who would have otherwise scheduled a showing with their Realtor
Day of listing
Another surprise to me was the discovery that other Realtors like to list midweek. The theory is that most serious buyers are set up on some sort of automatic notification system. Listing on Wednesday or Thursday gives consumers a chance to see the listing, schedule a showing as well as giving an agent time to set up the weekend open house. Ultimately we want as many people through the home in as short a time as possible.
Should you paint? Probably. Should you move out all of your furniture? Not all. Should you not only declutter but also remove any and all photographs of your family, diplomas, photos of your trip to Romania? Yes. All agents have opinions about this. It is mostly common sense and comes down to a simple rule. Do not leave anything that takes away from the buyers seeing themselves living in the home. Simply do not distract the buyer.
Big box brokerage franchises vs independent, niche and boutique brokerages
I’ve written a lot about brokerages in the past. I’ve worked for a big brokerage, a tech start-up brokerage and now a local independent brokerage. It doesn’t matter. I’ve been successful at all three (but more successful at the later two). Some people think that a big brokerage can somehow do a better job.
I have to ask — how?
What’s important and what is fluff, superfluous, bells and whistles?
Incremental things do not make much of a difference. They are bells and whistles for the home seller to be distracted by or impressed by. In terms of marketing, many people feel that if some is good, then more is better. But these incremental non-essentials come at a cost and that cost is passed through to the home seller.
It kind of bothers me that we have all this directional signage polluting our visual landscape. We don’t need directional signage. We have GPS. The potential home buyer is not just driving through neighbourhoods nilly-willy. The serious home buyer has a plan.
Regarding free real estate magazines, the first brokerage I worked for was next to a pizza place. It had a stack of free real estate magazines by the door. People would flip through one when waiting for their pizza. Those people weren’t buying a house. They were buying a pizza.
I would personally never hire a Realtor that drove a BMW or wore $500 shoes. But that sort of thing simply does not impress me.
Finally, maybe it is because 70% of my business last year came from previous clients and referrals I’m smug but I think if an established Realtor has to constantly advertise for new clients (on buses and billboards, with postcards), rely on gimmicks or discounts then maybe they haven’t treated their past clients very well. It cost six times more to attract a new client than to keep an old one. Maybe they don’t know that.
Having said all that, I know that there is a match for everyone. The Realtor you choose to work with is a reflection of you, especially if you interview six before deciding!