Ten Tips for Winning the Listing

By Marsha Kotlyar

This summer I had the honor of participating in a panel discussion at the INMAN CONNECT Real Estate Conference in San Francisco.

The topic of the panel was “Winning the Listing: What Sellers Expect” and I was one of three professionals speaking to the large group of real estate agents. I enjoyed the experience and our panel shared a lot of insight, and so I thought I would share my 10 takeaways from the discussion.

When it comes to winning listings, all the technology in the world won’t help you if you can’t build a relationship with your client. Although real estate agents now have access to a wide variety of technology resources, real estate remains a people business, and agents must have solid relationship-building skills if they want to succeed. For me, it’s all about balancing top-notch, state of the art marketing, with an old-school emphasis on relationship building. Here are 10 ways you can win the listing:

1. Do your Homework

You want to show the client that you know the market, including what’s on AND off the MLS. Research the home ahead of time and either memorize the comps or bring a thorough list, including active properties for sale. Homeowners typically know what’s going on in their neighborhood, and sometimes when they ask a question, they are testing you to make sure you know the neighborhood, too.

2. Know the Client

Just as you need to research the property and the market, you need to research the person you are about to meet. If, like me, you work in a luxury second-home market, chances are your clients are probably very smart and savvy in real estate, and they have been through the process before. They want to work with someone they like and they expect top-notch customer service, which I provide no matter the price of the home.

3. Be Gracious

When I first walk through a client’s door, I always thank him or her for having me over to the house. The last thing I do when I leave is thank the client for the opportunity. Sounds like a no-brainer but it always surprises me when agents walk in the door assuming they already have the listing and forget their manners.

4. Be Enthusiastic

Find a way to show excitement about the property – enthusiasm almost always seals the deal to help me win the listing. If I’m not enthusiastic, the homeowner will not be convinced that I will do a good job. Your clients need to know that you love their home and that you’re convinced you can sell it for the most money in the shortest amount of time.

5. Come Prepared

In addition to research about the home and the neighborhood, you should come prepared with examples of your marketing and information about your past performance. I always bring a resume, a list of references, and a list of recent sales. You should even bring a blank listing agreement – just in case they are ready to sign right away.

6. Have a Plan

Show the client that, as his or her listing agent, you have a clear plan for the entire process. Go through your marketing strategy step by step, from the preparation and photography to the final walk through. This will show your client that you have a good handle on the process and what it takes to generate a successful sale. If I sense a client is an experienced home seller, I might point out only a few things that I do differently from the competition and skip the basics.

7. Lead by Example

Use your success stories as examples of what you’re capable of achieving. Show your clients that following certain recommendations will lead to a successful sale, whether it’s a quick sale or one above the asking price.

8. Be Consistent and Honest

I plan to work in this business for a long time. I always strive to make sure my reputation is something I can stand up to, always.

9. Establish Trust

Clients will hire you only if they trust you. Showing clients and reminding them that you’re looking out for their best interests from the outset is the way to gain trust and set the tone for the rest of the listing process.

10. Follow up

Within a day or two of the listing appointment, I deliver a marketing commitment package to the client explaining what I plan to do to sell the property, tailored according to my expertise and including client input gained during the listing appointment. Additionally, I almost always include a plant or another small and personal give to thank the client for the opportunity. This has guaranteed me the listing on more than one occasion.

One more note: Valuable lessons can be learned when you don’t win the listing.If possible, find out what went wrong in a listing presentation you don’t win and adjust accordingly. Also, know that it’s equally as important to quickly bounce back from those disappointments. Call a friend and vent or get your frustrations out at the gym and move on.

Even though we hear “no” a lot in our business, if you learn how to build a client relationship based on trust, competency and warmth, you will stand out and put yourself that much closer to hearing a “Yes!” Combine those people skills with experience and high-quality marketing, and you’re well on your way to winning the next listing.

MARSHA KOTLYAR is a top-selling real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties in Montecito, and is a member of the national REthink Council. Email her at marsha6@me.com.

One response to Ten Tips for Winning the Listing

  1. Establishing trust is a great tip. Buyers are much more likely to go with someone they trust over anyone else. Thanks for the great advice!


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