A Tale of Two Listings

I am about to tell you two true stories.  I’m embarrassed to admit it, but both are actual detailed accounts of real listing presentations made by none other than yours truly.  They are as different as night and day, and they illustrate just how much easier this business can be, if you do it the right way or on the other hand, just how much harder it can be if you do it wrong.

When you read my accounts of these two listings, I want you to picture yourself as the listing agent in the stories, and I want you to imagine that you’re the one making the presentations and taking the listings.  I also want you to think about which one more closely resembles your last listing appointment, and then I want you to ask yourself which one you would like to be your next.

Listing Presentation # 1 — The Listing Presentation From Hell

Before you decide that this listing is just sour grapes on my part, I should tell you that I did land the listing, that the clients were very happy and couldn’t have been any nicer, and they were even so pleased with the way that we sold their home quickly that they recommended me to their neighbor who was also selling.

I believe that in the story I’m about to share, the sellers were not the problem.  I was not the problem.  The presentation was the problem, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  Go ahead and check it out and see what you think.

Okay, one February evening in 2003 — or maybe it was March or April — I had a listing appointment.  I really don’t remember the exact date, but I do remember that I didn’t want to waste my entire evening so I had set the appointment at 6pm.  My sellers had agreed to that time, although, in retrospect, it was probably earlier than they would have preferred.

Like a good agent, I arrived at the home a few minutes early, and as I waited in front of the house in my car I spent the time returning some phone calls.  Soon it was 6.  No sellers.  6:05.  Still no sellers.  I started to think I was going to be stood up.  I decided I’d wait until quarter after.  I knew I didn’t want to wait too long lest I be thought of as desperate.

Finally at about 6:10 I looked up as a Ford F-150 truck came flying past me and turned into the driveway.  As the vehicle nearly skid to a stop, the door flew open and Mr. Seller jumped out and nearly ran to the front door.  He was still in uniform and being a vet I knew that the first thing he’d want to do is change into something comfortable, so I waited.

At about 6:11 or 6:12 I looked up as mom came whizzing by me in her Dodge Caravan and also turned into the driveway, practically on two wheels.  As she came to a stop, all the doors flew open simultaneously, and mom and kids went flying out of the minivan and toward the front door in a mob.  I decided to give them a few minutes to get settled before knocking on the door.

Eventually I came to the door and was greeted by mom.  She brought me in and invited me to sit on the couch in the living room.  A dog was excitedly barking and the kids (it seemed like 20 of them but in reality it was only 4) were bouncing off the walls and racing up and down the hall, taking laps through the living room, with the dog on their heels, all trying to work off their sugar highs from their after school daycare.

Over all this flurry of activity and racket I became aware of a base level of noise somewhere north of 100 decibels and realized that the television was blaring in the background, although nobody was watching it.  It felt like I was at a carnival, only everything was crammed into this tiny home.  I started feeling a headache coming on.

Dad eventually came in to greet me and we began small-talking while waiting for mom to join us. About that time, mom put her head around the corner and bellowed in the general direction of the children, “What do you want on your pizza?”  Apparently Little Caesar’s was cooking dinner.

As I tried to block out the sensory overload I was experiencing, I suddenly became aware that the dog had abandoned his chase of the children and had now become at least momentarily attracted to me and was (let me be delicate here) expressing his very amorous feelings in a very embarrassing way to my left leg.

That did it.  Somehow that was the icing on the cake.  That final detail in this unbelievable scene gave me an out-of-body experience.  In my mind’s eye I was at the ceiling looking down at this “circus” and I remember thinking to myself, “How am I supposed to give a listing presentation in the midst of this tornado?”

It seemed as futile as trying to stack greased BBs in a stiff wind.  And it was then that it came to me.  It started as a very quiet, almost inaudible voice, but it rapidly grew into a full-throated scream. “THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY!”  I tried my best to collect myself and press on, but that voice was still screaming in my ear.

Most of the rest of the evening went by in a fog because “THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY!” continued to ring in my ears.  Yes, I made my presentation, took the listing, and we ultimately sold the house.  Best of all, and in spite of it all, I eventually got paid for my work.  Fantastic!  But that out-of-body moment was a turning point in my practice.  I vowed that even if I lost a lot of listings while trying to find a better way, I would not be a participant in another circus like that one.  I was resolute.

But life is funny sometimes.  As it turns out, I never lost a single listing, but I did figure out a better way.  And eventually, that better way, got even better and better.  Since then, I continue to develop what I believe to be the very best way to list a home in the history of real estate!  I know that’s a bold statement, but I think it’s true.  Next I’ll share with you the story of my most recent listing and see if you don’t agree.

Listing Presentation # 2 — The Listing Presentation from Heaven

A lot has changed since those early days: I am no longer an agent, my practice has grown, and I am now the broker of my own company.  I decided when I opened my company that I would be a non-competing broker, or in other words, I would not work directly with clients unless I just plain couldn’t get out of it.  This is one of those times when I couldn’t get out of it.

One morning not long ago I was having my usual breakfast at Chick-fil-a and one of the employees told me that a co-worker needed to sell her home.  I spoke to the woman briefly and told her I would bring her a book to read that I thought would help her sell her home quickly and net her top dollar.  She told me she would be glad to read it and was open to anything that would help her sell the house.

The book I was referring to is called Traffic: How to Sell Fast and Net More.  I wrote it to be a companion piece for another of my books, The Ultimate Listing Presentation.  After having been embarrassed a couple of days because I forgot to bring her the book, I finally remembered to bring a copy to breakfast and give it to her.  I told her that I thought it might be the perfect strategy and I asked her to read it and to let me know what she thought.

The next morning when I came in for breakfast, I was surprised when she approached me and said she had already finished it.  She said she loved the idea and wanted to use the “Traffic Approach” to sell her home.  (The Traffic approach is the approach I discussed in the book and the same approach I am going to share with you here.)  I told her I was glad,and asked her to come by my office later in the day and we could get it on the market.

As promised, when she got off work later, she came to my office.  I reviewed the Traffic strategy with her, mainly to make sure she fully understood it.  Then we reviewed the CMA I had completed earlier that day, and I directed her to my List-EZ website where she filled out a simple form, reviewed the contracts, and electronically authorized the listing.  Done.  How easy was that?!

But because I was out of signs, I told her it would take me a few days to get everything ready.  We needed to put her home in the MLS, get it uploaded to all the other hundreds of websites on the internet, build her own website,  and announce the listing to all the area agents.  I asked her to come by in a few days to pick up the yard sign and lockbox.  I also asked her to take some good photos of all the rooms in her home as well as some exterior shots, and email them to me so we could use them for her virtual tour and website.

A few days later, she stopped by the office, picked up her sign and lockbox, and took them home and installed them as I had instructed her.  She had already emailed me the photos and I put the best ones on her listing, her virtual tour and her website.  Although the home showed many times, I never saw the home in person until the night I brought an offer to purchase and contract by for her signature.


Think about it:  Two completely different listing presentations, but both homes were just as listed and both clients were just as happy.  Both listings were ethical and both were legally binding. So now let me ask you a question: Which presentation would you prefer to make?  Duh!  That’s a no-brainer!  Okay, let me ask you another:  Which one is closer to your current presentation?  I thought so.

Over the next ten installments I am going to share with you, step by step, how I developed my listing presentation — the Traffic approach — and then, how it evolved from that first listing presentation — the listing presentation from hell — to that second heavenly listing presentation.

We will cover a lot of ground.  We’ll discuss and contrast my approach with the traditional approach, and explore why it works so well.  We’ll also discuss what motivates the seller and explore the ethics of charging the client a higher commission.  Then we will examine the traditional CMA and I’ll show you a better and more accurate way.

Finally, I’ll share with you exactly how I make my listing presentations — I’ll give you the actual words to say, and I’ll give you three different variations to use depending on your comfort level and the individual situation you find yourself in.  I’ll even show you the tools I use to make this approach so simple, and last but not least, I will show you how to find plenty of seller leads.

My approach is comprehensive but yet it is simple, and I will promise you that If you take the time to learn it, you will find that it is very easy present.  And more than that, you will net your clients more money and sell their homes in less time.  Just watch, you’re going to love it!

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