Who's Asking the Questions in the Listing Interview?
You cannot be totally on board for this consulting approach to a listing interview unless you agree that:
- we market, but don’t sell homes, while we do sell ourselves; and
- we should be asking the questions instead of the seller.
When seeing other professionals (such as a doctor, attorney, etc), you probably experienced something more like this:
- a meeting across a desk with certificates and degrees on the wall;
- you are asked to describe your situation or problem;
- then you were asked a lot of questions;
- once they knew the extent of your problem, they let you know how they could help.
It's a lot like the "consultative sales" strategy, but we're really getting the information we need to do our job properly. In the next step, let's see how we can begin the differentiation process by becoming the interviewer.
Turning Around the Listing Interview. Be the Consultant
We don’t get the office setting for a listing appointment, but all the rest is the way we should be conducting business. Instead of a “show and tell” of what we intend to do for them, how about an interview where:
- after a home tour, we ask permission to ask a few questions;
- we ask about their reasons and urgency for selling;
- we get their idea of value and approximate debt on the home;
- our questions determine their opinions of the home’s condition;
- we ask them to compare their home with neighborhood competition;
- they give their requirements for a listing broker/agent;
- by asking, we learn which marketing methods they think most valuable;
- we ask about previous good and bad experiences with Realtors; and
- we ask what problems they might envision in selling their home.
The best way to conduct this interview is with a form you’ve created with the questions and space for you to write their answers. Taking notes shows that their answers are important to you. What have we accomplished at this point?
- We’ve turned the interview around.
- Our approach differentiates us from the competition.
- We know their opinion of their home and experience with Realtors.
- They’ve told us their situation, concerns, and urgency.
- We know what they think their home is worth BEFORE we show our CMA.
Instead of the “show and tell” the competition is doing, we’ve come in as a consultant and gathered information in order to see how we can help. In the next step, let’s see how we present our solutions.
Provide Solutions and Get The Listing
Up to this point, other than our business card, we have not given the listing prospect any materials, nor made a presentation. What we have done is to find out what we need to show them and what we need to talk about first. Unlike the competition, we aren’t going to take off on a “show and tell” of all the things we do for our listing clients. Because we asked, we know what their concerns are, and we know which of our services are likely to be of most interest to them. So what do we do next?
- Begin with their concerns and show how you can solve each problem.
- Try to address the most important or most troublesome issues first.
- When pricing is involved, defer it to last.
- Show them how you do the marketing they valued.
- Show them other marketing you do that they didn’t mention in the interview.
- Before the CMA and pricing, ask if they have questions.
- Present the CMA and discuss pricing and commission.
- Ask if you’ve addressed all their concerns and answered all questions.
- If not, do it. If so, ask for the listing.
You will find that people are quite forthcoming with information when asked. You will also find that they are appreciative when you address their specific concerns and questions instead of pushing services at them. Your conduct through the entire listing meeting has been quite different from the competition. You will get more listings using this consulting expert approach.