From Listed to SOLD - How to Sell Those Listings You Work So Hard to Get!



A fellow Active Rainer, who shall remain nameless in the interest of protecting her relationship with her clients, recently commented on one of my blogs as follows: 

"Jennifer I just wrote an email to a seller who has a very overpriced listing. They swore they'd lower in two weeks if no activity. It is now 5 months later and two very good offers that they rejected."

I asked her for an update and she responded with:

"Jennifer their response was 'they are perplexed that I didn't mention this during the negotiations.' I just don't understand which of the 12 emails and 10 phones calls where I told them the current market they missed."

So, I'm thinking... either these people are idiots, or they truly didn't "hear" what their agent was telling them. Let's give everyone the benefit of the doubt and assume the latter. I'd hate to call anyone an idiot.graph

Since the listing agent mentions emails and phone calls, I'll assume that emails and phone calls are how she communicated her news. I'd say she did her job.

But two things come to mind. The first is something I'll save for later in the interest of brevity. The second relates to how we communicate with our clients.

Again, it sounds to me as if our AR agent did a heck of a job communicating with her sellers. But, for the sake of argument, what if her sellers aren't auditory-types and don't "hear" well and/or aren't "good on email?" What if they are engineer-types and need to see charts and graphs and trends? Or what if they're visual and need photos and descriptive text? Maybe they would prefer a long, wordy emailed opinion without any data at all? Perhaps a face2face meeting would have done the trick? Or a tour of the competition?

Loreena Yeo (another AR friend who is also an engineer) is a master of the CMA. Her market analyses are works of art and they impress the heck out of me. But, but, but... if I were a seller, they'd be too data-intense for me.. Ija like pictures and descriptions, so columns of numbers and graphs of monthly trends shut me down. If my agent communicated market data to me this way, I'd be just as "perplexed" as the sellers described above.

Do you attempt to analyze your client to determine the best way to communicate with them? How many different delivery strategies ARE there to communicate with our sellers? Please share yours!

Copyright Jennifer Allan 2007


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Comment balloon 17 commentsJennifer Allan-Hagedorn • September 16 2007 07:08AM


Sometimes it is denial, not a seeing or hearing or touching issue.  Many times, the sellers just can't believe we are right, and they really are over priced!
Posted by Christopher Benedict, AskTheBigGuy (BIG Realty) about 13 years ago
Yes, I agree. However, it is our jobs as professionals not to let that happen. Which, I know, is waaaay easier said than done! We need to either find a way to effectively communicate the cold hard facts, or resign from the job. At least, in MY kingdom!
Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) about 13 years ago

Jennifer - Now I don't profess to know all those fancy labels for different personalities. I know there are folks that just want the facts, there are folks that want graphs and numbers, there are folks that are visual and there are folks that are willing to accede to your opinions.

Each one has to be identified and communicated with in the way that will reach them. People are not made of stone. Information only bounces back when it is sent in the wrong way.

Oh, and just because you got the listing does not mean you have communicated effectively. The listing is the first few steps of the dance, it is your opportunity to begin the process. Your sign in the yard is not proof that you have reached a level of ongoing communication with the client.

Remember, it is only listed because they wanted to sell. They may not have "heard" much of anything during the presentation other than the words that assured them that you could begin the process. Most sellers understand listing and undestand sold. It is all that goes on between the listing and the sale that is foreign to them and we often assume they are on the same page when they if fact didn't pick up the book.

I try to identify their style and effort to keep in reasonably ongoing communication with them.


Posted by John MacArthur, Licensed Maryland/DC Realtor, Metro DC Homes (Century 21 Redwood) about 13 years ago

Well done Jeniffer. While the REALTOR(R) may have delivered this information it sounds like she did not communicate it for exactly the reasons you have stated. It is our jobs to make sure our customer/clients not only hear us but that they understand us.

Good point about the different personalities and how they need the info delivered. All folks are different. I try to be as thorough as possible when communicating with my customers/clients and then I ask them if they understand. If I have any doubts I ask them to explain to me what I just said. It's that important that they get it. 

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) about 13 years ago

I hate to call anyone an idiot, but sometimes the shoe fits.

I am a professional, and have my presentations down so that I don't "forget" to mention anything. I am more and more careful about the clients I take, and don't hesitate to respectfully send them on their way if they aren't serious about selling or buying.

Posted by Sam White, Integrated Marketing - Bryan College Station, about 13 years ago

Did she send you a copy of the e-mails?

Sometimes we become a little too hidden in our message and when we thought it was obvious it may not be quiet so easy to see to the receiver.

Posted by Toby Boyce, MBA, Delaware Ohio (C.G. Boyce Real Estate Co.) about 13 years ago

just a notion...

I have had a few conversations with people about the electronic age... I told this person that there was no way to "contact" a person with email

it is just a TOUCH

a CONTACT is when people actually connect with a conversation

I think that email can be the softest of the Touches..,. it is almost as easily dismissed as mass mailings.  The only reason it may be less so is that often you need to GIVE your email address to someone.

so with that in mind... if your clients aren't HEARING your message - maybe you're not connecting

when I was an agent - I learned the CMA but incorporated what I learned by doing business consulting. There are only so many pages, so many charts, graphs, tables and data sources that a client can handle... so keep it SHORT and write an abstract!

The CMA via computer presentation is all well and good.... but people are only getting a visual - they need a tactile presentation as well - stimulate more senses and then the chances of something sinking in grows.

So... perhaps it is time to reinvent PRINTING

A top producer I work with in South Florida prints EVERYTHING on a color laser and puts it in client's hands.  What has more impact to you?  something you HOLD or something you view?  Which is easier to go back to?

If you're looking at something were productivity and efficiency are highest - email... but Effectiveness is higher with paper.

Just keep it short and use high quality paper!  Then you won't have to waste paper!  Back up the abstract well and email the support!

Posted by David A. Podgursky PA, THE PODGURSKY GROUP - Make the Right Move! (THE PODGURSKY GROUP @ Re/Max Direct) about 13 years ago
We did two face to face meetings this weekend.  Sometimes, it's just easier to read people when you are sitting across a table from them.  Sherry
Posted by Carol Spengel, Wheaton IL (Prudential Rubloff ) about 13 years ago
I've had my share of people who don't "hear" what I'm saying. That's when I get VERY direct!
Posted by Lisa Hill, Daytona Beach Real Estate (Florida Property Experts) about 13 years ago

Personally I feel that a face-to-face meeting MUST be included when trying to communicate IMPORTANT messages. Having a price reduction is indeed one of them. While my brains can understand complex graphs/ maths, I need to understand that many people do not work like that. Also, with Sellers, I have met several sets of sellers where one of them are more data-oriented (guys usually) and cannot just take your word for it until they see the stats. Ladies on the other hand relate to things differently.

In a meeting, the listing agent would be able to see the clients' facial expression, etc. to see the importance of the discussion. Then followup with email if they decide not to take the recommendations at the meeting table.

I learnt to bring the news to the person. No other way unless a face-to-face meeting that needs a quick decision (ie clients on vacation, I am on vacation, etc).

Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) about 13 years ago

Loreena - I agree. It's so easy (specially for Ntros like us) to want to do it over email or the phone, but everytime I do something in person, I'm SO glad I did. I wonder how many times I blew it with someone because I didn't get face2face. Being a homebody, I'll always choose phone or email over a meeting and this is something I need to change...

lisa - do you find that "direct" works? I ask because I feel pretty strongly that we need to work WITH our sellers when communicating, not against them. I don't think that lecturing or dictating does the trick nearly as well as working together jointly to reach the right conclusion. It may all depend on one's personality, though... but when you see a gifted negotiator in action and watch them lead someone to their way of thinking without lecturing... it's a beautiful thing.

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) about 13 years ago

This is a great question, how can you connect with a particular person? This is tricky because people connect in so many different ways, often the same person will connect differently in different situations depending on the persons comfort or excitement about the issue at hand. If someone is focused by their excitement or interest they can receive on a wider band of communications than if they are getting info that is counter to their perceived interest. In other words, its hard to get bad news. So in that agent's story she needed to use the "most open channel" that her sellers have, to get the idea across. Maybe that was not email or phone.

Jennifer, Again, You are opening eyes with your thought provoking writings. 

Posted by Michael I. Pulskamp, REALTOR, EcoBroker, GREEN Desingnee (Mainstreet Brokers) about 13 years ago


Nice blog. Each client is like a box of chocolates - "ya never know what ya gonna git". Finding common ground with them and understanding how they like to be communicated with is very important. It's not just as easy as, "Just ask then and they'll tell you" because many of them don't tell you. I think good agents are good people readers.



Posted by Mike and Dawn Lewis, The Lewis Team at Keller Williams in San Diego CA (The Lewis Team at Keller Williams) about 13 years ago

Great post! I think it is denial. Or they do not want to you to know more than then..


Posted by Carla Cullum (Integrity Team Keller Williams Flower Mound ) about 13 years ago
During my initial consultation (my bonafied listing appointment) I test the waters with "The Saleability Checklist" as one of the questions I've included : A post dated price reduction w/ Yes NO (circle one) and a line to jot down a date, time, and the sellers initials. Either way at the end of the listing process, if I've done my job and explained everything to their satisfaction, I usually have the post dated price reduction in writing with a date, price, and ziggy. This is part of my listing process.
Posted by Vicente A. Martinez, Realtor, Brooklyn - Long Island - Queens Homes (Prudential Douglas Elliman Licensed Real Estate Salesperson) about 13 years ago

It is tough sometimes to "read" our clients and determine how best to communicate with them. In my experience, some folks are strictly verbal. Don't even try to put down in writing, they won;t read it. Forget emails, cell phones are the only way they hear.

Big problem with the verbal only folks is that sometimes I forget to that I need to document our conversations for MY benefit. With my memory, I better get it in writing!


Posted by Tom Sinclair (About the House - Home Inspections) about 13 years ago

Tom - that's a great point. A voice to voice conversation is probably always the safest best, although written documentation should follow (which I'm lousy at - luckily I have a great memory).

Vincent - Sometimes I'll "allow" a seller to test the market for the first weekend, just in case I'm wrong on price (it could happen!). Your post-dated form would great in that situation.

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) about 13 years ago

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