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


Are Listing Presentations Really Necessary (or effective)?

We're having a lively discussion over on my private SOI Blog Forum about the "best" way to do a listing presentation. The reason it's up for discussion is that many of us work primarily with people we already know (our SOI's), and feel kind of silly doing a formal sales presentpresentation for them.

Well, one of the most brilliant members (and there are plenty), Susan Haughton, made the following comment:  

"I never do a formal listing presentation; I take comps so it looks as if I at least came with something.  I talk with the sellers about the market, about their home, about their goals.  I don't even take the listing paperwork.  I'm just there to have a conversation with them and if we decide to proceed together, then I'll get the listing paperwork to them for their signatures. I like to think this approach conveys that I don't need props - I have knowledge, skill and confidence.  I have not been on a listing appointment yet where I did not get the listing."

That got me to thinking.

I'm a big fan of proving your competence to prospects and clients, rather than just telling them about it. Tell someone how great you are, and they'll immediately start to look for reasons you aren't. That's just human nature. And, frankly, most of a listing presentation IS a sales pitch where the agent tries to convince a seller that he's the best man for the job, based on his FABULOUS marketing plan and INCREDIBLE company support.


But what if, instead of your fancy listing presentation, you were to walk into a listing appointment with a sincere desire to help, a sincere interest in the seller's situation (instead of simply a sincere interest in your paycheck) and a dead-on understanding of the local real estate marketplace?

Hmmmmm... care about your seller and know your stuff... it might really be that simple.








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Comment balloon 50 commentsJennifer Allan-Hagedorn • April 03 2008 06:16PM


Hi Jennifer.  I have tons to say on this subject.  Unfortunately, not enough time.  I have a "listing appointment" in 40 minutes!:)


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Coldwell Banker Residential) over 12 years ago
Yes.  It can be that easy.  First, you have to practice "pull" advertising.
Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 12 years ago
Great perspective!  But it's nice to have the listing presentation on hand.  Guess at this stage in my career it's still nice to have that security blanket.
Posted by Jessica Bigger, Freelance Real Estate Business Writer (Bigger Communications) over 12 years ago

Jessica - Oh, believe me, even after 12 years, I still need that security blanket. But I rethinking how I offer it and how I structure my listing appointments.

Lenn - What's that?

Ken - Go get 'em!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 12 years ago

Yes are right! and they do want to know that you are competent.  I have been using a variation of the "Sweathog" presentation for almost 20 years, and I get the listings I want, and the seller feels they are with the right "caring" person....or else it does not work.

Dick Beals

Posted by Dick & Sandy Beals (Wilmington Real Estate 4U Wilmington, NC) over 12 years ago
Hi Jennifer, If the agent isn't listening to and genuinely showing care and respect for the seller's needs and concerns, no amount of material will make any difference. It helps to have info and docs for those sellers who want it but that alone can't compensate for a lack of caring and truly listening - in my opinion of course. Thanks for sharing  your thoughts, I do enjoy reading your blog!
Posted by Diane McDermott, Charlotte NC Real Estate Market (Realtor®, GRI, Landis e2 Real Estate, LLC) over 12 years ago
I've never done a formal listing presentation, it's not me.....I think for the most part people hire who they feel comfortable with..and you are right part of it is being sincere...people can spot that from a mile away..
Posted by Konnie Mac McCarthy, Broker/Owner - VA & MD "Time To Get A Move On!" (MacNificent Properties, LLC) over 12 years ago

I've always done a "formal" presentation - by "formal" I don't mean stuffy or contrived - I mean that it's organized, informative and detailed and I wrote the whole darn thing myself (zero boiler-plate material). There's a sample of my listing presentation on my website. But I've always HATED presenting it - it felt like a sales pitch and I never got the feeling my seller was all that interested. I just assumed that I just hadn't perfected my delivery yet - it never occurred to me that the whole notion of a formal presentation was flawed!

The other thing is that there is SO MUCH to talk about at a listing appointment - but by the time you've gone through all your fluff & propoganda, everyone is worn out!

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 12 years ago

Hi Jennifer,

It is very important to have a listing presentation! You need to practice it and be able to simply speak to it rather than read it or recite it.  You need to be able to support your claims that you Care about the clients.  have statistics ready and testimonials from your past clients.  You need to be as prepared as possible for your listing appointments and haveing a presentation ready to go can be crucial.  You want to lead the meeting and close for the business.

Your paycheck should not be in the discussion, however, commissions will.  You need to be prepared to provide the benefits the client will get from you to be able to support your commission. If you do a good presentation you can prove your worth even before they ask you to cut your rate, thus avoiding that discussion at all. 

After many years as an agent and as a manager I can tell you it is very important to be able to make a true presentation.

Good luck

Posted by Greg Ettinger, Greg Ettinger (Coldwell Banker Fountain Realty) over 12 years ago

Our firm uses listing presentations all the time, some of us are more agressive than others, & I can honestly say that we have missed very few listings. The more you know the more impressed the client is with you & they feel way more comfortable with letting you list their house, it takes the burden off of them & the trust bond is built.


Posted by Lisa York (Adcock & Associates Real Estate & Auction) over 12 years ago
Hmmm . . . about half the time I get the listing while I'm on the phone with them setting the listing appointment. Often that's because they were referred to me and had already made the decision before they called. Other times I know it's because people are expecting to be hustled by a real estate agent and when I don't do any of the hustle they are interested and they stay on the phone. I listen, I ask questions, I care. I took a $775,000 listing over the phone today (It will be a $50,000 reduction from the current list price) from a woman who said, "I spoke with 5 real estate agents in the last two days and you are the only one who has asked me why I am moving."  Things that make you go Hmmm . . .
Posted by Robin Sherman, Search Pensacola Homes, For Sale - Pensacola FL Neighborhoods ( - Grand Points Realty) over 12 years ago

I always come prepared to do a presentation, but I don't always do one. My first step is to have the seller(s) walk me through the house and tell me all about it. By doing this, we're building a relationship and not overlooking any details about the house. By the time I've finished the walk-through with them, I know what TYPE of personality they have. THAT is what determines whether or not I do a presentation. I personally have a personality that will require a presentation, no matter how long I've known you. I have to see the data in print and probably with charts to accompany. 

I can also attest to the importance of this from a personal friend of mine. She called me to do a market analysis for her and told me she was interviewing REALTORS, because she knew a lot of them (Go figure). So I wore a suit and did a full presentation. I got the listing because of this! She said that her other friends assumed that because they were friends, they would automatically get her business. She said one of them even showed up in shorts. I was the only one who came, fully prepared and treated her like I would have treated any other client.

I sold her house in 2 weeks! 

Posted by Lisa Hill, Daytona Beach Real Estate (Florida Property Experts) over 12 years ago
Jennifer, I like Susan's idea with one exeptcion. If you have wowed them over why wait on having them sign the paper work. What is the benefit to all involved in coming back to have them sign?
Posted by Rob Baldwin, REALTOR, Santa Clarita (US ECO-GREEN REAL ESTATE INC.) over 12 years ago
I actually do a power point presentation... Don't talk much about myself.  A bit about my brokerage and a lot about the process of selling, curent market conditions and what we bring to the table.  If they have pets, I try to see to their special needs etc.  Listings are VERY hard to get around here. Inventory is low and people are holding back from listing.  Going in with anything less than a real presentation would probably be suicide. 
Posted by Ruthmarie Hicks (Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605) over 12 years ago

Its so interesting to read the comments - and to see how varied the approach is..  Thats one of the most exciting things about selling Real Estate - there are SO Many ways to be successful. 

I'm in the 'no formal presentation' category....never have in 20 years...! I'd find it hard to look people in the eyes........feel, touch, sense, know.....and hear my future clients......if I was busy with my 'presentation' ....I'm with people how I would like them to be with far its worked!  :-)

Posted by Anonymous over 12 years ago

I think it would depend on the target market.  If you work SOI, conversation should work best.  After all, the clients are either repeat or referrals.  If from a colder relationship, a conversation covering "getting to know you" followed by a formal presentation could probably ensure success through structure.

Just my thoughts:)

Posted by Mark Organek, It's not a game, it's your life. (And the United States of America) over 12 years ago
That's certinly a different way to do it.  I have always done a formal listing presentation too, but I may try this for a while and see how it works for me!
Posted by Marlene Scheffer, Realtor to Kitsap County, WA (Realty Station) over 12 years ago

I wanted to reach through the screen and hug you.  (Don't get scared!)

I don't have a listing presentation.  Never have.  (Granted, I don't take on many)   What do I do?  Be me.  I talk, listen, ask questions, get to the crux of things and then we look at all the data and go from there.  Formal 'practice it til you know it' presentations would NOT be me. 

Posted by Kris Wales, Real Estate Blog & Homes for Sale search site, Macomb County MI (Keller Williams Realty - Lakeside Market Center) over 12 years ago
I do have a binder that I carry with me when I meet with a potential listing.  There is only one page in there about my marketing plan and I find that most people really appreciate the data.  I have learned though not to leave too much information with the sellers until they sign. 
Posted by Kim Peasley-Parker (AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc.) over 12 years ago

Now that I think about it... WOW.... big revelation coming....

At some point in my career, I created my listing presentation and was pretty proud of it. And BAM, my listing conversion rate went down. I vaguely remember commenting to myself years ago that I was no longer getting every listing I interviewed for and wondering if it had anything to do with my "new" approach. But I never questioned it further.

I HATE going thru the presentation page by page and "reading" the highlights to them. BORING.

On a semi-related note, several years ago, I showed up at an open house without flyers. Completely forgot them. It was one of the best open houses I ever had because I had to TALK TO visitors instead of shoving a flyer in their hands.

Maybe, just maybe... fewer props make a better agent?

p.s. I have my entire marketing strategy detailed on my website. I wonder if I could point people there ahead of time if they're interested and "warn" them that we're going to spend our time together discussing "the market, their home and their goals." Or am I overthinking this!!!???

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 12 years ago

Not overthinking it - blogs and web sites give clients or potential clients the opportuntiy to get that marketing strategy info on their own time. They want the the good stuff in person.


Posted by Jason Todd (Compelling Media + Design) over 12 years ago
Jennifer, I really like the idea of that approach.  I always feel like a salesman with the structured Listing approach.  I've found taht when I go on a LIsting appointment, I have a hard time following a plan, I am always sidetracked by listening to what the sellers have to say, and what they want and find it hard to brag about myself.  So, maybe there is something to this approach.  Have all your ducks lined up, but you don't have to hit them in any special order.
Posted by Bob Cumiskey, US Army Retired, Your Sun City Center, Florida ~ Realtor (A1 Connection Realty, Inc.) over 12 years ago

what if you just did your jop and did both... hmmm there is an idea!

The reason for a presentation goes far beyond merely demonstrating your abilities... and the personal touch is also very important. And my business is about 80% referral so i really don't need to establish my bona fides.

Posted by J Perrin Cornell, Broker, ABR, VAMRES (Coldwell Banker Cascade Real Estate) over 12 years ago

Perrin - close to 100% of my business is SOI, which is part of the reason the presentation feels awkward! I rarely have to sell myself to a seller, but I do want them to know what I'm going to do for them and what to expect from the process. I think I need to find an approach that feels more natural for me than simply going through a formal presentation. The thing is - I DO have a very comprehensive marketing plan and I want my sellers to know that, but I hate the whole sales pitch feel to it.

It's a fine line - my Alabama listing agent didn't give me any idea at all what she would do to market my home and I have to admit, I made the assumption that she wasn't going to do anything beyond the 3P's... So... how do you communicate your commitments without being salesy?

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 12 years ago
Great Post!  No fancy presentation or marketing material will ever make up for sincerity.  Great observation.
Posted by Matthew Heavener (ERA Heavener Realty Co.) over 12 years ago
Jennifer, I have a company provided power point presentation on my laptop and quite frankly I don't know when I would ever use it. When I go on a listing appointment the first thing I do is have a conversation at the kitchen table with my potential clients. They may want to take me on tour of their home right away but that's really secondary, first I want to find out what their motivation is and if there are any hidden agendas. I'm actually interviewing them as much as they're interviewing me. Assuming all goes well with the interview, we tour the home and most often end up back at the kitchen table to fill out the paperwork. Keep in mind that there's a little more to it, but that's it in a nutshell.  
Posted by Bob Edwards, Fox Cities Real Estate Hotline, SFR- Appleton, WI (Coldwell Banker- The Real Estate Group, Inc.) over 12 years ago

When I first got into real estate, I designed a great, to-the-point, benefit orientated presentation which even veteran colleagues thought was great, but I never once used it.

Just like what was mentioned by someone above, I just like to have a conversation with the seller to see how it goes and if they want me to list the home, I have the paperwork in a file. If I don't get a good feeling from someone, I might not want to work with them. And I also have the Sold comps, and comps for other Actives (competition). I highlight and make notes on these sheets regarding the Asking Price, Original Asking Price, Days on Market, etc...and point these figures out so we can come up with a realisitic price if they plan on listing the home.

Posted by Joseph Grabowski, REALTOR - (Keller Williams Preferred Real Estate) over 12 years ago

This is just great, As a new agent I sat down for quite a while and created a listing presentations because I want to look prepared. So on my first listing I sat down with my client and went over my listing presentation and well.....It kinda felt like we were in school again. So Im so glad that I have read your blog!!!! I think it is more important like you said to have a conversation with them and you can still hand them a hardcopy of you presentation when you are finished with the conversation.

This helps a lot!!! Thanks

Posted by Kelly Spinosa (Crossroads Realty) over 12 years ago
Jennifer, while I understand the feelings on this, especially with SOI, I do have to say we need to think about what a listing presentation is. I would think what Susan did was a listing presentation. Maybe it's because a presentation is thought of as a one way dialogue. We handle all of our "presentations" very differently depending on who we are meeting with and the depth of our relationship with them. However one thing consistent through all of them is dialogue. We have to talk with them and even figure out if we are a match. It's not just about them employing us, it's also about us taking that contract. If we don't know what thier hopes, dreams, expectations are we really can't work with them.
Posted by Birmingham Alabama Real Estate, Stephen Wolfe ( over 12 years ago
Even when I'm listing for friends or repeat clients, I always go through my listing presentation. Might be a quick overview, but I always go over it because I just don't want to take anything for granted. I want to reassure them that they are hiring the best person for the job and answer any questions that they may feel are too silly to bring up. Great topic.
Posted by Kelly Sibilsky (Licensed Through Referral Connection, LTD.) over 12 years ago
Jennifer, One of my very first post on AR was "Make your listing presentation a LISTENING presentation". It works and it works great. Folks want to connect with the person they hire. There's no better way to help them do that than to ask the right questions and let them talk. The less I say the better the "presentation".
Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) over 12 years ago
I'll check it out. Amazing that after 12 years in the biz, I'm still fine-tuning my approach. Keeps things fun, yes?
Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 12 years ago
Jennifer:  Most times, when I end getting a listing, it was simply a matter of presenting the comps to a seller and my marketing plan.  Usually, when I end NOT getting the listing, I've tried to go through a formal presentation.  I think the key to sales is really listening to your prospective client, and I don't see where a formal presentation allows that.  It's like you are lecturing your client.  No wonder they don't work! (at least for me)
Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 12 years ago
This is such a great post. The comments are so good. I rarely read them all, but I did this time. I always have known the people I took listings with, and thus never did a formal presentation.  I would feel kind of stuffy doing it that way, since it doesn't fit my personality. I love hearing the same from others.
Posted by Karl Burger, Pensacola Real Estate News (ERA Beach Ball Realty) over 12 years ago
Great Post! It's always great to hear how other agents sell themselves. Fills me with lots of new thoughts and ideas. I take a presentation with me, but I don't like to use it. If they choose to list with me at that time, I don't use it. If they are undecided, I go through the marketing, etc with them. If they don't commit, I flip through it to show them what's inside and leave it with them to look at later. I'd rather spend my time with them learning what they expect and their personalities rather than coming across too formal and "business only".
Posted by Lissa Uder, Your Lebanon MO Real Estate Agent (RE/MAX Next Generation, LLC) over 12 years ago
Good points.  Thats cool to hear others have the same sort of thoughts.  I used to do a 'red ocean' sales pitch..but a long time ago we started doing the 'blue ocean' strategy.   Blue ocean is  a book that describes this scenario.
Posted by Utah Dave, Homes for Sale - Utah ( Neighborhood Experts) over 12 years ago
Good points.  Thats cool to hear others have the same sort of thoughts.  I used to do a 'red ocean' sales pitch..but a long time ago we started doing the 'blue ocean' strategy.   Blue ocean is  a book that describes this scenario.
Posted by Utah Dave, Homes for Sale - Utah ( Neighborhood Experts) over 12 years ago
Good points.  Thats cool to hear others have the same sort of thoughts.  I used to do a 'red ocean' sales pitch..but a long time ago we started doing the 'blue ocean' strategy.   Blue ocean is  a book that describes this scenario.
Posted by Utah Dave, Homes for Sale - Utah ( Neighborhood Experts) over 12 years ago

They are not always the most fun, but I am doing a listing presentation today! I do not take a listing agreement or anything like that.  I usually bring marketing materials from previous listings, and discuss what is more effective.  Wich me luck!

The Mountain Top Realtor - Chris 

Posted by Chris Gempeler, Mountain Top Realtors (Breckenridge Mountain Top Realtors ) over 12 years ago

You have been getting great responses and I love reading them!

Well, you have seen my presentation and over the year, I have tweaked it to where I feel comfortable with it now. And it is very different from the 17page that I started with. I used to use my presentation (all 17 pages) of it to key me (yes, it was more for me than for the clients). It's perhaps a 3 or 4 page now. And I always have a CMA.

Depending on the client, I may have a little more detailed CMA than my "typical" just in case I have another Seller - like me who loves crunching numbers.

I do believe that somehow you need to be able to customize your presentation. That's why I always still spend some time preparing for them. But this time, it's different. I do assume that I have the listing and actually show them the ACTUAL marketing materials I will use. Thus far, I have not wasted my time. If I have, it'd just be more materials for my Localism. No time/ effort wasted there!

Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) over 12 years ago

Sounds great, Loreena! I agree with you - SHOW what you're going to do, don't just tell them about it. I do believe a strong CMA is important to bring with you, even if you don't go through all of it.

I'd like to come up with a very short introduction to my marketing strategy so that the seller knows I have one and can ask for details if he wants more information.

Posted by Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Author of Sell with Soul (Sell with Soul) over 12 years ago
Right now we have a very low most listings appointments I go to I am competing against 4-5 other agents. Some of them bring LP's but to be truthful...not many. When you walk in with a nice professional looking CMA and a well put together presentation, it usually blows the other agents out of the water!
Posted by Luther Harrity - Saint John, Rothesay, Hampton, New Brunswick Real Esate (Royal LePage Atlantic/Harrity Real Estate Services) over 12 years ago

Jennifer,  Most of my listings come from clients who live out-of-state.  Most of the time I never get to meet them....It starts with a phone call and I have to make my presentation over the phone.  Most of the time I end up doing my comps and stuff via email, and I usually end up sending them a listing agreement. 

For those listings I get locally I take comps, presentation information about what my company can do for them, and I take my personal marketing brochure that gives them a great idea of who I am. 

I always project the sincere desire to help the clients and never consider the paycheck.  I don't care about the commission percentage...that's the furthest thing from my mind when going for a listing.  That's determined in the negotiations between me and the seller. 

Posted by Jon Miller (United Country-Marshland Realty) over 12 years ago

Luther - I agree - my sellers always told me that my presentation was by far the most professional - I just don't like the process of going THRU it page by page! Your market must be quite different from ours if you have a low inventory... sounds fun!

Jon - I think I'd prefer your situation - I do good phone!

Posted by Jennifer Allan (Jennifer Allan, Inc.) over 12 years ago
Jennifer...what a thought provoking post!  I think it is smart to bring the comps and listing presentation, but it is most important to be "present" at the appointment and realize it is not all about US and what we can do, but most importantly tuning into what is important to our sellers and that can not be done by doing a "canned" presentation.  I think it is still inportant to be organized with the information you want to review with the seller, because they still need to know what to expect from us and the market.
Posted by Debra Kukulski, Broker Associate, SRES;SFR,CDPE;GRI;ABR;e-PRO Realtor, Northern IL (RE/MAX Suburban) over 12 years ago

Good Point - Having the information ready if a question comes up is part of the helping mode.


Posted by Bonner Thomason, CRS, ABR, GRI, e-Pro (Keller Williams Realty) over 12 years ago
I'm new, and with no experience doing listing presentations, but I have met with sellers in the past to discuss options when dealing with foreclosure.  I like the personal touch, just conversing naturally and getting to know the other person.  And it's always best to do more listening, than talking!
Posted by Tiffany Wilson, SFR, First Time Home Buyers & Investors (eReal Estate Corp) over 12 years ago
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