To become a more productive broker/listing agent, here are some proven ideas and ideals that have proven very success over time.
I believe you really have to get serious about the business you’ve invested so much money and time into.  Every listing that is out there is not necessarily a good saleable listing.  If you feel that every potential property owner is a listing that will sell, that ideology will stress you right out of the business!
Try to be selective with your listings.  Motivated sellers, like buyers, are the prime “suspects,” for you to seek out – especially those who will pay you what you feel is a just and fair commission!
Be prepared to say, politely, a big NO to those who will not pay you what you feel you need to conduct your business in an economically sensible manner.
“Listings are still the most important…and most challenging part of the real estate business,” says real estate trainer David Knox.
Should every listing sell? Yes, if it is priced right to begin with.  By being firm with the sellers and professionally assisting them in their move, you will reap great benefits and referrals down the road.
Prospecting for sellers is a challenge to most new agents, but second nature to seasoned pros in the industry.  Recently, I conducted an eight-week seminar and the question kept popping up, not only from new agents but from seasoned agents as well: “Where and how often do you prospect?”
 Your manager/trainer, I am sure, has said that you have to commit to prospect every day.  In that way, you will meet a great number of prospective buyers, who will in some cases become your buyers as well.  “Come to the office every day and call till you get one,” says trainer Floyd Wickman.
Managers and trainers agree that getting agents to commit to this task is somewhat difficult.  But if you make those agents accountable to you and to themselves on a weekly basis, you will see a vast difference.  There are all sorts of forms available from on-line web sites to accommodate this, or you can simply devise one yourself.
The influx of new agents across Canada has created a challenge to brokerages.  The challenge is to make those new agents productive and make them productive FAST!  Otherwise, the enthusiasm they had at the beginning of their young careers will fade faster than a New York minute.
I’ve always recommended that “newbies” and pros alike call their “spheres of influence.” For new people, it gets them talking on the phone to people they know.  Maybe it is simply to let them know they have arrived in our business, or to invite them to an Open House.  For pros, it is to remind them to stay in touch with their client base in an efficient manner. (Recommend software such as Act 2, Agent 2000 or Top Producer, if they are not already using it.)
Get all your agents to send, via hard copy or e-mail, a thank you note for any and all presentations or past sales.
Many pros refuse to go after FSBOs.  Don’t just let the newbies go after them – encourage the pros to list them.  If they can’t, after so many years in the business, who can?  There are many techniques to use to go after them.  But remember what I addressed at the beginning of this article….you want motivated sellers.
David Knox says about FSBOs: be gentle. But keep going back every couple days with information to assist them. (Visit David Knox at, or e-mail him at [email protected] for great information.)
Motivation.  Have I mentioned that?  Motivation comes from within. Not from a manager/trainer.
Are you ready?  Many of our agents can call, call and call.  However, when they get an appointment, are they ready?  As agents, we must determine what makes us unique and develop a presentation that will “blow the competition away!” For more great info about FBSOs, there is tons of information on the Internet.  You can also think about a leave-behind info brochure about yourself and your company.  And if you want to go the extra mile, put the information on a disc to be played by the seller after you leave.
Building trust is done by building rapport.
The worst-case scenario for demolishing trust and preventing any kind of meaningful rapport is to arrive late.  Be warned: dress for success as well.  You don’t have to get overly personal in your initial meeting, just be warm and friendly.
A pre-listing package is nothing new, but you should be using it to help you get more saleable listings.  Address all the issues, including commissions and agency from the listing aspect and the buyer agency aspect.  A Buyer’s Agency Agreement should be signed at the time of listing, unless the sellers have already bought new. If they are being transferred, determine if you can get a referral.
Learn to differentiate between pricing and listing.  Most of us go for the jugular and present the CMA first, in order to get the listing as a method of establishing the asking price as the “listing price.”  One should always keep the CMA out of the view of the sellers, until after the listing presentation.  The sequence that I use in training is right out of David Knox’s Opportunity Knocks! series.  The presentation flows as follows:  Ask for the prospective sellers to allow you to explain the listing process. Then show them a marketing plan based on several sequential points:
1. Preparation
2. Initial meeting
3. Determine motivation
4. Present marketing plan
5. Selection of a real estate agent
6. Establishing an asking price
The best salespeople understand that motivation determines the ultimate decision on the part of the seller to work with you.  So, ask open-ended questions such as, “You’re positive about moving?” and “What would happen if you didn’t sell?”
Urgency: “What time frame were you thinking of?”
Taking the action to list: “If we were both in agreement about price, terms and conditions, would you be prepared to go ahead?”; “Am I in competition with another brokerage?”
What they expect/anticipate from a Realtor: “So, how have your past experiences been with other agents?”(Usually this is asked when dealing with a FSBO) “What special services, other than those I have given you, would you like to see from a Realtor?”
Having discussed the seller’s reason to sell, they may have some other hidden reasons.  Divorce, downsizing, transfer and retirement are just a few of a myriad of real reasons to sell.  By asking open-ended questions, like the examples mentioned above, you may establish the rational for their desire to move – examples are many, but here are a few of my favourites: “What prompted you to call my office and ask for me?”  “What is most important to you about the showings and reporting back to you?”
Your manager/trainer will be more than happy to work with you on some dynamite questions, which are really what I call Trial Closers!
A few columns ago, I asked, what is your quotient for establishing an extra value or added value service to your presentation?  Perhaps by this time, you’ve worked on this with your manager/trainer, to insert this element into your presentation. If you haven’t, now is the time to do it.
I believe you have to continue to work on your presentation skills.  The presentation has to be constantly evolving.  Never be satisfied with it!  One area that many new people and especially experienced agents ignore or fear is using the Internet to help. If you think this element of marketing is going to go away, forget it.
The idea of creating a professionally turned out presentation, is that it will create a positive attitude in you that will, by osmosis, create the same feeling on the part of the seller.  Acceptance is the key to any presentation, isn’t it?
Thought for the month: “Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other factor.” – Abraham Lincoln
Stan Albert is an associate broker with Re/Max Professionals in Etobicoke, Ont. and in May 2006, will celebrate his 35th year in real estate. He serves on the Complaints, Compliance and Discipline Committee at RECO, and the Professional Standards Committee at the Toronto Real Estate Board. He is an established trainer and business consultant and can be reached at [email protected]; or
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