By Jesse Loader

Successful real estate salespeople have a few things in common. One is a rock-solid listing presentation. A good listing presentation can make or break you very early in your career.

When I started in this industry, I didn’t have a large sphere of influence to tap into, I wasn’t particularly good at dealing with buyers, or FSBOs, or sign calls or hosting open houses. What I was great at was earning people’s trust in the setting of a formal listing presentation. Three months into my career I had 23 listings (admittedly, most of them were overpriced in a depressed sellers market…but still!) and it “put me on the map” so to speak.

I quickly built up trust and credibility among the public, as well as other members of our industry. I obtained 23 listings because I took the listing presentation component very seriously. This article is not about generating listing leads (that’s for another day) but more about converting those seller leads into active listings. There are three components to every listing presentation that are an absolute must:

1. Content:

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard, “Wow, it looks like you’ve done a lot of work to prepare for this!” To each listing presentation I bring a small three-ring binder filled with information about me, market stats, a specific marketing strategy and a comparative market analysis. This is the old school part about my business. I used to use an iPad but technology will backfire on you if there are any glitches. Having good content to show your prospective seller will set you apart from the competition. This is something that only takes me about five minutes to prepare and costs less than $5 per listing package.

2. Comparison:

Don’t walk into a listing presentation to show how great you are…walk in there and show how different you are from the “average agent”. More powerful than market stats or personal accolades are using them in comparison to most salespeople in your market who sell very little real estate. A few specific examples are: Days on market…you versus the average, how close homes are selling compared to the list price…you versus the average, how many homes sold last year/month…you versus the average.

3. Confidence:

This is the most important one. I’ve never liked the term, “fake it ʼtil you make it” (I would rather figure out a way to actually make it). However, there is an element of truth to this cliché that can be very effective. The definition of an expert is someone who knows more than the average person about a particular subject. You need to remember this when you are presenting. Even if you are new to the industry, you know more than they do! Hold your head high, speak with purpose, do your research and hold your ground. If you walk in oozing with confidence (not cockiness) you’ve won half the battle already.

With these three basic principles in your toolbox, you will be unstoppable at the kitchen table.


  1. Dear Mr. Bhogal:

    I’m sorry you feel that way, sir. Under no circumstances did I make a personsal attack. I can’t imagine why you thought so. But I will not respond further when I see your name. I have no desire to communicate with bad attitude. Makes my comments point counter-point, in particular that we are first and foremost in the “people-business,” bang on.

    After 38 years in the business I felt qualified to offer my experience to newbies. Anyone on this forum can offer help and or answer generic questions with the concept being to help. Perhaps read Tina’s comments, along with my related posts.

    I have helped many over the years. And do so willingly and freely. This forum is for back and forth commentary and we all help each other, help each other, doesn’t matter who penned the original article. You will note the contributor writer did not respond to your accusations or your questions. Perhaps he did the right thing, rather than engage in your attack at him.

    Your message to me now explains loud and clear your “how-to hands-up question,” and indeed why you asked for help.

    Have a nice day, sir; be blessed, and may you encounter much success as a newbie growing in the business.

    I learned something: I didn’t know a newbie could be a broker of record. Clearly you are new to our REM forum, where I have been a contributor and commenter for many years.

    Carolyne L 🍁

  2. Hardest part for anyone starting in real estate is getting people to raise their hand that I want to sell or buy my home. Everything else that follow after is easy to master. Give us the secret that you use that people raise their hand and say ” I want to sell my home”. Can you come over?

    • I disagree, there are plenty of people out there, especially new agents who do not find it easy or natural to master converting leads to clients. They get people to the table and then don’t know what to say, they have no listing presentation and are just winging it. As the author states, this article isn’t about generating leads, it’s about converting leads to actual clients and I feel that they’ve made good points about what to do after the prospect has “raised their hand to buy/sell”.

      • I know there are plenty of sellers and buyers are out there. My question is how to find them. This man had hardly any list or sphere of influence, yet he found that many sellers. That makes this article about lead generation. How did he find them? All real estate coaches out there are selling dreams to new and struggling agent, so is this writer. If they can not tell how you how to find the customer, what good is the other training?

        • We’re back to the “personality-thing” again. First and foremost the real estate industry is a people-business. If it doesn’t come naturally to you, you need to learn how to develop rapport with people. We all remember being admonished, as children: don’t talk to strangers.

          What would you do if invited to present, having asked will you both be there… to arrive on a very dark street laden with giant trees in full bloom, after the dinner hour, at the appropriate property, with no lights on. Even the entrance light was a low watt bulb.

          Because the property was in my high-end farm area, and I knew the floor plan well, having sold many in the area, knew the builder’s products, and all the details, and had all my charts and graphs updated regularly, I was fully prepared.

          I have to say I was concerned. The house was totally dark, only a glow light coming from the kitchen down the hall. I always arrived five minutes early, waited on the street, didn’t park in the driveway, and my secretary always knew where I would be.

          I rang the bell, but got bad vibes. I excused myself, saying she was waiting in my car, and needed a quick emergency trip to the dentist, so I would have to reschedule my listing appointment. I apologized and left. I could have lost the listing opportunity. But safety first.

          At a later, daytime appointment, I did reschedule. It turned out he was area VP of a giant well-known utilities corp. Just a little man who suffered from Napolean disorder. Bad body language. Had no clue about real estate, but he had saved my giant-postcard promo pieces for years, was confident in my industry expertise, and although he was in the midst of a marriage break-up, I did list that house, brought the paperwork to her lawyer, proceeded to sell; and I demanded (politely) to be in full control.

          I would list the house and he would follow absolutely my directions (about how the house should be presented), or I would cut him loose, promptly. I had no patience with messing about. He wanted to know first, upfront, if I would “adjust” my fee. No. There’s no reason I should, unless you can convince me of one. You know my history. What’s your next question? He was a man of few words. Spoke in short sentences. I mirrored.

          It was a most short presentation. We never sat down. I had my file ready. He never asked me exactly what I would do. And I didn’t say. Stood at the kitchen counter. Not a light on in the house. Erie place. Large placed with finished basement. I learned his young adult daughter was home, someplace in the house.

          I only met his wife at the offer presentation, although she had contacted me by phone from her lawyer’s office. She wanted me to list the house.

          I had chosen a neutral environment to present the MLS offer that came in a couple of weeks in a quiet market, and invited the offer-agent not to be there, in a public venue, just in case a war would break out. It seemed pending. I was ready and prepared.

          The wife later really thanked me and said how much she appreciated that open public location I had insisted on. Kept him in check. The only other choice for me would have been the law office. She wrote me a nice recommendation letter.

          See my prior post about concentric circles. Nothing brings in new business faster than a sold sign.

          I am decades older than the article contributor, apparently, and I agree about power point, laptop, iPad and other such presentations. Such may indeed mark you as a smart techie, but until a few generations die off, paper presentations in real estate will often win out, at the end of the day. Keeping a binder is a great idea. And it’s hands-on, and at your fingertips in whole. And clients love it. There are many people out there who prefer hands-on paper. Those paper copies of binder charts and graphs tell a story without your having to say a word. Review the binder contents quickly and pass the binder to the people so they can “touch and feel it.” Give them a couple of minutes and say “nothing.”

          And, black and white charts and graphs, not unlike black and white photography, sometimes still has a more dynamic effect. (And saves coloured ink by the boatload.) And certainly using your tech knowledge to prepare the material is a doable.

          The chief differentiator is that you will be (as was said countless times in my career). you will be marked as doing business in an unconventional manner. But you will deposit more paycheques, too.

          It’s not about the money, but it is about the money. If you haven’t done so, work out your own private income statement and that will alleviate a lot of stress. Determine what you need so you can relax your head and just go do business.

          And I’ve often been heard to say nothing sells like a sold sign; again noted in my prior comment

          And yes, like it says in the Volkers’ article, you first need to take paper and pencil and figure out the value of each end you need to consummate based on your personal goals.

          It’s not about selling million dollar homes. But if you do transact a couple that will skew your numbers terribly.

          Having said that, my transactions varied been 8k and 12k per, depending if I chopped off the two highest and two lowest transactions, and averaged the rest. I don’t like averaging, as Ross Kay used to say. Even appraisers work that way. That’s why stats lie, particularly when computer-generated. You can make them tell you whatever configuration you want, sadly.

          Nothing is worse than averaging. But averaging does present an overview, better created using “pictures.” The pictures being those charts and graphs. But that is quite a lot of work. Not difficult, just time-consuming. Agents sometimes would prefer to sit in closing rooms playing cards with colleagues than study MLS stats and create charts and graphs. And joke about ones so-doing. I remember being shocked in 1980-81 when I saw that. Silly me. I thought I was there to work. An amazing 4-letter word.

          One agent said to my face that agents were so glad when I moved on, because all they ever saw was me “working!” Eeeek!!! What a concept! And it meant there would be more office business for them, with me gone. It didn’t happen. My business was top notch no matter where I was. And followed me wherever I was. Yours will too.

          If I would spot a FSBO nearby I would put my business card in the door-jam. Maybe once a week. No comment. No call. No door-knocking. A little like a story I heard about the “rain dance,” where there was no rain. The dancers were asked: “how come when you dance, it rains?” The dancer replied: “not quite so, you see. We just dance UNTIL it rains.”

          A little like real estate. You have to do whatever works for you, until you see the proof in your hands: a paycheque. Your rain.

          Carolyne L 🍁

    • WOW! I see your profile says your are the company broker of record and you ran for mayor in Cambridge. Very interesting. You must have access to thousands of hands up ready to list or sell. Please see my other comment posts.

      Carolyne L 🍁

    • Here is an example of the sort of email I receive… Just now in my mailbox. A homeowner with “hands up.”

      “Hi , I am a Home Owner ..I want to sell my house.Can you be of help to search for a serious buyer ? I am searching for a reliable Real Estate Agent who can help me out. Best Regards, (name)”

      My reply:
      “Hello (name)

      I so much thank you for your email.
      How did you find my name?

      What area are you in? I might be able to suggest a superior name colleague in your location, for you to contact although I cannot do an official referral.

      I am off on medical family cancer leave, and had to put my license on temporary hold.”

      Kind regards

      Carolyne L 🍁

    • Sardool:
      The author admitted that he “bought” most of his listings. Anyone can promise the moon and get a positive response from naïve, ignorant sellers. However, “Everything else that follow is easy to master.” (as you state) is not an accurate statement. Most can ‘not’ master “everything else”, and that is why most fail, even after having accumulated overpriced or accurately priced listings.
      Carolyne is someone whom I know personally. You would do well to heed her remarks. She was a detail oriented Realtor in possession of a prodigious memory who relied upon knowledge of her area and the rules of engagement (delivered in a no-nonsense forthright manner) vs sales gimmickry (which gimmickry most newbies rely upon during their doomed-to-fail turns at chasing their pots of gold at the end of their listing rainbows).

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