By David Compton, Director of Education
Posted: 1999 ~ Reviewed: 2005

This article will focus on the phases of an effective listing presentation. Let’s go back to basics and remember that the number one item you want to establish is “control.” There are certain things you must do to obtain and maintain this critical element.

Let’s review the steps and timing of your listing presentation:

  • establish and reestablish rapport (approximately 10-15 minutes) — small talk, get comfortable in living or family room
  • establish control (approximately 5 minutes) — move to kitchen table, set the agenda, minimize distractions
  • sell yourself and your company (approximately 10 minutes) — use your listing presentation system to sell BENEFITS
  • deal with price and terms (approximately 15-30 minutes) — use your marketing plan, CMAs and net sheet
  • trial closer and handle objections (approximately 5-30 minutes)
  • final close for listing (approximately 1-2 minutes)
  • precondition
  • service the listing

Establish rapport

First and foremost, remember to be on time, but not too early. Since may of your presentations are in the evening, it’s important to establish a comfort zone for both you and the sellers. Make small talk and conduct this discussion in the living room or family room (stay away from the kitchen table until the proper time).

Establish control

After 10-15 minutes, it’s time to shift the meeting to the kitchen table. TAKE CHARGE HERE! Politely ask the sellers to sit in such a way to be sitting beside each other and yourself so you can present your visuals to them together. This is a great opportunity to set the agenda and let them know how you would like to conduct the meeting and get their approval to do so. This can help you avoid the premature discussion about price, proceeds, etc. Also, don’t be afraid to politely ask them for an hour of their undivided attention. REMEMBER: if they insist on talking price right away and you submit, you’ve given them control. Assure them that you will address the price and terms in a few minutes, but that you’d like a few minutes to tell them about yourself and your company. When they say “sure”, you’re in control.

Sell yourself and your company

Remember that this is very important to avoid having a premature discussion about the price and terms, which is the next step as the sellers will feel comfortable with you helping them with their decision only after they’re convinced that you and your firm are the ones to do the job for them.

In reality, this is probably the most important step, as you are specifically addressing the seller’s concerns. It is also important to have done a thorough job of having qualified the seller in the fact-finding phase. This fact-finding phase should have taken place in your initial conversation setting up the appointment. You should have a complete “Seller Profile” (from the initial conversation), which should include their motivation, urgency, family and personal needs, their next location, experience selling a home, their expectations and financial requirements. Your presentation should focus on their needs in these areas. You may want to consider preparing personal listing kits with the sellers’ name on the front for them to keep.

It is important to utilize your listing presentation kit which contains visuals, in this phase. Visual aids greatly enhance the sellers’ understanding of what you and your company have to offer. In your verbal presentations, I recommend using the following tie-down methods:

fact (i.e., xyz realty has over xxx offices and xxx sales associates in (name of town, state or country) bridge (i.e., what this means to you is…) benefit (state the benefits to them) tie down(ask the sellers what they think about what you stated) Pick five to eight features to discuss during this process (no more than eight). Deal with price and terms

A thorough understanding of your CMA is very important. Present it in laymen’s terms in discussing comparables and be specific how each comparable property in the “sold,” “available,” and “expired” categories compares to their property. Also be sure to discuss the competitive pricing at this time. During this phase, the sellers will see the validity and reality of the market price. The more you make this their decision, the better it is for you. If your CMA is thorough and complete, if you communicate it clearly, and if you discuss competitive pricing, the sellers should see the logic and benefit of a realistic price. This is also where your show the sellers a net sheet. Make it as conservative as possible using a “worst case” analysis. A pleasant surprise (at closing) will always work to your favor while an unpleasant surprise will work to your disfavor. This is where you want to tie back to your marketing plan for their property. Doing these steps will aid you significantly in your closing phase. Ask the sellers if they have any questions regarding anything you’ve gone over so far.

Trial close and handle objections

Now it is time to take charge and ask for the listing. (“Mr./Ms. Seller, may I have your approval on this authorization so we can get right to work marketing your property?”) In many cases there is a sigh or some kind of guttural utterance like “We need to think this over,” or “We need to sleep on this.” NEVER attach your seller on this and express empathy letting them know that you understand that this is a big decision for them. However, after you have done this, it might be effective for you to ask them if they have any questions on any part of your program or any concerns about the agreement. Ninety percent of handling a concern/objection is finding out what it is and confronting it. This technique is simply called “restate, agree and probe.” When you restate, be sure to paraphrase their response back to them (i.e., “We don’t want to sign on our property” — “I’m sure you have a good reason for not wanting to sign: would you mind sharing with me that reason?” “Our neighbors are nosy and people would probably drop by at inconvenient times” — “So, if I’m understanding you correctly, you have some concerns about your neighbors gossiping about you and that you might be disturbed at inconvenient times?”) All of this is really encompassed in handling objections. Once you have determined the underlying issue, the next step is to isolate the objections. Now that you have the sellers opening up about their concerns, you might as well seize the opportunity and have them lay their cards on the table. You might say: “Do you have any other concerns besides this one?” or “Is that the only concern that is keeping you from making a decision to list with me tonight?” If there are additional concerns, handle them one at a time. Answer their concerns by providing information that they need to address the concern. A very effective technique is to “reflect” on their reactions to the presentation of selling yourself and your firm earlier in the appointment. (i.e., “Earlier when we discussed our marketing plan, you seemed very impressed with the fact that we promote your property within your own neighborhood to build the awareness of your property.”) This might be a good time to offer some other marketing steps and their benefits that will help you are at this stage with them.


This encompasses your validation that you have answered the sellers objection and concerns (i.e., “Mr./Ms. Seller, do you see why for sale signs are so important to us and to you in the marketing of your home?”) If they give you a positive response, then it is time to go on and CLOSE FOR THE LISTING. If their response is less than positive, then you need to go back and start over handling each objection one at a time.


Pre-conditioning should be done as soon as possible after you obtain the listing, and it is very important that the seller understands what is involved in the marketing process. Such areas as property condition, what to do if a buyer comes by, open houses, office tour, and other areas need to be discussed in detail. This step is very important in minimizing the chance of any misunderstandings of the seller.

Servicing the Listing

This step is simply doing what you promise. It is also worth noting that this means you must keep your seller informed of the progress by sending them a weekly report followed up with a phone call. Listings, competitively priced and marketable, will give you a strong competitive advantage in the marketplace.

About the Author

Michelle Lind

K. Michelle Lind, CEO of Arizona REALTORS®, is also an attorney, State Bar of Arizona board certified real estate specialist, and the author of Arizona Real Estate: A Professional’s Guide to Law and Practice. Please note that this article is of a general nature and may not be updated or revised for accuracy as statutory or case law changes following the date of first publication. Further, this article reflects only the opinion of the author, is not intended as definitive legal advice and you should not act upon it without seeking independent legal counsel.