In today’s competitive, high-demand market, listings and leads have become more important than ever as buyers continue to vie for the best properties. With inventory low, it’s essential for agents and teams to set themselves apart. Clients who are happy with the service you provide can turn into lifelong connections and an important future and ongoing source of referrals and new business.
“Listings are the engine of our business,” says Gene Arant, a KW agent in Austin, Texas, for the last 21 years. This year, Arant and his team carried out around 250 transactions at $150 million. “It’s so critical that we’re listings-focused for everybody to win,” he says. Listings allow teams to grow in every direction, he adds, to become market experts and to leverage your business, helping bring in a steady stream of clients.
Arant spoke in a discussion with fellow top-earning agents including Marietta, Georgia-based agent Courtney Newton, Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, agent Danna Hutton, and Pamela Temple, an agent in Mooresville, North Carolina. What follows are some of their top tips for agents looking to leverage their listings.
1) Set clear seller expectations. Create a process that helps sellers understand that often the first buyer under contract isn’t necessarily the one that will be closing on the property. Newton, who’s been in the business for 19 years and closed 250 units at around $150 million this past year, typically lists on a Wednesday and reviews open offers on a Monday. She makes sure to have a backup offer in place and a backup to the backup, just in case. Hutton, who surpassed last year’s business with 500 units and $175 million for 2021, gives a pep talk to every client at the start of the process. “It’s like a coach at the beginning of a game,” she says. “This is what you can expect along the way.”
2) Understand your clients’ motivations. Not everyone is motivated by money when it comes to selling a home. Some might be more motivated by convenience factors, including a longer close or being able to live in the home for a certain time period until they find a new home. In today’s market, convenience has become more important for sellers who are already getting more money than expected for their home. “You have to understand what’s truly important and remind sellers of that throughout the process,” Newton says. “Really understand the reason for the move.” Hutton envisions it as an onion. She peels away the layers to get to the root of clients’ motivations.
3) Be intentional with communications. Often, clients have a specific way they want to be communicated with, and agents should ask about that up front, Arant says. “Sometimes both spouses don’t want to be communicated with,” he says. Let clients know from the get-go that you’re going to respect their time. Agents should also share their sellers’ checklist with the seller at the start of the relationship, he says.
4) Reach out to the A+ people in your database. Newton often reaches out to clients with whom she’s formed close relationships. She’ll let them know she recently sold a home nearby and then update them on the state of the market. She’ll say, “I want to make sure you’re making smart financial moves. My job is to keep you up-to-date on what’s going on.” Then, she’ll ask if there’s a chance they’d sell now. “Have those open and honest conversations,” she says.
Related reading: How to Turn Your Database into a Goldmine with Lead Follow-Up
5) Deliver “a Lexus experience.” Whether it’s through her refined listing presentation or well-thought-out sales kit with a one-pager on her team’s value, Hutton makes sure to deliver a high-quality customer service experience. To provide top service, agents also have to be confident in the numbers. “Powerful listing agents win when they know their numbers,” Arant says. Hutton has a relationship with her local Keller Mortgage lender and briefs clients on the service. “It’s an opportunity that gives us a leg up,” she says. “It’s a huge value add.” Newton says, “my number one goal is to make sure people know what it is about myself and my team that sets us apart.”
6) Ask about referrals. At the closing table, Arant and team ask clients for feedback – if there was anything they could have done better – and, if appropriate, for a referral. After the close, he sends a link to clients for them to write a Google review. Google reviews very often help prompt leads, he says, though his number one source for leads is still his database, which must be nurtured.
When you focus on listings, you’re more likely to attract buyers and get referrals. Having robust listings also helps you control your time, energy and money, says Temple. “And then you use them to deepen and strengthen your representation in the community.”