How Listing Agents with Good Intentions Can Turn Off Buyers

by Greg Nagel

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A common mistake that listing agents often make in front of buyer clients is to talk first and listen later, if at all.

They tend to talk nonstop from the start of the showing to the end, often volunteering information that may not be relevant to that particular buyer, or worse yet, harmful. How many times have you started going over association details, pricing issues and multiple bid updates – and the buyer has not even made it into the living room yet?

If they don’t like the living room they are probably not interested that the association has good reserves, or the building was sealed recently. Listing agents lose focus on the buyer’s wants and needs, and go on “motor mouth” autopilot, which overwhelms and scares the potential buyers. During a tour, buyers interact with three to 10 excited and enthusiastic selling personalities in a short time frame, so going easy at first puts them at ease.

In some instances I have actually seen it get so extreme that my buyers physically recoil away from the seller. I have sometimes had to insert myself as a human blocking shield between the client and listing agent. I have also had multiple buyers make comments that they are relieved a showing is via lockbox. Further, I even have had clients ask me to request that the listing agent not show the property, but alternatively provide entry via lockbox.

One situation I will always remember was when a listing agent actually shared information that directly resulted in my client NOT making an offer. I brought my buyer, Lisa, to a listing that seemed to be perfect for her, until the listing agent began a rant about how dog-friendly the building was; however, they never bothered to check to see if my buyer liked dogs. Lisa, being more of a cat person, later went on to tell me that she was ready to make an offer; however, after the showing, she felt it was just too “doggy” for her.

How Do You Aggressively Market The Property and Make the Buyer Want To Listen To You?

It is important to sit back and let potential buyers get a flow and feel for the property, and to then LISTEN to their responses, comments and body language before sharing information. Buyers do not care if the seller will reface a cabinet if they don’t like the flow.

Give them a moment to walk in and see the place before sharing all the details. This allows them to have a positive emotional response without being distracted. Also, ASK questions that’ll help you target your selling points. Find out what they are looking for and what is important to them.

Hover during the showing and listen to the questions, and volunteer information that the buyer’s agent does not. Do not interrupt the buyer’s agent who is actively selling your place, as you might be changing the subject from something that is really important to the buyer. By doing this, the buyer will not only feel more comfortable – they will also seek you out at the end and really listen to your targeted selling points.

This simple “Sales 101” tip will make you a much more effective sales person, and will help us close more deals together. I even use this knowledge as a competitive advantage in wining listing presentations, as sellers want their agents to sell in a targeted way. Targeted selling was one of many reasons I was a top producing agent in 2012.


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With individual sales of $13.3 Million in 2012 alone, Greg Nagel is in the top 1 percent of all Chicago brokers. From the Chicagoland area originally, Greg grew up in the northwest suburb of Deerfield, and graduated from the University of Missouri in 1993 with a B.S. in accountancy and later obtained his CPA designation.

After working as an auditor for Deloitte & Touché and as the vice president of finance for Kraft Foods, Greg became a developer and condo converter, and then finally a full-time Realtor. As a highly experienced broker, Greg has worked with numerous clients, assisting them to buy and sell primary homes and multi-unit investment properties.

He lives in the East Village, and can be reached at 312-933-1432, nagel@asknagel.com and www.asknagel.com.

  • Meghan says:

    I agree with Greg 100%. I think it is very important for people to listen, in real estate and in life! Most people are so worried and overwhelmed with everything they feel they need to say that they never stop to listen. When you take a break from all the talking and just listen to others thoughts, comments, questions, etc., it actually makes life easier. This is so true for real estate because if the person loves the property, nothing you will say will make them love it more. However in reverse, you can always scare someone off by saying to much!

  • Maria Malina says:

    Very useful article.Being a broker myself and also a buyer at one point, I experienced the “pushy” attitude of certain listing agents that unfortunately makes things less comfortable.

  • Thomas Tomek says:

    Great points for every agent to learn from and be more successful.

  • Lindsay says:

    I think this is especially true for all the”big life decision” sales. As a corporate recruiter, it is essential that you don’t “oversell” and overdo it with the persuasion! Buying a home, like choosing a career, is a MAJOR life decision, and even if people are initially swayed in whichever direction you take them, at the end of the day, they will follow their own intuition and follow their own gut. Listening and letting them lead the conversation opens up the possibility for you, as the the seller, to ask the right questions and determine what their needs are and how you can meet them. Great article for anyone selling something as invaluable as a future home!