Recently I observed a fairly new agent fight for a listing with two of Chicago’s top agents and win. With enthusiasm and full attention, the new agent explained that she only takes five clients at a time in order to be more personal with them.
She also stressed the power of the Internet and her access to one of the best real estate search engines in town. That was enough to persuade the seller, who cared more about personal attention and innovation than the agent’s experience.
Don’t be afraid of facing someone more experienced. Whether your competition is known as the best agent in a neighborhood, the king or queen of a condo building or has earned the title of “Top Agent,” (meaning they’re in the top 1 percent in terms of sales), there are things you can do to prepare for battle.
1. Check Out the Competition – Ask the seller if he or she is interviewing any other agents. You can even ask who the other agents are. Knowing who you’re going against will help you better prepare for your presentation. If the seller reveals this information, never say anything negative about your competitors. Always commend the seller on the choices he or she has.
2. Be Thoroughly Prepared – Too many times, agents fly by the seat of their pants when going on a listing presentation. They’ll pull up market analysis and add some fluff pieces about themselves and the company they work for. A top agent sells not only him or herself – they sell their knowledge, too. So make sure to do your homework on the property. Know the area location inside and out. Find out what the amenities in the neighborhood are, where the grocery stores are located, what the competition is and why it differs from the property you’re doing the market analysis on.
3. Become the Building Expert – If you’re presenting a listing in a condominium, look up the building to check out the layout, view of the unit and what amenities are offered. There’s so much information you can gather ahead of your presentation that’ll make you look like an expert. All of this knowledge builds confidence, and confidence gives you a better chance of obtaining a listing.
4. Don’t Rush into Pricing – You don’t need to give a price the day of your first visit. Give a range, but contact the seller soon after with pricing and your market plan. Send him or her an e-mail or letter in a tone that makes you look like a viable choice. Make sure to thank them for their time.
You would never buy a car without first shopping around for a price. You would also never take a test without studying. The same is true with potential clients. Be prepared. The Internet is a great and easy tool for this – use it to your full advantage.
Barbara O’Connor is a veteran real estate agent, managing broker at Dream Town Realty, and a managing partner at the O’Connor Hebson Group. As one of Chicago’s top agents, Barbara is consistently part of the top 1 percent of all agents in the Chicago Association of Realtors. She is a life-long resident of Chicago, giving her a deep insight into the city and its housing market. Because of her long and successful career, Barbara is frequently quoted in publications, TV and radio.