Thursday, March 22, 2007

How To Sell MORE of your own listings for MORE money, in LESS any market

Dear Friend,

This week is going to be long one...but I've got a lot to share with you.

During my 3 days in San Francisco sharing ideas with 750 of the of the best real estate and lending professionals in the country this is one of the topics we talked about:

How to sell more of your own listings, for more money, in less any market.

The first thing we need to work on for you is adjusting the way you THINK about listings.

You've probably heard all of the benefits of being a strong listing agent.

"Listers last..."

"Without any listings you're out of business..."

"Listers control the market..."

You've heard all of those things, and you've also heard agents talking about how strong another agent is by counting the number of listings they if an agent with 20 listings is somehow better than an agent with 2 listings.

I'm going to give you another perspective to think about.

Listings are a liability.
...Until they're sold.

Nothing drains your energy, your spirit and your wallet more than a huge inventory of UNSOLD LISTINGS.

Listings aren't worth anything. Houses SOLD are.

So don't get seduced into thinking the most effective way to be a success in real estate is to go out and "list" a bunch of houses...just so you can say you've got 20 listings.

It's not the answer. I promise.

That's why this weeks tip is about how to SELL more of YOUR less time...for more any market.

First let's start with the mindsets of a successful listing SELLER...and then we'll move on to the strategies.

1. Get Committed To Selling Your Own Listings.

The first and most important mindset is to start thinking as if you're going to sell all of your listings YOURSELF.

Not that you are going to put it on the MLS and sit back as somebody ELSE shows your listings and sells them.

Start thinking like a FSBO...with a deadline.

What would it take for you to sell every listing you take in less than 30-days?

Why is it so important you sell your own listings?

Well, for one'll make TWICE as much money by selling your own listings, and even more importantly, you'll be replacing a listing with one of your own clients instead of somebody elses...and assuring yourself of another listing sometime in the future.

One of the most important mindsets you can develop is the mindset of taking the most effective actions possible to reach a specific goal.

So, the goal we're talking about today is selling your new listing in less than 30-days.

What would it take to sell every one of your listings in less than 30-days?

The first step in achieving that goal (or any goal) is to actually believe that it's possible. And it is.

The most important approach I've ever used to decide what the most effective action to ask myself a life or death question.

Here's how it works: Ask yourself one simple question...

What would you do if you HAD to sell your next listing in less than 30-days...or you will be BEHEADED?

When you ask a life-or-death question like that, you gain access to a different part of your brain. A part that cuts out all the unimportant fluff...and gets right to the heart of the matter.

Try it. Really get your mind to think like that...and you'll be amazed at the clarity you have. It's amazing what you're capable of when your life is on the line.

If your life truly was on the line every time you took a new listing, you'd think a little differently about it, and you might not be so free in just taking listings to take them.

The first thing I would do if MY life were on the line, is to be more discriminating in taking a listing in the first place...I'd want to make sure I wasn't risking my life on a listing that might not sell.

So, I'd recommend a second "life-saving" mindset...

2. From NOW on...only work with "5-Star Sellers"

Just like the 5-star buyer prospects we've talked about...this is the same sort of quality-control process to make sure your listings have the highest probability of being sold in less than 30-days.

Here are the qualities of a 5-Star Seller:

1) They are committed to selling the house.

When your life is on the line, you have no room for people who are just testing the market...or aren't really committed to selling the house.

How can you tell?

Uncommitted sellers leave clues. They leave big clues that sometimes our eagerness and focus on getting the listing block out for us.

"We're not in a hurry..."

"If someone wants to give us OUR price we'll sell."

"We're not going to give it away!"

"If it sells it sells...if not, it's no big deal"

"If it's meant to will sell"

If you ever hear any of these words in any combination during a discussion with a're not dealing with a committed seller...and you need to really probe to find out if they really are committed, or not.

Sometimes their "tough" talk is a put on to hide the fact that they really do need to sell, and it's your job to find out the truth and make a decision as to whether YOU believe they are committed to selling.

If they're committed to selling...then they won't have any problem with the next requirement...

2) They are willing to price the house AT market value.

If they're committed to selling, and you've established the "pain" of not selling the house quickly, you've set the stage for getting the right price.

What would it take to make sure this house sells in less than 30-days? What would that price be?

Look to the reality of the market for your cues. What are the houses that are selling in less than 30-days actually selling for? How much above market value are they listed.

In most markets, the 30-day price is no more than 3% above the actual selling price -- the price they would take for the house if it could be sold tonight.

This is where you have to be really aware of what the true market is doing. If my life were on the line, I'd make sure and spend whatever extra time it took to make sure I know what the real market value of this property is.

The truth is...most listings that eventually expire, are expired the night you take the listing. Most of the time you know it when you walk out the door.

You're not doing anyone a favor by taking an overpriced listing and hoping you can get them to reduce the price later.

Get the price right FIRST. It's no use to do any kind of marketing until you've got the right price.

No matter how hard you can't sell a $100 bill for $110 in a knowlegeable crowd, and the homebuyers are certainly a knowlegeable crowd. They know value when they see it.

If the sellers want a price higher than what you feel is the 30-day selling price, get them to agree to having the house appraised before you start marketing it, and then you'll have a third-party objective opinion.

Price is a BIG deal. Get it right and then make sure...

3) There are No Obstacles or handicaps to selling

"We don't want the neighbors to know..."

"We don't want a sign"

"We don't want a lockbox"

"We don't want you to show it without us here"

"We need 48 hours notice to show the house"

"We don't want you to put our house on MLS"

When you hear those have to immediately deal with it. You can't have one hand tied behind your back when your life is on the line.

To sell a house in 30-days you've got to have the full co-operation of your sellers. You can't want it more than they do. Get to the bottom of any of these obstacles and get them taken care of right up front.

Remember, you're evaluating the sellers and the situation as much or more than they are evaluating you.

Remove the obstacles up front and then find out if...

4) They are Willing to stage the house to sell

Model homes are what sell NEW homes.

People love model homes, because they present an idealized vision of what it would be like to live in a house.

Clutter, obvious minor repairs and things that need some cosmetic attention can distract buyers and they will always overestimate the cost of repairing even simple things.

Things like removing clutter can make a house seem bigger and let buyers see what it would be like for them to live there.

Making minor cosmetic improvements can make a house show in it's best light. A committed seller would want that, so take a leadership role and let them know what they should do to prepare the house for sale, and get agreement from them.

Now we're getting far we've got a pretty committed's time for the final piece...

5) They are willing to HELP find a buyer

A truly committed seller would want to do everything they could to help get the house sold.

There are plenty of ways for a seller to get involved in selling their house. We'll talk about some of them a little later, but for now it's important to get the sellers on board and involved in finding a buyer for the house.

They'll be pleased to help if you just ask them, and give them the tools they need.

If you have a seller that passes all five of those tests, you're dealing with a 5-star seller, and nothing can stop you from selling that house in less than 30-days.

We haven't even started marketing the house yet, but we're more than half-way to a successful sale already, and it's important that you lay this foundation right from the start.

Now we can turn on the marketing.

Here's how to get started...

3. Develop a 30-Day Marketing "SYSTEM"

Start thinking about your entire marketing process as a "system" for selling houses in less than 30-days.

Stop thinking about each listing as a unique experience and start documenting the things you do in a home-selling system.

One of the best things you can do is to develop the mind that you're creating a home-selling system you could duplicate 5000 times...with success.

When you've got a documented system, you can start to see how predictable and consistent it is. You'll be developing procedures and processes you can delegate to people other than you.

Franchise prototype thinking is a life-changing mindset, and you can read all about it in Michael Gerber's book "The E-Myth"

He outlines exactly how to think about and document a system for any business, and if you haven't read it, get it will change the way you think forever.

4. Start With The Most Attractive FINANCING Possible

No matter what price range people are looking in, it will always comes down to "how much is this going to cost us each month?"

Luxury car dealers have figured this out.

You never see an ad for a Mercedes or BMW that says: New BMW X5 only $53,795.

It's always "Lease a new BMW X5 for only $499 a month"

A price that seems so ridiculous...yet affordable...that suddenly a luxury car seems to be a possibility.

Even though the $499 lease requires $4999 down and is a 60 month lease with 10,000 miles a was the $499 price that attracted the initial interest.

The same thing applies to houses. Most buyers don't have any idea about what it costs to buy a house. Or what the payments on a $300,000 house might be.

If you were to ask them...they'd probably say you need at least $30,000 down and the payments would be somewhere around $3000 a month.

If that's what they're thinking...and they're looking at $200,000 houses because they think they can only afford $2000 a month...what would they think if they saw that they could buy YOUR $300,000 listing with zero down and have monthly payments of $1500 a month?

They would pass it right by if it was advertised at only $309,900...but when you put it in terms of a monthly payment they can suddenly becomes an affordable possibility.

There are so many great mortgage programs available now, and so many different zero-down programs that it would be worth your while to sit down with a personal mortgage advisor and find out what the most attractive way to finance your listing would be.

Have them prepare some good-faith estimates of what it would look like for a person with average to good credit buy this house, and how much it would cost them with zero down.

Ask your lender about what you need to disclose in any ad you run with a monthly payment...but a low monthly payment will attract more interest than a selling price will.

Always look for the most attractive ways to package your listings.

5. Overcome possible buyer objections right up front.

If the house needs to have anything of any seriousness done to it...investigate it up front. Find out how much it would cost to get new carpet, a new roof, new windows, a new furnace or air conditioning.

Whatever it is...if it's obvious...don't hide it. Overcome it. If you leave it up to the buyers, they'll way overestimate what it costs to make even the smallest change.

I love the idea of developing an "I love the house but..." book to keep in the house. You could get sponsorship from local companies who do all kinds of repairs and decorating improvements with estimates on minor upgrades.

Model homes do could you!

6. STAGE the house to sell BEFORE you start marketing

There is no disputing the value of staging a house to sell.

Clean, uncluttered, well lit, good smelling homes sell for more money quicker than messy, cluttered, dark, stinky homes.

Tom and Sally Cook in Toronto do a "Room-by-Room-Review" of every house they list to make sure it shows it's very best.

Your clients will love it.

Don't be afraid to tell people what they need to hear. They are looking to you for leadership, and they will appreciate it...especially when their house sells quickly for more money.

Create your own system for staging a house...make a simple checklist to go through with your sellers and build a plan to get the staging done quickly.

The more it looks like a system...the more they will go along with it. Remember...the goal is to get the house SOLD in less than 30-days, so every advantage you can get will help.

You could even have a "staging crew" of a handyman and an interior decorator to come over and help with the staging.

This is a very important step...and every ounce of effort here will pay off in the end.

Ok...let's do a quick review here.

First, we're committed to selling this house in less than 30-days.

Second, we've got a bonified "5-Star Seller", we've arranged zero down financing with a low monthly payment..We've overcome any possible objections or obstacles up front.and we've staged the house to show it's absolute best.

if you do all of those things, you'll be selling more of your OWN listings, for MORE LESS time... no matter what the market conditions are doing.

That's it for this week...

Thanks for spending 3 minutes with me.....
The best is yet to be!

Your Trusted Advisor For Life
Jeffrey Stanton

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