The Top 10 Reasons to Focus on Listings
If you really want to build your Real Estate business to its highest possible potential, you will focus on seller listings. I see too many agents who launch their career with the idea that they will begin with buyers and someday graduate to sellers. This is the wrong approach. Even if you are new to the business, I want you to really take to heart the idea of becoming a Listing Specialist, now.
Don’t worry – if you’ve already been in the business for a while and you aren’t currently seller-centric, you can begin gearing your entire operation toward working with sellers over time.
To help you better visualize the stark contrast in the opportunity between a Buyer Specialist and a Listing Specialist, I have outlined 10 reasons why you should strongly consider focusing your business on seller listings.
On my top 10 list, the first 6 come straight from The Millionaire Real Estate Agent. I can’t thank Gary Keller, Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan enough for having the fortitude and foresight to pen that phenomenal and life-changing book.
Reason #1: Seller Listings Mean More Marketing Opportunities – Branding!
- You get to put your sign in the front yard.
- You get to market the listing through your database, direct mail, email, social media, etc.
- You get to advertise via internet, print, etc.
All of this exposure shines the spotlight squarely on you and your expertise as a Listing Specialist. In this way, the more listings you get, the more listings you get. That’s because listings beget listings. When working with buyers, there exists no such opportunity, because there is no prominently positioned signage that announces to the world that you are working with that buyer client. Nor can you market a current buyer in hopes of generating another.
Listings come already prepackaged with multiple promotional vehicles that continue to work on your behalf until the property is no longer on the market. Even the simple act of placing your sign in the yard and putting the property on MLS opens up a stream of marketing channels that showcase you and your listing. Each listing you have essentially assists you in generating more business.
Your yard sign tells the surrounding neighborhood that “The Smiths are trusting me with the sale of their house, and you should too!” Every time someone in the neighborhood drives or walks by your sign, you are making another impression and furthering your brand. As you build your reputation through farming, it will be easier for you to convert the homeowners in the surrounding neighborhoods to active clients whenever the time comes for them to sell. They have already seen you and they have witnessed your work.
I can honestly tell you that few things will bring you greater excitement and fulfillment than seeing your signs in yards across the areas where you serve. In this way you should consider each sign akin to a free neighborhood marketing billboard – working to further your brand and generate more business (buyers and sellers) for you and your team.
Reason #2: You Get More Control of Your Time.
Buyers can be frantic and frazzled. They want to find the best deal and get it before a competing buyer does. And who can blame them for that? In the process, they drag you along (sometimes by the ear).
Most sellers take a completely different approach. Sellers realize that the house is going “on the market” and they will need to sit tight until the right buyer comes along. Sure, sellers get impatient when you don’t set the right expectations. But if you do your job correctly up front (pricing, home prep, setting expectations for the selling timeframe, etc.) you will rarely have an issue. Becoming a Listing Specialist inducts you into a completely different side of the game.
When folks who are not familiar with our industry try to visualize what the work-life of a Real Estate agent looks like, they envision us working nights and weekends and spending the majority of our time driving around and showing potential buyers properties. While this vantage point may be commensurate with how an overwhelming majority of agents conduct their daily Real Estate practice, it simply doesn’t accurately depict the lifestyle of a successful Listing Specialist.
The typical day in the life of a successful Listing Specialist revolves around a 9 to 5 schedule with most nights and weekends off. Unless you choose to work during your off time (as some overachievers will), working outside of this regimented schedule is seldom necessary.
One of the especially nice things about being a Listing Specialist is your ability to control your schedule, and take at least four 7-10 day vacations a year. Even if you are not the type of person to appreciate or desire a vacation, your mind and body will greatly appreciate (and reward you) when you begin to take regularly scheduled (and much deserved) hiatuses from the game. Best of all, once a year you can confidently sit down and plan out your vacations for the next 12 months and simply fix them to your schedule.
Now let me ask you a question – suppose you were a buyer specialist and you decided to go on vacation. This time you and your family are headed out on a wonderful cruise and you will be gone for 10 days. You made the plans for this vacation nearly three months ago, but little did you know how busy you would be when the time came to set sail! Now it’s just two weeks before the big day and you are currently working with 12 active buyers (yikes!) who all want to find a property right now – like today! They are all eager to get into a new home right away. Perhaps having 12 active and motivated (ready to buy now) buyers is a good thing, but do you think you will be leaving on that cruise? Not likely. You better unpack your bags. As a dedicated buyer specialist, your clients will demand your personal time and attention.
Contrast the former scenario with the lifestyle of a successful Listing Specialist. Instead of 12 buyers, you have 12 active sellers (active listings). Would you be going on that vacation? Absolutely! All you would have to do is find a colleague in your office that you can hand your inventory list to, call your sellers and let them know who will be handling their file while you are gone, pack your bags and shove off! Bon voyage!
When working with sellers you can maximize control of your time and work a schedule that is almost the opposite of a buyer agent’s schedule. Listing Specialists typically work weekdays, 5 days a week. Top buyer agents typically work nights and weekends, 7 days a week.
Think about it – when is the best time for a buyer to see a property? Nights, weekends, after hours, or “right now!” The best time for a buyer is generally when it’s least convenient for you. That usually means lots of nights and weekends.
Sellers on the other hand are highly respectful of your time, once they are trained appropriately. Focusing on listings will allow you to work “regular business hours” throughout your Real Estate career, with nights and weekends off while taking at least four vacations each year. If that’s the life you want, then focusing on listings is the key.
Reason #3: Seller Listings Maximize Your Per-Hour Compensation.
Once you become highly leveraged with your systems and marketing in place, it will take you far less time to obtain a seller listing than it will for you to work a buyer transaction. When working with a buyer you may need to show 6 to 12 or more homes, do multiple market analysis’ on their different options, spend lots of time advising them of the area amenities, school rankings and resale feasibility, work with them through inspections, coordinate with their lender, perhaps compete with multiple offers and a myriad of other duties and aspects before closing on a transaction. Worse, you could end up working with a buyer for six months (or more than a year) before they actually buy, or they could simply decide not to buy at all.
With a seller, on the other hand, you only need to look at ONE house and do ONE market analysis. Once you list the property and place it on the MLS you can rely on your local army of MLS members to go to work bringing forth a good buyer and a solid offer. When you add up the time that it takes to work just one buyer vs. one seller, you can easily see that you can work perhaps 3-4 times as many sellers as you can buyers, in a commensurate amount of time.
Reason #4: Volume, Volume, Volume.
With the right models and systems in place, you could easily go on as many as 15 to 25 seller listing appointments each month – and keep up the pace. You would be hard-pressed to work with seven or eight new buyers per month and continue doing so over a long period of time.
Working with buyers can be fun… but work with too many buyers at a time and you may find yourself on the road to burnout. There is a limit to how many you can effectively and personally service at a time.
As a Listing Specialist, you can easily maintain an inventory of 20+ listings at a time. Now try to imagine working with 20 buyers at the same time. In my listing career, I have had as many as 127 listings at one time. I don’t even want to begin to think about what it would be like to have 20 active buyers let alone more than 100! With the right leverage – working almost any number of listings can seem effortless.
Reason #5: Gain Increased Market Awareness.
With seller listings you are on the front end of pricing, which translates to an immediate knowledge of the market. Therefore, the more listings you get, the more knowledgeable you become about the current market.
Every time you sit down to work up a CMA, you are studying the local market in your area and becoming more of an expert. In time, this translates into a sense of pricing confidence that cannot be taught in any other way that I know of. You also get to actively participate in the front end of pricing trends as you watch demand ebb and flow in your target market areas.
Reason #6: Listings Bring You More Business (Both Buyers and Sellers).
When you market your listings effectively you will generate more business. I have found that, on average, one well-marketed listing can generate at least two serious buyers and one new listing (not counting client referrals). That’s three pieces of new business from every listing you take. Put another way, every listing you take has the potential of burgeoning into four closings. Without counting client referrals, how many closings do you think you could expect from each buyer client? Just one.
One of the biggest reasons that I’ve found for why Real Estate agents don’t want to shift their business to focusing on sellers is because they really enjoy the buyer side of the business. I can certainly understand that, because looking at houses, showing property in nice neighborhoods and living the “Real Estate agent life” is appealing. The downside is that it leads to an unbalanced life and an unpredictable schedule while promising a much smaller potential income.
“But Knolly!” you say, “I really, really like working with buyers and I’m not prepared to give them up!”
Well then, what is the number one way to generate more buyer leads? Through having more listings! The truth is, the more listings you have, the more buyers you will attract! That’s great news for agents who like working with buyers, because you can cherry pick the buyers you want to work with and easily leverage out the rest to a great Buyer Specialist on your team, thereby creating a distinct and separate revenue stream.
The bottom line is this: Listings lead to more listings, more buyers, more closing and thus more paychecks!
Reason #7: If A Deal Falls, You Simply Pop It Back Active!
Real Estate transactions fall out of contract for almost any number of reasons. Sometimes the deal just doesn’t work out. What to do when a deal falls flat? Well, that depends on which side of the transaction you are on.
If you are the buyer agent on the transaction, you have no doubt already spent many hours on the deal, just to have it crumble at your feet. What’s next? Well, (sigh) unfortunately for you it’s back to the drawing board. Assuming that your client is still in a mindset to buy, and assuming that they still have confidence in you, then you have to hit that grind again, piling on many additional hours of your time, driving around town, pumping gas into your vehicle, showing more homes, spending more hours on narrowing down the buyer’s short list, walking them through the inspection, holding their hand, warming their feet (when they get cold), spending hours as a consultant, delaying your upcoming vacations, etc.
Now then, if you are the listing agent on the transaction, the outlook is much more pleasant. If the deal falls, you simply pop it back on the market! It’s a simple keystroke! You simply log into MLS, change the status from Pending to Active and wait for a new agent to bring a new buyer. Plus, you are now armed with fresh and helpful information about the property (inspection reports, property condition information, etc.) which will actually make it easier to sell the property the next time around, because you can provide full disclosure to the new buyer, reducing the chances of any surprises that could derail the next transaction. You have it made in the shade, and your vacation plans are still on!
Reason #8: Run Your Business from Anywhere.
Once you have the “tools of the trade” you can run your highly leveraged listing empire from anywhere in the world. That’s great news for agents who like to travel and love to be mobile. For example, you can still conduct the phone consultation while your Team Listing Specialist conducts the listing appointment.
Try running a buyer-centric Real Estate business from a beach in Maui. It’s not as easy. Even if you had a team of Buyer Specialists working all of your buyer business for you, you would still want to run a thriving listing practice as your primary focus. Buyers are simply the gravy on top of the mashed potatoes.
Reason #9: You Get to Adopt the Buyer.
Once the Real Estate transaction is consummated, you can add the buyer to your database. Interestingly, buyers usually see the listing agent as the one who “sold” the house in the first place – so it’s often easy to convert them to a seller client down the road.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many times we’ve received a phone call from a buyer of one of our former listings – looking to list their house with us. We don’t even aggressively market to these folks – we just add them to our database and drip on them with our monthly e-newsletter and regular mailings. Of course, they can opt-out at any time – but most of them don’t.
Meanwhile most of these buyers never hear from their previous Real Estate agent again. They end up orphaned, and we are happy to adopt them! Since you are staying in touch and you are already intimately familiar with their house, it’s easy for you to earn their trust over time.
This means that for every listing you take, you are gaining another rather warm future listing prospect in your database.
Reason #10: Seller Listings Are Highly Leveraged.
I have identified some 46 tasks associated with a listing, from the time the lead is generated to after the transaction is closed. The good news here is that, in time, you will only personally have to handle (at most) two to three of these tasks.
If you care to grow your practice into a thriving team, you will typically have to generate the lead and conduct a phone consultation with the seller prospect (setting the listing appointment). Occasionally you will actually go on the listing appointment. Your team can handle everything else. If you want to take it a step further, and exit the daily business completely, you can simply be the rain maker, spending 100 percent of your time doing nothing but lead generation. That means you are handling just one step in the 46-step process! Click Here to Download the list.
My Final Thoughts
There you have it – the Top 10 (or at least my top 10) reasons why you should focus on listings! Hopefully I’ve done a good job stating my case. I believe that every Real Estate agent should focus on listings as their primary business source. Of course, you already know how important it is to focus on listings, or you wouldn’t be reading this article – duh!
Nevertheless, it is so important to reinforce your decision to focus on listings, from time to time. Whenever the distraction of a busy buyer business waves its white flag in your face – don’t give in! Simply come back and review this blog post!
If you are truly committed to Success with Listings, then all of your marketing, advertising, systems and models should be geared toward obtaining seller listings.
Here is a link to my YouTube Video on “Top 10 Reasons to Focus on Listings” Enjoy!
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