The Listing Consultation On Your Tablet

Is your listing consultation linear?  Does it go from point a to point b to point c, from slide 1 to slide 2 to slide 3 (and heaven help you if you get interrupted ’cause you may not remember where you were)?  If so, it’s probably not a consultation at all; it’s just some schtik you memorized, like the Gettysburg Address or the lyrics to Baby’s Got Back.

‘Okay? So now let’s go on to the next slide and I’ll show you all the awards my office has won!’ (slides finger across Ipad to display the next slide in the sequence).

Here’s the point:  you do need graphics to give power to your listing conversation . . . but they need to be called up spontaneously, as needed, not presented in a canned roll, like your high school heath class lecture on sex!

For me, this point was most dramatically illustrated when I saw Steven Covey speak before a couple thousand people.  I was on staff so was both in front of the stage and behind the scenes.  Covey came out and started talking.  Periodically he’d say something like: ‘Put that slide up with graph now …’ and the slide would magically appear behind him.  He had an assistant backstage who had all of his slides on his computer.  He knew them and Covey’s thoughts so well that he could access whatever graphic the master needed to make his point.  It’s one of the best ‘speeches’ I’ve ever heard because it wasn’t a speech at all:  it was a conversation with graphic support.  That’s what you want your listing consultation to be.

I am in Oaxaca, studying Spanish at the Instituto Cultural de Oaxaca.  It’s a wonderful school set in a sprawling hacienda on the edge of the historical district.  My teacher, Cinthia, is outstanding.  Not a word of Engish is spoken in her four hour class.  It’s against the rules!  But she has an Ipad on the table in front of her and when we Gringos need a definition she quickly accesses Google Image Search and shows us a picture of whatever we don’t understand . . . and then gives us synonyms for it in Spanish.  That’s what needs to be happening in your listing consultation.

Use the graphics when your sellers need help to understand.

The graphics are support for your conversation.  They are not the conversation.

How do you accomplish this?  First, you memorize the Gettysburg Address (your listing presentation) . . . linear-ly.  Learn it upside down, backwards, speak it in your sleep.  Tie each point your want to make to a graphic.  In other words:  do what every class on listing presentations has taught you to do.  Then break it down:  which slide(s) support each point you are likely to make with a seller?  Now, trash the script and start practicing having a conversation about listing using the truths you memorized.  Pull up graphics when they might help.

When you go live with a seller, have your slides laid out on your tablet in ‘slide-sorter’ view, so you have a thumbnail of each one.  When you need graphic support, simply touch the thumbnail you need.  When the seller has a question or needs clarification, touch the appropriate thumbnail.  When they need to see why staging is so important, touch a thumbnail.  When you are talking about how you out-perform the local MLS, touch the thumbnail with your stats.

Your tablet is an essential tool today, for listing and for so much more.  But don’t get sucked in to using it like the old presentation book you tried to learn so many years ago, going from page to page, from canned script to canned script.  You hated that at least as much as your sellers did!  Use the new tool to liberate your listing conversation.  You’ll get in, make your point quicker and more powerfully, and leave with  a signed listing agreement.  I promise.

Creative Financing for 2012 – What’s Hot & What’s Not

That’s the title for Patricia Boyd’s session at the Help-U-Sell Success Summit next month.  I heard from her yesterday and am excited about what she’s planning.  It’s going to be an interactive session with the attendees dictating the direction of the discussion.  This is a great approach for our group because we tend to be more knowledgeable about finance than most Realtors.  We will be able to drill down on the ideas and programs that we want to know about, not wasting time on things we already understand!

As a person who has made and orchestrated many ‘presentations,’ I am impressed.  You really have to know your stuff to be that kind of spontaneous while leading a meeting.  I’ve seen it only a few times, most notably with Steven Covey.  He had his assistant backstage on a laptop with ALL of his slides.  They were not organized in a linear, slide 1, slide 2, slide 3 fashion, but were just on the assistant’s screen as individual graphics.  As Covey was talking, he’d say, ‘Put up that graph, please,’ and ‘let’s see the slide about organization.’  The assistant knew the material so well he could quickly get the right graphic on the screen and Covey was able to let his presentation flow in the direction he wanted at that moment.  The result was a powerful session absolutely tailored to the audience.  In the end we all felt as if we’d been allowed to wander around inside Steven Covey’s mind for an hour.

Patricia comes with about 30 years of real estate finance experience.  Her agenda has always been the same:  help consumers make good decisions by educating Realtors about financing.  Sometime in the early 80’s, she taught me what a ‘junk fee’ was and how to spot them in my client’s Truth in Lending docs.  It’s that kind of knowledge that enables a broker or agent to bring high value to a real estate transaction.  I expect there will be lots of note-taking when she meets our group Monday afternoon, Nov. 14!   Learn more about Patricia HERE.


Ours is an industry that loves experts.  We also love motivational speakers (even if they’re not experts).  We love to combine the expert and the motivational speaker and put them in front of a room full of brokers and agents to do their thing, strut their stuff, and present, present, present.  Having been in the biz since the eviction of Adam and Eve from the Garden, I’ve seen and met quite a few.  Here are some of my favorites:

Tom Hopkins.  Almost single handedly turned my new career around.  I failed miserably as a salesperson for six months.  Then I borrowed a set of his real estate tapes (it was 1976 and he hadn’t yet expanded to other industries) and listened to them until his words became mine.  As soon as the dialogs became automatic I started to fire on all cylinders, so to speak and the rest is history.  I had the honor of having breakfast with him one morning in the early ’80s as I prepared to introduce him to a big group.  It was like meeting a rock star.

Danielle Kennedy.  I saw her speak many times, but what I really remember is her book:  ‘How to List and Sell Real Estate’.  It’s been awhile since I scanned through it, but for years I swore it was the best book ever written about how to have a successful real estate career.  Like Tom, Danni was above all practical.  She gave you things to DO, today, that would make a difference.

Floyd Wickman.  Floyd was fantastic.  A great mix of solid strategy and humor.  I think his answer to any question a prospective seller might ask on the phone – ‘I don’t know, I gotta see the house first’ — should be carved into his headstone when he gets called to that great listing appointment in the sky.  My favorite Floyd moment came in the early ’90s when I was head of training at Century 21.  We had taken a philosophical right turn from the rest of the industry by jumping feet first into Consultative Selling.  We were abandoning the slick scripts and the heavy techniques that were popular at the time in favor of just knowing your stuff and doing a good job for people.  We had an unspoken moratorium for awhile on speakers as we tried to establish the new culture, and many were pretty hostile to our new direction (‘What?? You’re going to give out the address on the phone??? Are you crazy?!?).  Floyd was the first to step up and say he thought we were on the right track and he’d support what we were doing.  I met him at Caesars in Vegas and cemented the relationship over a few too many glasses of bourbon.  Mrs. Woodjakowski, indeed!

Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones.  Most real estate people don’t know Charlie because he was big mostly in Insurance circles.  I saw him several times though and once was manhandled by him on stage.  He was a big guy, probably 6’5″ tall and a little heavy.  He was on stage ranting on about people who didn’t make it because they lacked COMMITTMENT!! (he’d growl that word).  Next thing I knew, he was down in the audience, grabbed me by the arm and led me to the stage where he essentially put me in a headlock and dragged me around from one side to the other, addressing the top of my head with:  ‘Do you know what separates the greats from the not so greats?  COMMITTMENT!!  Do you know what makes the do-ers DO and the don’t-ers DON”T?  COMMITTMENT!!’  and on and on.  My friends in the audience told me afterward I looked like a rag doll being mauled by a pit bull.

Steven Covey.  I saw him once and loved how he related to the audience.  There were probably 2,000 people in the room and he took the stage with just an idea about what he wanted to communicate and what he’d like to accomplish. It was clear he was not speaking from a rehearsed script.  But he had an assistant backstage at a computer who had all of his slides and knew exactly where they were.  Covey would talk a bit and he seemed to make personal contact with everyone in the room (including me and I was at the back of the balcony) and then he’d say ‘Put up that pie chart slide’ and a moment later there it’d be. He bounced around like that for an hour and a half, letting the audience dictate the direction.  I swear:  it was the most beautifully organized, spontaneous, un-canned and involving talk I’ve ever seen.

Rick O’ Neil.  How could I not include our own former leader?  Rick was remarkable.  He didn’t do much visible prep work before he’d talk to a group — I think all the prep was going on in his head — but he always had the perfect message in the perfect order to move his audience.  I never saw anybody take a room full of people and literally change their collective minds and get a commitment from them  the way he could.  And he did it over and over.  I remember him showing up early the first day of one of our Help-U-Sell Universities.  I asked him if he’d like to say a few words.  ‘Oh, I don’t know,’ he replied, ‘I can, if you want.’  So I introduced him and what came out of his mouth was an elegant, eloquent and moving speech about honor, courage and commitment.  It got a standing O and should have been recorded for all posterity.

There are so many others and some I’m going to kick myself for not remembering (like Wayne Dyer) but that’s my short list for this Thursday.  Who are your gurus?

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