This post outlines the primary skills and activities a real estate presenter needs to increase their presentation effectiveness, which in turn affects their close rate. Today, in the summer of 2013, there is limited inventory, rendering quality presentations indispensable. In this post I’ll discuss how to research a prospect, choose the right format and delivery, and making the appointment conversational.
As stated above, inventory is low and offers pour in quickly for active listings. Good market health indicates that successful presentations are taking place. Agents are meeting with prospects and delivering effective presentations to gain them as a client, and that is good! The presentation can make the difference between gaining and losing a closing opportunity, so it is crucial to understand the pivotal importance of preparation, delivery and effectiveness.
Effective Presentations Require More Than One Minute to Create
There are over one million real estate agents in the U.S. Homeowners and home buyers have choices and the prospect presentation is a critical step in making sure you are their choice. However, it is quite often the area of our business towards which we put the least amount of critical thinking. Marketers of presentation tools currently on the market often boast about their product’s ability to produce a listing presentation in under a minute. Is spending less than a minute on such a critical aspect of winning business really a selling point? Efficiency and speed in any task is valuable, and I will take an opportunity to say that one of our products, TouchCMA (now Moxi Present), certainly brings efficiency to the authoring process. However, the time invested in a client presentation must be thoughtful and purposeful.
While process efficiency is always a good thing, effective presentations require effort. An effective prospect presentation requires thoughtfully prepared materials and a thoughtfully prepared presenter. Instead of trying to make a second out of a minute in such a pivotal part of our marketing and prospecting efforts, we need to take the time to prepare every element of each presentation.
Researching Your Prospect Pays Off
An effective presentation requires knowledge about the party you are presenting to that goes beyond whether they are simply a buyer or seller. You will start with the information you get directly from the prospect. Are they single or married? Do they have kids? Are they new to the area or moving locally? If they are a seller, do they already have a new home identified, or will they need help on the buying side? You will gain quite a bit of this information in your initial interactions with the prospect, but you don’t want to cross the line of asking too many questions prior to the presentation. So where else can you gain knowledge about your prospect?
With the rapidly expanding social presence of individuals online, the Internet can be a treasure trove of presentation-enhancing information. The professional social network LinkedIn can tell you what industry your prospect is in, what they do within the industry, and what kind of job they are currently seeking. For example, it would be valuable to know that your prospect is in a high-tech industry, or that he or she is in sales. Both of these bits of knowledge could alter and enhance the direction, content and presentation vehicle you select. How long have they been in the area? Knowing this could alter how in-depth you go into local amenities of their preferred area.
A Facebook or Twitter profile can tell you quite a bit about your prospect’s social attributes. Are they an outdoors buff? Show off your expertise on local scenic attractions. Are they an avid reader? Look up all libraries and book stores in their target area. How about an entertainment media connoisseur? Show off your knowledge about local media attractions such as dinner theaters and concert venues.
Researching the unique attributes of your prospect will help you tailor your presentation in a way that talks directly to your prospect and demonstrate your ability as a real estate professional to understand and serve their personal needs and desires.
Author Your Presentation and Show Your Expertise
Remember, this opportunity is a presentation, not a guided reading of an in-depth research paper. Presentation materials support the presentation; they shouldn’t be the presentation.
You are the subject matter expert and the presentation you develop should assist you in steering the conversation, not be the center of it. Author your presentation with this as your guiding principle.
Your messages should be brief and to the point, not exhaustive. Use a minimal number of words to express a data point or idea. For example, here are two slides that both elaborate on a few statistics describing the health of the real estate market in the Seattle area. The one on the left is very verbose. It would distract from the presenter as the prospect tried to glean useful information out of the mass of text. The one on the right is clean and concise. The data on this slide is easy to refer to, does not distract the reader and is an aide to the presenter, not the center of the prospect’s attention.
The appropriate use of images and charts can help tell a story with an image instead of a blob of words, but be judicious with graphical elements. Make sure that they are helpful and not excessive. The slide shown below takes the data from the slide shown on the right, above, and graphically represents it in a simplified manner.
Your presentation content and slides should be limited to the points you plan on discussing. Although skipping ahead to slides in your presentation based on the flow of the dialogue is fine, having to skip ahead due to the presence of “canned” superfluous content is not. If you have a stock presentation that you start with for each client, or your brokerage provides branded presentation collateral to use, be sure to go through each slide and check the order to ensure you are on message for your audience with a crisp, clean presentation.
Check your statistics to make sure they are relevant and current. Nothing is worse than talking to a prospect about the status of their local real estate market and using statistics that are stale and dated.
Your presentation should enable you to educate your prospect on:
- Who you are
- Why you are the right choice as their real estate agent
- How your brokerage empowers you to help them with their transaction (unless you are an independent)
- What research you have done for them as a potential seller or buyer client
- How you will market their property, and/or what tools you will use to find the right home
- The next steps (a call to action); close!
If you are using a laptop or tablet to present, be sure to either provide a printed version of your presentation or email your prospect a copy at the end of your conversation. If you aren’t able to close the deal during your conversation, giving your prospect access to a copy of your materials will give you the natural opportunity to follow up on any questions that arise from their reading.
If you are not graphically talented, there are resources available to help you make your presentation look fantastic, most of which are within a tap of your keyboard. If you like to keep your commerce to your local area, you can search for “graphic design” in your city. If you would like to see a broader array of resources, there are websites for communities of freelancers like Fiverr or the national and international community Elance.
Finally, make sure your presentation allows you to get your entire message across in the time you have with the prospect. The last thing you want is to only get partially through your presentation in the time allotted and lose your opportunity to close. Rehearse the presentation for timing and build in time for questions and conversational interaction.
It’s a Conversation, Not a Monologue
A successful presentation will involve the prospect in the dialogue, not treat them as a static member of an anonymous audience. Involving the prospect requires more than asking for questions at a few mileposts along the way. Ask open-ended questions to get more than yes/no answers—for example, if you present a slide on how you will market a listing prospect’s property online, you can either ask if the prospect has had any experience with online real estate search sites, or you can ask what experience they have had with online search sites. “If” will get a yes or a no (or a blank stare), while what will create the opportunity for dialogue.
Open-ended questions also assist in finding pitfalls or pot holes to avoid and enable you to educate as needed. For instance, if you are a fan of syndicating listings to XYZ real estate site, but in your dialogue, you find your prospect has had negative experiences with XYZ, then you can prepare to correct their perception or skip XYZ in your presentation.
Transforming your presentation into a conversation will allow your prospect to participate in the process and create some ownership in the experience, versus only being the recipient of information.
In summary, the successful delivery of a presentation to a prospect takes thoughtful preparation, and will play a pivotal role in whether you get the business, or the agent that comes after you does. Take the time to do it right!