7 Simple Steps to Winning the Listing Battle

Cheryl Fairbanks RE/MAX
Cheryl Fairbanks

When the topic is listing presentations, Cheryl Fairbanks is the expert. By her estimate, she leaves 95 percent of her listing appointments with a signed contract.

“Sellers want to know two things: if there’s anything they need to do to sell their home, and how much they will get,” she says. “If you try to answer those two questions without giving a solid presentation, they’ll say ‘next’ and move on to another agent.

“But if you use the presentation to establish your credibility and show them you’re the expert – before you ever start talking price – you’ll get that listing,” Fairbanks says.

Here, the Hall of Fame member with RE/MAX Trinity II in Southlake, Texas, outlines her best strategies – and what they could mean for your business.

Define the Process

It took years for Fairbanks to develop and refine the elements that make her presentations so effective. But now that she has, she follows a proven routine. The initial tour and sit-down conversation in a seller’s home puts her on center stage, so she mentally creates (on the drive over) the best case for why the seller should list with her.

Qualify the Client

Fairbanks developed a two-page interview form and completes it during her first contact with sellers. That way she can begin building and personalizing the presentation right away. The script is constantly evolving, but the goal is always to determine whether the seller is serious or just exploring their options. Fairbanks also gathers essential information about the house, the homeowner, their finances and their expectations.

“I always ask if they’ve thought about where they’ll go after the house sells,” she notes. “That’s a key question in determining motivation.”

Send a Packet

Fairbanks’ listing presentation is delivered in two parts, the first of which is sent days before she meets with homeowners. This folder includes information on the RE/MAX brand and Fairbanks’ success, as well as testimonials from clients. She also provides MLS paperwork for the seller to complete.

“I’m trying to plant a seed to get them excited about listing with me,” she says. “Then, when we meet, I can focus my presentation on their home, the market and what they can expect.”

Schedule IconBe a Smart Scheduler

Fairbanks typically advises sellers to allow 90 minutes for the meeting and never schedules appointments past 5 p.m. Although she has a good idea of what a home should sell for after the initial interview, she still needs time to pull together comps for a CMA, which is the biggest factor in her pricing recommendation. So depending on the home and its location, she’ll schedule the appointment anywhere from a couple of days to a week out from the first contact.

But she doesn’t want too much time to go by between the interview and the presentation. She also stresses the importance of being the first agent the seller meets with, and says she always asks for the first interview time slot – as long as she still has time to properly research the price.

“I was third once, and I lost the listing without even getting to make my presentation,” she recalls. “I decided right then I’d never make that mistake again.”

Price IconPrice with Precision

“I use the same guidelines appraisers use when coming up with comps and recommending a price,” Fairbanks says.

This is the most time- and labor-intensive part of building her presentation as she explores tax rolls, and applies math formulas so comps accurately represent the home. It can take days to pull together everything she needs.

“My credibility depends on presenting them with the most accurate information and being able to show how I arrived at my price recommendation.”

Sellers want to know two things: if there’s anything they need to do to sell their home, and how much they will get. If you try to answer those two questions without giving a solid presentation, they’ll say ‘next’ and move on to another agent.Cheryl Fairbanks

Handshake IconEstablish Rapport

When Fairbanks arrives for her appointment, she asks to tour the house first. It’s also her opportunity to connect with homeowners on a personal level.

“As we’re walking around, I’m looking for something we have in common to make some small talk,” she says. “Maybe its pictures of grandbabies, or photos of pets or their travels. I just want to help them relax and feel comfortable with me.”

She also prompts them to share their thoughts. “The more questions I ask, the more I learn about them: What’s motivating them to sell or what may be holding them back.”

Public Speaking IconMake the Winning Pitch

After the tour, Fairbanks sits down with homeowners, opens her book and the presentation kicks into high gear.

She starts with the pre-listing package she sent ahead of time, answering any questions they may have. She then talks about how she markets listings, including maximizing the benefits of the RE/MAX brand. As she reviews the comps in her CMA, she explains why she selected each one, current market trends and how she arrived at her pricing recommendation.

Finally, she wants to know what they expect in the sales price. “If it’s within range, I run some numbers to show them what they can walk away with.” When they like what they learn, it’s time to sign the listing agreement.

“If I sense they’re not ready to make the decision that day, I tell them it’s best to get the paperwork signed, with the agreement that it will go on the market at a specified time, when they are ready.”

If that doesn’t work? “Never let them keep your CMA unless you have a signed listing agreement,” she stresses.

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Join the Conversation


Thank-you for sharing with us Cheryl. Question for you …. What CMA Presentation program do you
use? Cloud CMA? Tool Kit CMA? Thanks so much.

Thank you for sharing…I’m a newer realtor, why wouldn’t you let them keep your cma so they can review it? Some people need more time and want to review everything.

I use the one through our MLS, Matrix, with the place for adjustment amounts. I’ve seen Tool Kit and it’s very impressive, but if you don’t know the dollar adjustments to make, it’s just a fancy way to say what you can do in your standard MLS CMA function.

Tammy, because they can use it to sell it themselves without a Realtor…or show my detailed work to another agent. As someone told me when I was new, “Never give away what people are willing to pay you for.” They want the CMA & they want to know any staging/updating tips. They get that to keep when they’ve signed the listing agreement.

Thanks for sharing! I would love to see your listing presentation. I have been with RE/MAX since Feb (new to the industry) and gathering new ideas.

I learn couple important secrets from you, Give listing presentation first before telling sellers, How much net sellers
will receive and what needed to be done before sellers decide to put in the market.” They will go to the next agent
and you loose period.Also i learn to be First,I lost listing because I decided to be second.many thanks Fairbanks
jayant (Jay) Gandhi Broker Remax Hallmark Realty Toronto Ontario Canada 416 728 8631

Great information! I would love to hear more about the specific content of your presentation.

We started using the Momentum Pricing Tools last year to address the valuation part of the presentation. It is almost fool-proof. The sellers actually end up telling YOU where to price their home!

Thank you for sharing this. So you run the comps before viewing the house is that right? And then have the CMA at your presentation?

Yes, Christine, I already have the CMA prepared before seeing the inside in almost every situation. The information I’ve gathered on the Seller Interview Form enables me to price most homes without seeing the inside first. Great question!

Your listing presentation is the best! We are blessed you are so kind to share your experience, tools and proven strategies. Thank you Cheryl, you are amazing!

Thanks for sharing! Just joined the RE/MAX team last month as the Broker in my area. What does per stand for on your interview sheet? It’s next to sq ft on page 1. Being a Realtor® 23 yrs I feel we can always learn something new.

As a new agent the information you provide is very much helpful to me. I find it precise, honest, and inspiring.
Thank you much

Good stuff!! Could you share your Listing Presentation with me? I have struggled with putting one together. Sure would help!! Loved your information.

Hi Cheryl, you graciously shared your questionnaire with me before a long time ago and it has been very helpful over the years! Your methodology is very useful – wish I had started my career this way! Thank you again! Brenda Sopel RE/MAX Oceanview Realty Sunshine Coast British Columbia

Hi Cheryl,
You have answered a lot of questions already, thank you so much. If you are willing to share your pre-list package and listing presentation, that would be much appreciated. If not, would you mind sharing how you respond to sellers who say they are planning to sell next spring but want to start getting their house ready? Would you go there now and offer suggestions? I have been burned a few times doing this (when they list with someone else) and haven’t figured out a way to prevent it. Hate wasting my time and giving free advice to see them go with someone else.

Hi Cheryl,

I too would greatly appreciate a copy if your pre-listing and lI sting presentation if possible.

Many Thanks!

Hallo Cheryl
Thank you for the insightful articles. I am a new from the IT world venturing into real estate. The comments in this article have been eye opening, if it’s no trouble kindly share the prelisting and listing presentation…thank you!

Awesome information, thank you for sharing. I came back to ReMax Equity, Portland, OR – after 4 years at a boutique brokerage……Would also love a copy of your pre-listing packet, listing presentation – as well as the Momentum Pricing tools 🙂 I love the networking and willingness of fellow ReMax brokers to share their experience, tools and inspiration!

Thank you 🙂

I love all of your comments and they have been very helpful to me. I am like most of the other and would love to see your pre-listing packet and listing presentation. My target market is a luxury home subdivision and I can make no mistakes.

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