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Listing presentations that win


with Christian Bartley

The US Marketing authority, Seth Godin believes, ‘People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic’. All the great listers know this to be true. They don’t sell cold facts and budget charts; rather they are bewitching storytellers who offer trust and a quality relationship dusted with magic and that is what distinguishes them in a crowded marketplace.

Working around the Victorian seaside towns of Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove, dynamic Christian Bartley, Founder and Director of Bellarine Property, has mastered the listing presentation. As one of Australia’s great listers, he understands that you don’t sign the business by sounding like a machine and talking numbers and superior negotiation skills. You win the business by using the listing presentation to take a prospective vendor on a journey of how you will place his or her property into the market and to reveal shared values. Christian firmly believes that clients are buying you and they want to be excited by the vision and the story you have for selling their home.

He says a buyer could always sell their home themselves, but, “…they’re buying your experience and the buyers you’re currently working with in the market place.” So good is Christian at communicating his vision for a sale in a listing presentation, he says, “We don’t even discuss price sometimes - it's forgotten because the vendor gets caught up in the process and how it's going to be marketed and delivered. After you present it, it's like they’re hypnotised. They’re just so involved in the process and your structure and how you are going to do it that they often forget to ask what the fee is. I’m forced to come in and say, ‘Look, I’ll just be upfront now. This is the fee, here's the price - is there anything precluding and would you like to get started? I'm happy to represent you and I want to get going now. I want to call all the buyers that I just showed you on the list’.”

Christian works hard to appeal to a broad market. He says, “We’ve got a very tight knit area. We've got an opportunity of selling houses from $300,000 right through to $6,000,000. It's quite a diverse range, and we've got quite a diverse range of clientele. We've got barristers, we’ve got judges, we've got doctors, we've got surgeons, we've got school teachers, we've got a lot of trades people and we've got retirees as well.”

To establish a good relationship with a potential vendor, Christian believes you must:

Unlock the client’s motivation for moving.
Ask the right questions – such as what have you loved about this house?

You must also demonstrate: Energy. Structure. Control. Honesty. Humour. Creativity.

He says, “You are presenting an opportunity to sell the property and you will secure the best price if it is handled the right way, with the right marketing, with the right method. It’s the winning model.”

The first part of Christian’s listing presentation therefore is establishing that he is right person for the job - that he is likeable, able and trustworthy - and extracting the information that he can use for marketing the property and selling the story of the sale. He then moves onto demonstrating his capacity for constructing a compelling emotionally engaging narrative for the property and why and how the magic of marketing works.

Take your potential vendor on a journey with marketing

To draw the vendor into the journey of a sale, Christian describes the five steps in the sale process.

1.    Enquiry
2.    Inspection
3.    Offer
4.    Negotiation
5.    Sold.

He explains to the client, “Our role is to generate the greatest amount of enquiry to create the greatest contest; to create the greatest price so you are reassured you are accepting the best price and not giving it away. A crucial line there is, you are not giving it away.”

There will be no campaign unless there are enquiries. Christian says, “The vendor is focused on getting it sold. A lot of agents will focus on how good they are at negotiating after they’ve got an offer. A lot of agents may also discuss their inspections and their processes and how they do things. These are all crucial parts and do need to be raised, but none of these events of inspection, offer, negotiate and sold will occur unless there is enquiry. In order to sell a property therefore, you have to attract the initial interest of buyers. If you don’t get an enquiry, there is no sale.”

Using a visual prop, Christian says he’ll then, “…draw three squares, and I’ll paint a picture of what a buyer’s mind does in five seconds. The buyer’s mind will look on the internet or print media and see photos and the photos will be what captures their attention to that particular property - how good they look will determine the buyer’s desirability.”

He continues, "The next thing that they’ll look at after they like the photos will be the address. The address will determine the buyer’s likeability to that location. Then the next thing they’ll look at will be price. If you get three ticks in all those boxes or at least two boxes, the buyer will then enquire on the property. If you do not get enquiry, then you will not get an inspection."

Christian says, "It's crucial to have the correct photos, the address, and the price. The enquiry has got to come, and you are going to either get the enquiry through photographs or video marketing, where it's promoted and the right process."

Focus on generating enquiries

By explaining the critical role enquiries have in the sales process, Christian then discusses marketing assets that generate the most and the right amount of interest. He may shows a client one of his stunning hard cover white books, full of all the glossy visual images of every property that they have sold. He may suggest a customised video. He says, “Over the last number of years, we have started to develop a lot of video marketing with a lot of our properties.” They rank high on and He doesn’t use video to highlight the interior of a property necessarily; he uses it to engage the buyer in the emotional aspects of the property. As he discusses the options for what could go in the video with the client - for example the way the sunlight floods in every morning, the outdoor shower, the close proximity to the beach - he also feeds back to the client that he has listened to what they have said about what they love about the property which again, endears him to them.

He explains, “The inside of a house can be seen through the photography, and the photos are on the internet. A lot of our videos are about the surrounding area, the surrounding location of the home, and that's the attribute of what's going to pull the price tag as well. People want to buy close to the water or farm zone, or in any particular area close to schools, close to coffee shops, close to amenities, close to bus stops.” They are buying a lifestyle and you have to sell that.


Christian doesn’t spend a lot of time in a listing presentation talking about price. He thinks the most important thing to communicate to a client is that you don’t want to give away a property. He says, “If you can be the first to say that before them, showing your support that you are the agent that is going to deliver the property to the market, and give the best opportunity to get the best possible price, because you don’t want them to give it away - they are going to like you.”

He adds, “Be very clear and be precise, and all I can say is be down to earth with them. Level with them. If you are going to show them that, they are not going to choose an agent based on price. They are going to level with you in your understanding of pricing the property, and the advantages and disadvantages of where it is. If you have them select you based on your enthusiasm, your energy, your marketing requirements and your structure and your components and your communications of feedback and service throughout the entire campaign - then price should not come in.”

Dealing with pricing

1.    Spend no more than three to five minutes on price.
2.    Compare apples with apples – show the client the market currently for sale right now, and what has sold prior that is similar to theirs, or are of the same size land, similar location, bedroom, size and age.
3.    Give them the opportunity to tell you where they believe their price then sits.
4.    Look at their reactions – frowns, lip and hand movements, and how they sit, what their body language is. Arms folded, arms behind their back, nodding, tight lipped?
5.    Deliver what you think the market value is and be prepared with a dialogue to back up and support them at their value.

Explain that there is:
a.    an agent price
b.    an owner's price
c.    a land and improvement modest appreciation price and
d.    the market price that is based on emotions, mass and competition.

Christian says, “The market price based on emotions, mass and competition is the way you can come in that a buyer may be able to pay well above the odds to buy this property, and they will pay higher than an agent's price. They’ll pay higher than an owner's price, and they'll pay higher than the land and improvement modest appreciation price. The agent price is based on comparable sales and other levels of interest that's coming thorough on properties that are currently on the market. The owner's price is what you need to get out of here today, and to move on with what you want to do.”

He adds, “If you are in an area where there is a low shortage of demand and supply, then the opportunity of getting in on certain properties may be extremely hard, so the market price based on emotions, mass and competition is what we need to work on.”

Listing is clearly not for the timid but if you can muster the energy and self-belief and learn to paint pictures and dreams with words, vendors will believe in you too. As Seth Godin says, “Be genuine. Be remarkable. Be worth connecting with’. Christian Bartley is.

Christian’s top tips

Pre listing

We send a pre-listing SMS message to the client, straight to their phone. It’s on the tablet device or their iPhone, and I can read it. It’s just a little bit of core content about us and what we going to go through at our listing presentation.

1. Impress

Be punctual. Do not be late. Be polite. Take control. Move into the area where everyone spends their time.

2. Find out the vendor’s motivation

1.    What prompted you to call us in today?
2.    What are the things you have loved about living here?
3.    Is there anything you would change with the home?
4.    If you had one best part of the home, what would that be?
5.    Will you be talking to other agents?

3. Move onto method of sale questions

Ask the client, what would you prefer a private sale, an auction, an expression of interest?  Christian says, “Gauge from them what their interest is. Deliver the pros and cons of each of the methods to your client. If they are sitting on the fence, you’ve got a great opportunity to push your preference, but you’ve also got to have some supporting case studies as to why.”

4. Point of difference

A crucial piece of documentation to deliver to a client is what your sale price started at compared to what your sell price is at the end, and what the percentage difference was.

5. The pivotal honesty question

If you do not ask, ‘Is there anything precluding appointing us today?’ then you are in trouble. It's just as simple as that, and pausing at the end and allowing them to answer the question.

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