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Jordan Cohen is the No. 1 RE/MAX agent in the world six times over. If you want to join the ranks of the top listing agents in your market, Cohen’s proven strategies and tactics can help you become a top listing agent as well.
Cohen began his business as many top agents did over 30 years ago: He held open houses every Saturday and Sunday and worked a geographical farm where the listing price was under $200,000.
When he failed on his first two listing appointments because he didn’t have a great listing presentation, he came to a career-changing realization: “The secret sauce” and the key to having a highly successful real estate career was contingent on his ability to walk into a listing appointment and win against other realtors who were not as well prepared.
When Cohen realized what would be required for him to succeed, he committed to not watching TV for six months. He also began practicing his listing presentation every day and had his girlfriend, (now his wife of over 30 years) role-play as many challenging listing situations as possible, including how to overcome the even toughest objections. Seven years later, he was making $300,000 a year selling $200,000 homes.
At Inman Connect, Cohen made the following key observation:
The most important skill that any real estate agent can have is the ability to interview and win. There’s no second choice to this.
In my recent interview with Cohen, he explained why it’s so critically important to have a dynamic, powerful listing presentation.
Seizing a major opportunity and running with it
When Cohen was referred to an athlete who was his first million-dollar client lead, his client asked, “Why don’t we look in Westlake Village? I think there are some guard-gated communities out there.”
Even though he had no idea where Westlake Village was, Cohen replied, “Yeah, man, fantastic.”
He had to check his Thomas Guide, a local detailed map book, to discover that Westlake was about an hour west of the San Fernando Valley where he was currently working.
When he went to Westlake Village, he met Realtors who were selling million-dollar homes. At first, he was somewhat intimidated, but they were “all super nice and very professional.” He then had another light bulb moment:
I didn’t think they were better me. I thought that I could compete with all of them. Once I got that first uber-big paycheck, I packed up my wife and baby boy and moved to Westlake Village. I didn’t know anybody at all and was going to have to completely start over. Despite all the negative feedback I got, I had the guts to back up and start over again. Since then, it’s been a very good run.
Exude confidence and excitement
Cohen says he goes into his listing interviews assuming that the sellers will be interviewing at least two other agents (that’s the average number of agents Google says sellers should interview.) His mindset regarding this situation is that if he doesn’t win every listing, then his income would be cut in half since he wouldn’t control the entire transaction.
One of the most important things Cohen has learned over the years is the importance of his level of confidence and excitement.
Confidence and excitement are contagious. The more confident I am, the more excited I am. If you give a dynamic, powerful listing presentation, it increases your confidence, helps you to command a full commission, plus it also leads to the respect they will show you when it comes to pricing, negotiating inspections, and all the other aspects of the transaction.
Even if I don’t have to interview against another Realtor, I still insist on giving my presentation, because it’s worth it to me to invest 20 to 30 minutes to have the seller say, “Wow, I didn’t realize you’re going to do all that.”
He elaborated on this point at Inman Connect as well:
My goal today is to have you [the seller] be as confident in me as I am in myself, that I am the best real estate agent for you, [and] that I am the best real estate agent to get you your price or [even] more.
Always be the first agent to interview the seller
While some trainers recommend being the last agent the seller interviews, Cohen always recommends going first. Here’s why:
I always want to go first because my goal is to be so good during that interview that they literally cancel the other interviews and hire me on the spot. [When they tell me this] that’s how I know I give successful presentations.
Listing agents, your job is to maximize the property’s exposure to the marketplace
According to Cohen, he makes the following statement “every single day of his life.”
So, I tell sellers that the job of Realtors is to maximize exposure to the home and basically get as many people as possible to become aware of the property. It only takes that one buyer who’s willing to pay your price or more, and I say that because I’ve heard that a million times from sellers.
So, my goal in the presentation is not to have them feel that they want me but to have them feel that they need me to accomplish their goal. So that’s my mindset — I’m going to walk in and have them feel that at the end of the day, they need me to get their price or more.
You must be prepared to answer all the seller’s questions
Cohen believes that your presentation should answer all the sellers’ questions before they ask them. Some examples include:
- What are you going to do to market my home?
- How are you going to screen buyers that come into the property?
- Are you going to show the home yourself?
- How much notice do you give?
His goal is that when he finishes his presentation and asks, “Do you have any questions,” is for the sellers to say that he has answered all of them.
The most important part of your presentation: What you will do for the sellers
Although Cohen didn’t use this term, what he is describing is your unique value proposition or UVP. In other words, what you will do for the sellers that differentiates you from the competition.
The most important part of my presentation is what I’m going to do for them. This is the key. A lot of Realtors do the same thing, but it’s how we sell it to them and the words we use in how we explain it.
A great example of how Cohen achieves this goal is his approach to handling the professional photography on his listings. Here’s how he explains it to his sellers:
Most brokers say they are going to have the property professionally photographed, but I do it a little bit differently. I’m going to have a shot at dusk where the lights are on in the house, then before the sun goes down, and then as the sun’s going down.
Now Mr. Seller, please understand one thing. I’m not going to sell your home from a photo — the odds of that are very slim to none. But my goal in creating epic photos (which I will personally curate the whole thing) is to make the photos pop so that someone will want to see your home in person. I want to get that buyer motivated, excited, and close to paying your price or more.
In any listing I take, you’re never going to see the toilet, a photo of an overstuffed closet, or a photo where half the photo is the street and half is the house. For me, I’d rather have 20 to 25 unbelievable photos versus a lot of photos where people will get bored and go on to the next property.
An excellent example of Cohen’s approach is the virtual tour he did for one of his recent listings in Westlake Village.
Once Cohen’s photos and videos are ready, he then does his pre-launch. This includes doing an
email blast to thousands of real estate agents plus posts on Instagram and other social media. Most agents will put their listings on Instagram, but they haven’t done the additional work needed to make their photos and other marketing materials pop like Cohen has.
Steal this strategy: The ‘sports agent’ approach
Because Cohen works with a lot of athletes, he came up with an approach that has proven to be especially effective. He encourages other Realtors to use this approach, regardless of the price of their listing or where it is located.
Cohen describes it like this:
One of the most powerful bits of language I created a long time ago that resonates with people is that I’m like a sports agent. A good sports agent not only negotiates contracts, but they’re out there promoting their clients all day, every day, trying to get them “off the field money,” such as Nike, Subway, or Pizza Hut money — that’s what they want.
A good sports agent is on the phone all day every day trying to promote their athletes. The same is true with actors. A good movie agent isn’t just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring. He’s going to pick up the phone and do everything to get Tom Cruise the best “off the field,” money [and the best roles.]
The same is true for me — the difference is that I’m a real estate agent and your house is my star. So, I’m going to spend every day promoting your house, because I only get paid when I sell your home, not when I list it. I’m going to hustle, I’m going to pick up the phone and call other agents, past clients, business managers, accountants — anybody that can influence other people [their clients] to get excited about your home.
Once you master your listing presentation, that’s when it really becomes fun
Cohen again emphasized his experience when he was a new agent and how he mastered his listing presentation by practicing it every day. With that mastery came a host of other benefits:
That is when lead generation became fun, once I knew that other agents couldn’t beat me and that I’m going to win every time. That’s when I started picking up the phone. That’s when I would call an expired listing and if they said we’re going with another Realtor, I would say, “Let me interview for the job of working for you. Just meet with me and give me 20 minutes. Let me show you what I do differently.”
If I didn’t have a great presentation, I wouldn’t have been confident in even pushing for that listing. And so that’s the key to everything. It’s the key to lead generation, it’s the key to confidence. It’s the key to having fun in this business, and it’s the key to making a lot of money.
If you want the exact details of what Cohen says during his listing appointment, check out his best-selling book The Agent’s Edge to learn more.
Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateC