Following the November 2011 sales bulletin, ‘So You Think You’ve Got Plenty of Listings’, Phil McGrath from Impact Property requested ideas on how to develop relationships with sellers. It’s a good question, one whose answer would fill a chapter of a book.

Building relationships requires contact. Lots of it.


Get out and talk to people. There is no delicate way to put this: salespeople who won’t prospect, who wait for business to walk in the door, aren’t salespeople: they are order takers. If you say that you are good at Sales but not good at Listings, you are NOT GOOD AT SALES. To be good at Sales, you have to be good at finding sellers, working with them so that they develop an understanding of the market and eventually price their properties at fair market price and sell. If you can’t ‘sell’ sellers, any sales YOU make are on the backs of the good listers in your office. Those listers are the good salespeople.

So you have to get out and meet people. This is the beginning of relationship building. Talk to forty people a day. Come straight out with it: “I am an agent looking for work. When are you planning on moving?”. Before you leave ask if they know anybody who wants to sell. Do it with a smile on your face. There is no shame in looking for work.

Be open with people. Talk to them about the market, but be positive. There are ALWAYS buyers. Don’t avoid their questions. Look for a way to add these people to your company’s database and follow them up regularly – personally and by mail – with good information. Develop relationships with regular, courteous and, above all, HELPFUL contact.


Once you have a signed listing agreement, don’t be in such a hurry to get out the door. In our three-day sales course, Winning Ways – Your Path To Mastery we strongly advise salespeople to ‘Set Up To Sell‘. Tell sellers what will happen now that their property is on the market.

  • Talk to them about the marketing you will do:
    • Window
    • Internet – your website and any third party websites you use
    • Sign – talk about its effectiveness. Most sellers underrate signs
    • Area search for a ‘Heart Buyer’

Note that I am not even mentioning newspapers. If you want to lock yourself and your company into expensive print campaigns in dying media, don’t expect any encouragement from me!

  • Talk to them about buyers and how you qualify them, and the inspection method you use.
  • Set them up for some negative feedback from buyers and ask them to promise they won’t ‘shoot the messenger’ (you) for passing on honest comments.
  • Remind them that the marketing you do works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week locally, nationally and internationally. No-one can say that the property has been kept a secret, and so if the property does not attract interest, and offers, it is too dear.
  • As part of your duty to provide them with information, you will be reviewing the price weekly with them and making recommendations about the market price that needs to be tried for the coming week.
  • Regularly remind them how their lives will improve, how happy they will be, once they sell and move. Their EMOTIONAL MOTIVE is their goal. Remind them of their goals.
  • There is a lot more, but space does not permit me to expand on this list. Suffice to say that the Set Up To Sell is critical to an honest relationship between you and your sellers and leads to sales. Be thorough.


The best way of all to create a loyal client is to be seen. We call this Pampering. A visible salesperson is seen as a hard worker. Sellers like hard workers.

Sellers also like to believe that hard workers are working for them, the sellers, and are doing everything possible to obtain the highest possible price. So if you have a listing, your job is to convince the sellers of this, without resorting to pressure (conditioning).

  • Give them feedback within two hours of each buyer inspection.
  • Always obtain dollar feedback from the inspecting buyers: “Based on your experience, how much do you feel this property will sell for?”. You now have HONEST DOLLAR FEEDBACK that you can pass onto your sellers.
  • Every week, VISIT your sellers and discuss:
    • All marketing that has been done in the past week;
    • All conversations you had with enquirers irrespective of whether they inspected the property or not;
    • Recap the feedback from buyers who did inspect the property;
    • Make a price recommendation for the coming week. Price is a major aspect of marketing and if the property is not attracting enquiry is it overpriced.
  • Make regular ‘pop-by’ visits. Call in to see if the sellers are OK, if they need anything. Have a chat, but don’t ask for anything, especially a price reduction. Just chat about the market, the buyers that are out there. Be positive and ‘can-do’. You CAN find them a buyer. They need to believe that.

The reason why many sellers refuse to reduce is because they do not believe their salesperson has done enough to attract a buyer at the current advertised asking price. Convince them that you have done everything you can to get the current asking price, and they will be more likely to allow you to reduce to the next asking price.


Why is it that salespeople understand buyers’ needs to attain market knowledge before they confidently make an offer but fail to understand that sellers, too, need market knowledge before they reduce to fair market price?

Buyers need time. So do sellers. The difference is, buyers get their market knowledge by actively searching for properties, by seeing properties they have inspected sell, and by developing their own bank of comparable sales. Once they have this, they feel knowledgeable enough to make an offer.

Where do sellers get this market knowledge? Drip-fed BY YOU.

If you aren’t visible to your sellers, and if you don’t actively COACH your sellers to an understanding of the market, they will be more likely to ‘brick wall’ you – to hold out for a price they will not get. It’s not that they are stubborn or greedy; THEY LACK PROOF. Knowledge IS power. It is up to you to impart that knowledge to your sellers by your pampering visits and calls.

Thank you for your question, Phil. I hope that this explanation goes some way towards explaining how to develop relationships and to create the situation where sellers follow your advice, and price to market, to sell, and improve their lives.

Gary Pittard
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