Disclaimer: This is an article about how to get more listings now. By Michael Pallin

If you have all the listings you need, if you don’t want any more listings, if you can’t handle any more listings – this might not be your cup of tea, but I think it will help you anyway with your perspective.

Of all the business troubleshooting tools Floyd Wickman teaches, the one tool I’ve seen help the most salespeople with their perspective is something he calls ‘The Links in a Chain.’

I know you’ve heard the phrase “links in a chain.” Floyd uses it to define how to succeed at building a listing inventory and, more importantly, how to troubleshoot and correct when you don’t have the listing inventory you want or need.

Think of a chain with 10 links, all interconnected one to the next. What’s the common wisdom about the strength of a chain? That’s it. A chain can only be as strong as the weakest link.

Success in listing, like anything in life, is nothing more or less than a series of events, all connected, like the links in a chain. Whenever you are not getting the results you want, analyze the links and find the weakest one. Shore that one up and you’ve gone a long way toward correcting the problem. You’ve strengthened the entire chain.

Let’s take Floyd’s links one at a time, and while we’re at it rate yourself on the strength of each one. Use a 1-5 rating system to take the guesswork out of it. 3 is average, 2 is below average, 4 is above average, 5 is exceptional and 1 is the weakest link.

Link #1 is AWARENESS:

Awareness is, “Something that you know that you know that you know.” To be an effective lister you have to know that listings are the name of the game. You cannot be effective when you need a listing pep talk every other day. It’s called buy-in, and no one can sell what they don’t buy.

Link #2 is GOAL:

Do you have a specific, measurable, attainable, visualized listing goal with a deadline? It’s difficult to hit a target you cannot see, but it is impossible to hit a target you don’t have.

Link #3 is COMMITMENT:

Does your goal have a reward built in when you hit it? Rewards strengthens commitment. Does your goal have a penalty if you don’t? Penalties strengthens commitment.

Commitment may sound like it should be a given, but over half of the people who get married can’t sustain commitment.

How are you scoring so far? Are you a 15, or have we already discovered the problem?

Link #4 is PROSPECT:

There’s no substitute for making calls, networking, marketing, door knocking, mailing and following up. Without leads to work, listings are a matter of luck.

Link #5 is CONVERT LEADS TO APPOINTMENTS:

How skillful are you at converting leads into prospects and prospects into appointments? It’s one thing to have all the leads in the world, but if you can’t convert leads, they are of no value.

How, you might ask, do I figure out how skillful I am at converting leads? That’s easy, and I’m glad you asked. Answer me this. What is your success ratio? How many contacts does it take to generate one lead? How many leads does it take to generate an appointment?

Knowing the numbers eliminates guesswork. I always ask salespeople for their numbers. Simple things like, “How many appointments have you been on in the past 12 months?” Guess what I hear more times than not? “I don’t know.” So I ask, “Gee, why didn’t you keep track of that?” They say, “I was too busy.” I say, “Doing what?” They say, “I don’t know.”   Come on. Really?

Link #6 CONTROL THE APPOINTMENT:

Controlling the appointment may sound like a high pressure technique until you understand what Floyd means by ‘control.’ He means ‘positive’ control, the pressure-free kind. Negative control is the kind people use to get what they want by manipulating others. Positive control means you cannot be manipulated because you take things one step at a time and stay on track.

The real key to controlling the appointment is having a track to run on. Like a blueprint or a template. A track is not a script. You’ve heard salespeople who sound like they have memorized a script. Even the jokes are canned. Whatever you do, don’t interrupt them. They have to go back to the beginning and start over!

An effective, pressure free appointment has an agenda, a series of things you want to accomplish one at a time in order. Knowing the order and the steps in advance, and sticking to the plan, takes all the pressure off you. And the real benefit is that you can devote more of your attention to your client, to listening, to showing that you care, to connecting with them.

Want to get more listings without having to go on more appointments? Show people that you care.

Here’s a little secret sales success formula from Linda Wickman, Floyd’s life partner for 50 years. Caring about what the other person cares about is what caring is all about.

Link #7 is PRESENTATION:

How effective are you at selling the seller on listing with you and your company? At presenting your marketing plan? At differentiating yourself from all the other agents and companies they are comparing you with? When there’s no difference between your widget and the other guy’s widget, the consumer usually goes with the best price. But when you can prove to a seller that you and your services are the best solution to their problems, price becomes almost irrelevant.

How are you doing so far? Are you a 35?

Link #8 is PRICING:

Floyd teaches us that it’s possible to do the right thing at the wrong time on a listing appointment. His Rule Of Thumb is, “Don’t talk price until they are sold on you and your company.” Until and unless they believe you can get the job done, why would they give any credibility to your advice on price?

That’s why Link #7 comes before Link #8. Why would anyone skip Link #7 and go straight to pricing? Here’s something I’ve heard frequently. “They asked me to.” Go ahead, laugh. And then go back and review Link #6 controlling the appointment.

When you really join forces with sellers, pricing becomes a matter of three people putting their heads together to come up with the right number. Until then, pricing is usually adversarial, and can become an argument.

Link #9 is CLOSING:

Don’t make closing more complicated than it needs to be. Once they have told you everything you need to know; and you have shown them everything they need to see, you deserve a decision. Closing is simply getting decisions, either a yes or a no.

How often do you leave an appointment with a non-decision? One of those “think – it – overs?” Or, “We’ll get back to you.” Or, “Boy, we’re really impressed, aren’t we, honey? Tell you what, can we call you Tuesday with our decision, or would Friday be better?”

And there you are, alone on the front porch with a very confused look on your face.

Hey, you're thinking to yourself now, how could I possibly master all that stuff? Believe me, I know you're thinking that. I believe that is the #1 reason why most agents never become effective listers. It takes skill.

In every sales industry we’ve studied where salespeople have two basic types of products, there is one easy sale and one challenging sale. Life insurance, for example. Term life is an easy sale. Simple. Easy to understand. Whole life, on the other hand, can be a challenge to present and to understand. Which of the two makes for a longer and more rewarding career? Not the easy sale. The salesperson that develops the skill to make the tougher sale is the best indicator of success.

The good news? We’ve been effectively teaching real estate salespeople how to be effective listers effectively for over 30 effective years. (Yes, I know I used the word effective a lot in that sentence. Was it effective?) It’s teachable and it’s learnable.

Except maybe for . . .

Link #10 is SERVICE:

The root of the word “sell” is “to serve.” I believe you either have a servant’s heart, a service mentality, a giving nature, or you don’t. I’ve seen people change their basic nature to become givers, but it’s not a quick or easy journey. Much better to start out that way.

At the very least, follow Floyd’s Core Value, “To always do what I say I will do, sometimes more, just never less.” You will find that always delivering what you promise is a game changer that will set you apart from your competition. (And, by the way, always makes you feel very, very good about yourself.)

Now, if you are a 50, congratulations. If not, strive to become a 50. And whenever the results you want aren’t there, fly up in the air and examine the links in your chain. It’s usually pretty easy to spot the weakest one.

To learn more about troubleshooting and getting to the top of your game and staying there in this business, visit www.floydwickman.com or join us on our Facebook page to share in the conversation at www.facebook.com/floydwickmanteam.  

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