Jordan Cohen – Getting Listings

Serious about selling?  Interview Jerry Downer…You’ll be glad you did.

At the end of the day we must have the confidence in ourselves and our marketing plans that we do give the seller the best chance to sell their home for the most amount of money and the very best terms.

We will be designing a package tailored to your home, your needs, your lifestyle, and your timeframe.  This package will include a preparation plan, a presentation plan, a marketing plan, a pricing plan, an under-contract plan, a negotiation plan,

“I only get paid when I sell your house, not when I list it. Some agents celebrate listings. I never do. If you list with me, that just means it’s time for me to roll up my sleeves and get to work.”

“When you list with me, you are hiring me to work for you in the business of selling your house. I am fired up to go to work for you. Thank you for the opportunity.”

A couple comes in to take a look around, and at some point we should all ask, “Are you planning on selling your current home before you buy?”

Assuming they say that they will use a friend or relative that just got licensed, say “I appreciate your loyalty to your friend. But if you thought I could do a better job of maximizing the exposure of your home and sell it for more money, would you still be committed to your friend?”

“What exactly do you do differently?” That question is the sound of opportunity knocking. “What do I do differently?” I reply with enthusiasm. “Just let me tell you a couple of things I do differently.” I then go into a very abbreviated version of my listing presentation. I give them a slight taste of what I have to offer, and then I say, “I’d love to sit down with you and give you my entire marketing plan. After all, the job of a real estate agent is to maximize the exposure of your home to sell it. The more people that become aware of your home, the better the chance of getting someone to pay your price or more.”

I then finish by saying, “Could you give me a half hour to interview for the job of selling your home? No obligation, of course, but even if you do not list with me, perhaps I can give you some new, fresh, and aggressive marketing strategies that your agent can use.”


“I sure do appreciate your call. I work so hard to get calls like this and I am grateful you thought of me. I am very excited for the opportunity to interview for the job.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, where do you plan on moving?”

“Got it. Thanks for sharing.”

“What day and time works best for you?”

“Thanks again for having me come over. I am looking forward to taking a tour.”

This is my chance to listen to them and discover what elements and amenities are most important about their home to them. To do that, I must listen, listen, and listen some more. I listen with a smile when the seller points out the ceiling fans that took several months to pick out, and I tell them how nice they are. I listen and nod my approval when the seller talks about the extra storage in his garage. I always say, “That is fantastic. People will love that.” I listen so that I can come back to these features when I talk about how I plan to present their home to qualified buyers.

When I can tell the tour is going to take too long, I say, “Mr. Seller, I appreciate you showing me your home. You may have noticed I am not taking thorough notes of all the elaborate details you have pointed out because, if you hire me, I will come back with my assistant, and we will spend as much time as necessary to get to know your home and its features as well as you do. A great salesperson must know the product they are selling inside and out.”

Bringing up pricing and comps in the beginning often puts the seller on the defensive right from the start. We don’t want them on the defensive. We need the seller to trust us, which is why I decided I would rather begin with establishing my credibility with the seller. Once I establish credibility by showing sellers the investments I plan to make to sell their home, they might be more likely to listen to me about how to price their home.

Instead of leading off by talking about price, my presentation begins: “Ms. Seller, first of all, thank you again for the opportunity to interview for the job of selling your home. And that’s exactly what this is for me, a job interview. This is my potential opportunity to work for you.”

“Now I am going to assume that you’ve either interviewed for a job yourself or interviewed others, right?” I say this with a little smile and a nod of my head. The seller always says yes.

“Then you can appreciate the fact that I have a short window of time to put my very best foot forward.” Again, I nod as I say this to get them focused on what I am about to say. “So I want to explain everything I plan to do for you from start to finish in order to maximize the exposure of your home. After all, the job of a real estate agent is to make as many qualified buyers as possible aware of your home, get them excited about it, show it to them with passion, and then get them to make a commitment to buy your home at your price or more.”

“I know you are probably interviewing other brokers, which is a great idea. What I would like to do before I present my marketing plan, if it is okay with you, is to tell you a little about myself and my experience in order to establish some credibility.” Then I add with a nod of my head, “Would that be okay?”

“Some of the agents you interview may have been at this for ten, twenty, even thirty years. I have not. And that’s a great thing and here’s why: I have been trained in today’s market with today’s techniques. I understand the current market and what it takes to make your home stand out. What worked twenty or thirty years ago may not work today, and that’s why you need the skill set I bring to the table. I know how to maximize the internet and social media to get buyers as excited about your home as I am. I also have a team of seasoned professionals supporting me. I have phenomenal mentors, as well as a productive office and a support structure that backs me up and will make sure that everything that goes into selling your home, from the listing to showings to closing, will be a great experience for you.”

“Mr. Seller, I’ve told you a little of what I’ve done in the past, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. I’m proud of the fact that I am the number one RE/MAX agent in the world out of 140,000 agents, but don’t hire me because of that. Hopefully, you will hire me because of what I am going to do for you.” In other words: Don’t hire me because I am the number one agent in Ventura County last year. Hire me because of what I am going to do for you now. Don’t hire me because I know the best and latest real estate sales techniques, hire me because of how I am going to put those techniques to work for you. Don’t hire me because I sold four other homes in your area over the past six months, hire me because of what I am going to do for you today. Don’t hire me because my last ten clients all gave me five-star reviews, hire me because I am going to do everything I can to earn a five-star review from you as well.

I then add, “I only get paid when I sell your home, not when I list it, which is why, if you hire me for this job, no one is going to work harder than me to get the job done and sell it for your price or better. The better I do my job, the more likely you will refer me to your friends and neighbors. I get it. I understand the importance of each and every deal. Now let me tell you how I plan to do that.”

“Are you aware of the fact that as real estate agents, we are independent contractors? In other words, productive agents like me are like unrestricted free agents who can work in whichever office or company we want. In fact, we are constantly recruited to change brokerages. Let me tell you why I chose the Todd C. Olson brokerage. They let me do whatever I think is necessary to aggressively market your home. I don’t have a ceiling over my head or broker-restricted rules! The brokerage and I have the same goals. I believe working for one of the giant corporations could actually limit my ability to market your home because they enforce too many restrictions and guidelines. As I mentioned before, I only get paid when I sell your home, not when I list it. So I have found Todd C. Olson gives me the freedom to market your home as aggressively as I wish.” With this I have turned the conversation around and made it appear that working for a small brokerage now gives me an advantage over those who lean on their national company’s name to establish credibility.

I may have added too much to 0990

MARKETING: PREPARE, PROMOTE, SELL (notice that Jordan Cohen does not talk about preparation; he goes directly into promotion)

“When I list your home, I will invest whatever it takes to properly expose your home to find the right buyer. Mr. Seller, notice I did not say, ‘I spend money.’ I never spend money. Rather I invest it in proven marketing channels that get results!”

“When I list your home, I will invest whatever it takes to properly expose your home to find the right buyer. Mr. Seller, notice I did not say, ‘I spend money.’ I never spend money. Rather I invest it in proven marketing channels that get results!”

“Now Mr. Seller, I’d like to get into exactly what I am going to do from A to Z, beginning to end, to maximize the exposure of your home. Fair enough?” I then add a nod of my head. They always say yes. I then continue with: “The first thing I will do is hire the best photographer in the business, a real estate specialist, to come and take pictures of your home. A lot of agents shoot their photos in the middle of the day, rain or shine, but I do something a little different. I have found I will get the best shots with the best lighting of your home by shooting at dusk. My photographer shoots photos of your home, both inside and out, before the sun goes down, as it is going down, and right after it sets. I’ve found that taking photos at dusk, with all your lights on, makes your home pop off the screen. Even the interior photos look better at dusk because there’s no glare coming in from outside. Believe me, these photos will make your home stand out against other active listings, which in today’s day and age of internet, social media, and print, is critical in generating interest, excitement, and that spark of momentum necessary to entice a qualified buyer to view your home in person.”

“When I return with my photographer, we are going to take a lot of pictures. After selling as many homes as I have, I understand exactly which photos will entice a buyer to come see your home as well as which photos will cause buyers to move on to the next. We will not take any pictures of a bathroom that shows the toilet. Nor will we take any pictures of an overstuffed closet. I stress that sometimes less is more.”

“I will be sure to choose the very best photos that I know will perform best on social media as well as those that are ideal for print and internet. As a successful real estate agent who works with various buyers and sellers, I am an expert at what is most effective in accomplishing our goals.”

“Please understand that we’re going to take a lot more photos than we will use. Mr. Seller, I’m sure you’ve probably looked at photos of houses online. You can only scroll through so many photos until you get bored, or even worse, see a photo that is dark or cluttered that immediately makes you move on to the next house. Could you see how this could happen?” The seller usually not only agrees but many times will say something like, “Oh yeah. I hate clicking on a home with twenty-seven angles of the same room.” “I do, too. When I launch my marketing campaign for your home, my philosophy more times than not is less is more. I am not trying to sell your home based purely on the photographs or videos. Just like a movie trailer, I want to give potential buyers just enough to get them excited to see your home in person. That’s the key. I want them to see it in person so I can ‘sell’ it.”

“That is why it is imperative for potential buyers to come tour your home personally with me or my showing agent [or assistant if you do not show homes yourself], so that I/we can point out all the great features you love so much, overcome objections, answer their questions, and most important, justify our price. I can more often than most close the sale. I’m a salesman, and to do that I need to get a buyer here, inside your home. “I know there are exceptions to every rule, but I have never had anyone buy a home strictly because of the photographs. But the opposite can and does happen. You’ve probably done it yourself. You find a house that looks like it may be what you’re looking for, but if the photos make one of the bedrooms look too small, you swipe left to the next house. That is why I make sure buyers only see the photographs we want them to see. Does this make sense?”

One of the hot tools many sellers insist upon are online 3-D tours of the home. For me, spending the extra money to set up the 3-D tool does not cross the threshold into investing. I see it as wasted money. Here’s why. As real estate agents, we want to invest in those things that we know will either lead to a sale or build our brand or both. In my experience, 3-D tours and posting online floor plans of homes actual deter people from coming and seeing a listing in person.

“Mr. Seller, I am a big believer in social media marketing, especially Instagram. Are you on Instagram yourself?” Most people will say yes. From time to time, however, someone says no. For them, I will briefly stop and explain what Instagram is and how it works before continuing: “Fantastic. Then you know how Instagram is a very visual platform, which is why I will select very specific photos and create epic videos of your home that will look best on this medium. I find Instagram to be such a great tool not just because it shows your home in the best possible way but also because of its reach. Real estate sites like Zillow and work great for potential buyers who are looking for a home in your specific neighborhood. But what about those who are not? I have had great success with Instagram in exposing my properties to people who may not be looking for a home in your exact area but close, or maybe not even be actively shopping for a home at all but would be if they became aware of your home somehow. The latter are those who always say that if they ever came across the right home, they’d buy it. Instagram delivers that home, your home, right to them on their phone or tablet.

How to Present Print as a Marketing Tool When I start the print section of my presentation, I begin with: “As I told you, Ms. Seller, I’m going to do anything and everything I can to give your home maximum exposure to as many potential buyers as possible. The more people who see your home across different media, the better the odds that we will find that one buyer who will pay your price or more. And remember, it only takes one. I often find that one with a tool other agents may tell you is a waste of money, and that’s print ads. Every year I sell homes as a direct result of print marketing. And I can give you many examples. “The way I utilize print works a lot like social media. I do more than advertise locally. I expand my reach to other areas throughout Southern California and beyond, especially in those areas where I know people are looking to move to a neighborhood like yours that has better schools, better amenities, and a better quality of life. “Now you might ask, won’t these people search this area on one of the real estate sites? Not necessarily. As with social media and Instagram, print is a great way to reach buyers who will never type your zip code into an internet search. Print also reaches the millions of people who love to pick up a publication and look through it, whether while sitting at a deli or waiting for their car to be serviced, or in their home with a publication mailed directly to them. They may not even be looking for a house themselves, but they have a friend or coworker who is. Mr. Seller, don’t you think there might be a 1 percent chance that one of these people will be interested in your home? I do. And that’s why I will invest in print advertising to bring your home to them.”

My approach to Just Listed mailers is very different from the average agent’s, and I point this out to the seller right from the start. I tell them: “I’m sure you’ve probably received postcards from some of the local real estate agents that say “Just Listed” across the front with a photo of a house on one side and a photo of the agent on the other. You may not have noticed both photos because you probably throw them away as fast as you pull them out of your mailbox. [Insert fake laugh here.] In the business we call those Just Listed mailers. You are probably wondering how effective a tool these postcards could possibly be if they end up in the trash unread? Right?” I nod my head. “Believe it or not, I’m going to send out a Just Listed mailer for your home, but it is not going to end up in the trash because I don’t send out postcards. Instead, I will send out an epic brochure”—I then hand them a sample mailer—“that will go to every home in your neighborhood as well as other neighborhoods that I know have a large number of people looking to move into your area. Please notice how I’ve strategically chosen the best photos for this format and how I highlight some of the home’s best features. My goal in putting this brochure together was to send out something that’s just too nice to toss without first looking through it.”

continue my presentation: “Let me explain the benefits of sending out these brochures to your neighborhood. First, the odds are great we will find someone in your area who is looking for a home like yours, one better than their current home. Everywhere I go, there are people who have their eye out for a specific type of house in their neighborhood. They are not actively searching Zillow or the other real estate sites, but they’ve told themselves that if the right house came up for sale around here, where their kids could stay in the same schools, they’d buy it. Don’t you think there’s a good chance that there is someone who loves living in your neighborhood but would rather live in your house? That’s why I will mail everyone a Just Listed brochure, to let them know that their wait is up. “My second reason for mailing these brochures to your surrounding area is because your neighbors who love this area probably know someone they’d like to see move here. Maybe it’s grandparents who want their family closer, or maybe it’s a family who wants to have their parents move nearby. Again, these people do not spend their time looking at homes online, but when they receive this mailer and see your home is available, they’re going to let their friends or family know. I don’t believe in waiting for someone to happen to come across your home. I want to take your home to them. And when they see the photos and they read all the features your home has to offer, they will see that this house is just what their friends or family members have been waiting for. I know these methods work. I’ve sold many homes simply because I introduce listings to people that never would have found them otherwise.”

“After I send out the brochures, I will follow up with phone calls to all the homeowners in your area for whom I have their contact information. Let me tell you why. I’ve sold a lot of homes to actors and athletes, and one of the things I’ve learned from them is that their agents don’t sit back and wait for deals to come to them. An actor’s agent works the phones, calling studios, pushing their client for that next big part. A great athlete’s agent gets outthere and finds off-field promotions for their clients. They don’t wait for Subway to call or for Nike to come around with a shoe deal. The best agents are on the phone every day, promoting their client. “I am a real estate agent. Just like an agent in the world of entertainment, I will work the phones, calling not just others in the business who may have a client who is looking for a home exactly like yours but also my past clients and other people in my sphere of influence that I think may be ready to make a move and who would be interested in your house. I don’t sit back and wait for potential buyers; I get out there and find them. I’m an agent and your house is my star. I’m going to do everything I can to put your home out there and promote it until we find that buyer who is willing to pay your price or more.”

“Mr. Seller, I’ve talked to you about all the different tools I will use to promote your home to as many potential, qualified buyers as possible. And I have one more that will let us hit the ground running. The day before your listing goes live, I will do a massive prelaunch blast through email and social media. I will put together an amazing Coming Soon email featuring a few of the best photos of your home that will go out to thousands of real estate agents and to my past clients and to anyone and everyone I know that will want to see your house. Twenty-four hours before your house hits the MLS, this email will land in thousands of inboxes. “At the same time, I will do my first post about your home on Instagram. Think of this as a trailer that studios do for upcoming feature films. I’m going to give my followers a slide show of epic photos and key amenities along with the words ‘Coming Soon!’ Then, when your home hits the MLS and all the real estate sites on the internet, people are looking for it. They can’t wait to see it, and they’ll want to see more than a few photos online. They’ll call to schedule a time to come see your home, and that’s the point of every marketing tool I will use. All of them are designed to get potential qualified buyers excited enough about your home to come see it with me in person. And that’s where I can use my skills as a salesman to close the deal with one of them. We’re looking for that one buyer, or better yet, multiple buyers, who will pay your price or more.”

Nobody Does It Better I move from the marketing section of my presentation to the showing section by saying: “Mr. Seller, all the marketing we just discussed is designed to do one thing: get qualified people to come see your home in person. They won’t buy it until they come see it, and when they come to see it, I get to do what I love most, and that’s selling houses. When it comes time

to show your home to potential buyers, I will be here to give them a professional tour, answer their questions, overcome objections, and do my best to generate an offer. If for some reason I cannot be here for a showing, one of my assistants who has been properly trained and coached by me will be here in my place. But make no mistake about it. Showing your home is my number one priority. I schedule everything else I do around showings because that’s what sellers pay me to do.” If you do not show your listings by appointment only and use key safes instead, tell the seller that you will use an electronic key safe and will personally call every agent after every showing and answer any questions they may have, explain the pricing, and address any objections they may have. If the seller asks how I could possibly have time to show their home personally when I have so many other listings, I reply: “That’s a great question. But as Benjamin Franklin once said, if you want to get something done, ask a busy person. Showing my listings is always my top, day-to-day priority. I will always make the time to show your home and sell it. Remember, I only get compensated when I sell, so I will do whatever is necessary to give myself the best chance possible to sell your home. And that means showing my listings myself. I approach every one of my listings as its own separate business, and I am the CEO. Make no mistake. You are the chairman of the board. I work for you. But as the CEO of the business of selling your house, I will invest the time, money, and passion necessary to make it successful and profitable for us both. I assure you, nobody will work harder at selling your home than me.” It’s okay to say this. People will understand this is a business and you are not there for shits and giggles. They will appreciate you saying how hard you will work in order to produce results. “I want to tell you why it’s critical for me or my showing assistant to show your home in person versus simply putting a lockbox on you front door so that buyers’ agents can take their clients through on their own. The buyers’ agent, who has never been in your home, will not know about the key features that set your home apart unless they just happen to stumble upon them. I don’t want to leave that to chance. That’s why I will be here to take buyers on the tour the right way.” This is where I go back to what the sellers said when they took me on a tour of their home. I recall specific features that mattered most to the sellers while also drawing on what I learn from buyers when I prescreen them. For example: “I will point out the extra storage in the garage and all the other features that set your home apart. Remember when I talked about screening buyers and how I will ask about what is most important to them? I use their answers in my tour. I will remind buyers how this large grassy area in addition to the pool adds value and is obviously great for kids. By doing so, I will not only justify our price for your home but will also show the buyer that this is a great value.

My goal isn’t just to sell your home, but to sell it for the most money possible.”


My goals came in this order: Sell the home I was sitting. Land listing interviews. Pick up buyers. These goals required I start asking a new set of questions, beginning with, “Do you plan to sell your current home before you buy, or do you plan to buy and then sell?” I say this in a tone that sounded like I assumed they were already homeowners and they were out there looking at homes purely to upgrade or downsize. The responses I hoped to hear were either “sell then buy” or “buy then sell.” Obviously, first-time buyers come through all open houses depending on the price of the listing, but I always asked the question with the assumption that they currently had a home to sell. I always then asked, “Fantastic. I love to hear it. Are you planning on interviewing agents for the job of selling your house?” The dream answer, the one we always hoped to hear, was, “Yes!” I immediately followed up with, “That’s great news. I would love to be one of them.” Usually, however, I received one of two other responses. More often than not people said, “No, not yet,” even if they intended to put their home on the market. Anonymity and not having to make any kind of immediate commitment to an agent they just met are part of the appeal of going to an open house. That’s why people almost always said, “No, not yet.” Their evasiveness did not dissuade me. I said, “When do you plan to interview agents? Would it be okay if we stay in contact?” Depending on their answer, assuming they said, “We don’t know,” I would say, “I certainly do not mean to be pushy. Hopefully, when the time comes for you to interview agents, I can be one of them. I am confident that no one markets a home more aggressively than I do.” Aggressive is the key word that resonates and pops even with those who may not list their home for months. One more note: be prepared to deliver brief portions of your listing presentation during this conversation. I usually mentioned what I do differently from other real estate agents, including how I use social media or print ads. This is always brief. We do not want to overwhelm with information, especially when other people are coming in and out of the open house. Instead, we want to give just enough to capture their attention so that hopefully they will remember us when we contact them later either through text, email, or by phone. Before this potential client left the open house, I always asked again, “I know you said you are not ready to interview agents at this time, but would

you like me to come by to see your home and give you a quick value check? No obligation of course. I always have buyers who may be interested in a home like yours right now.”

Cohen, Jordan. The Agent’s Edge: Secret Strategies to Win Listings and Make Your Fortune Selling Real Estate (p. 138). HarperCollins Leadership. Kindle Edition.

“Ms. Seller, most of the real estate agents you will interview will tell you they want to hold an open house. They will tell you that this is the best way to show your home to the largest number of people in one day. I agree. An open house is a great way to show your home to a lot of people at the same time, especially in a hot market like we have today. Our hope is always that by the end of the day we will receive at least one offer, or better yet, multiple offers. “However, experience has taught me that if we do an open house the way people have been doing open houses for decades, the odds are extremely slim that anyone will walk through the door and buy it. I say this because the traditional approach to open houses is very passive. We put out signs and wait for something to happen. “I take a far more aggressive approach. Of course, I announce the open house on the MLS, internet, and place signs everywhere I can. But I don’t want to sit back and hope prospective buyers come along. A few days before the open house I plan to email a special invitation to everyone I included on my prelaunch email blast. This includes other real estate agents, past clients and brokers, not to mention my entire database of contacts. I will invite brokers to bring their clients to get a jump-start on the competition. Hopefully they will see firsthand the excitement my open houses generate. “On top of that, I plan to go door to door within your neighborhood and personally invite your neighbors to your open house. Why would I do that? I have found that many times your neighbors have a friend or family member that they would like to see move into this neighborhood. Also, there is a good chance that some of your neighbors may be looking to downsize/upsize their homes, but because they love this area so much they haven’t yet made a move. Your home may be exactly what they are looking for. “I will invite as many people as I can to your open house because the more people we can get here, the more energy and excitement will build around your home. People come to open houses because it gives them a chance to see a home in a more relaxed and casual way. The vast majority of the people who show up will say they are just looking around to see what’s out there, or they will say they are looking at the home for a friend. They will say this even if they are seriously considering buying your home. That’s just human nature. But when they come here and see a lot of people, it creates a sense of urgency. The casual shopper knows they have to become a serious buyer really quickly. That sense of urgency often leads to multiple offers. “Now I want you to fully understand what you are committing to when you agree to hold an open house. It is a public event. Anyone can come. And yes, we will have some neighbors walk through just because they’re nosy. We will also have a certain number of people

When I go up against other agents whose entire strategy is built around holding open houses, I win nearly every time. The idea that every seller wants to have an open house is a myth. Most people guard their privacy. They tell me how they did not want a parade of strangers trekking through their home. Throw in the fact that sometimes thieves use open houses to case a place, and you can see why my anti–open house language is welcomed by sellers.

“Now, Mr. Seller, let’s talk about price. Hopefully my valuation is even higher than yours. Nothing would make me happier. Please share what price point you’re thinking.” Half the time the seller will respond with something like, “Well, I won’t sell my home for less than . . .” and they throw out a number. I always appreciate it when sellers do this because at least that gives me a starting point. But the other half of the time the seller will go fishing and say, “You are the expert. You tell me.” Honestly, I don’t blame them for that response. If I were in their shoes, I would say the same thing. From this point on, my presentation to sellers about pricing probably looks very much like every other agent’s. I talk about comps because we all have to talk about comps. Comps and appraisal value go hand in hand. But comps alone are not enough. When the market is in flux, either shooting up or tumbling down, what a house sold for six months ago has little bearing on what the same house will sell for today.

Here’s another chance to overcome a common objection to a seller before they say it to us. We have all heard this one. “I’m not going to give my house away.” So I will say it first. “If you want to give your house away, go with a discount agent who only wants to sell your home quickly and at any price. But if you really want maximum dollars, then you need someone like me with a proven track record and a game plan that yields results.”

Here’s another chance to overcome a common objection to a seller before they say it to us. We have all heard this one. “I’m not going to give my house away.” So I will say it first. “If you want to give your house away, go with a discount agent who only wants to sell your home quickly and at any price. But if you really want maximum dollars, then you need someone like me with a proven track record and a game plan that yields results.”

Cohen, Jordan. The Agent’s Edge: Secret Strategies to Win Listings and Make Your Fortune Selling Real Estate (p. 153). HarperCollins Leadership. Kindle Edition.

Jerry Downer
Real Broker LLC
[email protected]