Ashton Ernst: Landing Listings in a Shifted Market

May 28, 2020

Savvy real estate agents know without a doubt that listings are essential to growing their business and bringing in exposure, buyer leads, and more seller listing leads. But, whether you’re just getting started in real estate or have a decade of experience under your belt, landing listings can seem big and scary. Keller Williams agent Ashton Ernst has been there. In the early days, she took her own listing photography, didn’t print out fliers, and didn’t know how to price a property. Now the lead listing specialist and partner of the Justin Landis Group, Ernst has gained valuable experience and insight into the listing process. 

“When agents ask me how I started in the business, I tell them I called expireds, knocked on doors, and called for sale by owners. I begged anyone to give me a listing because it only takes one,” she says. “Once you get that one at bat, you can take it, run with it, and build a big business from there.” 

Here, the REALTOR Magazine “30 Under 30” and Atlantan “Top Luxury Listing Agent” for 2015 and 2016 shares what she’s learned along the way. 

Find motivated sellers

Ernst’s listing business is more than 80% repeat or referral based, so, when it comes to finding motivated sellers, her biggest focus is reaching out to everyone she has worked with – a total exceeding 700 people. Especially during the market shift, Ernst began engaging her sphere through care calls, offering her help, and making sure her network knew the reality of the market.

“Early on, I identified that I’m passionate about telling the story of what the market really is, especially from a seller’s perspective, and letting them know that it’s better than what they might be seeing on the news,” says Ernst, who records and delivers a steady drip of videos containing market and listing updates to her database.

Another audience that Ernst engages is her Command pipeline of 100+ sellers that have committed to working with her team, but have a fluid timeline. “My goal with that is to move them up in the pipeline and allow them the opportunity to take advantage of what today’s market has to offer to them,” she says. 

Within her calls, Ernst also targets any potential clients she met with in the past that chose not to work with her team. “We want to reengage that conversation and to see if there is anything real estate related that we can assist with at this time,” she says. 

Assess your pricing strategy

When it comes to pricing, Ernst follows a five-step pricing process:

  1. Look at the active pending and sold data.
  2. Look at the percentage difference in the market between now and when they purchased the property.
  3. Go through a price-per-square-foot analysis.
  4. Go through a days-on-market analysis.
  5. Look at the patterns around pricing.

“When you look at the data, generally you will see that there is a sweet spot in the pricing process, and you might see patterns where home sales don’t go below a certain number or above a certain number. That helps us develop the range of what a seller might expect,” Ernst explains.

She also walks her clients through the three options available for pricing their home: 

  1. Testing the market, which does not work in her market.
  2. The ‘sweet spot’ option, where they list as highly as they can without negative impact.
  3. Pricing ahead of the market, which is slightly under the sweet spot and aimed at getting the maximum amount of interest in the shortest amount of time.

The latter strategy has brought Ernst the most success. “A few weeks back, we took a listing to the market after giving the seller a range between $489,900 and $525,000; the lower price being strategically aggressive,” she shares. “They chose to go with the strategically aggressive option, and ended up with seven offers, taking on a final offer of $532,000.”

It’s all about the client 

Once she’s secured a listing appointment, Ernst customizes her presentation to fit her clients’ needs by making the conversation all about their specific timeline and goals. “I choose to focus on the seller’s needs first, because this allows me to build the utmost rapport with the seller and serve them at the highest level,” she says. “When you place the seller’s needs above your own, everyone wins.”  

Related reading: Bring More to the Table With Listing Presentations in Designs

To strike the perfect balance between focusing on customer needs and ensuring they understand the process, Ernst follows a specific listing agenda, zeroing in on the following topics during her listing consultation:

  • House tour
  • Explanation of services
  • Relational vs. transactional relationships (Ernst’s team aims to earn the trust and business of their clients for life, and they share this desire upfront)
  • The seller’s goals
  • The seller’s timing
  • Her process
  • Pricing
  • Service fees
  • Her team
  • Close for the business! 

Now that you have the secrets and strategies to Ernst’s success, the most important thing is to not lose faith. “Not every listing appointment is going to be a home run,” Ernst says. “If you’ve prepared right and presented the way you want to present and ultimately left it all out there, the only thing you can do is get feedback and learn from it. Ask why they chose to work with another agent, and use that feedback to tweak your listing presentation in the future.” 

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