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Jordan Cohen is a force of nature. Talk with him, by email or on a video chat, and you get a sense of the energy and enthusiasm that he’d bring to the table as a real estate professional.
In his new book, The Agent’s Edge, Cohen shares his love of real estate with readers in an engaging narrative style. Filled with practical advice, it includes not just nuts and bolts but also scripts and scenarios for ensuring that your next client interview or listing launch is a successful one.
I sat down with Cohen to hear about his book, his writing process, and, most importantly for Inman readers, the secrets he’s sharing for earning that next listing — and getting it sold.
Your intro is called: Why another real estate book? So, with that in mind, why another real estate book?
I truly believe my book is the first how-to-sell-real-estate book with proven tactics and strategies written by a productive, active real estate agent, still in the trenches. So, why? It is to do my best to pass along what has worked for me over the course of my 33-year career.
You mentioned that you wrote the book at the beginning of 2022. With all of the upheaval of the pandemic in the not-so-distant past, was it a challenge to write in a forward-thinking way?
To be honest, I feel my strategies to be successful are timeless and work in any market. At the end of the day, agents need to have the skills to win in a competitive listing interview and I honestly feel I deliver what it takes and a whole lot more. I don’t think it matters what the markets and economy are doing.
At the end of the day, we need to compete against friends and colleagues. And the best agents are going to win and make money.
I pour out timeless strategies like, for example, the photography chapter. I give good language [in the book’s scripts] to help agents sound like an expert to win. If a seller’s interviewing two agents, my language is going to win.
The majority of real estate agents are struggling, in part because of reality TV which made our occupation a very sexy and cool job. There are more new agents coming in every day than ever before because it’s a cool job now.
Remember, the average seller will interview three Realtors before they choose one. Two out of three agents lose, so I hope to give that one agent [who’s read my book] the edge to win more than they lose.
You’ve built your career as an individual agent. Can you share with our readers how your book also speaks to agents who are working as members of a team?
I built my career as an individual agent because 33 years ago every real estate agent was an individual agent. Teams were completely non-existent. If an agent was going to survive, we had to develop our skills and strategies on our own.
At the end of the day, we’re in a commission-only business. So all agents, on a team or not, need to find skills to make money. Hopefully, all those agents can develop the confidence and skill set to eventually become team leaders on their own someday.
Who do you see the book as speaking to primarily: newer agents, mid-career agents looking to scale, or top producers (or all of the above)?
Definitely all. Agents at all levels invest thousands of dollars on seminars and coaching, all in the hopes of getting usable nuggets to be more productive. I get asked all the time to do coaching and do webinars and do online [training]. But I think I gave a whole seminar [in this book]. If I was a new agent or even any agent, I would look at this and say, “I just learned something. I can’t wait for my next listing interview.”
What would you say to anyone who is contemplating creating content, whether it’s a whole book or just starting a blog?
Listen, the more a successful agent can give back, the better. We’re a tight-knit community of real estate agents. I like to think we should all look out for each other.
So if real estate agents hit a high level — I’m very fortunate that I have the title “No. 1 RE/MAX agent in the world,” which I think opened up the door to becoming a published author, so I’m very grateful for that opportunity. But I think any Realtor that can write a blog that would help other Realtors is a fantastic thing.
What is your secret to securing a listing?
Confidence is contagious. Excitement is contagious. The only way to have that confidence is to have a well-planned, well-rehearsed listing presentation that answers every question a seller could have without it even being asked.
At the end of every presentation, I know I’ve succeeded when I could look at a seller and say, “Do you have any questions?” and they say, “No, you answered them all in your presentation.”
You also know you’ve delivered a great presentation when a seller doesn’t only want to hire you, but they feel like they need to hire you in order to accomplish their goals.
What’s your secret to getting it sold?
Pre-selling it. Getting to know as much [as possible] about the buyer — whether you represent them or not — and what they’re truly looking for before they even step foot in the house. The more you know about that buyer and what their triggers are going to be the better.
Know the objections in advance and stress or enhance the features that they’re already looking for. For example, you know going in that the buyer has two kids and they need a pool and they want plenty of grassy area for a swing set or a sports court.
When you know that going in, then, when you’re showing the property, obviously, you can really highlight that and point it out and remind them how important that was. Finding them what they really want will help them overlook some of the flaws of the home that they might not like.
How can a new agent get that first listing under their belt?
Well, read my book and you’ll be armed with a really good listing presentation. And then, if you practice what I tell you to do, you’re going to have more confidence in yourself and your ability to push them your way.
If you don’t have confidence in your own presentation, you’re not going to keep pushing even for the interview. No new agent’s going to say, “Interview me, you’ll be glad you did. Just let me show you what I do differently” if you don’t really even have confidence in what you’re going to present. So, if you have a dominating listening presentation, you will win in competitive situations and your business will grow.
I usually get asked all the time, “What’s the most important thing for a real estate agent to learn to be successful?” That’s why I dedicate six or seven chapters in my book to the listing presentation because I think that is the most important skill set an agent can have. If you have a great listing presentation, you’re going to create more opportunities than you would have before.
In other words, if a real estate agent is cold-calling and then they reach a seller and the seller says, “We’re already kind of committed to another agent,” if you don’t have confidence in your own presentation, you’re going to say, “Okay, if that doesn’t work out, let me know.”
But if you have a great deal of confidence in yourself, you’re going to say, “Well, if you haven’t already signed an agreement with that agent, interview me. Let me show you what I do differently. Worst case scenario is you’re going to learn some new strategies and techniques that your other real estate agent can use. Just interview me. Give me 30 minutes to show you what I do better.”
In my book, I give Realtors of all levels a whole lot more to talk about than just comps and their past accolades and their company. I give enough real, usable strategies for somebody to go in and enable them to talk more about what they’re going to do for the seller versus what they’ve done in the past.
In your book, you talk about agents who say you should spend as little money as possible on marketing a listing. Can you talk about why you think that’s bad advice for today’s market?
What you have to invest in is yourself. So the key is, I’d never say, “Spend money.” I say, “Invest,” so I invest in myself. I’d rather invest in myself — something I can control — than invest in stocks and bonds — something I can’t control.
So for me, investing in marketing gives you multiple benefits. One, it helps you sell your listing and two, it helps you promote your brand. You have to invest money so, yeah, I cringe when I hear real estate trainers say, “Never spend a dime.” It’s not spending; it’s investing.
What kinds of KPIs do you look at to know whether your marketing for a listing is working?
So, I don’t have any technology behind me. I don’t have any analytics behind me. At the end of the day, it’s trial and error. So I invest in certain print publications that I know I get results from.
I invest in high-level mailers and listing brochures because I know I’m going to reap the reward from that, either from selling that listing to somebody that might not be aware of that home, that’s not flipping through the internet all day, every day, looking for a particular home, but also building my brand in the classiest way possible.
I’m always trying new things. And then if one or the other becomes successful, I continue with that. In fact, I’ll enhance that. And bring it to the highest levels possible.
Do you have plans to continue to update the book as technology and the industry change in the years ahead? Will there be future editions of The Agent’s Edge?
Yes, I am hoping to write a series of books with the Agent’s Edge title covering all aspects of residential real estate.