A seller counseling session occurs at the beginning of your relationship with a current or prospective seller client and is a strategic activity that helps ensure a high-quality experience for everyone involved.

The consequences of unprepared sellers cannot be overstated. In a recent article from REALTOR® Magazine, agent Ryan Zwicky outlines some lessons learned the hard way, one of which was about setting appropriate expectations from the start. Zwicky says, “I learned that trying to please the seller only harms them in the end. It is better to be completely honest and open from the start.”

A seller counseling session is a powerful expectation-setting tool. It can be a sit-down meeting in person, a virtual web-based teleconference, or even a long phone call—all supplemented with a print resource, to help guide the conversation. The mode of communication that you use for it is not quite as important as your ability to carve out uninterrupted one-on-one time for yourself and the seller to get to know one another a little more deeply, and to go over how everything will work.

There is no one set way to do a seller counseling session, but there are some best practices and resources—home-grown or for-purchase—that can help you plan the conversation beforehand so that you don’t forget any aspect that needs to be discussed. For example, the Real Estate Business Institute (REBI), an affiliate of NAR, offers sets of customizable PowerPoint® presentation templates to help with structuring the conversation. The slides can be reorganized and adapted as needed to your situation. For those that want to take their seller representation skills to an even higher level, REBI also offers its Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) Designation course online at NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Development.

Regardless of the exact structure and the exact resources used, a seller counseling session is an invaluable strategic tool that will help you succeed as a seller’s representative. Below are 10 reasons why.