At first blush, The Art of the CMA: Win Hearts, Minds, and Loyalty by Mastering Real Estate’s Most Versatile Tool – a 2020 book by Greg Robertson, a 28-year veteran of the real estate technology industry, along with content marketer Charles Warnock – may seem to many agents and brokers as a book about the obvious. Many may even question the need for a 250-page book about the comparative market analysis.
But Robertson says that what we know about CMAs is the tip of the iceberg and “that a lot of people have underestimated what a CMA could do for their (real estate) business.” As co-founder of W+R Studios, a U.S.-based tech company focussed on creating software for CMA technology, Robertson has had many conversations with agents over the years. During this time, he has mined creative ways in which CMAs can be re-used. He has concluded that CMAs have an unrealized potential that goes beyond just a primary comps report used by selling agents. “I thought there’s a story there. There’s something that a lot of agents can learn from,” he says.
The book is Robertson’s first foray into authorship and like many debuting writers, it’s about what he knows best. With catchy chapter titles, the book is laid out with a plethora of whys and how-tos of the CMA through easy-to-read page-turners, replete with bullet points, charts, snappily titled section-breaks, examples of Robertson’s anecdotal encounters in the real estate industry and end-of-chapter summaries. As such, his book is no different than other business books that follow the same content marketing-informed formula.
But what’s worth reading are the wealth of evidence-based insights Robertson compiles for new and veteran agents alike, who are becoming increasingly wary of competing with prop tech, Zestimates and ibuyers taking over the home selling process.
“The book is a blueprint on engagement with the lifeblood of an agent’s career – the consumer. The book gives you the strategy and mindset to do more with the information and tools already at your fingertips. Read it. Mark it up and read it again. You won’t be disappointed,” reviewed one reader.
The book helps agents take the guesswork out of pricing and valuing homes, de-mystifies data storytelling, informs on how to use data visualizations to achieve an edge on sales and breaks down the anatomy of a CMA, completed with a script for a successful listing presentation. Robertson even ends the book with findings from his company’s 2020 report on best practices for CMAs and listing presentations. Amassed from a survey completed by 3,325 participants, the report concludes that 67 per cent of respondents feel that CMAs are gaining more in relevance, as we look towards a tech-powered real estate future.
“There’s a way of using CMAs traditionally once you’ve acquired business – where you are sitting in front of a seller and you’re presenting this report – but people don’t look at it as them being a way to acquire business, to generate business. And that’s why I think there are people who want to read this book as a way of generating business, not just using in business you’ve already generated,” says Robertson.
“Think of your CMA presentation as a piece of sheet music. All the notes are there, but you are one who will create the music, build emotional connections and add the nuances and the artistry that makes for a truly memorable experience. Most agents won’t take the time to craft such a customer experience,” he writes in The Art of the CMA.
Sohini Bhattacharya is a contributing writer for REM.