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.

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The Art of the CMA: Win Hearts, Minds, and Loyalty by Mastering Real Estate’s Most Versatile Tool
The Art of the CMA: Win Hearts, Minds, and Loyalty by Mastering Real Estate’s Most Versatile Tool

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.

The book is available at Amazon and directly from the authors.


    and note the article by Jimmy Cox at:

    Perhaps start by recalling the fat yellow MLS catalogues and mounds of tear sheets. On agent basement shelves and stored for mega years in appraisal offices along with Teela data cards by the thousands. Long before the virtual world came into being.

    When I was first licenced I read every page of the catalogues on a daily basis.
    You could judge the productivity of the market by the size of a given week’s catalogue. It would shrink or grow according to weekly activity.

    I mean I really read the catalogues. Page by page. I was so fortunate to have somewhat of a photographic memory (very useful in my prior career also). At each MLS listing was noted boatloads of private information related to the property among which: how much mortgage was registered against the property, naming the specific financial institution, the terms and conditions (portable, assumable or not), expiration dates, payment amounts (monthly, weekly), rates; anything relevant.

    Office colleagues laughed out loud. Some even said: “what ARE you doing? You always have an MLS book in hand everywhere you go? We’re going to play cards in the closing room for a break and there YOU are, reading the MLS book again.”

    You have to understand that I knew from minus NOTHNG about how the real estate inside world worked. I was in for so many surprises. I spent my own money attending courses as well as free courses Board supplied. Most were American based. I don’t remember one ever being held by a Canadian success operator.

    And of course always at the back of the room there were tables of the speaker’s “materials” to buy: tapes, books and other agent-come-trainer mega producer who had time to travel cross-country and across the border, hotels paid by Boards in an effort to show membership they were being provided “training.”

    Of course large RE corporate names provided in-house training actually having training “departments,” where agents could learn how to use scripts, and practice role-playing.

    I took one major idea from each course or convention and applied it to my own career, modified to make it Canadian permitted.

    In one particular situation I had a huge learning experience. I was working with buyers (subagency of course). They had called on a tiny ad. They decided to offer on the house. But they had a house to sell in the adjacent town where the brokerage also had an office. I prepped the comps and listed the back-up property.

    An agent who lived in the listing area and had sent out flyers complained and I was forced to give up the backup listing to her. REALLY? Yes. Not even a referral portion for me. My broker/owner said I earned plenty already and the lister agent was a top branch producer and they had to keep her happy.

    My buyers-come-sellers were confused. They decided not to buy and cancelled their listing. They had chosen me to work with and didn’t understand why that couldn’t be.

    Personally I had no idea what had just happened. So I went on and did other business. This helped me to learn about farming and protected areas.

    Soon after I left the brokerage. The owner manager (d) was shocked that as a still quite new agent I would dare to change brokerages. I was SO NEW! I was told by the broker owner that I was shooting myself in the foot. I would never make it in the real estate world by changing brokerage.

    Teams had not yet become a concept.
    So there I was, floundering like a fish out of water. Took more courses. And never missed a meeting or training opportunity ever in decades. What kind of dark business had I become part of?

    I kept multitudes of notes and studied late into the night. I always had business in the pipeline. In my opinion it was important to understand that a contact simply wasn’t “ready.” THAT was most important to understand. I never considered it rejection. I always believed they just were not “ready.” I called such public inquirers, explorers.

    A serious situation happened where a caller asked for me in particular to do a CMA. Asked for me by name at incoming office call. I did and the figures I provided didn’t enable them to make the move they had in mind, so that was the end of that day’s story. But it wasn’t.

    In my pipeline I had a good qualified buyer who wanted that area a couple of years later. ZING! Pull the old CMA file. Perfect match if CMA folks’ timing would be appropriate.

    My would-be buyer had a house to sell. Long story short the buyers bought that house. I sold theirs to a Prudential relo family from MLS agent who moved out again in a few years and I listed it and MLS sold it. I had never stayed in touch with the MLS buyer but allegedly they followed my area career. Their agent had never contacted them in about three years.

    Back to the initial CMA request story: my buyers were there several years and decided for health reasons they wanted a bungalow. I just happened to have done a CMA on a custom bungalow in adjacent subdivision. They bought it and the bungalow owner found an MLS listing they wanted so I helped them get it. In total I had helped the bungalow seekers buy and sell eight properties over the thirty-five years and they provided referrals who often were sellers who then became my buyers.

    Round and round we go. This happened repeatedly and that’s how my phone kept ringing and I never had to phone canvass or door-knock. I’ve said previously that often times out of six ends I had five closings.

    Back to that initial CMA situation. After that sale was reported I had a very upset neighbour desk agent who informed the whole office that a year prior she had been asked by those owners to do a CMA (but she clearly had not stayed in touch). I had no idea. The incoming call had asked for me personally and didn’t say why they were calling.

    The owners had never mentioned having had another RLP rep do a CMA a year or two previously, so I had no idea. I wouldn’t have guessed to ask them if they had worked with anyone previously in my office over the years. Buyer contracts hadn’t yet entered the industry. And of course would have had an expiry date.

    I was not in the habit of informing the office of where I was doing possible business. Other agents often did tell everyone what they were doing and where. I felt bad for her but I truly had no idea of previous going’s-on. But others in the office sputtered that I had stolen her rightful business. Why didn’t that home owner request for her to do the current CMA, and never mentioned her to me…

    We truly are in an unusual industry. No one owns the public unless and until under contract. They are at liberty to choose with whom they will engage in representation.

    The key to this comment is to encourage agents to save their CMA’s and include in their contact Mgmt system. And at least periodically stay in touch; a good reason to contact is to update area activity. Yours or MLS.

    Carolyne L 🍁

  2. Amazon’s prime …shipping is free, I just ordered it. Sadly, There will be a lot of salespeople who will not invest in themselves. I have learned in my 53 years in RE that a Salesperson’s income is in direct proportion to three things, how large is their data base, and how large is their personal library, and how they apply them both to work for themselves.

    • Yes I tried to buy it and $27 (probably $US) for courier shipping is the only option. I would be happy to pay for mail, but not courier. Additionally, there may be customs. Even with “free trade” I have paid customs on some orders from the US.
      I totally agree, a solid CMA is an indispensable part of the process.


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