Week of February 4, 2008
Front Page
Coast to Coast
Politics & Government
Economics & Finance
Business Management
50Plus Housing
Building Systems
Workforce housing
Building Products
Association News

Experts Say Sales Teams Must Learn to Overcome Objections

The third in an occasional series on how to ramp up sales and marketing in a changing market.

To successfully sell new homes in today’s market, salespeople must know their surrounding community and their prospective buyers and be trained to use that knowledge to overcome objections, a panel of experts said during an NAHB “Back to Basics” teleconference earlier this year on how to ramp up sales and marketing.

Homes no longer sell on their own merits, said Bonnie Alfriend, of Alfriend & Associates, a sales and marketing training, consulting company based in Pebble Beach, Calif. Sales teams must learn to overcome objections, she said. 

Sales teams should practice responding to different objections, Alfriend said. She recommended that sales teams discuss objections together and develop a list of their top-10 most common sales breakers and then discuss ways those deal breakers can be overcome.

For every objection, she said, a good salesperson can offer a varying perspective to change the customer’s mind. If salespeople have practiced, they can turn an objection into a sale.

(At no charge, NAHB members can access the audio conference, "Ramp Up Your Sales and Marketing in a Changing Market,” by clicking here.)

Know the Community

Salespeople who do not know their community limit their ability to sell a home. If they don’t know their community, Alfriend said, they won’t know what incentives to offer, what parts of the homes to highlight and what homes to show what customers.

“Do your salespeople understand your customers ― where they shop, what they do, what their hobbies are?” Alfriend asked. “Have them investigate the community and learn who their buyers are,” she said.

Alfriend told listeners not to overlook the Realtor® community. They have their hand on the pulse of the home buying market because they’re in the field every day hearing what buyers are saying. She suggested that builders get 10 of the “top selling agents in your marketplace, along with your buyers, when you’re doing market research and focus groups.”

Make Your Sites Sizzle

One of the best ways to overcome objections is to have sizzling sites, Alfriend said. Do “a little extra to make various parts of your properties pop out the customer’s eyes.”

A good salesperson can use sizzling sites to overcome many objections, she said.

“Landscaping is probably one of the most cost-effective attributes that you can add,” she pointed out. “Do anything that you can do to make your homes and entry statements better. Plant those petunias. Make sure your whole site comes alive.”

Stunning sites make the sale that much easier, Alfriend said.

Offer Innovative Incentives

The point of incentives is to bring traffic through your homes, Alfriend said. Incentives that don’t accomplish that task are worthless.

She suggested using creative incentives that potential home buyers can easily relate to and use, such as gasoline or grocery gift cards, a gift certificate to a local coffee shop or a raffle for season tickets to a local sports team.

To bring traffic to a community and increase awareness, she also suggested hosting a book signing or food drive, or even having one of your community’s home owners host a cooking show on a local television station. The point is to be creative

But Alfriend also warned listeners not to go overboard when developing creative incentives.

“Be sure that your incentives have a purpose,” she said. A builder does not want to look desperate.

As long as incentives are bringing in traffic, incentives have fulfilled their purpose.

Subscribe to Sales + Marketing Ideas Magazine for Cutting-Edge Information

For additional cutting-edge sales and marketing information, subscribe to NAHB’s Sales + Marketing Ideas Magazine (www.smimagazine.com). 

Click here to learn about membership benefits of the National Sales and Marketing Council and the Institute of Residential Marketing.

Reach New Heights at the Sales + Marketing Exchange

Attend the first annual Sales + Marketing Exchange conference Oct. 5-7 at The Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix.

Presented by the award-winning Sales + Marketing Ideas magazine, the Sales + Marketing Exchange offers education sessions featuring nationally-acclaimed speakers, networking opportunities, pre-conference courses leading to one of the Institute of Residential Marketing designations and interactive discussions of current sales and marketing issues.

For more information, visit www.nahb.org/Exchange.

'Sales and Marketing Checklists' Covers the Ins and Outs of New Home Sales

Sales and Marketing Checklists for Profit-Driven Home Builders,” available through BuilderBooks.com, covers the major steps involved in successful new home sales.

Learn the ins and outs of the comprehensive contract, the move-in, warranty service, asking for referrals and a great close. This expanded second edition also includes a new chapter on utilizing technology in your marketing and a more extensive chapter on multicultural sales.

To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.

NAHB Has Nearly 300 Resources to Help You Run Your Business More Profitably

Go to NAHB's Business Management Tools Web pages (available to members only) for instant access to nearly 300 timesaving, moneymaking and cost-cutting business resources to help you run your business more profitably. Get guidance on accounting and financial management, business strategy, computers and information technology, customer service, human resources and more.

Resources are added weekly, so bookmark www.nahb.org/biztools to go directly to these vital business management resources.

Local and state home builders associations can link directly to www.nahb.org/biztools from their Web site and give their members instant access to these resources. It will make your HBA's Web site the place to go for the information and guidance that members need to succeed.

Free NAHB Kit Gives Builders Back-to-Basics Tips to Navigate the Slowdown

What was once expected to be a relatively mild housing slump following three years of record new home construction and sales has given way to a significant downturn.

To help members navigate the uncharted waters of this slowdown, NAHB has compiled a comprehensive “Back to Basics” online toolkit — the best of the basics, the tried and true and the truly new. To access the toolkit, click here.

To access the “Back to Basics” toolkit, you must be an NAHB member and have a login to www.nahb.org. To create a login, go to www.nahb.org/login or click on the log-in button on the main menu bar.

For assistance, call the NAHB Member Service Center at 800-368-5242.

NBN Tools
Print This Article Subscribe to NBN
E-mail Editor Print ALL Articles Manage Your Subscription

Get 3D Models for your projects at the Sweets Network!
Find product catalogs from all leading manufacturers at the Sweets Network!
Help Us Celebrate the Launch of the National Green Builder Program
Register for IBS
Latest Economic Forecasts
Sales and Marketing Tools
Members-Only Discounts