Experts Say Sales Teams Must Learn to Overcome Objections
The third in an occassional 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.
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'Sales and Marketing Checklists' Covers the Ins and Outs of New Home Sales
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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.
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