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To be successful, especially in today’s market, new-home salespeople need to create a memorable, positive experience for their customers.
To do that, they have to be prepared. Let’s look at what this entails:
Appearance — Keep Everything in Tip-Top Shape
To be successful, you need to check the appearance of your community, models, available homes and home sites — every day — to make sure they are in tip-top shape.
Then, add to that list the need to maintain your own appearance, be professional at all times and avoid any conflicts with your message. If in doubt about what this takes, check some of the many excellent books on creating and maintaining a professional appearance.
Signage — Let Prospects Know Where You Are and That You Are Open
Can people find you and, just as importantly, is it obvious that you are open when you say you are?
Are your website, phone number and hours of operation clearly visible to prospects driving by you model?
Also does your signage create a compelling reason to buy now — does it promote a “Grand Opening,” “Grand Close-Out” or “Holiday Savings” to create some subtle urgency?
I managed the closing of a community in South Florida that featured a sign displaying a countdown that reported the current number of opportunities remaining in the community. The countdown not only sparked conversation, it accelerated the close-out pace.
Collateral Material — Keep Control of What You Hand Out
We don’t believe in handing out a full brochure at the beginning of the sales process because we don’t want to overwhelm our prospects with too many choices before we get to know them better.
Rather, we spend time with them and help then narrow down their needs, wants and choices. Then, we give them information that is more pertinent to their choice of home.
This approach enables you to keep control of the sales process and be the gatekeeper of the important information.
Also, don’t leave stacks of fliers in the sales office that prospects can just pick up. That just gives them an opportunity to grab information without having to talk to you.
Marketing Props — Support Your Marketing Message
We believe that the best way to increase sales is to follow a proven, formal sales process and to feature appropriate props to support your message. These include:
- Area Map or Aerial Photo — Clearly label and illustrate the benefits of your community on an area map, aerial photo or both. The map or photo also will help you learn more about your customer’s hot buttons — such as their desire to have schools, work, recreation or shopping nearby.
- Community Map — Point out the features and benefits of your community.
- Builder’s Story — Use photos and bullets points to explain how much better and how different you are from your competition.
Silent Sales Tools — Let Strong Visuals Set the Stage for You
Place red dots or little houses on your community map to illustrate the number of homes you have sold. Also, bolster this display of success with written statements, such as “Grand Opening,” “Grand Close-out,” “87% Sold Out” or “X Number of Exciting Opportunities Left” — and place these statements near your community map.
Don’t just put your success on display in the sales office, either. Plant “Sold” signs in front of the homes sold throughout your community.
I almost always conducted a little ceremony with my home buyers after the sale was finalized. We either placed a “Sold” sign in the ground together or put a “Sold” sticker across their home’s “For Sale” sign when the winter ground was too hard. Finally, I photographed them standing beside it and then either sent them a framed copy of the photo or e-mailed it to them.
Many of my sales students who have used the “Celebrating the Sale” photos in their communities have told me that the ceremony created great memory points for their home buyers. In many cases, the photos have also helped prevent some potential buyer’s remorse.
Sales Process and Product Knowledge — Be Fully Prepared
Don’t ad lib your sales presentation. Instead, be fully prepared by writing your presentation down and then practicing it for at least an hour a day.
Also, prepare a handy binder you can reference quickly that lists every feature of your homes, along with their corresponding benefits and any customer choices available. The benefits you discuss with prospects will keep them coming back for more visits — and help sway the sale.
Likewise, create similar information about particular home sites or units — focusing on features and benefits for each home — and use this information to attract a prospect to a particular home that meets their needs and desires. Once you are able to make this connection with prospects, the fear of losing the home will be strong — and dramatically increase your sales conversion ratio.
Financing — Focus on Monthly Payments
While the overall price of the home is important, what most prospects care about more is their monthly payment or investment.
Make sure that you have a basic knowledge of financing or a simple system to figure out what their monthly payment will be. This approach enables you to show your customers how affordable their particular home on their particular site — with all the features they want — will be each month. Present your customers’ investment this way and watch your sales increase.
Know Your Competition — In Person and Online
Visit your competitors in person and online at least once a month and create a binder with the updated information so you can positively compare your builder against the competition and prevent your buyers from using the competition as an excuse for delaying action or compromising your prices.
With up-to-date competitor information at your fingertips, you can make the sale now.
Objections — Be Prepared Ahead of Time
Prepare yourself ahead of time with all of the objections you may hear. Focus on your prospects’ 10 top objections and use our Bob Schultz and the New Home Sales Specialists six-step formula for managing objections — Listen; Reflect and minimize; Question the objection; Answer; Confirm; and Move on.
Again, keep this information in a binder in your sales office. That way, you’ll be prepared to answer any objection or reason for delay. Plus, you’ll now be proactive as opposed to reactive — and make more sales.
Follow Through — On a Daily Basis
Dedicate at least an hour a day to follow up with your customers. Rank your customers as Bob Schultz says, “By what you know about them, not just what you feel.”
Use a customer relationship management (CRM) system to create a daily follow-through regimen — and use it every day.
Prospect — At Least an Hour a Day
If you follow the rule of thumb for successful salespeople, at least two-thirds of your qualified traffic should be self-generated.
To achieve this goal, first identify your prospective targets, then create a daily prospecting regimen — and follow it.
Experience — Make It Memorable for Your Prospects
Companies like Starbucks realize that people will pay more — way more — for their product if they create an inviting environment in which to enjoy it. For Starbucks, this includes comfy sofas, cool music, trendy lighting and plenty of beverage choices.
When prospects enter your model, have you created a similarly inviting atmosphere for them complete with lights, cheerful, breezy background music — without radio ads ruining the moment — a pleasant aroma and, yes, refreshments.
We humans love free food. When I get my car serviced, for example, I almost always help myself to the free coffee and pastry that the shop offers. If you adopt this kind of service mentality and spoil your customers, they’ll continue to keep you on their inclusion list.
Apply this same mentality to your local Realtors®, too. Make sure that they understand that you are Realtor®-friendly, and that you’ll have bottled water, cookies and working space for them and their clients to make their future appointments — as well as great service from you, their new-home sales professional.
There is much involved in creating a “Welcome Home” atmosphere for your prospects. Now is the perfect time to dedicate yourself to start turning your actions into skills — and habits — that will translate into a memorable experience for your prospects, and stronger sales for you.
Roland Nairnsey, CSP, is the senior vice president of training and development for Bob Schultz & The New Home Sales Specialists. Nairnsey and the Bob Schultz team of facilitators and coaches conduct more than 400 custom sales and management training seminars and workshops annually for thousands of salespeople, builders, developers, Realtors® and housing manufacturers through in-company programs, live video conferencing and online training. For more information, e-mail Nairnsey.
A version of this article originally appeared on the NAHB Sales and Marketing Channel.
“Think Sold! Creating Home Sales in Any Market,” available at NAHB BuilderBooks, is a practical, how-to guide for developing the self-awareness, knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the competitive field of new home sales.
The book covers everything from the home buying process and new home financing to strategies for making better sales presentations and sizing up the competition. It teaches readers how to overcome customers’ concerns and provides specific examples of how to explain the benefits of new home features in customer-friendly language.
“Think Sold” provides insights on how to approach sales and life from a position of optimism that will create successful outcomes; how to improve upon potential customer prospecting and follow-up skills; and how to communicate effectively with various types of buyers and learn how to adjust communication strategies to increase rapport and alignment with buyers’ motives.
To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.
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