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It’s that whole self-fulfilling prophecy thing. If we think our prospects aren’t going to buy from us, we approach them with less urgency. They, in turn, respond by purchasing from a competitor.
As new-home sales professionals, we need to break loose from the mindsets that hold us back with 50+ buyers by gaining a better understanding of who they are and what motivates their buying decisions.
To start you down that path, the following are four myths about active adult buyers that are easily dispelled:
Myth: Active adults don’t buy during their first visit.
Truth: Active adults buy when they believe their reward outweighs the risk.
By the time 50+ buyers visit an active adult community, most have already put a great deal of thought into everything they want to see change in their lives — including their homes. Maybe they no longer want to shovel snow or they’re seeking to enjoy an active adult lifestyle with people closer to their age. Whatever their reasons, there is something about their current situation that they want to change.
So when they walk into your sales office, even if it’s their first visit, they arrive motivated and are looking for help in making a decision. They want to change and improve something in their lives. And the truth is, they have less time than younger buyers to enjoy that new home and lifestyle they’re seeking.
Also, keep in mind that many active adults have been through the home buying process before and know what they want. Consequently, they arrive more knowledgeable and better equipped to make their decision quickly.
But don’t be confused by their preparedness into thinking they can make their home-buying decision by themselves. Just because they have a clearer idea of what they want to accomplish doesn’t mean they don’t need your help — which leads us to the next myth.
Myth: Active adults don’t need to be led.
Truth: Active adults need to be guided through the decision-making process just like any other home buyer.
While active adult buyers often have strong ideas about what they want in a floor plan, they probably haven’t bought in an active adult neighborhood before and don’t understand how much a new-home sales professional can help them with the community and their new lifestyle.
In addition, much has likely changed with the mortgage and building process since they last purchased a home. These buyers still need to work with a sales professional who is an expert.
As such, you need to help them identify their desires — not just their problems and solutions. As prospective buyers, they are in the midst of deciding whether they want to leave their current home or to age in place, and whether they want to live in a traditional neighborhood or in a community with people their age who have similar interests.
As a salesperson, your job is to help them understand the benefits of choosing to live in your state, your community and your home. As the expert, you can help provide all the evidence they need to make the right decision.
Myth: Active adult buyers have more to lose by buying in a downturn.
Truth: Active adults have more to lose by not buying.
I often hear that it’s harder for active adults to buy now because they have to sell their homes at a loss and don’t have years of employment ahead of them to cover it. While it’s true that active adults often face an immediate loss — not just on paper — when they sell their home in a tough market, if they don’t change their lives now, they will have less time to more fully enjoy their new lifestyles later.
So, sure, they may have less time to make the loss up, but they also have less time for fun, tennis, golf, travel or whatever lifestyle pursuits they envision. Not only are they potentially delaying a better life, they may be delaying moving into a home and community that will attract more visits from the grandchildren.
Myth: The only reason people move to active adult communities is to get away from the snow.
Truth: 50+ buyers move to active adult communities to improve their lives.
Snow and nasty weather may be among the top reasons active adults want to change their lifestyles during the winter, but even during milder months and warm summers there are reasons they are disatisfied with their current situation.
Winter may be the catalyst that starts the conversation, but that’s not really the driving factor.
Delve deeper — past their unwillingness or inability to shovel snow or their need or desire to stay inside — to find out what is motivating them to improve their lives.
There is a reason they want to leave the cold weather and move to an active adult community, and it’s not always obvious. Determine their true motivation and sell to that.
Don’t give in to the myths about 50+ buyers. Sell to active adults the way you would to anyone — lead them through the process, overcome objections by helping them see things a new way and guide them toward a solution that improves their lives.
Jason Forrest is a new-home sales trainer and consultant and the author of “Creating Urgency in a Non-Urgent Housing Market” and "40 Day Sales Dare.” For more information, email Forrest, or visit his website at www.jforrestgroup.com.
Urgency is the key component to a strong market, but in tough markets, sales counselors must create that urgency. In “Creating Urgency,” available from NAHB BuilderBooks, Jason Forrest explains how to tap into this important, high-powered, emotional resource.
Based on the principle that every home buyer has a desire is “to improve their life,” the publication illustrates how to fulfill this powerful impulse and create an atmosphere of excitement and immediacy — no matter the state of the market.
To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.