I’ll never forget the feeling I had on that fateful day in July of 2001. I was fairly new to the world or power boating (I say “I”, even though my wife Nancy was the co-owner of our boat, because this was my baby) and was enjoying another great weekend of fun cruising down the Mississippi River.
We were just returning from a weekend trip to Lake City, MN and heading back to the Marina when I saw the tachometer on the port motor all of a sudden rev way up and then die. I pulled back on the throttles and tried to re-start the motor and there was nothing. My worst fear had come true; we had blown a motor and not only would there be an obnoxious repair bill but we were in the middle of boating season and now out of business. My heart sank.
After delivering the boat to the repair shop we got a call from the service manager later that week confirming the news. We needed a new motor and it would take weeks to get one at a cost of about $5,000. Our boating season for the summer was done and so was our bank account (notice now I say “our” when it was time to pony up and fix it). I was officially in a walking depression.
A couple of days later our salesperson from the marina called to offer his condolences and said he had an idea for us. I called him back to inquire on the idea and he suggested that there might be a way to put us in a different boat and the marina would assume the responsibility of fixing our old boat. Needless to say, I was intrigued!
The boat we owned was a 1994 Formula Fastech 303. It was 30 feet long, had a sleeping area, port-a-potty, refrigerator, sink and camper top. We could pull into a marina and hook up to shore power and all the systems would run off of that, saving our batteries. Oh, and did I mention it would do about 67 mph?
Lesson #1: Build value and get the prospect emotionally attached
I showed up at the marina to meet Eric and he took me over to another warehouse where there sat the most beautiful red, white and blue 2000 Formula 353 Fastech. I tried to hide my drool from Eric but I think he caught me wiping my mouth out of the corner of his eye.
Brand spanking new this thing had everything including an enclosed stool with Vac-u-flush (for my wife) and twin 502 motors with about 1,000 horsepower (for her husband). I tried to act cool and looked over the boat and calmly asked, “How much?” He said, “Let’s go back to my office and take a look at some numbers.”
Lesson #2: Logically justify the sale with financing
Back at the office Eric pulled out a spreadsheet showing the trade in for our current boat, the cost of the new boat and some financing. Basically, they would pay off our old boat and assume the cost to fix the motor. Then, they had an interest buy down period for the new boat for the first two years that put our payment only a little higher than our current payment. Plus, the boat had warranties and they would throw in an extended warranty on the motors (do you think that was a hot button for me?).
Lesson #3: Get all decision makers on board
Driving home from the marina I was strategizing in my head how I could convince my wife to be another co-owner of my boat. When I presented the idea to her and went over the numbers I was shot down fast and furious (Eric’s only mistake was showing me the boat without my wife along. She wasn’t emotionally attached). I walked away from her sulking and slipped back into my walking depression.
After about two weeks of pleading and begging I finally got her to agree to come along and at least “look” at the boat. She was a lot stronger than me and thought the boat was ‘nice’ but that we didn’t ‘need’ a boat that big. Of course we didn’t need it. I wanted it!
Lesson #4: If at first they don’t buy, follow up, follow up and follow up again
The next few weeks seemed like years as I watched summer and my boating season slip away. Eric kept in touch with me with different finance scenarios and mailing some brochures over to our home. I could tell my wife was starting to soften and I finally pulled together our family budget and plugged in the new boat payment, showing her we could still live comfortably with our current salaries. Finally, the sweetest words in the world came to my ears one
night. “Alright, if you want your dumb boat, go ahead and get it. Just quit whining!” Nancy said after admitting defeat to my constant barrage.
Step #8 in the new home sales process, justify the sale with finance
The Critical Path to new home sales (in chronological order):
3. Discovery/Needs Analysis- Interest
4. Presentation- Interest
5. Demonstration- Desire
6. Select One- Desire
7. Objections- Action
8. Finance- Action
9. Closing- Action
10. Follow up- Action
11. Due Diligence- Action
12. Referrals- Action
I never would have gotten my new boat if Eric couldn’t lay out a spread sheet showing me it was only a few dollars a day more for my new boat. He used an interest rate buy down to help me get used to the payments and I had two years before my rate adjusted to the full amount. Can you do this with your homes?
The key ingredients to helping your prospects justify owning are:
1. How much house for how little per month. Unless your buyers are paying cash, always work off a monthly investment.
2. Tax advantages. Uncle Sam allows us to write off our mortgage interest and real estate taxes. Find out your buyer’s state and federal tax brackets and show them the savings on a monthly basis.
3. Potential appreciation. Even though many markets are flat, they won’t stay that way for long. Look up the average annual home appreciation in your market and break it down to the month.
Just like I wanted my new boat, your customers want your new home. A top notch salesperson knows the key to selling more homes is getting their prospect emotionally involved first and then help them logically justify the decision. Learn about finance and be ready to show your prospects, on paper, just how easy it is to get the home of their dreams!
P.S. The name of this article was the official name of our last boat “SheGaveIn.” A fitting name indeed!