The greatest thrill I get as a trainer, manager and coach is to see one of the salespeople I work with see some success by applying the sales techniques I teach. There is nothing better as an educator to take someone who is more or less raw, shape them through education and watch them come into their own.
Before I share these stories with you I should give you a little background on these folks. They did not come to me with a lot of experience (in fact, I have never been able to train anyone with a lot of experience because they suffer from that terrible disease know-it-all-itus!). They don’t have their masters or PhD’s. These people are pretty much just like me and you.
Some of the qualities they do have in common are the following: They are unassuming and have great attitudes. Despite all the hard work, they know how to have fun. They are persistent and love to get constructive direction and give their own feedback. They are team players. All of them have worked in other industries and bring some of that knowledge with them. Most importantly, they are disciplined and do what they need to do to get a sale.
Sell that model!
We will call our first salesperson Roy (I’ve changed the real names to protect the innocent!). Roy was working with one of our builder clients in a temporary model home this year. The reason we call it temporary was due to the fact that we put it up outside of a new area we were going into. The new area was under construction and we used the model to sell into it. Well as we all know, we have a bit of an inventory challenge today. This particular model was no different in that it had plenty of other competition, both new and used.
Our policy is to always attend showings by outside Realtors and Roy had one on this particular day. He attended the showing and found out this particular couple was a transfer buyer and along with their Realtor had seen 70 homes this past week. When they first walked into Roy’s model that home was nothing more than showing #71.
At the first visit, Roy disarmed the Realtor but sincerely complementing him in front of the buyers. He then dug into just what the buyers were looking for. When he found out the hot buttons from the buyers, he went to work. In the next 10 minutes he demonstrated how his location, neighborhood and home could satisfy their hot buttons.
Before the showing ended, Roy asked a minor close question, “How do you think our location and home would work for you?” The buyers gave him two objections to which he carefully wrote down. Before they left, he created some urgency by explaining the amount of market research he had done in the area and how this home was a great value. He also let the buyers and agent know of other upcoming showings (he may have embellished a bit).
After the showing Roy followed up with the agent and found out the buyers wanted to come back and take another look at the home when they were back in town. Roy set up the showing date and time right then and there. At our next strategy meeting we discussed the two objections and how we could minimize them.
Objection #1: The buyers were concerned about a nearby power plant and if the emissions could have a negative impact on their children.
Solution: Roy called the power plant directly and spoke to a representative. The representative sent him some information documented by outside sources on the emissions. It turns out there were no issues. He also contact the National Weather Service to find out what the prevailing winds were in the area to see if the emissions would come towards their home.
Objection #2: The buyers were confused by how the lower level would finish out and if they could finish the rooms they wanted.
Solution: Roy met with the builder’s designer and reviewed their wish list. She drew out a potential layout to show to the buyers.
At the next showing Roy was excited with the information he had discovered. He brought copies of his research for the buyer and Realtor and showed how the emissions were safe. He also showed the data from the weather service that showed the prevailing winds would also blow the emissions away, not towards the home.
Next he tackled the lower level. Prior to the buyers arriving, Roy had scaled the plan and put tape down on the floor of the lower level and demonstrated the lower level with the customers as if it was already finished. He made sure to involve the Realtor in the demonstration to get him excited about the possibilities.
Before the buyers left, they told Roy his home was in their top 3 and they would be making a decision before they left town again. Sure enough, Sunday night we received a purchase agreement that was nearly full price!
Asking for the sale
With all of our builder clients, we mystery shop our salespeople to check if they are using the techniques they have been taught. We will call our next salesperson John. On John’s mystery shop, he did a pretty good job up until the asking for the sales where he fell flat on his face.
We worked with John on his closing techniques by role playing on how he could work some of these techniques into his presentation. John immediately took the information and training and incorporated it into his scripts. He now has several minor close techniques that he uses with customers to take their temperature during the presentation so he can flush objections and continue with major closes.
Almost immediately after working with John on these issues, we saw some results. It started with homesite reservations, then it moved to plan deposits and now we are seeing the purchase agreements. He sold both his model home and inventory home and several pre-sold homes. The builder was so impressed by John he is building two other homes and John continues to work with customers on pre-sold homes.
In the last 6 months, since we had John mystery shopped, he has made at least one sale a month and today, in December, has more prospects that he has had all year. It hasn’t been always been a smooth road. John has had several cancellations of reservations, plan deposits and one sale in the same time period. I have to constantly remind him that the more sales and opportunities you have, the higher the cancellation rate. A good salesperson will have a 20-25% cancellation rate because they are making the sales that others can’t or won’t.
Every salesperson and builder I work with, we focus on one thing, the sales process. We know that we can’t rely on the market to sell our homes so we rely on ourselves. Roy and John or any of the other salespeople I work with are by no means mistake free. We still work every week to improve our sales process and strategize on how to get that next sale. We can say this much; we are beginning to take market share away from other salespeople and builders. Yes times are tough but they are much harder for those waiting for something to happen.
Things don’t change, we change. Things don’t get better, we get better.