Could your sales people be replaced with an iPad?
Sounds crazy, right?
I work with many new home sales managers for different builders, good, quality builders, I might add. And I'm hearing a lot of the same thing: traffic and sales in many areas of the new home industry are robust right now, sales people are taking short cuts. They're not spending adequate time in discovery. They're doing a Tell/Sell demonstration. Many are putting prospects on waiting lists, and not calling them until they have lots available.
In many cases, it's as if they've become order takers. And could be replaced with an iPad.
With such strong sales, why do we need to be concerned with our sales people developing these bad habits?
Here's 3 reasons:
- This market will not last forever.
- Buying a home is still an emotional decision.
- The customer experience is at stake.
Our customers don't buy a new home every day. It's still a really big deal to them, even if they have to "take a number" or wait until we release more lots. They still want to know they're making a good decision. They crave a connection with our sales people; they want to feel that we value their business.
While they can be placed on a wait list and come running when their name is up, I believe we can do better. Our homeowners deserve better.
We don't have control over the market, but we do have control over how we manage the process.
So what can we do differently?
Our sales team is in unchartered territory, as leaders we have to guide them. Here's what I recommend:
1. Focus on Connecting.
Slow down. Take time to build rapport, even if it is over FaceTime and Zoom. Find something in common. Show you care. Connect. People buy from people they know, like and trust. Be that trusted advisor.
2. Focus on Discovery.
We all know what this is, but doing it is another story. It's not happening in the field. We need to remind our sales people: Don't just tell people what you have and let them pick the best plan for them; help them through the process. You can't connect on a deeper level if you don't know their situation. What's prompting them to want to move? How will the move change their lives? What key elements are they hoping to find in their new home? Probe for why. How do they plan to use the new space? How will that new space change their lives? How will the community, the location the home impact them?
This is the emotional level that connects people to you and your new home. Then even if prices increase or the timing is delayed, they've connected with your and realize that your home in your community with your builder is the right decision for them.
3. Narrow them down to a community and a specific floorpan with the features they want.
Once you've learned their needs and wants, help them find the right community and plan for them. Get them emotionally tied into a specific home with specific features and help them envision the impact on their life. Help them make some color selections. Encourage them to narrow down their selections as much as possible, even if you can't finalize a lot and a price. Have them talk to a lender and get prequalified for your home before you put them on your waiting list.
4. Follow up..especially while they're on the waiting list.
Many builders have waiting lists, and think about that as it relates to the customer experience, which starts the moment they first contact you. From their experience on your website to the first meeting with the sales person, and yes, even the time they'er waiting on the waiting list, all of this is part of the customer experience. If you put people on a list and make them wait, with little to no communication, what kind of experience is that?
Send them weekly communication. And mix it up. One week it's an email. Another week it's pictures of the home they want. Maybe you send a video of you in the screened porch that they're excited to have, reminding them of how nice it will be this time next year for them to be enjoying their new screened porch. Certainly share updates on timing and such, but overall, keep it fun. Keep it personal. Maintain their emotional connection to you and the home. Keep it enjoyable for them. And empathize with them. Rekindle their desire to live in YOUR home.
When you up your game in follow up, you not only keep them from taking themselves off your waitlist and going somewhere else, but more importantly, you keep them excited and connected to you, so their experience with you is better. They will remember you as the one who made a challenging situation a pleasant and delightful experience.
Can I get an AMEN?!
okay, off my soap box now!
As a coach for many area sales managers in the new home industry, I cover all kinds of topics. From basic to advanced leadership skills, as well as topics that arise as a result of what we see and hear in the field. Please let me know if there's other topics you'd like me to cover.
For info about a "6-pack" of 1:1 coaching, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can share pricing and details about my programs.
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Kathy Tucker Coaching & Consulting is a boutique sales and leadership training company specializing in helping builders and real estate companies develop top producing sales teams and brilliant sales leaders who foster a healthy, high-performance sales culture.
Virtual Sales Training Workshops, 1:1 Coaching for Sales Professionals and Sales Leaders, and her Signature Leadership Development Program: 9 Steps to Leading a Rock Star Sales Team.