Having a ‘Quality’ Conversation…Part 3

Posted: July 11, 2011 in Making Customers
Tags: , ,

Q. A good professional understands that selling is a process of mutual consent with a common destination. Hence, the closing becomes a question of when to buy, not whether to buy or not. How do you advise/coach sales agents to implement this process?

A. Closing is the natural result of a positive customer engagement that is respectful and honest; one that provides meaning out of all the information that is out there and helps the buyer make the best home buying decision for them and their family.

The emphasis on closing is one of the reasons salespeople, as a group, maintain such consistently low ratings among consumers. Salespeople are too often concerned with tips, techniques, tactics, tricks and strategies while consumer surveys consistently tell us that what the homebuyer wants is help. And yet we have become so disconnected from where our buyers are that salespeople are often told the worst thing they can do in a sales office is ask the customer if they can help. Houston, we have a problem.

As new home salespeople, our goal is not to sell the next person who walks in the door. We know nothing about that person. Their needs, wants and desires. New home developer capture rates have been fairly consistent through the years, in almost any market. Any goal that is unrealistic at the outset, like capturing everyone, serves only to add to the tension and frustration, and today you can add desperation, that buyers sense and feel when they walk in to a sales office.

We have well designed, well decorated and professionally landscaped model homes. Market research has provided comparable sales that have helped guide our pricing. Advertising and marketing are driving qualified traffic. There is no need for panic or desperation. Our homes will sell. The question is – to whom? Our goal is to find the next person who wants what we have. Once we understand that people buy for their own reasons, not ours, it is our responsibility to uncover those reasons.

We need to gain the respect and trust of the buyer before anything productive can happen. First of all, before anyone walks through the door we need to decide that what we are offering is a professional service that connects the right buyer with our home. In your personal life as a consumer, when was the last time you made a major purchase because a salesperson talked you into it? You probably already had a very good idea of what you wanted, maybe even down to the color and model number. You had information before you ever left home, God bless the internet, but you still had questions. You needed the sales professional to help connect the dots, to make sense of some of the often conflicting facts you gathered and to bring up other hidden issues and help you see consequences and options of things you weren’t aware of.

Offer help by making meaning of the facts. Isn’t that what you wanted? And didn’t you determine fairly early on in the conversation whether or not the salesperson you were talking to was offering help or merely trying to sell you something? In this age information is free, but meaning is priceless. There is far too  much ‘me-me-me-me’ in the homebuilding sales process today. My homes, my builder, my steps, my questions, my features and benefits, my presentation, my objection resolution, my closing process, my lender approval process, and on and on. And oh, by the way, will you sign my registration card so I can send you more stuff about me, my homes and my builder? Too often the buyer becomes just part of my process.

Who are the people we are selling to? What are the needs, wants and homebuying desires of the last five prospects our salespeople have talked to? If my goal is to find the next person who wants what I have, then by definition the emphasis is on the buyer. The buyer already has information. They’ve been on the website and have checked out the neighborhood. But they still have questions, unresolved issues and want someone to answer the questions they don’t even know they are supposed to ask.

This is the type of engagement homebuyers tell us they want from their new home salesperson. A professional who will help understand them, help them make sense of all the information and help guide them to the best home for them and their family. This positive engagement can only be done with the buyer and the salesperson working together, not to the buyer, or even for them. And the beginning of this positive engagement is a salesperson who truly wants to help the homebuyer.

By Kirk Chittick

  1. […] Part 3 https://makingcustomers.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/having-a-quality-conversation-part-3/ […]

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