Posts Tagged ‘Finished Home Design’

Buying a new home isn’t as much about real estate or an investment anymore as it is about the new homebuyer’s desire to enhance their lifestyle. So, the Design Center isn’t just about options andFHD A World Class Customer Experience upgrades anymore! It’s about a Homebuilder’s transformation into a New Home Retailer who can meet the personalization desires and deliver the ‘New American Dream’ of living a luxury lifestyle. It’s about understanding today’s ‘new homebuyer’ and delivering the world class customer experience they deserve when making the most important purchase of their life! To do this a homebuilder must start with the customer experience first and work their way backwards. They must focus on the customer first and not the products or process, so they can make the product and process fit the experience instead of making the customer fit the process.

This article addresses subjects near and dear to my heart…Homebuilding, Design Centers, new home personalization and the customer experience. My passion for all of these began when I started working in retail and then moved to the floor covering and interior design industries and continued on to new home sales. I’ve been teaching, training and coaching new Homebuilders and Design Centers  for many years and that led to my co-founding Options Online in 1996 with one of my clients. Options Online became a nationally recognized, award winning, online design center and options operating system. In fact, it was the first of its kind and is still going strong today as Studio Chateau. I also develop Finished Home Design, a series of workshops, seminars and coaching sessions to help Homebuilder and Design Center professionals deliver a world class personalization experience to new homebuyers. I wanted to share the 5 first keys for a Homebuilder and Design Center to stop struggling with options and upgrades and become a successful ‘New Home Retailer’. These 5 keys include 2 Self-Awareness Issues and 3 Mindset Shifts that must be addressed to become a New Home Retailer who does deliver a world class home buying, personalization and customer experience. So here are the first 5 keys…

Self-Awareness Issue #1…You are not a production builder…You build personalized homes on a schedule!

Construction MeetingDo you build production homes? No, you build personalized homes on a schedule, and until a homebuilder gets everyone in their business on this page they will continue to struggle. Homebuilders everywhere just wish options and upgrades would go away. Owners, executives, purchasing, construction, customer service and accounting people in the homebuilding industry struggle with this attitude and will continue to until they realize personalization is a core function of their business. After they acknowledge this is true, they can embrace the changes it causes to their jobs as a vital part of the business, instead of a hassle they wish would go away.

Self-Awareness Issue #2…Most people in the homebuilding industry are ‘used’ homebuyers and do not think like a ‘new’ homebuyer.

How many people in a position of leadership in the homebuilding industry would only shop for and buy a ‘new’ home i stead of a used home? Even if they buy a ‘new’ home they usually get to break all their companies rules for homebuyers to personalize it the way they want it…So, they aren’t really a ’new’ homebuyer, they are a new custom home buyer. I ask because the New Homebuilding Industry, is an industry led by and sold by predominantly ‘used’ homebuyers! Acknowledging this is a beginning that will allow you to start making the changes you’ll need to make to align with your intentions and mindset with the ‘new’ homebuyers who are your customers.

Mindset Shift #1…The vast majority of ‘new’ homebuyers want to buy the latest greatest and want a finished home, not a fixer up or a remodeling project! They’re buying ‘new’ instead of ‘used’ for this reason.

They’re dreaming of the lifestyle their ‘new’ home will allow them to live! Once a homebuilder experiences the first two self-FHD Collageawareness issues they can better understand the mind of a ‘new’ vs ‘used’ homebuyer. When this happens, and works it way through everyone at a homebuilder, then the homebuyer engagement and customer services will start to improve.

There has been lots written and discussed about how Boomers, GenX and Millennial homebuyers are different, but I’ll tell you they’re more similarities than differences when they make the decision to be a ‘new’ homebuyer and not a ‘used’ homebuyer. As new homebuyers they’re more alike than different…It’s more about lifestyle, personalization and their finished home, than it is about their generational differences.

Mindset Shift #2…Personalization is the most attractive thing about a ‘new’ home to the vast majority of ‘new’ homebuyers…So, it’s the most valuable thing you have to sell. Oh, and your standards aren’t fabulous or what a ‘new’ homebuyer wants in their home, and the vast majority don’t want to fix up their home after they move-in.

Personalization and the Design Center experience is the greatest value added service to help a homebuilder sell more homes. Getting new home sales agents to embrace this and not be afraid of the money people will need to invest to personalize their home is vital to their success in selling more new homes today! New home salespeople who embrace and engage ‘new’ homebuyers with a respect and appreciation for the different between ‘used’ homebuyers and ‘new’ homebuyers will be the big winners going forward. Over 80% of ‘new’ homebuyers don’t want to buy a new home ‘fixer upper’ and are willing to invest to make their new home their own personal living space. Engaging ‘new homebuyers’ with this knowledge improves the communication, allows for accurate expectation and makes the experience of buying a new home more enjoyable.

Mindset Shift #3…The Design Center isn’t about options and upgrades, it’s not about products, it’s about a personalized finished home.

First, the Design Center experience is about helping homebuyers design a finished plan for their new home that reflects their personal taste and enhances their lifestyle. Second, the homebuyer will need your help staying focused on why they bought a ‘new’ home instead of a ‘used’ home. Yes, they buy for one reason and then sabotage their own happiness if they aren’t properly assisted and guided by a trained professional with the expertise to truly serve them. However, when this is done correctly, Design Center sales increase, homebuyer satisfaction soars and profits grow!!! The proper customer engagement at the Design Center makes sure the homebuyer’s expectations match the reality of the home they are moving into, and assures they haven’t turned their new home into a new home ‘fixer upper’, unless they’re one of the few who truly wants a ‘new home fixer upper’!

This can only happen when a builder takes the next steps to educate and training all their staff. Everyone must come to acknowledge the first two self-awareness issues and begin accepting the 3 mindsets so they can align their thinking and service to match that of the ‘new’ homebuyer. Then, they can all start working together to deliver the world class customer experience a ‘new’ homebuyer deserves as part of the most expense purchase of their life and a Homebuilder can become a New Home Retailer!

If you want take the next steps in becoming a successful ‘New Home Retailer’ who delivers a world class customer experience, contact me for more information!

By Mike Moore

Selling isn’t something you do to people, it’s not something you do for them either. Most salespeople are busy talking at people, making presentations or asking questions to try and figure out how to sell them their product or service. I’ve been asked often, “What’s wrong with that? Isn’t that the purpose of selling?” My answer is an empathic, “No!”

Selling is something you need to do with people. Sales are a result, not the purpose of selling. Selling is a noble profession, a vocation really, when it is done with people, to help, serve and do what’s best for them. Selling is only perverted when the sale becomes the purpose or focal point and money becomes the aim.

If you truly want to increase your sales, grow you business and make more money, you’ll begin to be a ‘servant on a mission’ to help people. Then, and only then, will you begin to connect and communicate with people. Because then, people will connect and communicate with you. The intention to make a sale and the pressure applied by businesses, sales managers and sales trainers to make sales the focal point, or intention of a sales engagement, has damaged the profession of selling by creating mistrust of, and contempt for, salespeople. The intention to make a sale, makes people retract from salespeople. In the end it sabotages the very result everyone wants…More sales, more customers and more money.

When you become a ‘servant on a mission’ you also become an advocate for consumers and buyers. You become the trusted advisor who’ll be invited to lead and guide people on their buying journey. You’ll begin to make customers, not sales! Your business will grow and your results will amaze you when you let the sale be an outcome, a result of a higher purpose to help, serve and do what’s best for the buyer.  When you engage people in a sales conversation with their interests as the focal point, not yours, they can feel it and you become different. Make no mistake, until you do this, you will look, sound and act like every other salesperson and your results will not change and your passion for the profession of sales will not grow or be fulfilled.

Become the ‘servant on a mission’ and separate yourself from the pack so you’ll be invited to lead and guide the buyer on their buying journey. Great salespeople have always been servants who let the sales be a result of their service not the focus of their efforts.

By Mike Moore ‘First Posted, April 2012’

You need to be different to be successful. You have to stand out from the crowd to be seen and heard. You will only get noticed when you think different enough to act different and it often starts with what you measure as success. Changing what you measure will change your results. So, it’s time to stop measuring sales success in numbers and start measuring it in people…How many ‘customers’ do you make?

Customers grow your business and insure your sustained success. Understand this, just because someone buys from you once, doesn’t make them a customer.

At it’s best, selling isn’t about the buying experience, it’s about the ownership experience. Stop trying to ‘Wow’ buyers with a great buying experience and focus on ‘Wowing’ them with a great ownership experience…Make sure they enjoy owning your product or service. Then you’ll make customers, sales will increase and your business will grow exponentially.

Making a customer takes caring enough to only do what’s best for the buyer, and never compromising this to make a sale. Then and only then will you reach your full potential as a salesperson and a business.

By Mike Moore

When you are a buyer how do you want to be treated? What matters to you? What do you believe salespeople care about when they meet you or greet you? Can you tell when they are trying to sell you something? Does what they say, the way they say it or the words they use matter much if you know they are trying to sell you something?

For years, salespeople have been taught what to say and how to say it as sales skills and sales techniques to increase sales. In sales seminars salespeople most often want to know what to say to handle objections and how to ask for an order that will increase their sales. Salespeople want to learn the steps and how to deliver or control the conversation so they can make a sale, then they want to repeat it over and over and hope it works on everyone.

Look at the results teaching and selling this way have created. Buyers don’t trust salespeople and salespeople don’t believe buyers. Teaching sales this way also increased salespeople’s intentions to make a sale stronger and their ability to engage and therefore serve people weaker.  All this has been while knowing sales needs to be a dialogue and salespeople need to build relationships to help people buy. Just think about the way this has been done…now keep reading.

Now, think about how people really communicate.  Most studies have found that as much as 93% of communication is non-verbal. Communication happens through all our senses and not just our hearing. In fact, most people’s weakest communication skill is listening. We can listen and take in input so much faster than people talk that most people are thinking and their thoughts are wondering while they should be listening.  So the words we use are one of our weakest communication tools. Or is it?

People are poor listeners and aren’t interested because they don’t believe the person talking cares about what they care about or don’t like and trust the person talking. So it is our misaligned intentions, our desire to convince them with what we say that weakens listening skills and makes people more interested in talking than listening.

Non-verbal communication is more than body language. It is energy, conviction, confidence and many other emotions that deliver the real message behind the words. It is generated from your intentions, what you want to have happen or receive from the engagement or conversation. Making a real connection and creating a conversation where a relationship forms always starts from a connection made from non-verbal communication coming from our intentions.

When two people engage each other they make many decisions about each other before a word is spoken. In fact, the studies have also found people decide if they like and trust someone within the first 8 to 40 seconds of meeting. This decision is made mostly through visual and sensory input that speaks to the brain stem and sends a gut feeling or intuitive sense and creates pre-conscious thoughts that allow or stifle open communication. When a positive connection is made between two people an open conversation can happen based on the preconscious decision to like and trust. This communication can lead to a positive fruitful relationship. If the preconscious thoughts are to not like or trust then a negative connection is made and a conversation may take place but it will not be open, honest or end in a fruitful relationship.

These realities about how people communicate are the reason salespeople need to be less interested in the words they use or how to talk to someone in a sales conversation and more concerned about the pre-conscious communication coming from their intentions.

If you are a salesperson, what are your intentions when you meet or greet someone in a business situation? What non-verbal communication are you sending? Should someone like you and trust you? Even if you are intent on uncovering their true needs and satisfying them, what is your real intention for doing that? If your intention is to sell someone, do you really expect them to like and trust you? If they don’t make that connection, are they likely to open up, share freely and allow you to find out what they really need or want? People only share their ‘why’ they want to buy with someone they believe intends to help them.

Most of the sales skills taught and learned by salespeople over the years are valid and can help them serve people but they won’t be effective if the person they are selling doesn’t decide they like them and trust them enough to open up and communicate freely. If selling is a dialogue and not a monologue then salespeople’s intentions have to change so a positive pre-conscious  connection occurs and allows a dialogue or exchange of information to happen.

The intention change needed to be liked and trusted enough to connect and communicate are the foundation of Making Customers™.

The steps of a sale become destinations on the buyers journey and happen naturally when a salesperson’s intentions align with the buyers. Salespeople become servants on a mission to help people and customers are made, sales increase, business grows and selling becomes the noble profession of helping and serving people it was intended to be.

To learn more about the intentions that make this happen and how to implement them, email me at mmoore@makingcustomers.com or call me at 858-354-2802.

By Mike Moore

“Do not keep anything in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” William Morris.

Almost 400 years ago a faction of disgruntled pilgrims disembarked the Mayflower at the end of their cruise and commenced to building shelter somewhere in the Plymouth Rock neighborhood of Massachusetts.  One and two room shacks made from rough-hewn logs, moss and mud were the order of the day and those that that kept the weather out were the neighborhood envy.  Home Builders were busy guys, developers were well… everybody, Architects were all unlicensed and bureaucracy was but a glimmer in the eye of a budding country.  Glass windows and metal hinges were fashionable luxury items and paint of any color was just showing off.  Floor covering occurred when a blanket or the drunk guy fell to on the floor and the R value was measured by the amount of r’s in the BRRRRR his teeth chattered per minute during January. Obviously, the pilgrims did not invent housing.  The Romans, Greeks and most everyone in Europe were building some pretty nice shacks before the new world was discovered. But, the Plymouth neighborhood was the first in America.

The American home has evolved greatly over the years. Comfort along with convenience have driven much of the technology especially in the past 100 years.  Ideas like running water, sewage, waterproofing, heat, air conditioning, electricity, central vacuum, cable TV and WiFi were brought to the market and, well…we took advantage and became more comfortable and connected. Now these things have become the norm in most homes. The technology of Homebuilding today and what people want in their home keeps changing. Developers deal with real estate, Architects and Designers get licensed and fight about who owns the ‘D’ word, (Design), Inspectors are required for everything and Builders scrape through the bureaucracy created by the monster we call Government. Fees and costs mount up and are paid by the proud homeowner at closing (plus the Realtors fees). Every home has its comfort items and every new or remodeled home goes through building and red tape issues that dictate much of what goes into the home.  So, the nicest house in your neighborhood was not likely built much differently than others, and it has the same electricity, cable and running water as all the others. After all the construction is finished, what’s really the difference? What’s the WOW factor? I would submit that the nicest home in any neighborhood has the combination of solid design principles combined with the owner’s personal taste and what we notice is how the finished items that have been selected are put together to complete the home.

Design and building ideas borrowed from the old world continue to influence the architecture of today’s home and have become essentials of enduring design. The form of today’s home followed function, followed form, followed geniuses like Louis Sullivan, Walter Gropius, Henry and Charles Greene, Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Buckmister Fuller, Daniel Burnham and many other innovators, thinkers and Designers.  Don’t be offended; the list is huge! These Architects and Designers taught us that it’s the folding and blending of site, form, function, cost, line, color, texture, lighting, passion and so much else that defines residential design. Great home design is not for the untrained or uninspired.  It requires imagination, listening, patience and an absolute passion for where and how people live.  It requires the ability to blend the natural laws of design with personal style and lifestyle.

The Design of a home, a great home, is wrapped in many layers of complexity and consideration and then kept very simple. But, what’s most important to the homeowner of today is how our home makes us feel and how it fits our lifestyle. Where we live is very wrapped up in how we live, who we love and what we love to do. All of which is expressed in the form and function of our dwelling. There is no denying…The Home makes our greatest fashion statement!  It possesses style nearly as important to one’s self esteem as the fashion one wears.  It is a place of pride, a statement of one’s taste and a testament to our personal style. Home design, especially it’s interior design, is an incredibly important, personal issue in a homeowner’s buying decisions and personal life.

A person’s home is the most important place on the planet.  Period.  Home is a place more important than any store, office, museum or place of worship. The home is where people live, relax, dream, work, play, laugh, cry, create their memories…and keep their stuff.  It’s where they raise their babies, where first steps are taken, where homework gets done and where they catch up on the day over a family meal.  The home is where one keeps their favorite books, furniture, hobbies and prized possessions.  For any homeowner, home is where the most important people in the world live and where we invite friends to share our lives.  No other building means more to ones peace of mind, self-image or soul than their home. Home is where the heart is.

No matter where people live or what their style, most people want to live in a house that is ‘finished’. ‘Finished’ describes a project that is designed to create a completed, well thought out look that reflects the owners lifestyle and personal taste.  In my years as a Home Designer, my theory in dealing with couples building or remodeling a home was, and still is, ‘Design for Mom’!  Don’t get excited, I mean the generic ‘Mom’, the person most affected by design. ‘Mom’, who is the fashion driver in the home, the person who pretty much steers the ship when it comes to design decisions. Most women take the look of their home very personally. No one is saying that men aren’t affected by good design, but when was the last time ‘Dad’ won an argument concerning the style, shape or color of a sofa. Homeowners (especially ‘Moms’) want rooms that are designed, finished and completed to enhance the way they live. They are clamoring for design direction and, even in harsh economic times, are willing to pay a little more for a product when they can get the added value from a retailer or manufacturer who can help them ’finish their home’.

The design of a home, especially the interior design of a home has become very big business.  ‘Big boxes’ as well as ‘specialty stores’ have emerged, designs and designers have never been in more demand, and there are more home décor magazines and websites than ever. Add to that, there is more than one TV network dedicated to the home, not to mention the gardens. The fashion of home has never been more important. Yes, the home is a fashion statement and has great affect on purchases. While purchasing is still somewhat about function and performance, function and performance don’t matter a bit if the product doesn’t look good and somehow fit in the desired design…’the finished home’!

Disgruntled pilgrims did not buy a cruise ticket solely because the boat was sturdy and the weather looked good. They bought the idea of a better life and the possibility of what could be.  They had no ability to get to the new world themselves, so the Captain and crew gave them the added value of direction and safety.  In the same way, (ok it’s a little corny), homeowners do not buy furniture, paint, flooring, siding or trim. They buy the idea, the possibility and the dream of their finished space, room or home.  If retailers and manufacturers want to add value to their products, create repeat business and generate referral business, they might want to add some value in the form of design direction and better decision making safety.  We can create loyal, evangelical customers by helping them through the design decisions.  Invest in the importance of the finished room or space, design for ‘Mom’ and remember that the home is a personal and important fashion statement.

By Mike Moore, Making Customers and Tim Hanno, Karndean International

 


The most important thing you control in a sales engagement is your mindset, not the buyer or conversation. Successful salespeople understand selling is about the buyer and their journey. They realize the buyer must trust them before they will allow them to become their guide on their buying journey. Three things I remind my clients to help make the journey successful…’stop selling, start helping, ‘learn and understand their why’ and ‘align your intentions’!

1. STOP SELLING, START HELPING

Buyers don’t show up to be sold but they do want help buying. So don’t show up to sell. Help them buy. When a salesperson’s intention is to make a sale they appear needy and this turns buyers off. In fact it makes them retract from the salesperson. It’s a lot like someone grocery shopping when they’re hungry. They’ll buy junk food, they’ll buy too much, they’ll often forget the important items they went to the store to get. They’re just hungry and getting fed becomes all that matters. The same thing is true in sales. When you show up to sell you are needy, it clouds your judgment. Just like skipping the nutrition information on the package, you don’t ask all of the questions you should. You go for the quick fix, your belly takes over. You load up your “basket” with your motives, end up presenting the wrong ingredients and you forget to or don’t know what to talk about that matters. You are left hungry and shopping again soon, instead of being full with a steady diet of customers.

Needy people come across as needy and that scares buyers away. Sure, when you were young, the needy girlfriend gave you lots of attention and that might have felt great. Fast forward 10 years and you have enough experience to know that those actions are good signs that she is most likely a little crazy. When you are needy in your head, you generate all sorts of warning signs that turn off or chase away buyers. They have seen this type of sales person before and they know that needy people make exaggerated claims, promises they can’t keep and set bad expectations that won’t be met.

You have to lose your intention to make a sale to lose your needy emotions. You need to be in a more objective state-of-mind, to be trusted enough so buyers will invite you to be their travel agent on the buying journey.

Understanding that making more sales will happen when you’re invite on more buying journeys. This creates a travel agent mind-set that keeps you helping, serving and doing what’s best for the buyer.

Sales happen after a successful journey so make the journey your intention, not the sale.

2. LEARN AND KNOW THEIR WHY

Do you know the buyers “why”? You’ll have to learn what it is, just like learning what destinations a traveler wants to visit on their journey. Each buyer has destinations they need to visit on their buying journey. That’s their ‘why’ they should buy from you? Why would they want what you’re selling? What do they really need? Why can’t they get what they want from someone else? Why would doing nothing be disastrous for them? You know your ‘why’ to these questions but they usually just get in the way of the buyers ‘why’ and stall the journey. You know what you think the reasons are that people should buy from you and you get busy trying to convince them they should accept your ‘why’. Your value proposition may be a destination the buyer doesn’t care about.

By understanding their ‘why’, you’ll see the destinations they care about and be able to help them have a successful buying journey.

3. ALIGN YOUR INTENTIONS

Make sure you are on the same page with the buyer. Align your intentions so you’re selling to their next destination in their journey. What’s the next step the buyer needs to take. Do not sell past this step. Only sell to the next step or the buyer will retract. If the next step in the process is a meeting with a higher level of decision-makers and influencers, then sell to get that meeting. If it’s an appointment after gathering more information, clarify the information needed, who’ll gather it and schedule the appointment. Just get a commitment for the next step.

When you sell past the next step, to the contract, for example, you create resistance in the buyer. You are moving too fast, trying to sell them and it doesn’t align with their intentions. It doesn’t allow them to believe you truly understand them, their problems, and their circumstances. They won’t trust that you are truly helping them and they won’t take the journey with you.

I coach many salespeople and I find three big problems in this area.

First…They sell past the next step by asking for a committment the buyers not ready to make. Their intention is to make a sale while the buyers is their next step.

Second…They don’t know what the next step is because they don’t ask what it is, clarify it and schedule it.

To have the confidence to ask, help define what the next step is, who needs to be a part of it, how long it will take and what resources will be required. Decide together who will do what and then svelte to meet and take the next step.

Third…They think their job is to convince the buyer to align with them instead of finding out the buyers intentions are and aligning with them.

When you align your intentions with the buyers the next step is easy to determine, confirm, schedule and keep the buyer traveling to their final destination…buying from you.

FINAL REMINDER

I always remind the salespeople I coach that they are the buying journey agent. Their job is to help make the buyers journey simple and keep them traveling toward to the final destination that’s best for the buyer. Then they’ll make customers, not just sales, and sales will increase…Just stop selling and start helping!

By Mike Moore

What if I told you most salespeople are infected with a ‘sales repellent virus’ and this ‘virus’ has been handed out, usually unknowingly, for free, for years, by their companies, sales managers and sales trainers? Even more importantly, when a salesperson is left alone they catch this ‘sales repellent virus’ and even help spread it themselves.  What if I told you when economic conditions get tougher the strength of the ‘sales repellent virus’ increases and more is handed out? Most people in the profession of sales think…’Not me, I’m couldn’t be infected with this virus’…but this virus has been growing for several decades and if it isn’t treated with the ‘sales attraction potion’ it’s will eventually make salespeople extinct.

The result of the majority of salespeople having the ‘sales repellent virus’ for many years now is that selling has become more difficult and the relationship between salespeople and consumers has become damaged. In fact this relationship is so dysfunctional people don’t want to talk to salespeople and salespeople think ‘buyers are liars’. With most salespeople infected with the ‘sales repellent virus’ consumers have become conditioned to avoid salespeople whenever possible and only engage when they have to.  The most common responses to becoming aware of this ‘virus’ is, “What are you talking about?”, and “How can I make sure I don’t have it or spread it?”

What if you became aware that there was an antidote, a ‘sales attraction potion’ you could take to prepare yourself to meet people when you’re selling. This ‘potion’, when taken, allows a person to relax, open up and engage a salesperson. In short, it attracts people to salespeople and allows them to connect. When this connection happens, the opportunity for real dialogue and conversation is possible. This connection allows the engagement and dialogue that sales managers, salespeople and sales trainers have been trying to make happen for years. This ‘potion’ and the connection it allows to happen, is necessary if consumers are to get what they want and enable a business is to grow.

What if I told you this ‘potion’ has been around for years and really works?  You’d be first in line. “Sign me up”, and “Where do I get more?” are the most common responses. The cynical salesperson wants to know how much it costs. What if I told you it’s free and the supply is unlimited? Well, guess what, it’s real, you can take it all the time and it will not only increase your sales, it will change your life.

Remember, the supply of ‘sales attraction potion’ is unlimited and free! However, even when you know what it is and how to use it, you’ll have to take it every day and you’ll have to keep taking it every time you engage someone in a sales conversation. In short, the ‘sales attraction potion’ is simple to use but wear off easily because other people will be trying to give you the ‘sales repellent virus’. This usually happens unknowingly and if you aren’t careful it’s easy to catch this virus!

Let’s investigate the ingredients in the potion and the virus that are the same. They include skills, attitudes and actions that are necessary in the profession of sales but insufficient without taking the ‘sales attraction potion’. These three ingredients are the ones companies, sales managers and sales trainers have been teaching and salespeople have been using for years while infected with the ‘sales repellent virus’.  Next, there is the active ingredient that attracts or repels people.  The ‘repellent virus’ makes people avoid and even lie to salespeople while the ‘attraction potion’ connects and starts healing the consumer and salesperson relationship.

By now, I know you’re ready for the active ingredient…The ingredient that causes the ‘potion’ to attract and the ‘virus’ to repel, is a salespersons’ intention when engaging consumers. Before a salesperson opens their mouth to speak, their intentions are felt (like the scent of a potion) by the consumer. The consumer then decides unknowingly, preconscious, to connect or avoid the salesperson. The salesperson’s intentions create their demeanor, presence and attitudes and cannot be faked. What the consumer feels or reads is the genuine intention from the salesperson.

The effects of the active ingredient in the ‘virus’ the salesperson has is evident when consumers avoid talking to or opening up even when salespeople ask good questions and genuinely cares about the people they are trying to sell but is infected with the ‘virus’.

‘Trying to sell’ is the active ingredient in the ‘sales repellent virus’. The ‘virus’ even sabotages skilled salespeople who believe in their product and company, care about the consumer, but unknowingly are infected! Even they will repel people more often than they attract them. You can’t hide the virus from people…it is always showing!

The best example of the effects of the ‘sales repellent virus’ or intention to sell, can be witnessed in a new home sales office when watching the interaction between consumers and salespeople. If there is a salesperson and a temp in the sales office and a consumer comes in, they will most often engage the temp and avoid speaking to the salesperson. I’ve personally witnessed this and over the years had many new home salespeople confirm this behavior by consumers.  It’s amazingly interesting that the consumer is attracted by the ‘sales attraction potion’ the temp has taken or repelled by the ‘virus’ salesperson is infected with. The consumer will engage the person that is not infected with the ‘virus’ that contains the intention ‘to sell them something’.

Most companies, sales managers and sales trainers want salespeople to say the right things to create a better conversation with consumers.  They want and teach salespeople to ask better questions and be better listeners. The problem is, when salespeople try to do this, while infected with the ‘sales repellent virus’, consumers won’t engage them and the engagement or conversation stalls.  As long as a salesperson is infected with the ‘virus’, sales will continue to be difficult and the relationship between consumers and salespeople will grow more dysfunctional. In short, people will keep avoiding salespeople until they become extinct.

The active ingredient in the ‘sales attraction potion’ is the intention to help, serve and do what’s best for the consumer. The intention to make customers, not sales, is the missing ingredient and cannot co-exist with the intention to sell. In fact, I’m convinced the intention to sell is the spoiled version of the intention to make a customer. The ‘virus’ wasn’t and never has been anyone intention to spread. It just mutated over the years from paying to much attention to the desired results companies, sales managers, salespeople and sales trainers wanted to create, instead of paying attention to what would create the results. Too much concern over what we want and not enough concern over what customers want. It’s also obvious that in a difficult economy we spend more time worrying and obsessing over the numbers and less time concerned about the customers concerns so the effects of the ‘virus’ worsen and spread.

When the ‘sales attraction potion’ is taken, the missing link in the sales conversation happens…a connection between the salesperson and the consumer. This connection causes or allows a conversation or real dialogue to take place so a healthy relationship can begin. This is the power of the ‘sales attraction potion’; it makes the consumer/salesperson connection happen and allows the other ingredients in the ‘sales potion’ to be used to best serve the consumer.

The steps of a sale, which have been taught for many years in various forms, only happen when this connection is made. Consumers only engage salespeople who have taken the ‘sales attraction potion’.  When the connection is made, people are served, customers are made and sales increase while business grows. After taking the ‘sales attraction potion’, salespeople are free to enjoy the profession of selling as the noble profession of service it was intended to be.

Whether you have taken the ‘potion’ and whether companies encourage their salespeople to take the ‘potion’ will determine your sales success!  Keep handing out the ‘virus’ and you will keep struggling to make customers.

Intention is the active ingredient in the ‘potion’ that attracts consumers. It is the ingredient that leads to your sales success! For more information on how to make and take the ‘sales attraction potion’ and recover from the ‘virus’, follow me at…

By Mike Moore http://dld.bz/XePf

Salespeople

Salespeople, it’s time to grow up by taking responsibility for the interaction with consumers.  We need to take advantage of all the tools available to improve ourselves.  Like athletes, actors and musicians we need to use live video and audio to review and coach the engagement with consumers.  The best tool available is video and audio of live interaction between consumers and salespeople. It’s like reviewing game video for coaching in sports.  This is the best way to view how our intentions are so easily communicated to consumers.  Viewing and listening to live-selling engagements with consumers is also the best ongoing self-coaching method for improvement.  It’s the best way to create and reinforce the proper intentions, attitudes, actions and skills that will enable sales professionals to serve consumers and begin making customers. Salespeople, like athletes think they are doing one thing until they see it for themselves. Real fast change takes place when we watch ourselves and then positive change happens. A picture is worth a thousand words!

We can continue to read, talk and listen about how to sell, or we can begin to view our live performances and make the changes necessary to improve the professional of sales.  When we are viewing and listening to our live engagements, the reading, talking and listening we do becomes more valuable and magnifies our results.

This is greatly different than using mystery shoppers or roll playing.  Mystery shoppers and roll playing find out if you know the information about your products, services and company. This can be accomplished by written or verbal quizzes and tests.  Mystery shopping and roll playing misses the key ingredient in communication and human interaction, the intentions of the people communicating.

Only when we view interaction between people with the intentions we experience in live selling situations, can we see, hear and know what we need to do to improve.  Without the intentions of both people being real in a conversation, negotiation or a selling situation, the practice is nearly useless. Mystery shoppers and roll players have no intentions of buying and salespeople aren’t selling.  Selling situations happen between consumers who are shopping with the intention to buy and own your products, while salespeople are under pressure to sell everyone they engage. These are the situations we need to see and hear with live video and audio recordings.

For years now, I have been teaching that salespeople practice their profession on consumers.  Unfortunately, this is an obstacle to self-improvement.  If we don’t start wanting to improve enough to grow up, take responsibility and use tools like live video and audio, we are doomed to continue being average at best.  We haven’t seen the best of the profession of selling or proper business intentions but we can if we are willing to use these tools.

Sales Managers

The time has come to stop worrying about how good your salespeople are and start finding out.  Live video coaching will expose what you may be afraid of but you can’t change and begin to improve until you find out. It is time to acknowledge that we need to grow up and begin being the professionals we profess to be.

The idea that we have tools to improve at our disposal and haven’t utilized them, is a shame. That said, let’s not look back but begin now to use live video and audio to coach and improve the relationship between consumers and salespeople.  I know many sales managers who have resisted using these tools and can only wonder what they are afraid of.  Nothing we do out of fear will ever be a best practice.  In the coming years, sales managers will use live video and audio to stay informed and coach their sales professionals.

Live video and audio is not intended to be a punitive tool.  It is a coaching and self-improvement tool.  Coaches have to be informed and pay attention to be effective. Live video with audio is the best way to pay attention.  You can’t coach what you’re unaware of.   It is also an accountability tool, as salespeople in all selling environments will be less likely to give less than their best effort to consumers when they know they are performing live all the time. Giving consumers your best effort is part of what is needed to grow sales into the performance art it needs to be to make customers.

Executives

When executives accept that decades of doing business with the intention to make sales has broken the relationship between consumers and salespeople, then they need to take responsibility for this broken relationship and lead their business with a new intention.

It is time to start making customers, not sales, and live video and audio is the best tool to make sure this new intention is implemented.  Too many years of talk and not enough action, has left the consumer believing businesses don’t care about them.

Executives have made too many decisions about how to operate their business and make profits without considering how it would affect their sales strategy and ultimately their customers.

The rewards of implementing the intention to make customers will be increased sales, lower costs, increased profits and growth.  Most executives believe that people are the driving force to improve their business and this new intention will also energize your people. Since these are the reasons executives run businesses, it is painfully clear that it’s time to change your sales intention , grow up your salespeople and begin caring about the customer, as the center of your business.   Live video and audio coaching is the best tool to make this happen.

You wouldn’t run a business that depended on athletes to perform without video for coaching and improvement. Don’t invest and risk your company’s money without using the best tools to insure peak performance to make customers.

Self Coaching

I wrote this to salespeople, sales managers, and executives because live audio and video coaching should start with salespeople, then be available to the sales manager, and finally to executive management in a company.

This is to keep the focus on self-improvement that serves and make customers.  Live audio and video coaching should never be punitive or feel as though big brother is watching.  When we start with salespeople they quickly learn how valuable seeing and hearing themselves in real situations can be.  They even begin to use the information learned to build relationships through follow-up to make customers.  After the salespeople become comfortable with the self coaching, then sales management can begin using the audio and video as a coaching tool.  Executives are the last to view and listen as this is a confidence builder of how their salespeople are and why sales are increasing.

Without live audio and video we continue to manage sales in the dark. It is time to grow up and be our best!

By Mike Moore

Over the years, lots of debate has taken place over whether salespeople are born or are created. New studies and tests to help hire the right person who has the right personality, mind-set or traits to be a successful salesperson have evolved. The biggest hurdle for all these tests and programs today is that the profession of sales is changing during this transitional economy leading to a ‘new economy’. That said, it really hasn’t changed. What it’s doing is retuning to what the profession of sales was intended to be…service and help for buyers. When who you hire is based on the traits of salespeople from the sales model used for the past 30 to 40 years, it can lead to more of the same that we are now experiencing. The past 30 to 40 years have taken us down a road filled with unintended  consequences. Today, consumers or buyers don’t trust or believe salespeople and salespeople don’t trust consumers or buyers.

Becoming a successful salesperson requires three things, top quality attitudes, skills and actions. Then all three must be put to use in the right sales environment. What sales leaders, executives and sales managers ask their salespeople to do each day creates the companies sales environment or culture.

When you acknowledge  that attitudes are instilled and managed, skills are taught and coached, actions are planned, executed and measured, it becomes obvious that the profession of sales is learned. This means it has to be taught and top salespeople are created, not born. More to the point, top salespeople are raised so sales leadership and management is really sales parenting!

This makes it obvious, it’s more than just teaching and learning that make top salespeople. The profession of sales is a performance art.  In fact, I believe it’s the most personal one-on-one or small group performing art.  Top salespeople then, like top athletes, actors and musicians, require ongoing teaching, motivation, inspiration, coaching, leadership and direction to achieve and maintain sales success. A companies sales success is based on who’s doing all this work with their salespeople. Most sales executives and management positions are filled with more sales administration than all these tasks that generate the greatest return on invested time and energy. The missing link is sales management. The answer to the question, ‘Who’s teaching, motivating, coaching and inspiring a companies sales management?’, is the real solution to sales success.

Everything that makes top quality salespeople can be learned by salespeople without their company providing any help. That’s just not smart business to leave it up to salespeople to make themselves do the things they don’t want to do, to become the salesperson that will make a business successful.  All too often this is what happens. It results in many companies having salesforce’s where the majority of their sales are generated by a minority of their salespeople.

The missing link  in creating salespeople’s success and ultimately a companies growth and sustained excellence, is sales coaching, motivation, inspiration, management, leadership and the sales environment. Sales training alone usually only impacts the salespeople who would learn on their own and often creates very little results. If you are to raise top quality salespeople, then teaching, coaching, inspiration, motivation, leadership and environment have to all be managed.

Then after they are raised, they have to be led, coached and managed daily. The missing link is most often top quality sales leadership, management and coaching! 

Coming soonWhat it takes to create top quality sales managers, coaches, motivators and sales environments.

By Mike Moore

Understanding that our intentions create our expectations, thoughts, feelings and behaviors that communicate non-verbally is the key to improving communication between salespeople and consumers. And improving communication between salespeople and consumers to heal this dysfunctional relationship is the key in this “New Economy” we are now faced with. Business and the economy won’t improve by just waiting for it to come back…new intentions are needed to start a real recovery or create a successful new normal.

So let’s get started now!

How do people communicate?  Non-verbally mostly…micro expressions, memetics, personality types, learning styles, neurolinguistic programming and noetic sciences are more of an influence than the words we use. People feel what we feel and know what we believe before we start talking.

Changing intentions is at the core of a new sales strategy that can heal the dysfunctional relationship between salespeople and consumers and result in increased sales and steady business growth. Changing your intentions is the best way to change your results.

Traditional sales training teaches salespeople what to say to motivate or manipulate people to buy their products or services using the right phrases. It places the focus on the sale rather than the customer.  It maps the steps of a quality sales presentation and teaches salespeople to repeat these steps over and over on everyone they attempt to sell.  This is how critical path selling and even relationship selling systems are created.

The path a selling conversation takes is fairly consistent; however it happens when intentions are correct on the part of the seller and aligned with the buyer. When we attempt to follow the steps of a sale rather than engage the person with proper intentions, they won’t participate enough to follow along with these steps.  In the end, it won’t matter how adept you are in traditional selling skills if the consumer won’t engage, you won’t get to use your skills.

The traditional sales path has resulted in a broken relationship between buyers and sellers. Today, buyers don’t want to talk to salespeople unless they have to and hope that salespeople will just stay out of their way.  When the business environment gets difficult, as we see today, business retreats to what used to work as a first response to a turn down in sales.

Everyday I hear someone say we need to get back to basics, while they increase the pressure to make sales on their sales management and salespeople.  They demand orders and talk of going back to basics as a solution to the low sales they are producing. They increase costs in advertising and incentives and the relationship between buyers and sellers continues to grow worse in this environment.

When the economy comes back, as it surely will, it will be different than before it collapsed and this relationship will be more strained and damaged than ever.  If you want to change this relationship and reap the rewards of making customers you will need an attitude makeover to adjust intentions to heal the relationship with your buyer and make them customers.

Making Customers was born after years of training salespeople and listening to their excuses of why the training didn’t work.  They always explained that either people wouldn’t let them go though the steps or wouldn’t talk to them at all.  The problem lies in the focus being on the sales process and not on the engagement of people to serve them. This is main difference between training salespeople to engage people in a sales conversation and training anyone else how to do their job.

Training is usually about how to do a process better how to improve how you work.  Making Customers is about how to engage people to help them get what they want and builds the trust necessary to create real dialogue. A business or salespersons intentions can’t be hidden, they are felt and communicated in everything they do, in every seemingly insignificant movement, sound and thought. This is why you can’t, “Fake it till you make it”, in business or the profession of sales.

Remember people know what your intentions are because they speak louder than words!

New expectations, new intentions and new attitudes create new relationships and produce new results.

“The New Economy” has made it time for real change and new intentions are the best response to today’s challenges. Stop waiting for things to get better, take actions and make the changes necessary to make things better now!

By Mike Moore

Architects, Designers and the Commercial Floor Covering Contractor

When two groups who work together don’t communicate it is no wonder they aren’t aware of what they could be doing to help each other. This became evident during a panel discussion between leaders from the Architecture and Design Community and Flooring Contractors at the ReSource Commercial Flooring Network’s Annual Conference.

The distinguished panel from the A&D community, Jana Gunsul of DES Architects, Ruth Cline of Little Diversified Architectural and Annette Wiley of Perkins Will came to engage the ReSource Commercial Network’s members to share with them in a panel discussion. This was an open discussion where both sides shared what they could do to help each other and deliver better services to their clients.

Kemp Harr from floordaily.net shared that their studies reveal commercial designers depend on the manufacturer’s representatives as their primary source for floor covering specification information and the panelists agreed. Then they asked if this was the best way to do business, and the discussion revealed some surprises for the design community and encouragement for the flooring contractors.

In regards to depending on the manufacturer’s reps, Jana Gunsul shared, and the panelists agreed that there were also many less experienced designers coming into their industry who were depending heavily on the manufacturer’s reps for specification information. Annette told the group she hadn’t been called on by a flooring contractor in 10 years. Jana mentioned she was invited to the conference by a flooring contractor that she has an 18 year relationship with as a trusted floor covering resource, but had never met them face-to-face until the conference…18  years, really! Another flooring contractor shared they no longer called on designers of design firms while others said designers were vital to their business.

The discussion then turned to the realities that the designer’s deal with in specifying floor covering.  Jana said, “The first concern is that we are dealing with contractors who can understand our design intentions and help deliver the finished project successfully.” The panelists then agreed that accurate installed pricing, installation issues, after installation performance and maintenance topped the list. The other hot topics at this time were LEED, sustainability and moisture issues. The flooring contractors eagerly shared their expertise in these areas.  This was the beginning of the panelists revelation and they agreed they needed to make relationships with flooring contractors.  Jana said, “We have a valuable untapped resource and partnership that we all need to take advantage of.”

The key question the flooring contractors wanted answered was, “How do we call on you, the designer, and become your resource and build a relationship. Ruth Cline explained that the designers needed and wanted education.  In fact, she reminded the flooring contractors that the designers didn’t get any practical flooring education in design school.  Installation, performance, moisture, maintenance and anything that can keep them out of trouble and increase their customer’s satisfaction would be helpful. Ruth, Jana and Annette agreed the flooring contractors needed to package education on all these topics.  Annette suggested, “Floor covering contractors should take the initiative and craft a compelling educational program and present it to design principals.” She believed they would get very positive response if they did. Courtney Karlin, ReSource San Diego, shared that they have been doing sustainability education and training for designers in their market with good success. Annette added, “I learned, and it surprised me, how beneficial to the designer it would be to get advice and counsel from an experienced flooring contractor as part of the early selection process and utilizing their knowledge base to really explore appropriate products for the project application.” These are the comments from Design Industry leaders with years of experience, so imagine the response from less experienced designers.

Ruth Cline wrapped up her thoughts about the discussion by saying, “It’s now clear that there is a great opportunity for us to work together to increase each other’s awareness and knowledge of the issues we face on both the design side and the installation side. If we can find a way to develop trusting relationships and capitalize on the opportunity, we will see positive results for our projects and clients and we all ultimately win.”

I’ve found that during the construction boom everyone involved was so busy they often didn’t take time to communicate, learn and make the relationships that could best serve them.  It became easier to find the fastest way to get the job done even when it might not have been the best way. In this ‘new economy’ with all of the cost cutting measures, people are still busy and often overloaded so they continue with the fastest way to get things done. This was again exposed in the discussions by both the panelists and flooring contractors.

In training and coaching businesses for 30 years, it is normal that people need reminding that the best way to do business isn’t usually the easy way. Salespeople stop talking to the best potential clients because they are hard to get to or the return seems slow. This was exposed during the discussion as Jana shared about Rosie, her companies’ gate keeper, and how she guards her firm from those calling on them. One of the ReSource members asked how to get around Rosie and we discussed the need to start the relationship with Rosie. Another Resource member said, “Rosie isn’t the decision maker.” After some discussion the majority agreed she is the first decision maker. It is however, more common than we want to admit that salespeople are trying to figure out how to get around the gate keeper instead of starting the relationship with them. Everyone agrees that business is about relationships but most salespeople are more intent on making sales, than the relationship that will create more business and increase sales. This was again evident during the panel discussions.

The good news coming from the discussions was that commercial floor covering contractors have plenty of knowledge, information and services to help the A&D community and they want and need them. The flooring contractor needs an organized education program to offer designers and real partnerships with their manufacturer’s representatives to begin making relationships that will serve everyone involved.

By Mike Moore http://dld.bz/XePf