Your Philosophy of Selling

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Sold houseA great book to add to your library is Jeffrey Gittomer’s The Little Red Book of Selling. It is a little book that gives short and sweet answers to many questions sales people have about selling. I love his philosophy of selling – because it mirrors my own! – that the best selling has nothing to do with high pressure or manipulation but everything to do with understanding the buying motives of the consumer.

The only way you will ever be able to understand your buyer is to ask questions and more questions and more questions. The more you find out about your buyers, the easier it will be to sell them the home they really want to buy.

Think a moment, on average, how many questions do you ask in a typical sales presentation? Try to keep a rolling tally of the questions you ask. At the end of the presentation, ask yourself if you discovered everything you needed to know about your prospects: buyer characteristics, timeline, hidden move motives such as family or health, financial capability, downpayment monies or cash, pre-qualified for mortgage, size and floor plan preference, schools, community desires, distance to work. Chances are, at the end of your evaluation, you will find that you could have used more questioning. Always ask more questions.

Remember the rule: Ask more questions than information you give out. Make it a 2 for 1 rule – I will ask two questions for every one piece of information I give out. Watch and see if your closing doesn’t improve.

Questions are the sales professionals best friend. You will earn more money for asking the right questions than for knowing the right answers. Intelligent questions allow you to:

  1. Identify clearly the type of prospect with which you are dealing.
  2. Qualify early in the selling process the “go” or “no go” profile which can be an efficient time saver.
  3. Understand the buyer’s current situation such as agenda, hot button interests, and buying stage.
  4. Establish the necessary rapport or comfort level, that is vital for effective communication.
  5. Determine the decision making process and who is instrumental in its processes.
  6. Uncover significant shortfalls or strong suits between you and the competition.
  7. Reinforce credibility and breed confidence by demonstrating a concern for the prospects’ well being.
  8. Encourage a rock solid information flow based on plain and honest dealings.

“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” ~Tony Robbins

“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” ~Voltaire

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Odd Things Happen!

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Green Rat SnakeOdd things happen! It seems a snake crawled into a transformer and somehow caused power to be cut to 10,000 homes. How do you prevent something like that from happening? Obviously no one even thought about protecting the power station from a snake.

Odd things happen in sales too. The contract is set to be written at 2 p.m. That morning, the couple happen to meet a competing salesperson at the store who convinces them to see her homes. Yep, that sure sale just faded away. This is only good if YOU happened to be the salesperson in the store. Odd things happen both ways.

How do you take the negative “odd” out of the sales process, at least as much as you can?

  1. First and foremost, make sure you have created a true one-of-a-kind – the one right home on the one right home site with the one right financing terms and the one right timetable. If all the “one rights” are not in place, then it will be very easy for the odd snake to slither in and cut power to your sale.
    And, how do you find the one-of-a-kind? By asking questions, lots and lots of questions. You ask questions about interests, hobbies, family, lifestyle, work, dreams, expectations, housing experience, timing, must-haves, etc. Questions will help you find what kind of home the prospects are searching for. Questions will help you narrow down all the possibilities into that special “one” just for them. Keep asking questions until you get there.
  2. Next, confirm you’ve created the one-of-a-kind by asking, “Can you see yourself living here in this lovely home?” If the answer is “yes,” proceed.
  3. Now, ask the closing question. Don’t let this golden opportunity get away from you. Ask for the order.
  4. All that’s left to do now is write the paperwork and obtain the check.
  5. To add a cherry on top, ask for referrals. Keep asking for referrals several times a year. Most referrals are not given until after move in, so keep asking.

I’ve told the following story before, but I love it. It shows how an “odd” way of looking at things can reap a harvest of benefit.

Buddy was number one on the sales staff and had been three years running. He was six sales ahead of his arch rival, Vern, with just three days left to the end of the year. He was so sure of winning the sales contest, he went on vacation.

Buddy didn’t take into account Vern’s creative determination.

Vern called every possible prospect and told them he was in a “life and death” contest and asked if they would buy from him this year instead of next year.

On New Year’s Eve, Vern’s hard work had created a traffic jam at the project. Prospects were all over the place. Vern’s wife was helping with the paperwork. A young framer was directing traffic. Vern’s friends were providing the holding action, and Vern was madly writing contracts.

Vern ended that night with ten solid contracts. That’s four more than Buddy. Imagine Buddy’s surprise when he returned from his vacation ready to deposit the $10,000 cash prize into his bank account only to find the money was already in Vern’s account.

Well, here’s the point of the story: leave an opening in your sales process, and sure enough, a little snake can slither in and create a black out. Oops, there goes your sale! All the best laid plans cannot bring it back!

Be a Visonary!

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Thoughtful businessmanVi-sion-ar-y – noun: a person of unusually keen foresight

A paper published by Duke University in 2006 finds that more than 40% of all the actions performed by a person in a single day result from habit, not actual decisions. So, as a new home sales professional, more than 40% of your behaviors are habits. Are they good habits? And, is the 60% not controlled by habits marked by creative thinking? It is too easy to let ruts and habits define us to the point that we can no longer think “outside the box.”

Take a minute. Sit down with a sheet of paper. Write across the top … “Ways to double my sales.” What can you do? Be creative!

Some thoughts:

  • Rev up your referrals! Positive Mental Attitude – No matter how tough things are, start the day with a positive note. Say, “Good morning!” not, “Good grief, it’s morning!”
  • Make others feel good. You are a sales professional. Make everyone you meet every day of your life feel just a wee bit better for meeting you. Find something positive to sell and sell it to everyone even if it is only a smile!
  • People like to buy from people they like! Be happy. Smile. Court enthusiasm. Take action. Embrace pro-fit-uation (proactive selling where the pro fits the right situation to the right prospect at the right time).
  • Maximize your time touring prospects. You can’t sell air, so double your time face-to-face selling. Stay open later. With daylight savings time, promote after supper visits. Service your customers and they will refer to you.
  • Think outside the “batting cage.” Look for new ways to attract buyers to your store. I once owned a baseball batting cage business. When the machines were operating at full capacity, the revenue was stagnant until I constructed pitching mounds as a traffic holding action. The customers paid as much to pitch the balls at the targets to win a free round of batting as the actual round itself!

“Doubling sales is the master closer’s rite of passage.”

An article in Forbes remarked that sales is about building rapport, not breaking it. One of the surest ways to break a sale is to try to “sell” to the customer. No one wants to be “sold.” It smacks of high pressure. Instead, we need to educate our prospects: “Whether you buy from me or someone else, there is information you need to know to make an informed decision.” If your marketing is based on educating the customer, it will attract buyers before they even know they are in the market to buy. How many “just looking” prospects ended up buying because of the education they received about new homes?

So, one of the best way to “think outside the box” is to figure out ways to educate your prospects about what to look for in a new home. Offer a free class on the “7 Things to Look For When Buying a New Home,” or “5 Shortcuts Some Builders Take Which You Want to Avoid.” And of course, one of the surest ways to educate your prospects is to have a top-notch differential demonstration about your product.

You can double your sales, even in tough markets, by some creative thinking.