Referrals are the Name of the Game

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washing_head_in_shower_800_clr_6369Remember the old Heather Locklear commercial where she is promoting a shampoo and says she told two friends who told two friends who told two friends and so on? It was a great ad campaign enlisting word-of-mouth referrals to grab their share of the shampoo market.

Word-of-mouth referrals. That is what you want to build your business. Don’t know about you, but I only give referrals on products I REALLY like.

If your company enjoys a sound reputation for delivering what it promises and that reputation is built on substance and not on sand, referrals and a healthy business climate will follow. You can never compromise on doing what is right. If something or someone in the organization has goofed, make it right with the buyer. Don’t fudge. Word travels fast, especially in small areas or small big cities.

A prominent builder cancelled his heavy advertising campaign. Why? Thirty percent of his sales were referrals from previous buyers and twenty percent was internet-driven. You have a gold mine of leads lying in your own backyard if these customers are well-sold and happy. Be kind to their children. Pat their dogs. Compliment them on their landscaping. Report all gripes to the customer service department. Then, having established yourself as that “nice Mr. Jones who did so much for us,” ask them for names, addresses, and phone numbers of anyone that might be interested in a new home.

Perhaps the most unrequited love in new home marketing today is the referral sale. Builders covet them, court them, but very few can consistently count them as their own. Referrals can and should reflect up to one-third of the building firm’s total volume.

But, there are no referrals without quality delivery. Be definition, quality delivery is the synergy of construction, service, and sales working in concert to deliver a highly satisfied buyer plus the dividend of the referral sale.

To build your referral base:

  1. Contact every relative, friend, prospect, unclosed buyer, unclosed customer, and resident owner you can.
  2. Call people who have been out but not bought. Your company spends a considerable amount of money to promote buyers into the model park. It is important that you make the best use of this traffic by having each prospect fill out a visitor’s sheet before leaving.

Just like any other aspect of your business, referral gathering takes a plan, takes effort, and takes discipline. Make this promise:

I know that I have to ask to get referrals, so I will put myself in the position to ask a minimum of ten times from contract writing to one year after move-in. I will see or call five homeowners each week to solicit referrals.

Referrals are the backbone of the professional new home counsellor. While most building firms realize 8% or less referral sales, the sales pro works to realize one-third or more via favorable word-of-mouth.

Remember,

Quality + Concern & Kindness = Referrals

Creating Your Own Breaks

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Have you ever wondered why some people seem to get all the breaks in life and others insist upon taking the broken road regardless of all the encouragement NOT to go that way?

It is too easy to look at the top performing salesperson in your group and wish you were in their shoes without actually taking the steps they took.

Sometimes those steps will demand you getting out of your comfort zone, enthusiastically participating in role plays to refine your presentation, setting aside your hesitation and boldly asking for the referral.

The top performing salesperson did not get to the top by maintaining status quo. They shook things up within themselves in order to reach new heights.

I read an article about Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO, and about how he turned Starbucks upside down from a sleepy little coffee roasting company to the mega corporation it is today. Do you think it was easy in the beginning? No. I’m quite sure many feathers were ruffled. But, look what his perseverance produced!

What will your perseverance produce? You could see sales increase, customer satisfaction soar, and your own satisfaction and joy about your career overflow.

What are you waiting for? Start taking those steps!

First step – Truly know the ins and outs of your business and why you are in it. No matter what obscure question a prospect may throw at you about your homes, are you prepared with the correct information? The only way that is going to happen is if you study, study, study. Educate yourself on all aspects of your home, your community, your builder, your financing, your competition.

Notice I added ‘why you are in it’ to what you need to know. The why you are in it is to sell homes. It’s not to make a lot of new friends, although that may happen. It’s not because you wanted a career that wasn’t behind a desk. The goal of our profession is to sell new homes. It is remarkable how many times I mystery shop a person who does not have that goal in mind.

Second step – Make an emotional connection with your prospect. Meet, greet, bond, and connect. Think about it from the customer’s perspective. They want a sales professional who is extremely knowledgeable, personable, and very sensitive to their needs. If they sense you are truly on their side, they will stick by you through thick and thick. You have to LIKE your customers. You have to really want to help them find the perfect home.

Third step – Tell your builder story. Tell the customer why your builder is the best, why their homes are better constructed, why the customer can count on your builder’s homes. If you cannot stand behind your builder’s homes, then perhaps you need to find another builder. After all, when you sell your builder’s homes, it is like you are putting your name on the contract as well. You have become the trusted advisor and you’ve given your endorsement to this purchase. If the home is not up to par, then your credibility is shot. They will not buy from you again even if you go to another builder.

Now, are you on track to becoming a top performer? It is as simple as steps one – two – three. The broken road part comes in when you ignore experience and wisdom and try to plow your own road. Reach out to that wisdom and experience so you can become the top performer in your group.