What’s Your Face Saying?

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ExpressionsHave you ever stopped and really looked at the people you see at the airport? I travel a lot and get to see all kinds of people; families, singles, young, old, children, professionals, and those who look like they haven’t a care in the world. What I notice is that most people are not only in a hurry, but are in a hurry with a frown on their face. Those who have smiles and a positive look on their face are like beacons in the night. Those are the people I want sitting next to me on the airplane.

What is your face showing to the world., to your customers, and to your fellow employees? I am reminded of Anthony who is the picture of positive mental attitude.

Anthony, a salesperson in the Midwest, was normally number three or four on a large sales staff. His ranking was consistent, not a flash in the pan. I thought nothing of this until I met this master closer and discovered he was legally blind. Imagine the shock of finding out there was a gentleman selling new homes that could only see fuzzy outlines. He had to walk with a stick. Someone had to drive him to work. There was no touring a prospect through the community. He had to rely upon his prowess as a master demonstrator of his models in order to position his product above the competition. During role plays, you would never know he was blind except for his cane and slight uncertainties. Best of all, you wouldn’t know he had a disability due to his positive mental attitude. One time I asked him what made him perform so far above the others. His answer was a classic.

“Mr. Richey, I see my model homes through a different set of eyes. I’ve had to work very hard to learn the floor plans, to know where the furniture is so I wouldn’t look foolish stumbling over it. I had to understand how the home sits on the site. I had to see the colors through the theater of my mind even if I couldn’t see them myself. I don’t believe I’ve used this disability as a crutch in any way. I believe I’ve sold houses through my sheer love of selling and the passion to help people.”

Anthony’s positive mental attitude created opportunities for success that the person with the frown would not have gotten. Check your face today – a frown or a smile?


Raising Prices Can Increase Sales

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When people don’t know the real value of something, they often use price as a quality indicator. You’ve heard the expression that if it costs too little, then it is valued too little. Counselors in the mental health field will tell that unless an investment is made by the one seeking counseling, then the counselee will not be as engaged in the process. Price does matter.

Yes, we all want a great deal, but if you engage too much in the deal, then the quality of your product disappears. Everyone knows that you get what you pay for. You might have a top quality product, but if it is priced too low, then it will be seen as inferior. I for one am willing to pay more money for better quality.

Therefore, HOLD THE LINE ON YOUR PRICING. You may even want to raise your prices. Prove the added value in your homes. If you prove the value, then there is no need to discount. The key to selling in today’s market is differentiation. The salesperson who gives away profit too early an too often is cheapening your product and doing a grave disservice to the company.

You must stem the tide of discounting and deal mongering by training how to sell the base of value and lifestyle, then the focus changes from seeking a deal to the emotional experience. Here are a few methods to neutralize negotiation and appeal to the emotions.

  1. Adding value is better than cutting price. Builders who sell with promotions that add value can persuade buyers to purchase from them because the residual value is higher than the competition’s.
  2. What would you like for us to take out? Once buyers see the value of those extra dollars and what they bring to the home, they are not going to want you to take it out just in order to meet their price demands.
  3. We are a true-value-for-true-price builder. We don’t mark our homes up just so we can mark them down. Sell yhour builder’s integrity and your home’s quality.
  4. The ‘deal’ is in the price. Let them know that your builder has factored into the published price all the deal and discounts just to provide a hassle-free home buying experience.
  5. Let’s look at the four types of housing products: 1) highest price and highest product; 2) higher price, lower product; 3) lower price, higher product; and 4) lowest price, lowest product. Since we are in the highest price, highest product category, we simply can’t go to a lower price. We refuse to build a home in the lowest price and lowest product category. We believe in quality.

So, vow now that you are not going to give in to the call to discount your product. It is only when bulders refuse to discount and sales people sell value that housing will truly be on the road to greatness again.

“Anything that just costs money is cheap.” ~John Steinbeck

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.

What is Your Reality?

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Businessman Giving out CardCame across a new website I had never seen before – www.Glassdoor.com. this site allows employees and applicants to rate the companies for which they work and/or apply to. It is a fabulous tool for the job applicant to determine if this company is a desirable fit or not. Builders, have you checked out your company to see what is being said about you?

We all know that first impressions count. First impressions will either entice the prospective employee or the looking prospect to come in closer or to leave as quickly as possible. Considering the challenge it is today to attract top-notch sales professionals or qualified prospects, we must make doubly sure our first impression is a great one.

How do we create a great first impression?

  1. Be on time. Nothing will take the gilt off the lily faster than being late to an appointment. Being late tells the prospects they are not that important.
  2. Be yourself. Another thing that is a turn off is plastic or forced joviality. Be genuine in your manner, in your tone of voice, in your smile.
  3. Be appropriately dressed. Today is all about being genuine and being real, but your “realness” at the expense of proper clothing is not a plus – it’s a major deterrent. Just as being on time tells the prospects they are important, being appropriately dressed for the occasion lets them know they are valued. After all, we put on our best clothing in honor of a special event, so why would we think dressing less than professionally would honor our prospects?
  4. Smile! A genuine, warm smile not only acknowledges prospects, but invites them in.
  5. Be positive, courteous, and attentive. A positive mental attitude will show in your face, in how you talk, and even in how you walk. Also, turn your cell phone to silent. Don’t interrupt those first few moments of bonding by looking at or answering your phone. That definitely tells them whoever is on the phone is more important than they are.

After making a good first impression, what then? How is your reality positively affecting your customers, your employees, your business?

Adam Savage on TLC’s Mythbusters has a saying, “I reject your reality and substitute my own.” The following is a story about how a small company rejected the reality of the present difficult times and created their own success.

A landscape gardener ran a business that had been in the family for three generations. The staff was happy, and customers loved to visit the store. For as long as anyone could remember, the current owner and previous generations of owners were extremely positive, happy people. Most people assumed it was because they ran a successful business. In fact, it was the other way around.

A tradition in the business was that the owner always wore a big lapel badge saying “Business is Great!” The business was indeed generally great, although it went through tough times like any other. What never changed however, was the owner’s attitude, and the badge saying “Business is Great!”

Everyone who saw the badge for the first time invariably asked, “What’s so great about business?” Sometimes people would also comment that their own business was miserable, or even that they personally were miserable or stressed.

Anyhow, the “Business is Great!” badge always tended to start a conversation, which typically involved the owner talking about lots of positive aspects of business and work. For example:

  • The pleasure of meeting and talking with different people every day
  • The reward that comes from helping staff take on new challenges and experiences
  • The fun and laughter in a relaxed and healthy work environment
  • The fascination in the work itself, and in the other people’s work and businesses
  • The great feeling when you finish a job and do it to the best of your capabilities
  • The new things you learn every day, even without looking to do so
  • And the thought that everyone in business is blessed because there are many millions of people who would swap their own situation to have the same opportunities of doing a productive, meaningful job in a civilized, well-fed country, where we have no real worries

And the list went on. No matter how miserable a person was, they’d usually end up feeling a lot happier after just a couple of minutes listening to all this infectious enthusiasm and positivity.

It is impossible to quantify or measure attitude like this, but to one extent or another, it’s probably  a self-fulfilling prophecy on which point if asked about the badge in a quiet moment, the business owner would confide, “The badge came first. The great business followed.”

So, what is your reality? Is it a positive, successful one?

Positive Mental Attitude

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It is amazing to read the same news story at different sites. Each site will have a different slant. Last week I read a story about home construction. One site talked about the low housing starts and gave you the impression that it was all bad news, “glass half empty” kind of talk. Another site, reporting on the same news story, gave it an upbeat “glass half full” kind of spin. I guess it is in all how you want to view your world.

What this world needs now is a large dose of “positive mental attitude.” We are tired of being in the dumps and hearing depressing news. We need to feel the sunshine and see the blue sky. How much sunshine are you spreading in your workplace?

Few people can be successful without a positive mental attitude. It is the synergistic force that moves mountains. It is the motivator of men and women, rich and poor, humble and great. it is the energy that overcomes most obstacles. Positive mental attitude, or PMA, should be the middle initials of every sales manager and salesperson in the housing industry. There is an old saying that “there is nothing as old as yesterday’s sales report.” Sales people are in the crucible and under the gun every single dan and every week and every month of the year. There is never room for letdown nor is there cause for euphoria. Sales is a pressure job and that is why pressure players produce. They thrive on that pressure. To work best in this environment, the sales pro must be positive and lead others to that charisma of positive thinking. The power of “yes I can” far exceeds the mealy mouth sidestep of “I think I can.” PMA is the soul of movers and shakers. You must have a positive mental attitude which exudes enthusiasm! Smile, laugh, and sing a little. It’s a great day and you’re going to sell a home.

A positive mental attitude moves mountains.

A positive mental attitude attracts buyers like bees to honey.

A positive mental attitude is a championship attitude, the zest, the zeal of winning!

A positive mental attitude is the oil in the machine or the leavening in the cake.

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” W.W. Ziege

How are you viewing your world? Is your glass half empty or half full. You are the only one with the power to give the answer to that question.