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

The Seven Buying Stages

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There are seven distinct buying stages through which buyers must travel en route to the sale, and they must hit each stage in succession, if only briefly. Those stages are:

  1. The buyers’ first uneasy feeling that they need a new home.
  2. The buyers begin to look at new homes.
  3. The buyers begin to relate the needs of their family to a home or homes they’ve seen in the marketplace.
  4. The buyers find a logical fit or fits (one home or several homes).
  5. The buyers’ emotional desires heat up and they want the home.
  6. The buyers work out their problems and buy.
  7. The buyers get buyers’ remorse and want to cancel!

Why is it beneficial to qualify for buying stage? Because if you know what stage the prospects are in, you know precisely how to handle them. For example, if they are in Stage 2 or 3, you know they are early on in their house hunting, and you expect they will want to visit other communities before making a final decision.

National surveys used to tell us that buyers visit 14 different communities and return 4.3 times to the location of the home they eventually purchase. With the advent of the Internet, that statistic has changed dramatically. It is now eight communities or resale products with a 3.2 incidence of return visits.

Do not make the mistake of thinking you can’t take the prospects through all stages in one afternoon. You most assuredly can, though this will be the exception, not the rule. In this case, they have probably done the bulk of their shopping on the Internet.

Now, if you get lucky and snag one that’s well up in the buying stages, say Stage 4 or 5, you have a walking contract in front of you. All you have to do is convince them that your home (the logical fit) satisfies their needs better than the ones seen elsewhere. When you do this, you have a sale. But beware; you must nurture this sale carefully after the deposit goes down to prevent buyers’ remorse and a possible cancellation. Logic converts to emotional euphoria as the buyers commit to purchase.

In how much depth should you close a prospect in these stages? As long as you revert to heart selling, not hard selling and use the close – ease off – close – ease off principle, you can keep closing. If they throw out nine objections and you counter with ten, you’ll get the sale.

Remember the exception is the internet-driven buyer who will buy fast. One of the first questions you should ask is, “Have you visited our website?”