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Video Mystery Shop: The Power of Personalization

cokePersonalize and Customize. Personalize and Customize. I cannot stress to you enough how important it is to do this in every sales presentation you give. In fact, you should never, ever give the same sales presentation twice. Each one should be specific and focused on your prospect’s specific needs, wants, and desires! The experience you create for your prospects can either make or break the sale for you!

And, this is not just true for new home sales. Many businesses today are finally embracing the concept that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ sales and marketing strategy. My favorite example of this comes from Coca Cola. A couple of years ago Coca Cola introduced its ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. Instead of just having the company name on the cans and bottles of the soft drink, they started incorporating individual names! It created quite the buzz! Everyone wanted to find ‘their’ coke can or bottle. Facebook was a flurry with pictures of people holding their personalized cans of Coca Cola! It was fun, it was clever, and it was pure marketing genius! Not only that….it was profitable!

The ‘Share a Coke’ campaign was single handily responsible for turning profits around for the company after a decade of decline. That’s right! After ten long years of losing money, Coke made a profit by simply adding a person’s name to a can of soda! The first step in personalizing your presentation is building rapport in order to find out what is important to your customers. One of the best ways to do this is to use your prospect’s name. Yes, I know it sounds easy, but in about 75% of the video shops I watch the sales person NEVER uses the customer’s name. Not even once!

In his book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, Dale Carnegie writes: ‘A person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language’ . Don’t forget that! And, if you are like me and have a problem remembering names…..WRITE IT DOWN. Use a clipboard to take notes and write your customer’s name on the top of the page. Try to use their name 3 – 5 times in the first ten minutes of your presentation so that it becomes natural to you.
The Power of Personalization….if Coke can increase sales after ten years by simply putting a name on a 75 cent can of soda, imagine what would happen if you started personalizing and customizing in your sales presentations on a $500,000 home!!!

Video Mystery Shopping: Setting Expectations

Outdoor business meetingOne of the things I have noticed lately in watching video mystery shops is that many seem to lack structure. In some cases, the presentations go on and on forever, but there is no rhyme or reason to the presentation. As I watch, I have to wonder what is going on in the mind of the sales associate. Do they not have a plan for how they are going to spend their time with the prospects? Do they not realize that in our business ‘time is money’? Why don’t they set expectations with the prospects?

I’ll give you a real life example. I was watching a shop last week that went well over 2 1/2 hours. At the end, the shopper was visibly drained. The SA had not asked her at the beginning of the presentation how much time she had to spend nor did she ask what she hoped to accomplish from the meeting. It was like she was on the Gilligan Island’s 3 hour tour….to nowhere!

How much time do you have to spend with me? What do you hope to accomplish today? These two questions asked upfront will allow you to set the stage for the entire presentation.

“I understand you have about 1 hour to spend with me today, and I want to be respectful of your time. So, let me suggest how we can best use our time together to meet your expectations.”

This not only sets the stage with your prospects, it gives you control and structure of the presentation. It also let’s your prospect know what’s going to take place throughout the presentation. And, added bonus…it allows you to introduce the close at the beginning!

“Once we’ve viewed the models and toured the community, I would like to then return to the sales office and discuss options for moving forward with the purchase of your new home.”

I see WAY too many shops where the sales associate ‘runs out of time’ at the end of the presentation and literally has to close the presentation standing in the sales office parking lot because the prospect has to leave! By setting expectations, you are giving ample time for all parts of the presentation, including qualifying, community/model/home site demonstration, and closing.

All sales presentations have a beginning, middle and end. It’s a sales strategy! Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them. In other words, set expectations.

Video Mystery Shop: Shop + Coach + Train = Sales Success!

allenamento duroIn my 30 years of mystery shopping, I have seen a lot! Not only in the video shops, but also in the various ways sales managers utilize the information from the shops. Some sales managers use the shops as a training tool to improve the sales associates’ selling abilities. Some sales managers use it as a way to ‘get rid of under-performing’ sales associates. And, truth be told, some sales managers NEVER even look at the shops.

I wanted to use this blog as a way to let you know the most effective way to incorporate the video shops into a proven formula for sales success. That formula is
Shop + Coach + Train = Sales Success

By applying this formula to your sales training you are guaranteed to get a well-rounded program that is personalized and customized to the needs of your sales team. This is not cookie cutter training. Here’s how it works.

First, we video mystery shop your sales team. This allows us to get inside your sales office and find out what is really going on. This gives you a baseline analysis of your entire team.
Shop: Find out what’s REALLY going on in your sales office!

Secondly, we provide one-on-one sales coaching. Our coach works with the sales associate on specific areas of the shop where improvement is needed. A 30 day Action Plan for improvement is created and the sales manager now has a tool to hold the sales associate accountable for their actions.
Coach: Provide one-on-one sales coaching to address the SA’s specific needs

Finally, we review the shops and reports and look for reoccurring trends. From this information, we are able to create a one of a kind training program based on our findings. For example, if we notice that the sales team has low scores in qualifying or overcoming objections, the training we provide will focus more on those specific areas. It is training based entirely on what your team needs to be successful.
Train: Results of the shops and coaching pave the way for customized training specific to the needs of YOUR sales team!

So, if you are looking for a comprehensive training program to get your sales team performing at their personal best, give us a call! You won’t be disappointed in this 3 step, all-inclusive training program.

Video Mystery Shop: Help Me Help You!

Business people in officeDo you all remember that scene from the movie Jerry Maguire where Jerry is trying to negotiate with Cuba Gooding and finally, exasperated, Jerry screams ‘Help Me Help You!”. Great movie and a great scene! So, what does it have to do with new home sales?

Absolutely everything! Your job as a new home sales associate is to help your clients find their dream home, in the perfect community, on the ideal home site, with the right builder. So, how can your prospects’ Help Me Help You? Simple, they have to TELL you what they want!
Getting them to tell you what they want can only be accomplished in one fashion…by asking questions! Believe it or not, I have watched hundreds of video shops where the sales associates barely ask any questions! They may ask price point or number of bedrooms needed, but they don’t dig any deeper than that.

People love to talk about themselves! If you don’t believe that…just take a look at facebook. We’ve become a society that loves to share our news with everyone! Use this to your advantage. Ask your prospects about themselves! Find out who they are and what their hot buttons are. This will help you to customize your presentation in a way that speaks specifically to their wants, needs and desires! This is called the Discovery process.

Also, when you are asking your prospect’s questions, make sure they are open-ended questions that can’t be answered with either a YES or a NO. Below are some excellent questions you can incorporate into your sales presentation that will help you get a better understanding of your prospects and what they are looking for.

-Tell me about your current situation
– What’s important to you in a new home? Community? Home site? Builder?
– How familiar are you with the area?
– What do you dislike about your current home?
– What line of work are you in? How did you get started?
– What do you like to do in your spare time?
– What are some ‘must haves’ that you want in your new home?
Remember, as a sales associate your primary role is to find out if what you are selling matches with what your prospects are looking for. Help Me Help You!

Video Mystery Shopping: Tips for Building a Better Builder’s Story

Oftentimes when watching video mystery shops, the SA’s tend to struggle with the Builder’s story. They either don’t bring up the builder AT ALL during the presentation or they have a tendency to recite a canned speech about how the builder is a ‘quality, family owned builder’….which can get very BORING!

older people

Let’s face it….your prospects are probably visiting several builders during their home search. Your job is to provide a builders story that will make YOUR builder memorable and unique! Imagine that! A builder that your prospect will actually remember long after they have left your sales office. So, how do you do this?

Here are a couple of tips for you:
1. Don’t make your presentation boring! The fact that you have been in business since 1956 is honorable, but does it really impact your prospect? The fact that you are a quality builder is great, but don’t you think your prospect already assumes you are a quality builder? To make your builders story stand out think about what makes you different and better than the other builders. Try this exercise, fill in the blank: “We are the only builder in (your city) that (your uniqueness). Answers may range from ‘offers a no down payment option’ to ‘builds with brick’ to ‘offers award winning energy features’.

2. Avoid the ‘Pronoun Problem’. Too often SA’s refer to the builder as ‘they’ or ‘them’ during the presentation. This immediately distances you from your builder. It creates an us vs. them scenario. Try using the pronoun WE when referring to your builder. WE build in communities throughout Tampa Bay. WE offer an award winning energy efficient program. WE allow you to customize’

3. Ask your prospect’s if they have ever built a new home before. If they answer YES, then continue by asking them what they LIKED and DISLIKED about the process. This allows you to collect key information that can be used to customize and personalize your builder’s story. If your prospect has never built a new home, then your line of questioning changes. You can ask them about their expectations and then craft your builder’s story to reflect on that.

Bottom line, your builder’s story is your brand. It’s your secret sales weapon! By crafting and sharing an excellent builder’s story, you not only gain credibility and trust with your prospects, but you are able to affiliate yourself with a brand that is much bigger than you alone.

Video Mystery Shopping: Customize and Personalize – It’s the only way to sell

show a homeIn July, I had the opportunity to attend The Southeast Building Conference (SEBC) in Orlando. It was great connecting with old friends and sitting in on some excellent educational programs. The one common theme that I heard over and over amongst the speakers was the importance of customizing and personalizing your sales presentation if you want to make the sale.

I have been preaching this to the choir for several years now, so I was happy to hear how mainstream this has become in the home building industry.

At the Rockfest Sales & Marketing Rally, three industry speakers discussed marketing and selling to different groups of people: Women, the over 50 crowd, and Millennials. The information was fascinating! In fact, so fascinating that it made me realize that if you were to try to sell a home to a woman yet used the approach that millennials prefer, there is not a chance in the world it would work! In fact, it would probably backfire in your face!
New home sales associates have to realize that the selling process is not as easy as it once was. You can’t just lead your prospects around the model home, feature dumping about every fixture in the home, and expect them to purchase! No way, you’ve got to get inside their minds…you have to do the work to determine WHAT it is they want, and then build your presentation around that. No two sales presentations are EVER going to be the same. Each is individually crafted and delivered to meet the specific needs, wants and desires of your prospect. If you don’t learn that now, chances are you won’t be selling new homes in the future.

So, what’s the best way to customize and personalize your sales presentation? By asking the right questions in order to get the information you need to create your presentation. I would also recommend doing some research (YES, research) on buying triggers, marketing strategies, and selling techniques of different demographics and cultures. In today’s world, there is no one size fits all.

Video Mystery Shopping: Don’t fear the shop!

Businessman with bag over head giving thumbs upVideo Mystery Shopping…..those three words have been known to increase the blood pressure of new home sales associates to deadly levels. Let’s face it, MOST sales associates would rather have a root canal performed (without Novocain!) than be video shopped. I totally get that no one likes seeing themselves on camera and I certainly understand that sometimes the camera position on a video shopper can lead to some unflattering shops, but let’s put all that aside for a moment and let me give you some FACTS about why video shopping is effective and good for you!

FACT 1: Most top performing sales associates welcome a video shop because it is an opportunity to improve their presentation skills. Improved skills = More Sales = More $$

FACT 2: Companies that use video shopping as a training tool are investing in their employees and have a true desire for them to improve. We often work with builders that utilize our three step method of Video Shopping, Coaching, and Training. This program works because it is specific to the needs of the sales team.

FACT 3: Video shops are a great way to get a ‘snap shot’ of what’s going on in your sales offices, thus allowing the sales manager to see what areas the team needs to be trained on. For example, if the video shops reveal that no one is asking for the sale, closing skills might be a good topic for training.

FACT 4: Video shops are NOT all about pointing out the weaknesses of the individual; they should also be used to point out the strengths of the individuals.

FACT 5: The true purpose of a video shop is to train and provide a baseline for your sales team. If used properly, your sales team will improve their presentation skills, become better closers, and make more sales. Isn’t that the main goal?

If you are planning to attend the Southeast Building Conference (SEBC) be sure to attend the educational workshop ‘Ten Tips to Ace Your Video Mystery Shop’ on Friday, July 17th at 11 am presented by our very own sales coach and trainer Leah Turner.

Leah Turner has watched hundreds of video shops and has coached hundreds of sales associates on how to improve not only their video shop scores, but also their overall sales presentations….resulting in MORE SALES. If you want to learn how to ACE your next video shop, perfect your sales presentation, and increase sales join Leah to discover what the best and most successful sales associates in the home building industry are doing differently.

Video Mystery Shopping: Objections are directional signs leading you to the close!

problems and solution signpostBuyer’s objections can often derail sales people and end up blowing up the sale. Objections CAN be deal breakers if not identified and overcome quickly.

The problem with objections is that most new home sales consultants view them as a negative. They don’t want to deal with them or, if they do, they just want to provide an immediate solution to the objection and move on. We have actually seen sales consultants IGNORE objections presented by their prospects. Obviously, this is not a good way to handle objections.

Objections are actually powerful selling signs which, when handled properly, actually lead the sales associate closer to the sale. The goal with handling objections is to flush them out early and respond in a calm, convincing way that neutralizes the prospect’s concern.
Below is the 4 step process that we recommend using each time you are presented with an objection.

STEP 1: Validate/Show Empathy – This lets your prospect know you have heard them and validated their point. ‘That’s a great observation!’, ‘I understand what you are saying’, ‘Thank you for pointing that out to me’

STEP 2: Question/Clarify – This allows you to clarify exactly what they are objecting about. Believe it or not, many times there can be a miscommunication between what the prospect has said and what the sales consultant actually interprets. ‘So, tell me specifically what it is about the kitchen layout that isn’t working for you’

STEP 3: Offer Solutions (if possible) – Not all objections will have a solution, but if there is one, this is the place to provide it. ‘Here are a couple of suggestions that may work for you’.

STEP 4: Confirm it is resolved or not a deal breaker – At this point you want to make sure that this objection is no longer going to persuade them regarding the purchase of the home. ‘So, do you think that idea will work for you regarding the kitchen layout?’

BONUS TIP: Another great way to handle objections is to ask the prospect at the beginning of your sales presentation to name their 3 MUST HAVES in their new home. This way, if you are presented with an objection during the model demonstration, IE. ‘These secondary bedrooms seem too small’, you can simply remind your prospect of what those three must haves were (assuming one wasn’t large secondary bedrooms!). This reminds the prospect to focus more on what they REALLY want in a new home, and not get caught up in the smaller details.

Video Mystery Shopping: Follow up can make or break the deal!

A tyPortrait of a smiling businesswoman with phonepical scenario I see often in video mystery shops has to do with following up. Here’s what happens, we send our shoppers out as an ‘A’ prospect. They are ready, willing, and able to buy. Their home is sold, they’re the sole decision maker, they LOVE what you are showing them, and they correctly fill out the registration card. After visiting the community, they check their email inbox and…..NOTHING, NADA, ZIP!

Shopper ‘A’ is an ideal customer. It amazes me that they don’t receive follow up from the sales associates. If the ‘A’ prospects are not being followed up with, I seriously doubt the B’s or C’s are!
Houston…..we have a serious problem here. Think about it….when you are shopping for a home, chances are you are going to visit SEVERAL communities. You are going to see SEVERAL sales associates. You are going to become overwhelmed with everything you have seen and heard. Chances are you may get home and not remember who was who and what was what.

But, when you receive follow up from the sales associate that you met at Windsong, who thanks you for stopping by and then provides you with the information about the surrounding schools you requested, all of a sudden you remember!

Then a few days later, you are checking your mailbox and lo and behold….there is a handwritten letter from Mary at Windsong with a $10 Starbucks certificate (because you had told her how much you love their Frappuccinos). Wow. You are impressed! In her note she also invites you to come back the following Saturday because the neighborhood is having a pool party and she wants to introduce your family to some of the other families and their children. You see, Mary remembered your 10 year old daughter Kelly was anxious about moving and making new friends. See where I am going with this? Follow up helps you build the relationship with your prospects. It allows you to continue to build rapport long after they’ve left your sales office.

My question has always been WHY in the world would you not follow up??? I’ve heard every excuse in the book. In most cases, I have found that laziness and lack of creative follow up ideas are the primary causes for no follow up.

Follow up must be engaging, informative and personalized….just like your sales presentations. Take the time to find out interesting things about your prospects. Do they have children or pets? What do they like to do in their spare time? What’s their favorite dessert? This will give you information to create great (and memorable!) follow up!
Remember, if you don’t follow up, chances are someone else will!

"Best shoppers I have seen…in my 25 years in the industry, this is the first time I have shopped and not one salesperson called me…..there was a great balance of being interested but letting the salesperson take the lead" Howard Darvin, DR Horton-Florida
"Melinda Brody and Company just shopped our entire team.... No one detected the shoppers,the scheduling was fast and easy and the quality of video superb. I highly recommend this firm" Becky Boucher, Beazer Homes
"You have the most user friendly reports I’ve seen..our last shopping company sent us a pile of DVD’s with no reports at all…" Chris O'Neal, Goodhall Homes-Nashville

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