Tag Archives: Melinda Brody book

Industry Update 2017

I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 International Builders Show in Orlando a couple weeks ago. By all accounts, the show was an overwhelming success! The trade show floor was a flurry of vendors and builders like no other I have seen. The training and educational tracks were in most cases, standing room only! The many people I had the opportunity to speak with were all highly optimistic about our industry in 2017! All excellent indicators that the building industry is ready for a strong, successful and profitable year!

A key point for new home builders to consider this year, more than ever before, is the needs of their buyers. Today’s buyer is smarter, savvier, and more knowledgeable than ever before!

There are five critical things that today’s buyer expect….and demands…during the sales experience. In order to be successful, you’ve got to be willing to provide them with the following:

  1. Information
  2. Ability to ask questions and listen
  3. A personalized presentation
  4. Be the problem solver
  5. Passion

Video Mystery Shopping: Benchmark 2015 The Results are in!

 

Melinda-Brody-Logo (2)

 

benchmark2015

From January to December 2015, Melinda Brody & Company gathered scorecards from more than 1000 video shops representing 36 different builders / divisions from across the country. We then compared 6 key questions. The graph above shows the percentage of new home sales associates that discussed the Builder, Demonstrated the Model, Demonstrated the Home Site and or Gained Agreement of Home Site, Asked for the Sale, Registered their prospect and Followed Up with the prospect.

These are the national results of our 2015 Benchmark Study. So, what does it mean? Well, let’s talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly!

The Good – Sales associates are registering their clients! A whopping 95% of them are doing this! Yeah! Also, the model demonstration has improved! 93% of the sales associates successfully completed this portion of the shop!

The Bad – Scores dropped this year in the Builder story, home site demo, and follow up. This tells me that these are areas that require additional training with your sales teams. I was shocked that the builder’s story dropped 15 %! This is a critical part of the sales presentation. It is also a part that the builder needs to be involved in providing. What’s YOUR USP (Unique Selling Proposition)? What sets you apart from the pack? Important questions

The Ugly – Our sales associates are still NOT closing. The score dropped to 47% in 2015. That means that 53% are not closing! This is particularly upsetting because the shoppers we send into your sales offices are READY, WILLING, and ABLE buyers. In the 30 years I have conducted video mystery shops, closing has ALWAYS ranked dead last. This year is no exception. This is an area that really needs to be focused on in your training and sales meetings. How do you ‘earn the right’ to ask for the sale?

If you need assistance in conducting training programs that can help your sales team in these areas, give us a call. We provide personalized and customized sales training for your team.
Want to learn more? Click here to view a short video.

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: Why One Size DOES NOT Fit all

Thumbs Up People Diversity Multiethnic Group ConceptLast month I was honored to be asked by Lasso to provide my insight as to what changes we will see in the area of sales in 2015. They asked several industry experts to provide their opinions. My quote is below:
“2015 is going to be all about personalization and customization in new home sales. There is no one-size-fits-all method anymore. Your sales presentations must be individualized for each and every person that walks through your sales office. The only way to master this type of personalized presentation is through powerful questioning, listening and discovery. Savvy sales people will be able to use this line of questioning to tailor their presentations to meet the specific needs, wants and desires of their prospects. If you want to succeed in sales in 2015, you will need to work very hard to identify what is REALLY important to your clients and then master your presentation skills and delivery.”

Some of you may be reading this and thinking ‘Well duh Melinda, this is what we do every day!’ I would beg to differ. In the past, sales associates have been able to get away with minimal questioning. And even then, most of the questions were then redirected back into the sales presentation. You know, ‘How many bedrooms are you looking for? Three? Well, then the Magnolia model is perfect for you!’

I am talking about taking questioning to an entire new level. This means digging deeper than ever before to truly find out what your buyer’s wants, needs and desires in their new home. I was watching a shop last week and after the initial ‘meet & greet’ the Sales Associate took the prospect into her office, got her pen and paper and said: ‘Our goal here today is to find out if we have a fit. If my product, community, home sites and builder meet your needs and expectations. In order to thoroughly explore this, I will be asking you several questions to identify what it is that YOU are looking for your new home and community.’

She then spent about 15 minutes having an in-depth conversation with the prospect. She asked questions and LISTENED to his responses…..she did ALL of this prior to ever showing him a floor plan, a site map or company brochure. I was impressed!
You see this young lady gets it. She understands that her job is not just to sell, sell, sell. The role of the Sales Associate has evolved into that of a new home advisor. Let’s face it, every person that walks into your sales office is not your buyers. Your job is to ask the important questions, listen to their answers and then make the recommendations that work best for their needs. The days of the ‘canned’ sales presentation are long gone. Personalization and customization are the only way to succeed in new home sales. Remember, one size DOES NOT fit all!

Video Mystery Shopping: Bring the Sizzle back to your Sales Meetings

Leah Turner

Leah Turner

Are you sales meetings motivating or boring? Do you regularly incorporate training ideas or just review housekeeping items? Does your sales team get excited about the sales meeting or would they prefer to have a root canal?

We know that planning and implementing dynamic, engaging and educational sales meetings week after week after week can be a challenge. This is why we are pleased to announce our new program for 2015….Sales Meeting Sizzlers! We will bring the Sizzle back to your sales meeting!

These individualized Sales Meeting Sizzler workshops presented by our sales coach, Leah Turner, are designed to provide intense focus and training on specific elements of a successful sales presentation. Each program includes a 45 minute presentation followed by an additional 30 minute interactive exercise to drive home the message. Sales Sizzlers are an ideal way to incorporate consistent training into your weekly sales meetings.

Ready to take your sales team to the next level?  It’s easy, all you do is select a topic or group of topics that you want to provide training on and we’ll do the rest!

TOPICS:

  1. Approach & Introduction: You had me at hello – How to make an excellent first impression and set the stage for the entire presentation.
  2. Qualifying: Getting to know you – Perfecting your questioning & listening skills to get the information needed to make the sale. Discover how to dig deeper through questioning to find out the buyers true buying motivation, wants, and needs.
  3. Setting the Stage – How to introduce the ‘close’ at the beginning of the presentation and be in full control of the presentation from start to finish.
  4. Overcoming Objections –  Learn how to successfully overcome objections through a simple four step process
  5. Closing Techniques & Effective Follow-Up – How to create a ‘window of opportunity’ to seize the sale
  6. Creating a buzz – Prospecting, lead generation, marketing, networking
  7. Building Strong Realtor Relationships – How to make Realtors your ‘community sales ambassadors’
  8. Goal Setting & Action Plans – Create step by step action plans to achieve your goals the SMART way
  9. Builder’s Promise – Craft the perfect Builder’s story that sets you apart from the competition.
  10.  Community – Learn how to create and sell a ‘lifestyle’ that your prospects
  11. Model demo – Master the art of ‘Show & Sell’ by focusing on a prospect driven demonstration vs. product driven
  12. Demo the dirt – How to successfully sell a home site
  • Customized Programs Available – Based on Builder input (Additional fee)

Interested in learning more? Contact Melinda Brody and Company.

Video Mystery Shopping – A new year awaits YOU!

allenamento duroThis is typically the time of year that we all begin thinking about making New Year’s resolutions. The ‘usual suspects’ typically make the list. You know the ones: lose weight, start exercising, start eating healthier…blah blah blah. I have never been a big fan of making resolutions because it always seems that come mid-February, I have fallen off the wagon and reverted back to my normal habits!

Many years ago I decided that instead of making resolutions I would set goals for myself, both personal and professional. In addition to setting the goals I create ACTION PLANS to assist me in reaching my goals. In my opinion, this is the most critical step in the entire process! You see, a goal without a plan is merely a WISH!

So, what are YOUR goals for 2015? Do you want to increase your sales? How about perfecting your sales presentation? Perhaps you want to build your Realtor relations in order to attain more sales?  Maybe you want to commit to obtaining additional training or earning your IRM designation. Now is the time to start thinking, planning, and preparing for 2015!

As you think of the goals you want to achieve in 2015, I would suggest you incorporate these steps.

  1. Write down every goal you want to achieve on a piece of paper.
  2. Create an action plan to achieve your goal. I suggest the SMART Goal method (http://topachievement.com/smart.html) Make sure that each goal is Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
  3. Set aside time to review your goals on a regular basis so you can monitor your progress. Perhaps it is every 2 weeks or every 30 days.
  4. Work with an Accountability Partner or Coach who will support you in your effort to achieve your goals. Set up weekly phone calls with this person to keep you on track.
  5. Create a vision board. This will allow you to visualize at what your world will look like once you achieve your goals!

Remember that old saying ‘people don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan’? Well, when it comes to setting and achieving goals, 99.9% of those who don’t make their goals don’t have a plan in place. Use this month to plan for your success in 2015! Happy Holidays to you all!

 

 

Video Mystery Shopping: Would YOU buy a home from YOU?

Woman with mirror trying new clothingIt’s no secret that people buy from people they like and trust. As a SA, your main focus (in addition to selling homes) is to be professional and develop rapport with your prospects. This means being upbeat, enthusiastic, engaged, and interested at all times. When a prospect walks into your sales office it is ‘SHOW TIME’. Even if you are having a lousy day, you need to block that from your mind and put 100% of your effort and attention on your client.

It’s not much different from being a Broadway star! Tourists flock to New York’s theatre district every night, paying hundreds of dollars to see Broadway shows. Can you imagine if the actors came on stage feeling tired, depressed, and flubbing their lines? Thousands of people would be greatly disappointed!

In new home sales, your model center is your stage and you are the star. It is your job to treat your prospects like your audience on opening night! Give them the five star treatment!

In our Video Mystery Shopping evaluation and report, we rate SAs in the following areas regarding their appearance and demeanor:

  1. Did the SA appear energetic and enthusiastic?
  2. Did the SA demonstrate a professional, courteous, friendly demeanor?
  3. Did the SA have an organized presentation?
  4. Did the SA seem in control of the sales process?
  5. Did the SA listen well?
  6. Did the SA attempt to build rapport with the prospect?
  7. Did the SA have good product knowledge?
  8. Did the SA handle traffic well?
  9. Did the SA handle interruptions well?
  10. Did the SA seem genuinely interested in the prospects?

Some of these items may seem very simple and basic to you….sort of like common sense/no brainers. However, you would be surprised at the number of people who do NOT score well in this category. I understand that we are all not extroverted, life of the party type people. You don’t need to be. But, you DO need to be able to build rapport and conduct a professional sales presentation.  Consider this your ‘cheat sheet’. If you practice and perfect these ten items, I can promise you that the results will be well worth the effort!

Video Mystery Shopping: 28 years of reflection

Young MelindaOctober is always a reflective month for me. It marks the business anniversary for Melinda Brody & Company (28 years!).  Take a look at the picture on the right, it was way back in the 80s! Big shoulder pads, big hair….yep, that was me!

Each year, I take some time to think about years past. I think about what I have learned over the years, and plan my goals for the upcoming year. This year I took it a step further and came up with the Top 5 things I have learned from being an entrepreneur business owner and a longtime member of the home building industry. I call them my personal secrets of success!

  1. You must have a real passion for what you do. Over the years, this industry has experienced tremendous highs and super scary lows. I realized a long time ago that if the only reason I was in the business was to make money, I should get another job. You have to truly love what you do.
  2. Don’t burn bridges. The homebuilding industry is small, and most people who are a part of this fabulous industry make it a lifelong career. Treat everyone you meet along the way with dignity and respect. You never know, that purchasing assistant that you are rude to may one day be a division president! That receptionist that you treat poorly may one day be your sales manager!
  3. Don’t take it personally. Rejection and disappointment are part of the reality of any career. There will be days when you feel like you are ‘king of the world’ and days when you won’t want to get out of bed. If you take everything personally, your emotions will set off on a wild roller coaster ride. I’ve had clients come and go, and if I took it to heart every time I lost an account, I wouldn’t have made it 28 years in the business.
  4. Celebrate your successes. Take the time to celebrate your wins, even the small ones! Set goals, but also set mini-goals. This keeps you motivated and on track. The home building industry can be tough. There is a lot of pressure! So, why not take the time to celebrate all the milestones, big and small!
  5. Treat every customer like they are your only customer. In my business I have some accounts that order 200 video mystery shops a year and others that order just 2. But, you would never know that by the way my staff and I respond to their needs. In our world, every customer deserves to be treated like they are the most important client we have. Because, in reality, they are!

I want to thank all my friends and customers who have supported me over the years. You all have made a huge impact on me and on Melinda Brody & Company. Thank you.

 

Video Mystery Shopping: Fantastic Follow Up Finale

Portrait of a smiling businesswoman with phoneIt is imperative to not only follow up with your prospects, but follow up in a customized, personalized manner that makes a lasting impression. Remember, you’ve got a lot of competition out there, so your follow up needs to be fantastic in order to be memorable.

In our shopping reports, many SA’s receive points for doing the follow up but the follow up they typically send is boring, bland and blah! In those cases, it’s actually better NOT following up, but not by much. Most SA’s follow up with their customers by using something that actually sounds like a form letter or template. It isn’t personalized and, most importantly, it isn’t about the prospect.

These boring follow up letters usually read like this:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Jones,

Thank you for your interest in Willow Trace Estates. As you know ABC Builders has been in business for over 25 years! We would love to make you part of the family.

Please call me or email me if you have any questions or if you would like to set up a another appointment.

Thank you again for your interest.

Sincerely,

Susan Salesperson

Anybody else out there yawning??? If you want to gain the competitive edge with your prospects and make a lasting impression, consider these three different types of follow up letters.

  1. Tie Key Points to Home Features – while you were demonstrating the model did Mrs. Smith talk about how much she LOVES to cook and entertain? If so, in your follow up letter be sure to point out the expansive kitchen and dining room areas of the home. Make your letter specific to their wants, needs and must haves in a new home.
  2. Try the Quirky Approach – Try sending your follow up letter to the family pet or the prospect’s children. This gives you a chance to reiterate the LARGE backyard or the excellent school system. Plus, it is very memorable.
  3. Get Creative and Crafty – If you find out the prospects have a specific hobby or activity they enjoy why not send them a little gift that ties in with that. For example, if the prospects like to drink coffee, consider sending a $10 Starbucks certificate with your follow up. Or, if they are into the beach, send a little jar with sand in it to remind them how close your community is to the beach.

Develop your follow up plan as soon as the prospects leave your sales office. Use the notes you made during the presentation to design something unique and memorable. If you zero in on what is important to your prospects and become a valuable resource, I promise you they will be delighted to take your follow up call!