Tag Archives: new home sales consultant

Video Mystery Shopping: We’ve been building quality homes since 1902…. Perfecting your Builder’s Story

graphic-book“The SA mentioned that her builder was one of the best in the area, except for the illegal stuff that happened at corporate a few years ago”

This is an actual quote from my book They Said WHAT??!! Behind the Scenes of 25,000 Undercover Video Mystery Shops.  Sadly, we can’t make this stuff up! For the first time in 30 years of mystery shopping the builder’s story ranked dead last in our 2015 Benchmark Study. Only 46% of those we video shopped last year even mentioned their builder. I was shocked! Your builder is your brand!

When I talk to Sales Associates many of them tell me they ‘forget’ to tell their builder’s story. Or, they don’t know how to properly introduce the builder without sounding ‘canned’. Here are a couple of tips to help you incorporate your builder’s story with every one of your prospects.

  1. Ask them if they have ever built a new home before. This is one of the best questions you can ask! If they have built a new home, ask them to share with you what they liked and disliked about the experience. This will give provide you with their ‘hot buttons’. Once they give you that information, you can craft your builder’s story to address their issues.
  2. If they have never built a new home before, they are probably pretty clueless about the whole process. This is your opportunity to share with them how YOUR builder does things differently and better than the others. Again, an opportunity to explain your process
  3. Ask them what is important to them in a new home builder! Are they concerned about value, reputation, quality of craftsmanship? By asking them this question, they will tell you what they are most interested in getting from their builder.
  4. Trial close on your builder! After sharing your builder’s story, ask them if your builder is one they would feel comfortable with moving forward in the process
  5. Identify the top 10 things that set your builder apart from the competition. These are called Unique Selling Propositions (USPs). This is your brand! This is WHY people would build with you versus other new home builders.
  6. Make your builder’s story engaging and vibrant! No one wants to hear that you are a quality builder that has been building homes since 1902. BORING!
  7. When discussing your builder or your building process, always use the pronoun ‘WE’ instead of ‘they’ or ‘them’. In your prospects’ mind YOU are the builder!

Bottom line, your builder’s story is your secret weapon. Not all builders are alike. This is your opportunity to shine!

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!

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: 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!

Video Mystery Shopping – Realtors, Realtors, Realtors!

Business people in officeIt seems as though new home sales people have always had a ‘love/hate’ relationship with the Realtor community. I never fully understood why. It’s seems like a pretty simple formula for increasing sales if you ask me.

  1. Let Realtors know about your community
  2. Realtors bring their clients to your community
  3. You sell these people a home!

Win….Win…Win!

Ironically, in the past few weeks I have spoken to several of my clients that are incorporating big Realtor events into their marketing plans. These builders are hosting Realtor events, creating big promotions with expensive prizes,   and basically doing whatever they can to entice the Realtors to visit their communities. I love it! As I have said before, Realtors are your secret weapon. If you develop a strong network with the right Realtors, your job becomes much easier. It is often said that generating leads to sales offices can be one of the most challenging aspects of the job. When you have a ‘team’ of Realtors that you have built strong relationships with, they become an integral part of your lead generation.

So, if the builders are doing their part to get the Realtors out to the communities, what can YOU do to help support these efforts?

  1. Find out who the key Realtors are in your geographic area and price range. Once you have identified who they are, make a point to visit the office and meet the players. This will give you a chance to let them know about your community.
  2. Look at your sales report from the past year; see which Realtors are actually bringing buyers to your community. Give them a call to thank them for their support. Better yet….take them to lunch!
  3. Reach out to the branch managers of the top real estate offices in your area and offer to bring bagels to the next sales meeting in exchange for getting 10 – 15 minutes  to talk about your community with the group.
  4. Use social media to keep in contact with your Realtors. Whether it is via Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, keep them posted on what’s happening in your community.
  5. Start a Realtor e-newsletter. Each month send this to your Realtor database, and include a ‘call to action’, perhaps it is something as simple as having a weekly drawing for a $25 gas card or Panera gift card for all the Realtors that have brought a prospect to your community.

Realtors, Realtors, Realtors…..they really are your secret sales weapon.

Video Mystery Shopping – Let’s Wrap Things Up!

sold houseClosing is all about timing. There are signals. If you miss them, you miss the window of opportunity to take the sales to the next level. The goal to closing is to wrap things up with a win-win. Your customers commit to a gorgeous, brand new home that fits their needs and that they can afford. You’re the reason they’re improving their lives by asking them to move forward with the sale!

So, what is the best way to wrap things up and move towards the sale? Here are a few helpful tips.

  1. Build rapport. Become your prospect’s trusted advisor! People will do business with people that they know, like and TRUST.
  2. Listen and ask questions. The more information you know about your prospects, the easier it becomes to find them the ideal home! Really dig deep to find out what their needs, wants and desires are in their new home, home site, community and neighborhood!
  3. Personalize the presentation. No one likes a ‘canned’ presentation, especially when you are talking about one of the largest, most expensive purchases they will ever make in their lives! When you are demonstrating the home and the home site, tailor it specifically to the prospect. If you know the prospect has children or pets, make sure you include them in your presentation as well. A FAMILY will be moving into the home, and you need to think about how the entire family will use the home.
  4. Use trial closes throughout the presentation. ‘Does this floor plan work for you and your family?’, ‘How would you use the space in the bonus room?’, ‘You mentioned you liked to cook, does the large kitchen in this home work for you?’ Get the customers buy in every step of the way! In doing so, the close will be much more natural because you will just be repeating back to the customer what they have already told you.
  5. Seize the opportunity – ask for the sale! If you don’t ask, the answer is ALWAYS No.

A final thought, ‘closing’ doesn’t have to be pushy, annoying, uncomfortable or obnoxious. If you do everything leading up to the close, you will have EARNED the right to wrap it up. After all, your job is to play matchmaker between your prospects and your product. If it is a perfect match, you are not doing anyone any favors by NOT asking to move forward.

Video Mystery Shop – Training is the ticket!

melindaThe phone at work has been ringing off the hook lately! We are getting many calls from our clients interested in setting up training sessions for their sales teams. As I always say ‘Training is the Ticket’. As a sales manager, you have to realize that you are also the in-house sales trainer and coach. Your team looks to you for advice, resources, motivation and feedback. However, you also need to realize that you don’t have to do it all on your own!

Melinda Brody & Company did a survey last year, and it was revealed that most sales managers have a very difficult time fitting the ‘training’ aspect of their jobs into the normal work week. Here are a couple of suggestions on how YOU can actually provide consistent, creative and solid training for your team.

  1. Devote 15 – 20 minutes at each sales meeting to training. In my book, They Said What??!! – Behind the Scenes of 25,000 Video Mystery Shops, I have dedicated several chapters to providing you with quick, easy, and effective sales training exercises. We cover everything from qualifying and overcoming objections to demonstrating the dirt and closing the deal. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel each week.
  2. Delegate the training. Ask each member of your sales team to write down a topic on an index card that they would like to be trained on. Put all the index cards in a large basket. Each week, ask one of your sales associates to select a card from the basket and conduct an impromptu training session for the team.  Encourage feedback, role play and engagement from the rest of the team.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the exchange of ideas, resources, and information!
  3. Hire outside consultants to come in and conduct additional training on specific target areas. One thing we offer at Melinda Brody & Company is follow up coaching and training after the video mystery shops. This training is specific to the needs of your team! After your team is shopped, we run reports that can pinpoint the exact areas that your team needs additional training on. This is personalized and customized to meet your needs!
  4. Look around at your team of experts (design center manager, internet sales manager, production department, etc.) Ask them to come into your sales meeting and conduct a 15 minute training session on their area of expertise.

Training is an on-going necessity in new home sales; however, it should not be a huge, time consuming project for you. If you would like to discuss additional training or coaching ideas, please feel free to give us a call! After all, training really is the TICKET to a successful sales team!

Video Mystery Shopping: An objection is just a directional sign!

problems and solution signpostI was conducting a coaching session with a seasoned sales associate a few months back and we were discussing overcoming objections. He was telling me how much he LOVED overcoming prospect’s objections. This surprised me because most sales associates in new home sales would much rather have a root canal than deal with a buyer’s objection. When I asked him why he enjoyed overcoming objections so much, he replied “Melinda, an objection is really just a directional sign pointing you towards the close!”

Now, how clever is that? And, indeed, how true it is! Think about it, if a prospect is giving you an objection what they are really doing is telling you that they are interested in moving forward but need to get through a particular challenge or situation in order to do so. If they were not interested AT ALL in your product, they would just keep quiet!

Objections are your opportunity to ‘move the prospect closer to the close’. As my client said, objections are directional signs!

One thing that is very important to understand about objections is that you WON’T be able to overcome all of them. I don’t care how good of a sales person you are, there is NO WAY you can overcome every objection that you are going to face. However, that is OK. This gives you the chance to put the objection into perspective for the prospect.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you have a prospect that LOVES everything about a specific home EXCEPT for the fact that is does not have a formal dining area. Chances are you are not going to be able to have your builder change the entire floor plan to include a formal dining area, right? So, instead, you have to determine how important this feature is to the client so you can put it into perspective for them. This is done through questioning. For example:

SA: I understand that it is important to you to have a formal dining area. Why is this important to you? Do you do a lot of entertaining? As we discussed this home features a large kitchen and open dining area as well. Would that work for you instead?

Prospect: No, I REALLY want a formal dining room. It is how all my previous homes have been laid out.

SA: Well, I can appreciate that. However, I wanted to point out (INSERT ALL THE FEATURES THEY LOVE ABOUT THE HOME). This home seems to work for you in every way possible with the exception of the formal dining room. Is this something that you could work with and look at alternative ideas for your dining space?

At this point the prospect will now have to weigh the options being presented. In many cases, through this line of questioning, the prospect will be able to determine if this objection is a deal breaker. Most times, it isn’t. But, if it is….that’s OK too! Your job is to find the perfect match for your prospects! Objections are the powerful tools that help you do your job!