Tag Archives: new homes sales training

Video Mystery Shopping: What was your name again?

dissatisfied angry young woman haired girl in red dress emotion isolated on white backgroundOn the Video Mystery Shopping scoring sheet, there is a question that reads: “Did the SA use the prospect’s name more than twice during the visit?” Now, initially you might be thinking, “That is a silly question to ask! Of COURSE the SA used the prospect’s name AT LEAST twice during the sales presentation!” Well my friends, you would be surprised!

In about 75% of ALL the video mystery shops we review, the SA DOES NOT use the prospect’s name more than twice….in fact in most of the video shops the SA doesn’t even use the prospect’s name once!

How can this be? I have asked SA’s countless times why they don’t use their prospect’s names, and  the first response I normally get is ‘Oh, I am HORRIBLE at remembering names! And then I am too embarrassed to ask them again what their name is.”

OK, I get that. But, let me ask you this….can you honestly tell me that you would be comfortable asking someone to purchase a $500K home without even knowing what their name is? I can just picture it now ‘Hey, what’s your face, do you want to move forward in the purchase of this home?’

If you are not good at remembering names, here are a few suggestions for you that will help.

  1. During the sales presentation, carry a clipboard with you. Write the prospect’s name BIG AND BOLD on a sheet of paper that is on the clipboard. This way you can easily glance down and see it.
  2. Try using the prospect’s name a minimum of 3 -5 times during the first 20 minutes of the presentation. For example, “Sarah, tell me what’s important to you in your new home?” , “Have you ever built a new home before, Sarah?’
  3. If your prospect has an unusual or hard to pronounce name, ask them to say it for you. This can be done by simply saying “You have such a unique and beautiful name, would you mind repeating it again for me?”
  4. Use an Alliteration Memory tactic. For example, if your prospect’s name is Sam, notice something about him that also begins with an S. Sam is wearing sunglasses. Sunglass Sam. This may sound silly but it really works!

The bottom line, do whatever you need to do to remember your prospect’s name and USE IT.



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!


  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 – 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 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!

Video Mystery Shopping: Model Demonstration – Sell the Sizzle!

Steaks on barbecue

Have you ever heard the saying ‘Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak’? For all of us in the new home building industry, I prefer to say ‘Romance the Home, Don’t Just Sell the Stone’. It means that benefits, not features, will ultimately make the sale. All homes have a roof, doors, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc…..you have to find a way to set your home apart from the competition.

It is important to realize that when prospective buyers come in to your sales office….they have a certain ‘lifestyle’ they are envisioning that will come with buying a new home. They aren’t just interested in buying four walls and a roof, with energy efficient features and lovely standard cabinets. They want to build and buy ‘their dream home’. It becomes your job is to *paint* a visual picture for them that will enable them to see themselves living in that home, enjoying that lifestyle! You’ve got to make them ‘fall in love’ with YOUR home, in YOUR community.

So, how do you do this? How to you shift from ‘feature dumping’ to ‘selling the sizzle’? Here are four simple tips that will get your prospects to fall in LOVE with your home!

The L.O.V.E theory…..

Listen – Ask your prospects about their lifestyle and what they enjoy doing. What do they like about their current residence? What would they change about their existing home? Why are they leaving? What is most important to them in a new home and a neighborhood? And then, shut up and LISTEN to their answers! I mean REALLY listen to them. Don’t interrupt them….Don’t tell them what YOU like….allow them to be open and honest with you. This is going to give you the most important piece of information you will need to make the sale. The information they share with you will allow you to craft a PERSONALIZED sales presentation to meet their specific needs, wants and desires.

Omit the Feature Dumping – As tempting as it is to tell your prospect every single bit of information you can about the home site, the quality construction, the building materials, and every single standard feature in the home (feature dumping); selectively create your presentation to focus of what is important to them. Your job here is to get them to fall in love with the home, not become an expert on the entire home building process!  Also, if it isn’t important to them, it will have no bearing in making the sale. ASK your prospects: ‘What’s important to YOU in your new home?’

Visualize – Paint a visual picture of your prospects living in the home. Ask them if they can see themselves celebrating the holidays in their new family room. Find out what type of furniture they currently have and how they would place it in their new home. While in the kitchen, ask who does most of the cooking and then ask them if the kitchen works for their needs. When you take them to the home site, have them stand in their *future* backyard envisioning the big cook-out they are having with the neighbors! If they have children, discuss where they would put the swing set.

Engage – Get your prospects physically involved in your model demonstration! Before entering your model home (through the front door, of course!), hand your prospect the keys and allow THEM to unlock the door. Ask them to open the cabinets to feel the quality of the wood. Match your tempo with that of the prospects. Allow them to be the first to enter and leave each room. Let them set the pace of the model walk. Let them linger! The longer they linger, the closer they are to LOVE.



Video Mystery Shopping: Who Cares about the Community??

Golf Course and buggies

Recently I was watching a video mystery shop, and the sales associate was giving the ‘shopper’ a tour of the community. This particular community was a golf course community and featured not one, but two champion golf courses designed by some very famous pro golfer. The sales associate was going into GREAT detail about the golf courses. He was discussing greens fees, golf pros, and even level of difficulty about each course. He was getting very excited and animated as he shared this information with the shopper, who by the way was an elderly single woman.

Finally, after about 25 minutes, he looked at the woman (who by now had a glazed over expression on her face) and asked her if she was a golfer. Her answer? No. In fact, not only was she NOT a golfer, she didn’t know the first thing about golf. She wouldn’t have known the difference between Tiger Woods and Tony the Tiger!

The sales associate’s broad smiled quickly faded away and you literally could feel the awkwardness of the situation coming straight through the video! Now, before you jump to conclusions, let me make this very clear….it is imperative that the sales associate be very knowledgeable about his or her community golf course, however, the mistake was in not ASKING THE PROSPECT if golf was an important community amenity to her.

You see, if it isn’t important to YOUR BUYER….it isn’t important to the sale.

I recommend that before you launch into a full dissertation about your community, that you first determine what is important to your buyer. It will save you a lot of time and allow you to personalize your presentation to the buyer.

Simply asking your buyer questions like ‘What is important to you in a community?’ or  ‘What do you like to do in your free time?’ will give you the information you need to customize your presentation to meet their needs.

Asking questions is the quickest, easiest and most direct way of gathering information that will move you closer to the sale. No one expects you to know all the answers! But, your buyers do expect you to take the time to get to know them and uncover their wants and needs…..

Video Mystery Shopping: Sale + Service = Satisfaction!

Earlier this month I spent a week in Vegas attending the International Builders Show. It was a fabulous! Seeing old friends, meeting new people, speaking in front of engaged audiences, heck, I even squeezed in some time to hike the Red Rock Canyon!  There was however, one part of the trip that I was not happy about. I was so unhappy about it, that I’ve decided to make it my blog topic this week.

Let me explain, when I go to the International Builder’s Show each year, I stay for a week. I usually select a hotel that is within walking distance of the convention center. As a speaker, I have to be at the convention center throughout the day and the idea of waiting for a shuttle bus to transport me did not appeal to me. So, this year I decided to make the Las Vegas Hotel my home away from home for the week.

The hotel staff was extremely helpful and knowledgeable when I called to book my reservations. I am in no way a Diva, but when I travel for extended periods of time I do have certain room requests. “Not a problem at all Ms. Brody,” chirped the front desk reservationist when I explained my rooming needs. So, the HOTEL got ‘the sale’.

Everything was fine……until I checked it. What’s the old saying about Murphy’s Law? Anything that can go wrong – will go wrong. That would sum up my experience at this hotel. Here is a sampling of just a few of the ‘challenges’ that I was faced with!

  1. Because the hotel was sold out, I was given a handicap accessible room, complete with a hand held shower head that flooded the bathroom not once, not twice, but three times!
  2. The television in my room did not work, and no one at the front desk seemed to want to be bothered by fixing it.
  3. While I was TRYING to relax at the hotel’s spa by soaking in the ladies hot tub, a MALE maintenance man decided it was time to begin repairs on the ladies steam room. Now, this may not sounds like much….but, I was scantily clad at the time (to say the least) and I was in the WOMEN’S facility….so, a big, burly maintenance man is NOT what I was expecting!
  4. The hotel was overbooked, which meant that every restaurant, café, gift shop, etc. was packed. The employees were not friendly; in fact in some cases they were downright RUDE!
  5. Upon checkout, the hotel clerk argued with me over an incorrect charge on my statement. She said, and I quote, “I have worked here for 35 years and I am NEVER wrong!” Really??

Boy, was I happy to get back to Orlando! Upon return, I decided to write a letter to the general manager about the lack of service and the unprofessionalism I had experienced. He responded to me and as a ‘peace’ offering said he would upgrade me to a SUITE at the hotel the next time I was in Vegas. Now, wait a minute…..I had just experienced the worst possible service EVAH, why in the world would I go back for more? I politely explained all of this to him, and he FINALLY got it. He deducted $300 off my bill. So, what does this have to do with new home sales? Everything! As a new home sales person, your job truly BEGINS once the sale is made….you see, it is the SERVICE that folks will remember. And, if that service is good, they will refer and recommend you time after time. If however, like in my case, the service sucks…..you can bet your bottom dollar word will get out. Remember, Sales + Service = Satisfaction. If you are not providing the service, you are not completing the sale.

Video Mystery Shopping: A wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a WOLF!

Once when I was a little girl, my mother tried to get me to eat lima beans. Now, I don’t like lima beans…..never have and never will. Anyway, back then, I had never actually eaten a lima bean before, but I could tell by the way they looked (and smelled) that lima beans would probably never make it on my Top Ten favorite foods list. Anyway, Mother decided to disguise the limas by hiding them in a casserole and neglecting to tell me they were in there. Well, I took a bite of the casserole, immediately tasted a lima, and promptly spit out my food! (Mother was not real pleased with my reaction; but she also never hid lima beans in any more dishes either!) Continue reading

Video Mystery Shopping: Does this dress make me look fat? The TRUTH about honest Feedback!

Part 1 of a 2 part series. Published in Sales & Marketing Ideas Magazine

“Boy, do I look FAT in that outfit! And, do I really have a DOUBLE CHIN??” 

“OMG! I can’t believe I wore that suit! Look at how wrinkled my jacket is!!”

“I look so old and tired! They must have distorted MY video!” Continue reading

Video Mystery Shopping: Take the time to KNOW your customers!

I have a certain Panera Bread that I frequent in Altamonte Springs, FL. I go there to write my blogs, collect my thoughts and just get out of the office! There is a woman there who works the front counter, Vicki, and she is someone that I think we can all learn from. Vicki has been working at this Panera Bread for many years and has taken the time to get to know her customers. Imagine that! Continue reading