Thursday, January 13, 2011

10 Successful Rules of New Homes Sales

On a football team every player understands their role. If there is confusion, there is loss of opportunity. The same goes for sales, says Manny Schatz, principal of Professional Builders Services.

Schatz and sales manager Cyd Vacio co-presented at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando Wednesday, describing the role real estate practitioners play in serving buyers while divulging essential tips on how to succeed in new homes sales.

Here are their 10 rules to follow:

1. Be Prepared: This goes for your attitude, your offering, and your understanding of the local market. Know who your buyers are and what they need. You also want to know what your competition is doing – read data, secret shop, and open shop. Quick Tip: create a competition spreadsheet and keep it current.

2. Greeting: Everyone’s heard the same typical sales greeting …a handshake, an exchange of names, and the same five-minute spiel. But those potential clients may have already seen eight to 12 homes and as many as 20 floor plans. Then how do you stand out? Each client should be greeted uniquely and appropriately to establish a great first impression. “If you begin like every other sales team, you’re your own worst enemy,” Schatz says. “Consider what it takes to begin to establish a relationship, because essentially that’s what you’re doing.” He suggests welcoming someone into your business as you would welcome someone into your own home. Quick Tip: Make eye contact, smile, repeat their name, and give a compliment, such as about their children, car, or sweater.

3. Qualifying Through Questioning/Listening: Be an active listener. Your successes reflect how well you listened to and interpreted your clients’ points. A good start to becoming an active listener is visualizing and accepting yourself as a caring person, Schatz says. “If you’re truly listening, you’ll detect clues to help guide them to the right decision,” Schatz says. Quick Tip: Practice your listening skills every day, take careful notes, allow your clients enough time to understand the process, and never interrupt.

4. Home Presentation: Homes generally evoke feelings of comfort and warmth – and in new home sales you want to convey that the home was built just for your clients. “People do not buy on specifications; they buy on emotion,” Schatz says. “They have to move in emotionally before they purchase.” Set the stage before they see the home – talk about the community, the yard, evenings on the front porch. By the time you get to the interior demo, you should already know the buying motives of your clients – point out those features that they shared as being important to them. Do they like to entertain? Point out where they can put the buffet table or the space in the backyard for summer get-togethers. Quick Tip: Vacio uses her smartphone to snap a photo of her clients in their favorite room of a house, which she then e-mails it to them. Memorable and special for the clients, and a great way to get their contact information, too!

5. Homesite Presentation: The attributes of that particular piece of land – views, surroundings, trees, birds, neighboring community – these features help create the unique value of that property. Don’t just walk your clients around outside; instead, explain to them those features of the property. Quick Tip: Give your clients a checklist of those special homesite elements along with a highlighter to get them involved.

6. Objections: Objections are part of the home buying process – often they are valid concerns that have to be addressed; otherwise the client won’t purchase. Objections can also be raised out of fear of the unknown. Hear your clients out. This is where active listening helps. Also consider bringing up objections first to neutralize the potential concern. “You can either address it now or later,” Vacio says. Quick Tip: Practice, practice, practice. Make a list of potential objections and methods to overcome them. Carry it with you at all times and add to it.

7. Continuous Closing: Think of the closing as beginning at your initial meeting. What you’re looking for is agreement from your clients, and each time you get an agreement, you can continue on in the process. Quick Tip: Work toward gaining trust and increasing involvement, then the closing will come naturally.

8. Serve Well: “A sale is not something you pursue, it’s something that happens while you’re serving a client,” says Vacio. Communicate, be informed and informative, and treat clients as you’d want to be treated. Be accountable from start to finish. “It’s not magic, just good common sense,” Schatz says. Quick Tip: A follow-up within the first 48 hours demonstrates professionalism, attention to detail, and concern for clients’ needs, Vacio says. Send a hand written note thanking them for their visit/appointment by the next morning.

9. Competition: Evaluate your rivals. Who are they? Sometimes your biggest competitor may be a buyer’s current home. Ask questions about their current home and why they’re shopping for a new home. Is it size, energy efficiency, or other specific deficiencies with their current home? Quick Tip: Track your competitors’ PR stories and Web pages in addition to their prices.

10. Follow Through to Follow Up: When a prospect leaves your office, go over all the points that were made. Did you miss something? Write it down; keeps notes. Quick Tip: Try reaching out to commercial developments. It worked for Vacio. She was representing a new residential development and regularly dropped off literature and attended events of a nearby commercial project. Her follow-up helped her sell one of the homes to the commercial development’s vice president.

Source: Erica Christoffer, REALTOR® Magazine

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