Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
Bob Schultz: Put some pop in your POP
Increase sales revenue immediately by focusing on your point of purchase experience with prospects and customers.
Bob Schultz: Put some pop in your POP
As we head into the spring selling season, I continue to read and hear a variety of opinions about the state of the market. From those builders who are proactive and who have been continuously and consistently executing a business strategy based on the realities of today’s market, the comments are essentially positive. From those who have been waiting for the market to turn around, well, they’re still waiting. And wait they will, because hope is not a strategy and waiting is not an action plan.
My good friend and colleague, marketing expert Richard Elkman, recently wrote his recap of the 2012 International Builders’ Show. He said he felt greater optimism from the builders at the show and had discussions with a number of firms looking to totally reposition their company to be more competitive as their markets improve. They’re searching for ways to abandon their narrow price position in lieu of establishing value through better product design, energy efficiency, and customer service — strategies that are sustainable.
I applaud the builders on preparing for the future return of the market, but this action is only a sidebar of a truly sustainable business strategy — one that focuses on increasing sales revenue today while also preparing for the future, regardless of when or if the market improves.
Fact: A builder — notwithstanding that they may very well need to design new product, reposition, explore energy possibilities, etc. — still needs to sell more of what they have at any given moment. And this requires a strong focus on what needs to happen at the point of purchase (POP). POP occurs anytime a potential buyer comes in contact with your company. It could be on your website, when they call you for information, or when they show up at your models or sale center.
We know that home buyers shop using the process of elimination, and by simply showing up they are indicating some level of interest. Consequently, whomever they come into contact with must at all times be at an optimum level of expertise and skill, with consistency and accountability. The entire front-line sales team, whether it is one or 100 people, must be ready at all times with the appropriate attitude, appearance, and presentation process. So now is the time to take the same level of interest in the assessment and improvement of this critical element of revenue generation as with design, marketing, and the other activities that seem to be getting more attention.
Fact: Spending money on marketing of any kind to drive more traffic to your sales arena may be a complete waste if you do not know with absolute certainty that the presentation and closing skills of each and every member of your front-line sales operation is at an optimum level. You’re simply giving them more chances to fail.
Here are two ways to put some pop in your POP by assessing the day-to-day effectiveness of your sales team:
1. Know the accurate conversion ratios of each of your salespeople. If you don’t know, you are in trouble. Find out. As W. Edwards Deming said so well, “You can’t manage or improve that which you do not measure.”
2. Mystery video shop each and every salesperson that represents you. Do it right away. You can hire companies to do it for you, or we can show you how to do it yourself for a huge savings. Then review those video shops and score them. Contact me for a free scoring form (email@example.com).
The task of evaluating the sales process of a builder or developer’s sales staff is often perceived to be a tedious one. In reality, it’s not at all. And the benefits far outweigh the minimal effort required. The purpose of this initial evaluation is to find out what is happening now with your sales and closing processes, and to identify any adjustments that need to be made.
Evaluations of sales staff, no matter the methods used to do so, are only for those builders, developers, and managers who have a burning desire to have the most effective sales team possible, and for those who want more sales rather than less and want them sooner rather than later.
It is the responsibility of owners and management to insist that salespeople become the absolute best they should be. The evaluation process, along with education, training, targeted compensation programs, and extraordinary focus on accountability, will translate into a highly productive sales staff and increased sales revenue immediately.
Remember this timely question: Doing what you are doing, the way you are presently doing it, how many sales and how much revenue are you missing, and how much money is being wasted in the process?
Bob Schultz is president and CEO of Bob Schultz & The New Home Sales Specialists, a management consulting and sales firm based in Boca Raton, Fla. Schultz is the author of two best-selling books, “The Official Handbook for New Home Salespeople” and “Smart Selling Techniques,” and was named a Legend of Residential Marketing by the NAHB. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.