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.
Five Customer Questions for Home Builder Sales Professionals
The goals of the new home sales professional are to understand the priorities of the customer and build builder value. You cannot wait for customer questions to begin this process.
|Please Note: If you are looking for the article from Builders' Newsletter on the 2007 National Sales and Marketing Awards, click here.|
Did you know that a typical customer will visit eight different builder model centers but will return to only two? This means 75 percent of buyers never return for a second visit.
Most first-time visitors are only looking to tour your models and get your price sheet. That means customers will eliminate the sales professional from the decision process after they have decided the home and community meets their needs.
What's important about the 75 percent who don't return is the impact this behavior has on your sales team's presentations.
Out of the 100 percent of customers who enter your doors, 75 percent will never engage the sales professional and will disappear, never to be heard from again.
When your model homes and prices to become the sole influencer of your customer, less than one in four customers return to seriously discuss their new home purchase with a sales professional.
By waiting for your customers to engage you in their buying process, you're likely to never get the chance to influence their purchase decision.
The old saying that customers are visiting your sales office to eliminate you rather than buy from you, is only partly true. Most customers want to eliminate the sales person as an influencer in their decision until after they make the determination that the home and community are a match with their needs.
The goals of the sales professional are to (1) Understand the priorities of the customer and (2) Build builder value. You cannot wait for customer questions to begin this process.
You likely only get a couple chances with most customers to engage them in meaningful dialog and begin building value. Meaningful dialog involves questions that cannot typically be answered with numbers. An answer to "How many people will be living in the home?" will bring little understanding of a customer's priorities but does make customers believe they are unwitting inductees into the "New Home Inquisition" academy.
Meaningful questions stimulate the mind and allow customers to provide insight into their needs and priorities of the new home they plan to buy. Your sales staff should ask the following:
- What would you like to accomplish today?
- What is important about the new home you plan to purchase?
- If you found the perfect home for you and your family, when would you plan to move?
- Where are you in the process of buying a home?
- What have you seen so far that particularly appealed to you?
The answers will help you tailor your presentations and build value.
Your sales team has a choice: wait for your customers to engage you and hope that they come back and allow you to influence their home buying decision; or engage your customers immediately in their new home buying process and have influence over their decisions.
Prepare them to make the right one.
|John Rymer is the founder of New Home Knowledge, which offers sales training for new home builders and real-estate professionals. He can be reached at email@example.com.|