A consequence of the current new home sales environment is high turnover among sales professionals. Whether the turnover is voluntary or involuntary, the outcome is the same: many new sales offices today are staffed by agents who were employed elsewhere just a few weeks or months ago. The more important issue is the readiness of your newly hired sales agents to make every sale possible.
Far too many newly hired sales agents are not prepared to answer basic questions, let alone consummate a sale. Consider actual questions to sales professionals I have witnessed in the last month:
- “If I were to sign a contract today, when would you be able to complete my home?”
- “Which of the features in the model are included in the standard price of the home?”
- “Your Web site talks about a personalized Web address for customers who purchase a home to view construction updates. How does it work?”
In each case the answer was the same: “I'm new here, and I'll need to get back to you with that answer.”
For an industry that is suffering from a lack of sales, we are behaving today as if the representatives to our customers need to have no more training than the clerk at the local department store!
When you have high sales agent turnover, you need to invest more time in training. Begin with mandatory five-day knowledge and sales skills requirements for sales professionals to complete prior to staffing a sales office. Don't be afraid to close a sales office for training. Break down the course work into the following areas:
- Administration — Working knowledge of paperwork/deposits needed to complete a sales contract.
- Product and community features — Teach the specifications, options and the building practices of your company.
- Competition — Who are your five top competitors? Visit each and make a comparison chart.
- How the company works — Meet members of each department with whom your new agent will be interfacing. Discuss internal communications and what is expected.
- Basic sales skills — Use books, online training seminars or other tools at your disposal to communicate the fundamentals of a well-structured sales presentation. With today's technology, there is no reason for new agents to wait for on-site “boot camps” to begin learning basic selling skills.
Sales turnover can be painful. But there is no excuse for having uninformed and untrained sales professionals representing your company.
|John Rymer is the founder of New Home Knowledge, which offers sales training for new home builders and real-estate professionals. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.|