At Professional Builder's Benchmark Conference this year, I chaired a panel of top sales agents on the topic of making sales in today's market. While many familiar themes surfaced, builders unanimously said the main factor in making sales today is the ability to confidently show home buyers they are making a smart decision.
And your sales team — not only home buyers — is the group that might be lacking in confidence.
Think about it from their point of view:
"If the slowdown continues, I can't support myself."
"If the slowdown continues, my company may be out of business."
"If we can't start homes, I won't have anything to sell to the relocation buyers."
So we're finding ourselves in an environment where customers who lack conviction about the state of the market meet sales agents who lack confidence in the future of their careers and the industry. It's easy to see why many customers simply choose to postpone their purchase decisions rather than buy today.
The best tool you can give your sales team today is a clear view of why you have confidence in the outlook for your company, for your sales team and for the industry. I didn't say compromise your standards or bend the truth, but rather provide a clear vision of the future and a road map for success.How Do I Build Confidence?
Begin by acknowledging the market. Yes the industry is depressed and there are too many homes on the market, but what's bad for the market is exceptional for today's home buyer. More choices, better prices, better quality and better attention from your builder.
Second, deal head-on with your value. We expect customers in today's market to act rationally. We expect them to look hard for the best value and not settle for second best. That is why you should be committed to providing the best value in our marketplace. If you have the right home for your customer, you will not lose a deal over value.
Third, deal with timing customers and their sources of wisdom. No one can precisely predict housing cycles, but one thing is for sure: every real-estate downturn has come to an end, and those who purchased during the downturn did extremely well when the good times returned.
Also deal with the sources of doom and gloom for real-estate's future. What were these wise futurists saying when the real-estate market was at its height? Almost no one accurately predicted the precise top of the market. The talk around the water cooler and in the headlines in October of 2005 was about what a good deal real-estate had become. So expect these same experts to be just as inept at identifying the bottom — until well into the next recovery.
As the familiar saying goes: Confidence: it's contagious. So pass it on.
|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 firstname.lastname@example.org.|