Homebuilders' Traditional Sales Methods Need Retooling

Most homebuilders’ sales methods are outdated. It’s time for a change.
By John Rymer, New Home Knowledge | July 31, 2008
Rymer's Rules

How good are your sales presentations? Are you regularly performing role plays at sales meetings? Do you feel good about what you hear and see? Do you have consistent measurements for judging presentation skills? Is your team scoring well on feedback metrics?

In today's environment it's trite but true to say that there is no better use of time and efforts than improving the presentation skills of sales team and the sale process experienced by your customers. But what if you feel good about your training program and presentation skills of your team?

Many sales professionals and managers are focusing on sales presentations based on the same formulas and criteria that worked well in a typical sales environment. Yet many of the proven sales techniques are falling flat in a sales atmosphere that is anything but typical. Take your pick: "Critical Path Selling," "Relationship Selling," "The Five Ps to a Sure Sale" — it's not that these sales systems are inherently flawed, because they're not. But much of the emphasis, coaching and feedback measurements were refined during good times and are often out of touch with today's buyers. The result is a sales presentation that lacks the priorities and hard facts today's customer demands.

So what are the new priorities and key drivers of today's sales success?

No. 1: Stand tall and don't hide from value. The value question is on the mind of every buyer. Whether the question is stated as "What are your discounts?" "What specials are you offering?" or "I know those are the list prices but what can you do for me," the underlying theme is all the same: sell me on why this is the best value in the market. Your answer should show confidence and willingness to take value head on: "Sounds like you're a customer who is focused on value. Congratulations, you've come to the right place. In this market I wouldn't expect anyone to buy unless they thought they were getting the best value ..."

No. 2: Become an expert on the housing market fundamentals. While everyone is waiting to buy until the market bottoms out, the best sales professionals are getting schooled and are refining presentation skills in housing economics 201. It sounds like this: "No one knows for sure when the bottom of the market is or has occurred. But let me tell you why the housing market fundamentals are in your favor. Our national economy produces about 1.5 million new households annually. Right now we're on track to build only about 65 percent of the housing needed to meet the long term demand."

You won't find either or the above in most traditional sales training programs. Yet, focusing on hot points such as floor plans and locations, for example, without dealing with value or housing economics is a sure way to keep customer on the fence and postpone their housing decision.

Author Information
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 john@newhomeknowledge.com.


Rymer's Rules

Stand Tall and don't Hide from Value

Running from the "What's your discount?" question is sales suicide. Speak with confidence about your prices and justify your best value positioning.

Become an Expert on the Housing Market Fundamentals

Discuss specific economic fundamentals of the housing market and demonstrate a balanced view of why postponing a decision doesn't make economic sense.

Rethink Traditional Sales-Training Programs

Many programs that worked in traditional market environments lack the priorities and hard facts demanded by today's customer.