Company: Morrison Homes, San Francisco — Central Valley
Awards: Numerous Morrison Homes awards, including National Sales Associate of the Year, 1995, 1996 and 1997
2002 net sales units: 35 (through June)
2002 net sales dollars: $13.3 million
2002 customer satisfaction rate: 88%
Cancellation or bust-out rate: 9%
One thing guaranteed to each prospective buyer who walks through the doors of the Morrison Homes sales center in Brentwood, Calif., east of San Francisco, is a professional demonstration of the model home of your choice. This is particularly true if Linda Russell greets the prospect. To this new home sales specialist with 12 years of experience, the model home demonstration is a point of pride.
"I start at the front door, and I finish at the front door, and I am careful to make all the points I need to make during each presentation," says Russell, who left a job in banking in 1990 to join Morrison. "I want to make sure everyone who comes in understands the value of owning a Morrison Home and gets a sense of our commitment to professionalism."
During her guided tour, Russell builds value every step of the way, explaining why the standard undermount ceramic sink is easier to clean and more durable, how the floor plan allows for private spaces apart from the more public areas of the home, and the way Morrison Homes communicates with its buyers throughout the home building process.
"It makes no sense to spend time in the office with buyers," says Russell. "Their questions aren't about my office; their questions are about the home."
Having been as successful as she has been for as long as she has, Russell knows what she needs to do to continue to thrive: "Get referrals." She also is clear on how to get them. "I've got to make sure I've got happy people at the end of the process."
When prospects become buyers, a clearly articulated set of expectations becomes Russell's principal duty. That means several things to Russell, including a trip to the buyer's home site with a side conversation about all the material and labor that will be brought to the site before the home is completed. "And that goes to why I can't give them a drop-dead date the day they purchase their home," Russell explains.
"I make sure that each of my buyers understands what part of the process they are in. I am the one who sets their expectations."
Linda on her sales technique Linda on her sales technique (continued)
Linda on time management