When and How to Discuss Price

The goal of the sales associate is to build the perceived value of the community and to prioritize the customer's needs and wants.
By John Rymer, New Home Knowledge | August 31, 2006

When visiting a new-home sales center, most customers will tell you they are interested in two things: seeing the model home and finding out home prices. When sales associates hear this, many are only too happy to answer an easy pricing question.

For instance, when a customer asks, "What are your prices?" the sales associate might answer: "The base price on our Ashley model is $279,900, and our largest home, the Bentley, is $379,900. We also have a couple of completed homes at $305,000."

While accurate information is always appreciated by your prospects, this is not the best approach in taking the first step to what can potentially be a sale.

The Best Approach

Begin by understanding why customers visit your sales office: they want to narrow their choice of communities and they want to negotiate price. The goal of the sales associate is to build the perceived value of the community and to prioritize the customer's needs and wants. When customers ask for prices, they want to know if they can immediately eliminate the community from their home search.

The following conversations represent good and bad ways customers and sales associates could interact:

Customer: What are your prices?

Sales Associate: We have a wonderful community with two beautifully furnished models. Let's take a tour together, and let me show you all the included features in our homes and then we can discuss pricing.

Alternatively, America's best new-home sales professionals answer the question directly but also begin qualifying the needs of the customer at the same time.

Customer: What are your prices?

Sales Associate: Homes in our community range from the mid $200s to over $500,000. What price range are you considering?

This is a direct answer to a simple question and tells the prospect that you hear them. More important, it instantly lets the prospect know they are expected to do more than just listen: they are expected to respond with answers that will help the sales professional gain insight into their new home search.

The goal of the sales associate is to provide immediate, accurate information while engaging the prospect in the home buying process.

Customer: We're looking in the $300s. What do you have at that price?

Sales Associate: We have several homes that fall nicely within your price range. The size of the home, the elevation, the type of home site, your delivery needs and level of finishes all play a role in the final price. Let's begin by discussing what's important to you. Once I understand your needs, we'll take a tour of the community and look at several homes that may suit you nicely. I'm sure we'll be able to provide you with a very competitive price.

This tells the prospect that the most important thing right now is to find the home that is right for them and that the two parties will work to get to the best price, rather than the other way around.

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 john@newhomeknowlege.com.