John Rymer - New Home Knowledge

August 01, 2007
Professional Builder Magazine

Team with a Realtor to Boost Business

Talk with most sales professionals today and the conversation sooner or later turns to the glory days of new home sales. They complain of customers today who shop and keep waiting for a better deal while traffic dwindles.

There is no guarantee that we will ever see the kind of market that we witnessed in 2003–2005, and if — and this is a big if — it comes along again, chances are sales professionals who have an "it's not my fault, it's the market's fault" attitude will be left in the wake of a new, hungrier generation of new home sales professionals.

Today, new home sales staff frequently choose one of two paths: (1) Hold a regular pity party for themselves and their sales friends, waiting for and hoping a better market comes along soon; or (2) Take control of their own destiny and commit to becoming a better sales professional.

Master the Basics

So let's start with the basics of becoming a better sales professional:

Step No. 1:
Improve your sales presentation skills. During the go-go days of new home sales the essence of many presentations was to buy before prices rose and availability plummeted or disappeared. Although we know this approach no longer makes sense to most customers, many sales professionals struggle to find new ways to ask for the order or create urgency. Today's best sales professionals know that creating a compelling value rather than fear of price increases is the key to getting the sale.
Focus your presentation skills on how to build value. Look online for new Web-based sales training tools. Sign up for courses at your local HBA. Role-play with your sales manager or peers.
No matter how uncomfortable you may initially feel when role-playing, the process of peer review is one of the best tools you have to improve your sales skills.

Step No. 2:
Re-energize your real-estate agent initiatives. You can't control the market, but you can control agent connections and awareness. Sure it's tough. "Realtors don't have buyers to work with either" is the excuse of many wait-and-hope sales professionals. But while some sales pros are moaning to their agents about market, the best are excited about the improved values they now have to offer customers.
Attitude and vigilance are the keys to success with today's real-estate agents. Think about it: If you are a top agent and are lucky enough to have a ready-to-buy-now customer, which community are you going to show first: the one with the energetic sales professional who believes in their product and value, or the one who calls to tell you how slow things are in the market?
Remember that alternative No. 1 will make you temporally feel better but earn you zero commissions and income. Alternative No. 2 will require a good deal of work and discipline, but the rewards can be great, and when the market returns it will pay even higher dividends.

Step No. 3:
Get re-acquainted with your past customers. Chances are you were too busy during the go-go days to spend all the time you should have with your home buyers, and now is the time to reconnect. Referral sales are the best quality leads you can get. The problem is that it requires a long-term commitment while many wait-and-hope sales pros want a quick fix.

As one of the best professionals told me, "It takes me about 15 minutes for each connection I make with a prior buyer. I do that four times a year with each of my prior customers. So for an investment of about two to three hours per week, I end up with 40 percent of my sales."

Sounds like a good return on time invested to me.

In the News

Jim Clarke
Robertson Brothers
Detroit, Michigan
"We found New Home Knowledge sales training to be a tremendous help with our sales team. The role playing really helped jump start them to better presentations. You know the program is working when they are anxious to get to the next training session."