Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Times are tough out there but you’ve managed to get an appointment with a prospective buyer. The couple will be showing up in about 30 minutes but the big question is not if they are going to go with you to build their home. The big question is…Are you ready to present your business in the best way?

Are you going to bore them with useless stats about you and your business? Are you going to spend 15 minutes defending modular homes and explaining the differences between modular and double-wide? Are you going to try to sell your homes on a $ per square foot basis? If you are, be prepared to put them to sleep. They made the appointment with you so that you could get them excited about building a new home, not make them wonder why they wasted 2 hours listening to your dribble.

I have talked with scores of builders about initial meetings and there is a consensus that a good meeting will take about 2 hours and quickly lead to a second meeting. A bad meeting will last 2 hours and frustrate both the builder and the prospect. So why not make the best of your two hours with the prospect?

Here are 8 steps to use to make the appointment a good one.

1. Don’t apologize for selling modular homes. In fact, try not to even mention that your homes are modular until you’ve asked them what they are looking for in their new home and have them qualified. Then show them some pictures of your completed homes before you introduce modular into their vocabulary.

2. Look for one piece of information that will get their attention. Maybe tell them how your homes are built “green” and explain that most other local builders are still struggling to get a handle on it. Plant a seed of doubt in their minds that maybe the other builders aren’t current on what’s happening in the market.

3. Don’t overload them with information on the first appointment. If you are doing things right, they will want to come back and visit again at which point you can start getting serious.

4. Practice your presentation. Try to lay it out in sections and allot a time for each. You might include things like years in business, how your homes are built, what they are looking for in a new home, do they have a budget, etc. Think of them as your audience during the first meeting. You have to come across as the authority that knows what they want and how to give it to them. They will become buyers during next meetings but you have to get them to make the second one.

5. You will be tempted to deliver the stand up humor of Chris Rock but remember that they didn’t come to laugh, this is a business meeting. It’s OK to throw in a few natural off the cuff laughs but don’t overdo it.

6. You don’t need a box of props to make a good presentation. During the time with them, make some notes about what is important to them and be sure to review them together before they leave. Just before you wrap the meeting, give them one of your prepared brochures with the things you went over with them.

7. Frankly, they really don’t have a lot of interest in you or your company history. They will know within a couple of minutes if you are somebody they want to have build their home. They just want to know if you can help solve their problem.

8. Don’t overwhelm them with big words or terms that you are familiar with but they don’t understand especially when you talk about “green”. Keep it simple in the first meeting and if you have to use a term that you feel might be unfamiliar to them, stop and explain it. They will appreciate it and you will not have people staring back at you from the table looking like deer caught in headlights.

It all comes down to what they walk away with at the end. If you ask for another appointment and they say they will call you later, you’ve probably lost the sale. Go back with a critical eye and review your presentation and make the changes needed to be more successful. If they agreed to an appointment, you’re on your way to possibly being their builder.

The worst thing you can do is “wing it”.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Coach you left out the most important step - which many sales people leave out also. That is = KNOWLEDGE OF THE BUILDER PRIOR TO THE MEETING!
How can you tell the builder what your company can do for them unless you know something about their operations. All to often the first time a sales rep lays eyes on the builders operation is when he/she shows up for the appointment. They have not driven the area, looked at houses they have built, stopped at job sites to inquire about the job, the builder, etc. One can find out a lot of information about a builder by stopping by the job site and talking to subs or trades.
Have you talked with local realtors or banks/mortgage companies. HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS IS THE BUILDER YOU WANT IN A GIVEN TERRITORY. Oh I see - any builder is better than none. Perhaps you are right so long as you know that you cannot recruit the BEST BUILDER in the territory. But you would not know that unless you did pre-meeting work.
I have trained sales reps for years and when I ask them how they prep for a sales call 99% tells me nothing about learning about the builder and his operations.