Friday, March 22, 2013

If You Can’t be First, Make Sure You’re Last

We all learn at an early age that being first at something is better than being in any other position with the possible exception of the first person voted out of Survivor. But assuming that being first is usually a good thing, why are there so many builders and salespeople running at the back of the pack?

One of the biggest challenges we have of not being first is our inability to communicate effectively. It happens every day to each of us. We go to the doctor for our checkup and when asked if we have any problems we usually say that we feel OK even though we actually haven’t been doing so well lately. Wouldn't you just love to express your real feelings once in a while?

If you are a builder or a salesperson, communicating ineffectively can cost you sales. Meeting the challenge of closing sales begins with that first contact you have with a potential home buyer.

It is almost staggering how many ways you can make contact with someone for the very first time. Your first contact can be by phone, email, your website, a factory lead, your calling them, filling out your contact sheet at an Open House, a referral, Facebook, Twitter, etc…..  But they all have one thing in common. All of these must lead to that important “first” appointment.

They all want to “talk” to you and they all want your full attention when they do. Finding out why they contacted you should be your first priority. What pain do they need your help in curing. Is their current home too small, too large, have a budget, in the wrong area for work or school?  You have to ask them because most won’t be forthcoming with that information.

You have to talk to them with enthusiasm. They want you to be as excited as they are about the prospect of them getting a new home. Be knowledgeable about your homes, financing, budgets, timetables and overall construction of your homes.

If you get them to tell you why they want a new home and can give them a glimpse of how you can help them get it, this is the time to set the appointment to meet them in person. An important thing to note at the first phone call is the 80/20 rule. Listen 80% of the time and talk 20%. As soon as the prospect senses that you have empathy for their pain, be prepared for what can only be called “verbal vomit.”  If a prospective new home buyer senses trust in you, they will give you so much of their personal situation over the phone that they will begin thinking of you as a friend and you must never lose the trust they are giving you. A phone is very personal yet impersonal at the same time. MAKE THAT APPOINTMENT NOW!

If you can’t get them to commit to an appointment, be prepared to play the ‘tag, you’re it’ game indefinitely. They will move onto the next builder on their list and you’ve lost any chance of selling them a home. You are no longer in “first place” and being second doesn’t pay the bills.

However, if they tell you they’ve been talking to other builders, now you must be the absolute last builder they need to talk to. Sometimes it’s actually better not to be first. This could be your chance. Turn on your enthusiastic charm, give them clear, precise answers to their questions and listen carefully and if the ‘verbal vomit’ begins, it’s time to make that appointment.

If you can’t be their first contact with a builder, make sure you are their last contact. Anything in between means you’re not selling a house.

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