Archive for July, 2009

Stop Selling and Start Listening

July 28th, 2009

By Shirleen Von Hoffmann “The Queen of Sales” ™ President & Sales Coach for Homebuilders AdvantEdge® & Creating VIP’s ® copyright 2009©

People aren’t interested in what you have to sell; they are only interested in what they need.marketing sign guy

It’s the True Sales Pro who can figure out those needs through questioning and sell them.

How do you put the focus on the prospect, instead of our own excitement about what you have to sell to them?

By asking good questions and being a great listener. How do you Listen attentively?

You must HEAR:

The HEAR model stands for Hear, Empathize, Analyze and Respond, all essential to active listening. Use it to better understand the facts, ideas and feelings of the speaker and to help the speaker clarify their own thoughts, problems and solutions.

H – Hear the speaker’s words
• Listen attentively to their words and feelings.
• Keep an open mind. Avoid letting your own feelings, attitudes or opinions interfere with your ability to listen.
• Do not evaluate, censor or try to monopolize the conversation.
• Do not interrupt. It is important to listen to the speaker’s entire thought before you respond.
• Do not listen to think of your response, then you are thinking of your response and not really listening.

» More: Stop Selling and Start Listening

What is your best sales asset?

July 25th, 2009
sold house As far as sales, what is is that you do really well? What is your forte? Share it with us and brag a little about yourself.

If you were made Sales Manager for a week…

July 18th, 2009

If you were made Sales Manager for a week…
* What subject matter would be your top priority for training your Sales Agents on?vips lady shopper
* How would you inspire your Sales Agents?

Beat the Summer Blues

July 17th, 2009

Beat the Summer Blues!

By Shirleen Von Hoffmann President & Sales Coach for Homebuilders AdvantEdge®

copyright 2009©

It’s 2009 and we are seeing an economy that our country has never seen before.  Now as summer is upon us and people start vacationing, it can slow down your traffic.  You have options, you can either sit around and do nothing or you can step up and take on the challenge!   We don’t have to let the economy or season dictate OUR success. Selling during these times can be more challenging yet top producers are not feeling the pinch as much as others. How can you ensure you prosper during these times?  With action!

Do you ever notice how top producers are busy no matter what?  Even in tough times, top producers continue to sell as if there were no challenges.  That’s because great sales people stick to their good habits no matter what.

Following are 10 key habits that will make your sales season & recession proof!  The actions you take now are the ones that will make it a GREAT finish to 2009.

1.  Set Goals

Do you ever drive to a place that you have never been without directions?sold

Then don’t start each day off without direction.  You can’t get where you want to be if you don’t clearly know where you want to go.  Write down your goals for income, work, home, family…whatever is important to you.  Then write an action plan of what you are going to do to achieve those goals.  You should be touching on these goals and actions to achieve these goals each and every day.

2. Always hone your sales skills
You can never stop learning, growing and honing your skills, no matter what.  All top producers challenge themselves with sales training, reading, practicing their skills.  Learning new skills and seeing them work on your prospects is what makes sales fun!

3. Prepare strategically
Research industry trends, what is your competition doing, what are other cities doing, other states?  Use the information to plan strategically with your managers so you can compete in the market place and be the best you can be.

4. Sell from their prospective
Prepare, practice and script every stage of your sale. You need to research what is going on inside their heads so you can prepare and communicate value to them.  Look at it as, “What’s in it for THEM” and follow a process to connect with the person.  Ask awesome open ended questions, facilitate their understanding of the process of buying and what it means to them, work through objections and ASK for the sale.  If you don’t get the sale on the first try, make sure you follow up with them until you do.

5. Identify alternative prospect streams
Think creatively on who may want to buy your homes and come up with a strategy to market to them. There are some industries that are positively impacted by a slow economy, can you market to them?  Look for opportunities to bring in alternative prospects that the Builder’s advertising may miss.  You know who comes in to your models, are you tracking where they come from on a map so you can market to them?  Is there past builder communities you can market to?  Are there employers you can market to?  All of these are alternative prospect streams.

» More: Beat the Summer Blues

Great Sales Personalities = Great Sales!

July 14th, 2009

One of the most powerful sales tools some sales people overlook is their personality. Your personality is a key influence to a sale. It is proven people buy from people they like, trust and have confidence in.

When a prospect walks in the door or calls on the phone, you must be ready to get your game on, after all it’s what you do!. You must be prepared to give them your undivided attention to establish the rapport. Make it a goal to spend at least 30 minutes of quality time with your prospects; that will increase your chance of a sale by 30%. In order for them to want to spend that much time with you, you must have your sales personality in check.

Here are eight areas you can work on.j0308939

Confidence – You must be confident about yourself and your abilities before you can be confident about what you are selling. Confidence comes from knowing your trade, your capabilities and loving what you do. Your confidence should come across as secure and dependable not arrogant. A confident salesperson is willing to take the time to find out what the real needs of their customers are. They don’t jump at the person’s first comment and try to close. » More: Great Sales Personalities = Great Sales!

If you could give Sales Agents one piece of advice so they could achieve more sales, what would it be?

July 14th, 2009

  1. Everett Pollard

    Everett Pollard

    Owner, Northcape Design, Inc.

    Listen.

    Posted 8 days ago | Reply Privately

  2. Catherine Cleveland Baum, MIRM

    Vice President Sales & Marketing at Waterford Development LLC

    Follow-up Follow-Up Follow-Up ’til they buy or die!

    Posted 8 days ago | Reply Privately

  3. Myers Barnes, MIRM

    Myers Barnes, MIRM

    Owner, Myers Barnes Associates, Inc.

    Learn to sell to a “Process”. A process is a series of actions and systems directed toward and end result. In new home sales a process with systems causes you to sell on purpose, and your business will be duplicable because your actions are repeatable. A professional sales process can be compared to a combination lock. The numbers of the lock are synchronized and in perfect order. When the combination is dialed and in proper sequence the lock will easily open.

    Posted 8 days ago | Reply Privately

  4. Myers Barnes, MIRM

    Myers Barnes, MIRM

    Owner, Myers Barnes Associates, Inc.

    The next best advice is do not believe the prospect when you are told “I’m just looking”, or “we are not buying.” No one walks into a sales center or model home casually and uninterested. Someone is always selling someone. Either the sales pro sells the customer on buying or the customer sell the salesperson on they are not buying. Someone will be sold.

    Posted 8 days ago | Reply Privately

  5. David Tilton, MIRM

    David Tilton, MIRM

    Owner and Principal Instructor, BuilderWorkshops.com

    Follow-up early and often.

    Posted 8 days ago | Reply Privately

  6. Richard Vandermeer

    Richard Vandermeer

    Owner, US Land Company Inc

    Clearly determine the prospect’s dominate buying motive, create a compelling sales presentation around that motive and close, close, close!

    Posted 8 days ago | Reply Privately

  7. Ray Bouley, MIRM

    Ray Bouley, MIRM

    President/CEO/at Next Step…the origin of ideas

    1. Learn to create value in way it has never been created before.
    2. Develop strategic relationships that leverage all of your builder or developer USP’s. AND those of your strategic partners.
    3. Take what you know as a MIRM, stretch way beyond and become a Super-MIRM

    Posted 8 days ago | Reply Privately

  8. Maribeth Hearn

    Owner, The Inertia Group, Inc.

    The Golden Rule- treat others as you’d like to be treated. Too many salespoeple have that “sky is falling” mentaility so they treat customers accordingly assuming that they will not buy. When someone comes to the model– stand up and greet them with a smile. Then listen attentively and help them find the best home for their budget. If you think you can sell or you think you cannot- you’re right.

    Posted 8 days ago | Reply Privately

  9. Tammie Smoot MIRM, MCSP,CAPS

    Tammie Smoot MIRM, MCSP,CAPS

    Regional Sales Manager at Move.Com

    Smile – no one wants to do business with a grump.

    Posted 8 days ago | Reply Privately

  10. Mark A. Vogel

    President-Houston at Vogel Construction Services, LLC

    1. Listen and take notes. Carry a small pad with you all the time. 3×5 cards work great.
    2. Everyone says quality and value. Don’t tell them, show them. The only way to do this is know your product and your competitors product better than anyone else.
    3. Know your buyer.
    4. Walk out on a lot with them. Show them their plan, where the family room will be, show them views, get them emotionally involved.
    4. Trial close through the entire presentation. Get them saying yes, so when you do close, it will be almost a given.
    5. Follow up.
    6. Never sell price, you will lose all the time. If you have a better product, refer back to #2.
    7. Have literature available showing interest rates, market conditions and why now is a great time to buy.

    Posted 8 days ago | Reply Privately

  11. Alan Shapiro

    Alan Shapiro

    President, Winchester Homes

    All good comments!
    In addition get them out on site as fast as possible. Information flows and dominant motivations are revealed faster on site than anywhere else in the process. Closing rate goes way up when you can narrow it down to one of a kind and create a fear of loss.

    Posted 8 days ago | Reply Privately

  12. Stan Powell

    Stan Powell

    New Home Specialist at Stevens Fine Homes

    Listen and use the time you have with them to ask the right questions. This will help you narrow down what they are looking for not what you are trying to sell. With the right questions they will tell you exactly what you need to know to close! (Thanks for the training Myers!) Good to see you.

    Posted 8 days ago | Reply Privately

  13. Shirleen Von hoffmann

    Shirleen Von hoffmannyou

    President, Sales Coach, Trainer, Author and Keynote Speaker at Homebuilder’s Advantedge

    Use your time on the model walk to build rapport, listen and ask questions, write down what you learn to use for follow up. If you don’t walk them you will never get the opportunity to spend that much time with them in a normal visit.

    Once you know all about them, follow up with them and let them know you remembered them. Send them information about your community, your builder and your product they will be interested in. Make your experience different from anyone else’s.

    Posted 8 days ago | Delete comment

  14. Shirleen Von hoffmann

    Shirleen Von hoffmannyou

    President, Sales Coach, Trainer, Author and Keynote Speaker at Homebuilder’s Advantedge

    Thanks for all the great comments…I am sure Sales People everywhere will find all of these great tips useful!

    Posted 8 days ago | Delete comment

  15. Germaine Palangdao

    Germaine Palangdao

    Association/Non-profit Professional

    Totally know the house and the lifestyle that is sold with it. That includes the school system, the community, the nearby retailers. Have a basic understanding of the installed technologies (hopefully, the builder is selling a wiring package) in the home and be able to market the value. Sales representatives, builders and electronic systems contractors and designers should ideally be working together to market the total value of the home that includes its wiring, installed technologies and lifestyle. You’d be able to see this in the literature and the package. The sales rep that stands out will be able to communicate a compelling story and have the competitive edge.

    Posted 8 days ago | Reply Privately

  16. Andy Detterline

    Andy Detterline

    Solutions for Real Estate Marketing & Development, NAHB Certified Marketing Professional & Certified Sales Professional

    There are some great suggestions here. But you said one piece of advice. Tell new home sales people to only work for a builder they believe in. In today’s transparent world, you need to believe that the product you are selling really is going to make your prospects’ lives better. If you aren’t drinking the Kool Aid yourself, you are going to have a difficult and unhappy time making a living.

    Posted 8 days ago | Reply Privately

  17. Annette Bubak, CRM, CSP, Realtor® - GREEN

    Annette Bubak, CRM, CSP, Realtor® – GREEN

    Pres. The NV ENERGY STAR Partners, Exec. Dir. at The Green Energy Show, Pres. at Bubak Consulting

    All of the above AND… know your energy efficiency and green features along with their benefits. Separate yourself from the competition by demonstrating these features and the long term savings. In this energy crisis era, this topic is on the top of homebuyers minds more so today than ever before.

    Posted 8 days ago | Reply Privately

  18. Charles Morgan

    Charles Morgan

    Owner at Vintage Realty

    Know who your buyer is. Listen to the buyer. Not the shopper, agent, builder, architect, engineer! The list goes on and on and listening to your buyers is #1.

    Posted 7 days ago | Reply Privately

  19. Brenda Desjardins, MIRM, MS Real Estate

    Brenda Desjardins, MIRM, MS Real Estate

    Owner, New Home Marketing Services

    Why are they dissatisfied with their current living arrangement. How can you meet that need? They never really are “just looking”.

    Posted 7 days ago | Reply Privately


  1. Cathy Six, MIRM, CSP

    Cathy Six, MIRM, CSP

    New Homes Director at Coldwell Banker Sloane Realty

    My advice is that no matter how uninterested they believe the prospect is they should follow up with them continually.

    Posted 7 days ago | Reply Privately

  2. Daniel R. Levitan, MIRM, IRM Fellow, CAASH

    Daniel R. Levitan, MIRM, IRM Fellow, CAASH

    President at Levitan & Associates

    Cathy is correct – work smarter and harder.

    Posted 7 days ago | Reply Privately

  3. Carol M. Flammer, MIRM

    Carol M. Flammer, MIRM

    Social Media Consultant, National Speaker, PR Strategist, Managing Partner mRELEVANCE, LLC

    Follow up appropriately on all Internet leads. . . .They contacted you with a question, shouldn’t you give a thoughtful, interactive response to engage them in further email conversation? Carol M. Flammer, MIRM

    http://www.mRELEVANCE.com

    Posted 7 days ago | Reply Privately

  4. Gian Hasbrock, MIRM, MCSP, CRS

    Gian Hasbrock, MIRM, MCSP, CRS

    Sales Mgr., BIC, Albemarle Plantation

    Attitude is everything. Make an effort to see everything in a positive light. The rest–preparation, execution, and follow-up–will come naturally. Embracing change is a great attitude adjustment.

    Posted 7 days ago | Reply Privately

  5. Matthew K. Boltz

    Matthew K. Boltz

    Homebuilding Executive, Realtor

    Be the best that you can be in every facet of the position; meet and greet, qualifying, model demonstration, product knowledge, community information, financing, competition, people skills, asking for the sale, follow up. Use these skills with care and sensitivity, but make sure you demonstrate each of these skills. Put the pressure on the next sales person to be as good as you!

    Posted 7 days ago | Reply Privately

  6. John Parrish

    John Parrish

    Director of Marketing & Communications at Home Building Assc. of Richmond

    Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.
    (listen and the prospect will tell you what features to emphasize)

    Posted 7 days ago | Reply Privately

  7. Rick Storlie CSP, MCSP, CMP

    Rick Storlie CSP, MCSP, CMP

    Owner, New Home Sales Coach

    If you have “experience”…forget everything you know and accept the fact that everything has changed. Focus on building a long-term permission based relationship with your next prospect & quit looking for your next customer.

    Posted 7 days ago | Reply Privately

  8. Joe Colletti, MIRM

    Joe Colletti, MIRM

    President and Owner of Joe Colletti and Associates

    “Do the things no one else wants to do”
    Modify your Old Habits from the past, and create New Habits for today.

    Posted 7 days ago | Reply Privately

  9. Ron Harris, CSP

    Ron Harris, CSP

    Real Estate Professional, General Contractor

    Ye have not, because ye ASK not!
    ALWAYS ask for the order!
    Ask for the sale, a hold deposit or at least a follow up appointment.
    ASK, and ye shall receive!

    Posted 7 days ago | Reply Privately


  1. Kelly Borgen

    Kelly Borgen

    EVP at Roxburgh

    Coming from a marketing perspective, it would be to dig deeper when prospects come in the door to find out where they came from. Even a drive by, often (not always), comes from a source to let them know that there were new homes in the area. If they say ‘internet’ try and dig a little to find out where on the internet, did they search Google, were they on realtor.com or newhomesnetwork.com or did they know about the builder from other advertising and then go straight to their website?

    This information is crucial to marketing departments and advertising agencies who are spending a lot of time and money to bring prospects through your door. It is rare that good traffic sourcing is done and if the sourcing were done as a critical part of the process, then we’d be able to drive more leads to the neighborhoods for the Sales Reps to turn into sales.

    Posted 6 days ago | Reply Privately

  2. Kevin Dibben

    Kevin Dibben

    Broker-Associate at Millennium Real Estate Services

    Be Personable. Management typically under estimates the value of having a salesperson that knows how to build rapport with clients and resale agents believing their product will sell itself. All the advertising and marketing programs that drive traffic to a community are worthless if your sales staff cannot relate to clients.

    Posted 2 days ago | Reply Privately

  1. Bonnie Alfriend, MIRM, Fellow

    Bonnie Alfriend, MIRM, Fellow

    Owner, Alfriend Sales & Marketing Solutions

    Do not rely on traffic walking in the door. Reach out, prospect, network. contact, develop your own traffic, and never give up. Many of our future buyers are not out looking. “If it is to be it it up to YOU!!”

    Bonnie Alfriend, MIRM, Fellow

    Posted 6 days ago | Reply Privately

Adapt, Adapt, Adapt.
your business is changing daily. It is not those with the most skills that are thriving, it is those flexible enough to quickly adapt to any circumstance that is presented.

Posted 8 days ago | Reply Privately

Hello from The Queen

July 7th, 2009

Welcome to my blog which is focused on awesome sales and customer service advice.  Thanks for joining in!


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