Archive for March, 2010

Selling Mistake #2 – If you’re not taking notes; You’re wasting your time.

March 30th, 2010

By Shirleen Von Hoffmann Presidient and Sales Coach of Home Builders Advantedge and Creating VIP’s copyright 2010

As I mentioned in my previous Selling Mistakes #1, you need to take notes in order to market smart.
What I have found is that a high percentage of New Home Sales People find it challenging to get a registration card filled out properly or sometimes not at all. So you can assume that if this is the case there is not a lot of notes being taken about the prospect.
My belief is this; If you’re not taking detailed notes regarding your prospects, then you are wasting your time and the Builder’s marketing dollars.

All Sales can be broken down into five stages;
1. Prospecting
2. Interviewing
3. Product presentation
4. Closing
5. Follow up
When you consider these five steps of a sale, you can start to see why taking notes is important. And why if you don’t you are wasting your time. Here’s why;

  • Why bothering asking questions if you’re not going to write down the answers? You certainly cannot remember all the detailed of the hundreds of visitors you get in a month period.
  • Why bother writing down the answers if you’re not going to use them to close or follow up?
  • If you don’t take notes how will you know all of the details that are important to them in their lives and in the home they are looking for?
  • How can you zero in on the right product for them if you don’t know these things?
  • How can you follow up with them efficiently if you don’t know these things?

Most all Agents make their notes on the back of the registration card. I say,” not good enough.” You must be prepared with something more detailed so you can quickly jot down all the pertinent facts you received during your visit. Then you should be entering all of the data you obtain on your follow up systems so you can follow up smart!
If you want to be a top producer then you must take a look at our follow up package. It not only gives you the flyers to follow up with but if gives you the probe sheet that helps you make quick notes of all the facts about your prospects.
By getting our CD’s Well just make your life a little easier and your Sales Capture rate a lot higher!
Happy Sales!

California Gov. Signs New Tax Credit for Homeownership

March 30th, 2010

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a new bill providing up to $10,000 in tax credits for both new-home buyers and for first-time buyers of existing homes.

An earlier round of state tax credits offered last year were for new-home purchases only. That program was so popular that homebuyers depleted the full $100 million eight months before the deadline.

Under the latest plan, the state doubled the amount of credits to $200 million.

Standing before a Fresno housing project, Schwarzenegger said the tax credits will help meet his administration’s goal of creating “jobs, jobs, jobs.” He added:

“We are the eighth largest economy in the world. It would be absolutely insane for us to sit back and wait for the economy to come back.”

The state tax credit will become effective May 1, shortly after a federal tax credit expires.

Some readers criticized the proposal when Schwarzenegger unveiled it in January for artificially propping up home prices, already unaffordable for many families. But building industry officials maintain the tax credit is needed to boost home construction and the state economy.

John Young, chairman of the California Building Industry Association, said during the news conference that the tax credit “will get buyers off the fence, and into our models and buying homes, and that will put people back to work.”

Orange County BIA CEO Kristine Thalman issued a statement saying:

“The reality is new construction creates jobs – up to three new jobs for every single home built. Renewing the homebuyer tax credit is a critical step in creating jobs and generating positive economic activity for the state.”

Assemblywoman Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, the bill’s co-author, also spoke at the governor’s news conference, saying that an added benefit will be to get families living in vacant homes that create blight in neighborhoods. She added:

“We recognized that it was really important to get the current inventory of homes sold so we can get them back on the tax rolls and get families in them.”

The final version of the bill differs from the provisions initially outlined in January by the governor’s staff. The governor’s staff believed at first that Schwarzenegger initially wanted to limit the credits to first-time buyers only.

Under the provisions, the bill:

  • Provides a 5% tax credit, up to a $10,000 limit, to all buyers of new, never-occupied homes.
  • Provides a 5% tax credit, up to a $10,000 limit, to first-time buyers of existing homes.
  • Sets aside $100 million for each program, for a total of $200 million.
  • Requires buyers to close escrow between May 1 and Dec. 31 to qualify. New-home buyers have until Dec. 31 to sign a purchase contract, then must close escrow by Aug. 16, 2011.
  • Requires buyers to live in the home for at least two years.
  • Provides for the tax credit to be paid in thirds over a three-year period.
  • Sets no income limitations on buyers.
  • Requires buyers to repay the tax if they fail to live in the home for two years or fail to close escrow on a new home by Aug. 16, 2011.
The new homebuyer’s tax credit is:

Are You Listening? Really?

March 26th, 2010

by Shirleen Von Hoffmann President and Sales Coach, HomeBuilders AdvantEdge & Creating VIP’s Copyright 2010

Perhaps the easiest way to distinguish successful salespeople from unsuccessful ones is to watch how they interact with a prospect. Do they do all the talking and never question and listen? If you don’t let the prospect tell you what they need, and act on that, then you are doomed for failure as a salesperson. You are also making your job alot harder than it needs to be!

You must let the prospects speak about their lives, their needs and their wants. And if they are the quiet types, then you must know the questions that will get them talking. I see too many Sales people doing “Presentations”, when all you really need to be doing is asking great questions and actively listening.

Listening is not always easy, you have to slow your brain down and focus on the moment and what they are saying. However, it a huge part of your sales game to HEAR the needs, buying signals and follow up details that potential is giving you.

When you obtain these details about your prospect, write them down! So that as you follow up with them, you can market smart and straight to their needs. The more personal you are with you your follow up marketing the more you make the client remember YOU and your product. Think about it this way, what difference does it make to you when you receive a letter saying “Thanks” and it is computer generated or a letter saying, “Thanks! I enjoyed visiting with you and am enclosing more information on our golf courses because I remember you loved golf! ” Signed by a real person.

If you want to be better atasking questions and marketing smart, order our CD’s that show you step by step how to be the best or my new book, Secrets of Top Producers which goes over those specifics and so much more.  Find this and more at  click here

Count your Blessings! Happy Sales!

Falling through the cracks; A True Story

March 17th, 2010

By Shirleen Von Hoffmann
President and Cancer Coach for Calling All Angels Cancer Foundation Copyright 2010

In addition to my regular work as a Real Estate Sales Coach, Trainer and Author, I created a cancer foundation that I fund from the sale of my book, “The Journey Home- A True Story of Life, Love, Illness, Passage and Healing.

My foundation is about five years old and feeds and supports cancer patients who are all alone and have no one to help them. I personally work as a Cancer Coach and take no pay for it. In fact, I pay for many things out of my pocket when my foundation is out of money. I make their meals myself and deliver them myself at no charge. Being that I work for people who are alone and have no family you can imagine how happy they are to visit with me and see me coming. For some reason that has led me to work with alot of low income, single and elderly patients. I must tell you that even though I do this work for no pay, there is NO more rewarding work in the world than helping these folks. It is my “Soul work” and I can tell you story after inspirational story of the wonderful people I have had the pleasure of working with. From time to time, I am struck with the absolute truth of our society. That hard truth is that a lot of our neighbors fall through cracks and it takes hands on, grass roots community efforts like my foundation, to fill those gaps that the larger organizations cannot. With so much funding being cut, these stories are becoming more abundant every day. I am going to share with you one such story.

This story is about my current cancer patient Joan. She is right now in need of help. She is 44 and was in the mortgage business for many years and then worked at a health care facility as a CNA until she was struck with breast cancer. She was treated for her breast cancer with chemotherapy. She survived this only to find out two years later that she now has leukemia. The chemo she received two years ago destroyed her bone marrow and she is now awaiting a bone marrow match, donor and transplant. She is all alone in the world.

» More: Falling through the cracks; A True Story

My New Book-Top Producer Secrets!

March 10th, 2010

Now Taking Pre-orders, due out April 3rd

Do you want to be a Top Producer? In this market you have to be!

With this training you can start the process!

This book goes over all of the extra steps that Top Producer’s take and implements them into takeaways to practice and put into your own sales routine.

After these lessons you will be equipped with tools only Top Producers have, which should result in more sales being made for you. This training is a must if you want more sales in this market!

Good Shop, Bad Shop!

March 10th, 2010

I have been asked many times to share some of the shops we do around the country as examples of what we see day in and day out in the New Home Sales Profession.

Over the next few months, I am going to share with you some secret shop experiences we are seeing in the field, right now. We want you to know what your competition is doing so you can stand out and have “THE EDGE” among all the rest!

– – – –

Last week, we secret shopped one of our nation’s largest builders as a competition shop for one of my builder clients. We have a major objection to overcome for this builder and wanted to see how the competition was portraying this objection, if at all to the buying public and what their product looked like.

Upon entering the sales trailer the Agent was present with another Agent and no other visitors. The Agent greeted us, talked about what he had to offer us for viewing and sent us on to the models for viewing. Now we had two Agents present and no one went with our shoppers on the tour of the models. This particular builder does not put alot of options in the homes they build so you think he might have come with us to show us what was not included and what was included.

The other thing that was highly noticed is that the Agent never asked our shopper any questions about their needs and wants, what was their situation, why they were moving, if they were contingent…none of it. No questions were asked in the initial meeting.

Deal Killer
This builder has a set of three models attached to a trailer and another three models across the street with no trap fence. Included in the three across the street is a bare bones version of a model, where the builder shows the reality of what they include and what you get for your money. To have that across the street for viewing was an absolute deal killer and to have it with no trap was even worse because I guarantee this, after you viewed this “bare bones”version of a home, you would want to run out of the door. It was really bad. The reason builders have models is to help people vision the home of their dreams. This bare bones version, was so awful, the worse of all floorplans, narrow home with the shallowest lot I have ever seen. It would really take hard work on the part of the sales person to overcome what you were seeing.  Had the Sales Person come with us!

But even the best of Agent’s could overcome the client reaction after viewing this model home. Things like a cheap, pedestal, single sink in the master with no drawers or counter for storage, a huge gaping hole so you could pay for a double vanity, no laundry hookups of any kind in the laundry room, it just looked like a closet. No appliances, no mirrors, no microwave, no lighting of any kind, cheap paint, cheap carpet, cheap entry door, cheap interior doors, cheap everything. I could go on and on about this model but I don’t think I could explain it in a way that does it justice. You get the picture. It felt like apartment living was a step up from this model by far.

After viewing the models we reentered the Sales Trailer to speak with the Agent once again. Even though the Agent was good to sit down with us and give us some numbers when we asked him to do so, he still never asked one question of us, really! It happened like this, we would ask for information and he would tell us the answer to the best of his ability. So the fact is, we were leading the sale. There was this whole Car Salesman attitude, you know, getting out the price sheet and doing the , “Well the seller wants this, but we can ask for this, we might get it, I am willing to ask…” such a poor approach to sales. He was missing such a huge, easy step which was building rapport with my shoppers and really getting to know them and their needs. Building trust and rapport means everything in a sale and you need to ask questions and act interested in people to do that.

He did take us to view a model which was standing inventory, ready to go, after we asked to see it. It was also done cheap, cheap, cheap and of such poor finish quality it’s a no wonder it is standing and ready to go. It will be for a long time I am afraid!

The top three mistakes and the moral of this story…

Build Rapport with your clients
Ask Great Questions
Walk the models with them

Pursue your Passion by Kirk Nugent

March 5th, 2010

I heard the poem, “Pursue your Passion” by Kirk Nugent. I was so impressed by this marvelous piece of work, I thought I would share it with you. Enjoy!

This is your life,
Your purpose on this Earth is not to please me.
Nor is it to fulfill your parents unrealized dreams.
You were not placed here to make concessions so that they could be proud,
So they could brag about their seed,
Fulfill some unfulfilled childhood emotional need
Let them be proud of their very own deeds
This is your life!

I came to shine light into the dark
And like a dog against a hydrant, I am leaving my mark!
We were not sent here to invest in someone else’s idea of what we should be
The complacent life does not stimulate me.
So forgive me if I feel no compassion
For those poor souls who live to follow the fashion.
Because if you want to live a life that’s neither limited nor ration,
Then by God you must pursue your passion.
They will tell you that it can’t be done
As though you were delivered unto this world for your song to go unsung.
Let the world scream that unattainable theme
But for you, there is no such thing as an impossible dream.

Ain’t no mystery, check the history
Examine the life of Oprah Winfrey,
Muhammad Ali, Mahatma Gandhi.
Remember what they told Walt Disney?
They said, “Young man you must be blind
You must have lost your rodent loving mind!
No one would ever pay to be entertained by a mouse
Or anything of that kind.”
Now Disney is worth more than everyone in this room…combined!
Pursue your passion!

Steven Spielberg was kicked out of the University of Southern California
Film School because his grades weren’t good enough.
Pursue your passion!

Russell Simmons refused to sign Madonna
Because he thought she had no talent.
Pursue your passion! » More: Pursue your Passion by Kirk Nugent

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