We speak with Shirleen Von Hoffman, Home Builders Advantage
Great salespeople don’t begin negotiating price until they know that they have a real buyer and what they buyer really wants. So, why is it that so many new home salespeople want to lead with price or incentives? As we’re about to learn, that will only get you into trouble – everytime.
Shirleen Von Hoffman is a sales coach that bases her individualized training on what she learns by mystery shopping her trainees… And she’s tired of seeing salespeople give away the store before they ever learn what the buyer wants.
My latest mission is helping salespeople become better at what they do. Sales really is an art and there are many steps that take perfection. Negotiations, for example, is probably one of the biggest traits that a sales person needs to learn.
My sales training is a direct result of the mystery shops that I do. What we’re seeing in these shops is sales people giving away all their sales tools before they even know what the client wants. They’re giving away the prices as soon as the client walks in the door. I saw it as recently as yesterday; the client walked in the door, a price sheet is handed to her, that says that the home is listed for $350,000 and the salesperson immediately says, “but we’re running a special and I can get it for you today for $300,000.”
What happens is that they’ve entered negotiations before they even know if the client is interested in that home. When you do that the client is going start negotiating from the discounted price. The agent should be holding those prices close to their chest so that they can use them when it comes time to negotiate. You don’t want to be throwing all your tools out as bait. Figure out what the buyer needs and give them what they need.
I see this at all different levels. If the builder is paying $10,000 towards closing costs, the agents are throwing that out there up front. Don’t do that. That client may not need help with closing costs. Their hot button may be tile floors or back yard. You want to know what you have to work with. If they want tile floors then you have that $10,000 to use to give them tile.
Every incentive that a builder makes available an agent is a valuable tool. So if you give it all away you give away your value. You give your power away as a negotiator. It won’t take long before the builder is going to realize that you are the type of sales person that just gives things away.
The Art of Negotiation
When it comes to price, do not put your specials on the price sheet. A lot of sales people hold that back so they can first get to know the client. Then, when they ask what you can do, deliver some of the answer not all of it. Don’t just say “we help with the closing costs” unless they ask. Then you can say, “Let’s sit down and see what the closing costs will be.” Those closing costs could only be $5,000, giving you another $5,000 give that to them tile or whatever is of value to them.