Archive for February, 2011

The Picture Close-Words Paint Pictures

February 27th, 2011

By Zig Ziglar

We want to talk about the fact that words paint pictures. As a matter of fact, the first close I’m going to share with you is called simply, “The Picture Close.”
Several years ago, The New York Times ran a series of ads trying to sell a home over in New Jersey for a Mr. and Mrs. Lowe. Now in their ads, they had had five brokers who were working on it, the ad ran for three months. They ran what we call a typical, standard ad. Simply like:

Cozy six-room home, ranch style with fireplace, garage, tile baths, all hot-water heat. Convenient to the Rutgers campus, stadium and golf courses and primary schools.

These are the facts. But let me emphasize the point: people do not buy facts. They buy warm. People benefit if they can see those benefits translated to their own personal use.

Well, after three months of standard things not working, Mrs. Lowe entered the picture herself. She decided to write an ad, and here’s what she wrote:

Headline: “We’ll miss our home.” We’ve been happy in it, but two bedrooms are not enough for us, so we must move. If you like to be cozy by a fire while you admire autumn woods through wide windows protected from the street. If you like a shady yard in summer, a clear view of winter sunsets and quiet enough to hear frogs in spring, but city utilities and conveniences, you might like to buy our home. We hope so. We don’t want it to be empty and alone at Christmas.

Now, words paint pictures.

© 2007 by Zig Ziglar

Are you positive you want Sales?

February 27th, 2011

By Shirleen Von Hoffmann Sales Coach and President HomeBuilders Edge Copyright 2011

How you approach the sales floor is more important than ever. Amid all this changes in the market and economy and heightened competition, Sales People who are positive are usually self-confident optimists. Being optimistic gives them the fuel that keeps them going in the right direction and the permission that allows them to take risks and the knowing each day that they are going to make the sale and close it.

There is little doubt that a positive outlook propels while a negative one imprisons. Many studies have shown this. For example, Martin Seligman, a University of Pennsylvania professor and one of the foremost students of optimism, surveyed representatives of a major life insurance firm. He found that, among the long-term reps, those who confidently expected a good outcome sold 37 percent more insurance than those with negative attitudes. Similarly, among the new hires, the optimists sold 20 percent more..

    In fact, according to Mayo Clinic some studies show that these personality traits — optimism and pessimism — can affect many areas of your health and well-being. Positive thinking also is a key part of effective stress management. Positive thinking doesn’t mean that you keep your head in the sand and ignore life’s less pleasant situations. It just means that you approach the unpleasantness in a more positive and productive way.

    • Increased life span
    • Lower rates of depression
    • Lower levels of distress
    • Better psychological and physical well-being
    • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
    • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

    With all this in mind, take a refresher course in positive thinking. Learn how to put positive thinking into action in your own life, and reap the benefits.

    Understanding positive thinking and self-talk

    Self-talk is the endless stream of thoughts that run through your head every day. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Some of your self-talk comes from logic and reason. Other self-talk may arise from misconceptions that you create because of lack of confidence, negativity or other defeating chatter.  As a Sales Person you must learn to control this self talk.  Many times in Sales, Sales Agents have self-talk that can be defeating behavior.  That self-talk goes something like, “People aren’t buying because of this or that”, “my community doesn’t sell because of this or that”.  I teach Sales Teams to get rid of this type of self talk and only bring to work with them the positive energy of “How many sales am I going to make today?”  That’s it!

    If the thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative, your outlook on life is more likely pessimistic. If your thoughts are mostly positive, you’re likely an optimist — someone who practices positive thinking.

    It’s such an easier choice to choose the positive instead of the negative and you just feel better while you are doing it. So make the choice each day, to greet your customers, welcome them, build rapport, discover needs and have some fun selling them a home.

    Happy Sales

    The ABC’s of Closing

    February 21st, 2011

    By Shirleen Von Hoffmann President and Sales Coach for Home Builders Edge  Copyright 2011

    I just finished a “Closing” Training session last week with a Sales Team for one of our largest national builders.  I constantly get Closing as a request from most Managers and Presidents.  They think if we pound “closes” into the Sales Agent’s head, their sales ratio will increase.  Some Managers even ask me to push the “A – B – C. Always Be Closing.” technique to get things started. Uhhh!  I will get to this later.

    Closing training sessions are only good for one thing.  What is that, you say?  Closing training sessions are only good for teaching what comes before closing.  Because it isn’t closing we should be worried about.  What we should be worried about is everything that comes before closing.  That’s right, you heard me clearly.  We need to worry about everything before closing because when we do that…closing is easy and sometimes not even needed.  If steps are done right, closing is a natural next step.

    Here is a list of more important elements of a sale:

    • Building Rapport
    • Building Trust
    • Building Value
    • Asking questions to discover needs
    • Listening for needs
    • Selling those needs

    Once I can get Sales People to focus on these six elements and do it very well…closing is easy.  Why?  Because once you build rapport, build true relationships with prospects, build value and discover needs, you can ask a prospect for anything. Closing is a very natural thing to ask once these other elements have been achieved.  In fact closing only becomes a “hard sell” or uncomfortable when these six items have not been achieved.

    Here is a list of questions to ask yourself about your prospect encounter?

    • Did I do my best to maximize my time with that prospect?
    • Did I do my best to get to know that prospect and build rapport?
    • Did I discover their reasons for buying?
    • Did I create value?
    • Did I discover exactly the home they were looking for and why?
    • Did I ask if what I showed the prospect fit their needs?
    • Did I learn enough personal things about this prospect to have a comfortable, engaging follow up call?
    • Did I develop enough rapport so that prospect would take my call?
    • Did I discover enough needs so that I can follow up with the prospect… Not once but four or five times?

    » More: The ABC’s of Closing

    Selling Saturday and Sundays!

    February 19th, 2011

    Well it’s a sales person’s favorite days, Saturday and Sunday…when the traffic increases. Have fun and remember no one does like you…you are a TOP GUN in sales

    T-reat them like gold.

    O-pen them up, get them talking, to discover needs.

    P-eel back the layers on a personal level to build rapport.

    G-et to know the key reason why they are looking and sell them on those things.

    U-nveil the perfect home that fits their needs.

    N-ever let them leave without a check or the next step appointment.

    Happy Sales this weekend!

    Wall Street Journal Article: Home Affordability Returns to Pre-Bubble levels

    February 14th, 2011

    By NICK TIMIRAOS  Courtesy of Wall Street Journal

    Home affordability returned to pre-bubble levels in a growing number of U.S. markets over the past year as price declines laid the groundwork for a housing recovery.

    Housing Declines Again

    Home values in the United States posted their largest quarterly decline since the first quarter of 2009, falling 2.6 percent as the temporary stimulus of the home buyer tax credits wore off, according to See region-specific data.

    Data provided by Moody’s Analytics track the ratio of median home prices to annual household incomes in 74 markets. By that measure, housing affordability at the end of September had returned to or surpassed the average reached between 1989-2003 in 47 of those markets. Most economists believe the housing boom took off in 2003.

    During the boom, lax lending and speculation pushed house-price inflation far beyond the modest rise in household income. Nationally, the ratio of home prices to annual household income reached a peak of 2.3 in late 2005. But by last September, it had fallen to 1.6, matching the lowest level in the 35 years the data have been collected and well below the historical average of 1.9 between 1989 and 2003.

    “Based on incomes, this is as affordable as it gets,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “If you can get a loan, these are pretty good times to buy.”

    But the bad news is that those price declines are leaving more borrowers underwater, or in homes worth less than the amount owed.

    Nearly 27% of homeowners with a mortgage were underwater at the end of the fourth quarter, up from 23.2% in the previous quarter, according to data to be published Wednesday by, a real-estate website.

    Home Buyers Pay Cash, Sensing a Bottom

    The increase resulted from a 2.6% decline in home values during the quarter and the fact that fewer homes went through foreclosure after banks halted foreclosures to correct document-handling errors. » More: Wall Street Journal Article: Home Affordability Returns to Pre-Bubble levels

    Question of the Week

    February 8th, 2011

    What is your most challenging type of prospect and why?

    Follow the Leader

    February 7th, 2011

    Remember when you were a kid and you played the game, “Follow the Leader?” I want to talk about how; “Follow the Leader – The Sales Game” is a great game to play in Sales.

    The Leader being your prospect and you being the follower.

    Don’t Over Sell or Over Talk your Prospect

    So many times in Sales what you find is a Sales Person who is anxious to tell you everything they have to sell.  They start right off by unloading, “We have this and that, in this color and that, at this price and that, in this location and that, with this incentive at that rate.”  They do all of the talking upfront or “Leading” and the prospect is left, “following” what they are saying.  I can assure you if you are the one talking, you are not building rapport.   I am sure you have crossed paths with Sales People like this in your lifetime and remember how annoying they were?  You couldn’t get a word in edgewise.  Do your best to not be like them.  Ask tons of questions up front, to get your “Leader” talking and  then listen, listen, listen.  The sooner you get your Leader talking, the sooner you can start following.


    When you are playing Follow the Leader, “The Sales Game, you will find it’s a much easier more efficient way to sell.  When you let your prospect talk or LEAD, what you find is they will tell you what they need, when they need it, how they need it and how much they can afford to pay for it.   They will tell you how to sell them if you listen.  They will tell you their insecurities if you build trust.  They will tell you their hot buttons if you build rapport, there’s lots of statistics out there to prove it.  By letting them lead, when you finally do start talking it should be about solutions for their needs.  Let me say that again, Solutions for their needs.


    Remember in “Follow the Leader” the Leader did something and you had to follow it.  There is no better way to build trust and rapport than by following and mimicking your prospect.  It’s a sure fire way to make someone feel at ease by observing them and selling to them the way they like to be sold.  For instance, I hate a hard sell and will walk away from you if you come on too strong.  I like a helpful sell, a “How can I HELP you?” sell.   I like a Sales Person who will go the extra mile for me.  Now if you don’t ask me questions and you lead, how are you going to know that?  If you don’t build rapport, mimic and get to know my needs, you will not know that and lose a sale.  You will not only lose it, you will lost it very quickly and not even know why.

    So spend the time to play “Follow the Leader-The Sales Game”.  It‘s one of the best Sales Games around and will work for you every time.  Because in the end all that matters is that you have a happy, buyer for life and your competition doesn’t!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Happy Sales!

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