Archive for August, 2012

The One That Got Away…Improving your Closing Ratio

August 25th, 2012
By Shirleen Von Hoffmann President and Sales Coach for Home Builders Edge and Sales Team Coaches Copyright 2012


I continually get requests from Managers to train teams on improving closing and closing ratios.  It’s the most requested training I get.

My personal belief is that if all of the steps of a sale are performed, then closing is a natural progression and becomes easy.  However missed steps make closing a daunting, uncomfortable experience for both parties, when it comes time to ask for the sale.

But today I want to talk about closing ratios, not closing.  How many sales are you getting out of the number of prospects walking in the door?  How many are you let walk away?

I was at a community recently and the Agent was in the office working with buyers picking colors and I counted 6 visitors who came and went, including myself, who grabbed a price list off of the table and proceeded through the models alone.  Agent never even looked up or greeted us.  The door to the office was closed. After we were done, the Agent still busy, now on the phone with the same clients sitting there, was not able to talk to any of us as we all walked out.  Oh and no cards were taken on any of us…

There are a lot of reasons why prospects walk away…but here is a common one.

Agent too busy to answer questions, engage and build rapport.

So let’s just take this one issue and see how we can work with it to increase your closing ratio.  I want every prospect to be treated with kit gloves no matter WHO you have in front of you.  Because if your closing ratio is 1 out of 10 and you can increase it to 3 out of 10, it makes a huge difference in the Builder’s and your pocket book. » More: The One That Got Away…Improving your Closing Ratio

YOU are the Customer Experience

August 14th, 2012

By Shirleen Von Hoffmann Sales Coach and President Home Builders Edge and Sales Team Coaches


Successful organizations differentiate themselves to attract their market. How do YOU set yourself apart from the rest?  You own a business, you run a community, no matter what you do for a living, if you are in Sales,  you own it.  How do YOU make your customer experience so different they will remember you from all the rest?


If I name an organization, you will know right away how they set themselves apart from the rest.

  • When I say Ritz Carlton; you think elegant, great service
  • When I say Nordstrom; you think great service, quality product
  • When I say Mercedes; you think quality product, great engineering
  • When I say Starbucks; you think great service, customization, and quality product.


People & Prospect Experience

That is the key element of differentiation is YOU.  Think about it…Any positive experience you have ever had with a company came because of the People working there. Ritz Carlton and Starbucks don’t execute anything new that doesn’t begin with prospect experience.  They study every piece of their process and find ways to stand apart from the competition.


How do YOU make your customer experience different?

I am not talking about sending some standard follow up piece from a computer that thanks them for visiting.  I am talking about being totally present during each prospect encounter, giving them 100% of their attention, taking notes, finding needs, making personal relationships, selling, closing, unique follow up strategies, leaving reasons to follow up and exceeding expectations promised.  What if a Sales Person emailed a video of the home I was interested in as soon as I left the community?  How would that differentiate your company from the rest?  What if I had been to seven other communities that were impersonal and then I entered your sales office to a completely warm, friendly, inviting environment where I could feel a genuine helpfulness oozing from the Sales Person.  Where I felt important, valued for visiting, fully welcomed and listened to.  It’s huge!


That is why people buy.  That’s why, even during a recession when money is tight, they buy at Nordstrom; it’s why they love Starbucks’ and why they stay at the Ritz.  It’s all about PEOPLE creating an experience for the client.


So think of some small ways, where you can make a big difference in the lives of your prospects.  Do it today.  Because when you explore and improve every step of your prospect experience, you will see more sales coming your way tomorrow.


Happy Selling


August 14th, 2012

One wonderful thing about CHOICE…when someone negative tries to feed you their poison…you can CHOOSE whether to swallow it or to say “NO, not for me” and  push it away.  This teaching is in Miguel Ruiz’s Four Agreements.  One of the best books ever written.

Managing the Angry Client

August 4th, 2012
By Shirleen Von Hoffmann Sales Coach for Sales Team Coaches Copyright 2012

The other night I was out with some friends for drinks and appetizers.  The bartender was very condescending to me when I asked him to clarify his statement regarding the happy hour.  I couldn’t hear him in the loud bar.  I noticed his absolute rudeness but put it aside to have a good time with my friends.  When taking our order a bit later, again he was impatient, impersonal and short.  Then to top off the night, when one of the girls got her drink and told him it was different from what she ordered, he argued with her first, then snatched up the drink and walked away in a huff to make her another.  When he returned to the table he set down the drink, said nothing, she said, “You know I am sorry but that drink just didn’t taste good and wasn’t what I ordered.”  He never acknowledged her or her apology and walked away.  She in turn became furious with his behavior and took her drink to the bar and told him to keep his drink and send over the Manager instead.  At that point our “fun evening” ended abruptly.  When we finally got the Manager on our way out, all the Manager could say, over and over, was I’m sorry…I’m sorry.  No resolution and no feeling like our complaints either mattered nor would go any further for correction.


This is a sad story to me.  There was so much done wrong in this story, where do I start?

If you are going to be in a job that involves customer service, then you better like customers and be ready to service them.


Take Ownership-Fix it Fast

If a customer complains, don’t take it personal, immediately think long term, how can I make this customer a happy customer for life.  I quick apology from him and fix would have done the job.  (I am sorry; let me get another drink for you right away.)  Done, fixed!  It only cost a small shot of booze and you would have four clients who would have returned in the future.  But with his rude behavior, that restaurant lost four business people who would have returned with clients, family, friends…


It’s my pleasure

At the Ritz Carlton the customer services is excellent.  The employees use the term, “It’s my pleasure” every time they give you something and you say, “Thank You”.  It’s such an easy thing to say, “It’s my pleasure to please you” is what they are really saying.  Its goes a long way and you never get tired of hearing it.  The entire evening would have ended differently for us if when he  brought her the second drink and she said, Thank You…all he needed to say was, “No Problem at all, I hope this one hits the spot.  Try it and let’s make sure it tastes good.”


Managers should provide solutions

If you are a Manager and a customer is complaining to you don’t just blankly look at them and say I’m sorry over and over. Those are just words with no action and that just angers the client further.  They are expecting you, as the Manager to offer some resolution to the complaint. In this case, you could tell there was not going to be any action to follow from this weak Manager. (Manager should have said, “I’m so sorry about your experience here tonight, please accept a free dinner or a free drink on us next time you return and make it up to you.  Our service is normally excellent.  I will have a talk with my employee to clarify our customer service policy.)


It’s so easy to please by owning the problem.  “I am sorry, let me take charge and fix that”, goes a long way with an unhappy client.  You put the fire out immediately before it turns into an inferno you can’t fix.


The four of us will never return to that restaurant again and we all have frequented there at least twenty times or more.  I found out, that same restaurant is filing for bankruptcy and will probably close its doors.  The owners probably never knew the hole in their sinking ship began with their customer service.

Footer Image