Archive for October, 2012

Then End All in Open Ended Questions

October 26th, 2012
By Shirleen Von Hoffmann Sales and Business Development Coach for Home Builders Edge and Sales Team Coaches  Copyright 2012



I find many sales representatives get a little confused when you talk about open ended questions.

Let me make it simple.  Open ended questions get your prospect talking not you.  So you must structure your questions to get them talking.

There is no better way to get to know your prospect, their needs, lives and must haves other than asking them great open ended questions.

Here are a few steps to make your life easy when it comes to open ended questions, compliments of the Queen of Sales!

  • Come up with a few new opened ended questions each week and practice them on your clients.  Work them over, changing up the structure, until they sound natural and note which questions give you the most bang for your buck.  In other words which questions gives you the best response from your client?  Once you figure out which questions work best, use them every time.
  • The easiest way to get people talking is to start your question with “Tell me about”.
  • Another great way to get people to open up is explain you are going to ask them quite a few questions so you can narrow down the product that fits their needs thus saving them time.  It’s an upfront disclosure and shows respect honoring their time. It can go something like this, “I like to ask my clients a few preference questions upfront to narrow down your needs to what I have to offer and save you some time.  So let’s start with…”
  • Have questions you ask in the beginning and questions you ask a little later in the presentation.
  • Start with needs and wants first, then dive into more personal questions once you have built some trust and rapport.
  • As you ask any open-ended questions, keep in mind when asking questions to not sound like you are interrogating them, getting upfront permission helps with this.
  • Also don’t come across as insincere or like a phony baloney.  No one likes a bad car sales person.  I think most people can tell when you are being genuine.
  • If your client answers a question but you want them to expand a bit more, ask them, “tell me a little more about…?” You’ll be surprised at just how much more you can learn.

People love to talk about themselves; it’s a real talent to be able to open up your prospects.  You not only get valuable information about them but they feel listened to, valued and YOU stand out from all of the rest!

Happy Selling!

Customer Feedback – an important but often missed sales step

October 20th, 2012

By Shirleen Von Hoffmann Sales Coach and President of Sales Team Coaches Copyright 2012


I love seeing the sales experience through the clients’ eyes.  In my work, we do quite a bit of secret shopping for Builders, Lenders and Luxury Facilities.  Though the Manager gets to see the film we provide, many times I get to experience the shop first hand.  It’s quite a different experience to “role play” the customer and sit in the client seat.  I find myself doing that where ever I go and whatever I do. I have become a customer service fanatic I guess.

In my private coaching sessions with Real Estate Professionals I often find that they forget to survey the client to see how they did and use it as an opportunity to ask for referrals.

Now by survey I don’t just mean the written survey your company sends to check up on you.  I am talking about the more important verbal survey, the conversation you have with your clients at the end to ask, “How did  my company and I do for you?”  It’s an often missed but very important sales step.  I think it is missed because if the news is not so good, no one wants to hear it, they just want to move on.  But I am here to say, if the news is not so good, you WANT to hear it, so you can make the necessary fixes to your system.  It is critical.

Currently I am working on a huge remodel project, I am the contractor on the job and this is my first experience as a “Home Builder”.  We have taken this home down to nothing and rebuilt it and it has been a huge transformation. During the remodel I have had to hire many, different contractors and have experienced a different level of “seeing through the customers eyes”, than my normal secret shopping.

The hardwood floor contractor was highly recommended but I had nothing but issues with his work and his employees who arrived on site who bringing one mistake after another and never completed the job right.

Once I got the owner on site, I told him the entire story of his customer service and showed him the results of the poor flooring job his crew did, which was still not complete…he was embarrassed.  He had no idea this lead guy came across the way he did to his clients.  He had no idea the poor job his crew did on my job until I called to have him come out.  I wouldn’t call it complaining, I was giving him feedback.  Feedback that is critical to his continued success.  Some people would just never use him again rather than give him constructive feedback.  So I actually did him a favor.

When a customer takes the time to give you feedback or a complaint of any kind, take it as a favor.  The customer is doing you a favor so you can “fix” the flaw in your system and move on.  You can learn from every bit of feedback a customer gives you.  It’s why customer surveys, verbal and written, are so very important. It’s a very important sales step that is often missed.  Because once you have the feedback and it is good feedback, it can open doors to referrals…that are many times missed.

We work very hard so that people will buy from us, not just once but over and over again.  Make sure you know what kind of job you did for the client, not only from a form you send but by listening to them in person about the job you did.  Once you hear the great things you did, it’s a perfect time to ask for a referral from family and friends!

Happy Sales

Bring it!

October 13th, 2012

As our market recovers and demand increases, you will need to be better at many things.  Different things maybe then in a slow market.  Maybe some of you are working on new skills and juggling new tasks right now.


But for today,  I want you to think about what you are really good at.

What do you do that makes you stand out as a sales person.

What is it about your encounter with customers that is memorable?

What do you bring to the table?  What do you do really well?

Because that just may be the one thing that a customer remembers about you that will make them buy from you.

We all can remember times in our lives where we dealt with a sales person who stood out to us in some way and bought from them because we liked them.  Now I admit, buying a home is a big decision and most likely people will not be buying a home based on you alone but it is possible that you are one of the special ingredients that make people buy from you vs the competition, if they are on the fence between two homes.

So if you were going to train a newbie today about your special gifts that you bring to the table with regards to sales, what would they be?  What would you show them?

Once you decide on a few of your favorite trademarks, I want you to put them into action today.

With every client encounter you have, give them that great piece of you that got you into sales in the first place.  Give them that extra special attention that will make them remember YOU.

Give it a try and I am sure two things will happen.  You will have more fun doing what you do and you will increase your sales.

Have a great sales weekend!

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