By Shirleen Von Hoffmann President and Sales Coach Homebuilders AdvantEdge
I always get asked about our Secret Shopping and some of the best and worst cases we see. I think it’s a great idea to let Builders, Agents and Managers know what we are seeing in the field. Even when it’s not your shop…or is it?
Last week we preformed two competition shops for one our national builders. The competition was two other national builders.
The first is a brand new subdivision, with only two sales posted, in a competitive area, just outside the bay area of California. Our shopper was the only visitor the entire time she was in the office. Upon entry, the Agent was in her office on her personal cell phone, in the middle of what sounded like a personal call. Our shopper waited around and then finally announced “Hello” from the lobby, as the Sales Agent didn’t hear her enter. The Agent promptly told her caller she would call them back and came out. She apologized for not hearing her enter and proceeded to tell her all about the homes she had available. She was nice and had a pleasant attitude. She then gave her a brochure and pointed her towards the models, for viewing. When our shopper viewed the models and returned to the office, the Sales Agent was back on the cellular phone finishing her conversation, again not hearing our shopper re-enter the sales office. The Shopper waited around for a bit, made some noise and then finally left, while the Agent went on with her conversation. We were able to tell our builder client that this competition shop was not much competition to worry about.
I probably don’t have to spell this one out, but I will anyway…
- You could hire anyone to do what this Agent did. Anyone, even one with no sales skills might do a better job.
- Agents should always have a clear view of their sales office lobby area to know who is entering
- Agent never introduced herself or got our shoppers name.
- Personal phone calls can always wait until a time when no prospects are present. She should have been off that phone and on the model tour.
- Agent asked no questions of our shopper, not even her name, she just dumped her information and pointed her towards the models.
- Agent did not go on a model tour with our prospect to discover her needs and build rapport.
- This Agent does not realize the value of a prospect or a paycheck, especially with only 2 sales on the board.
- Agent didn’t get a registration card on this prospect.
- Agent didn’t get to exit interview or close our prospect because she was back on the cell phone finishing her personal call. I won’t go on…
Shop rating; Poor Shop
Now the second competition had a more attentive Agent who was with clients but took the time to excuse himself and come out to introduce himself, discover a few needs and point her towards the models, while he finished up with his clients. When our shopper returned from the models, he was done with his clients and gave her his full attention.
Now here is the direction this shop went. Our shopper asked about the surrounding communities and how they compared. Instantly this Agent went negative on his competition. Actually saying that the other national builder wasn’t disclosing some of their taxes accurately. When my shopper acted surprised by this accusation and said, “Well I hope a builder the size of _____ is an honest builder”. This Agent made some frowning facial gestures and negative body language and then said, “Not according to what I am hearing!” My shopper was shocked and said she could not believe the way he handled the question. She said that if she were buying, she would not buy from him just because of the way he talked about his competition. This is not an admirable quality and should not be done amongst professionals. It really makes you look bad when you have to result to this kind of foul play, especially when it is not true. This Agent wasn’t telling the truth by any means.
I informed the Builder who hired us of this Agent’s actions and I have to tell you, I think this Agent’sSales Manager deserves to know what her Agent’s are talking about in the field. Not a good way to do business, at all.
Shop rating: Poor Shop
How are you coming across to prospects?
You should know, because every prospect could be a sale for you or a sale for your competition, depends on who has the better sales person.