Good Shop, Bad Shop!

April 13, 2010 by Shirleen Von Hoffmann Leave a reply »

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.

Happy Sales!

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4 Responses

  1. Del Barbray says:

    WOW! These shops are certainly examples of what a good sales agent should not do when a prospect comes into their sales office especially in this tough market that we are currently in.

    If a prospect comes into a sales office then the sales agent should make the prospect top priority and stop doing everything else that isn’t going to help them sell a home such as talking on their personal cell telephones, and/or talking negatively about their competition. The sales agent should on the other hand start trying to discover what the needs of the prospect are and then demonstrate the model home that will best meet the needs of the prospect because the old saying, “the more you site, the more you write” still holds true today especially in this market.

    In order for an agent to be successful in sales, I believe that they must always ‘tune the world out” and tune into their prospect once that prospect is standing in front of them in the sales office.

    Thank you for sharing these two shops.
    It’s a pleasure to know you.
    Del Barbray

  2. Shawn Marie McKinley says:

    Shawn-Marie McKinley
    Operations Manager at CSHP

    I just had to comment – and builders wonder why they are not selling homes right now. I am a former sales manager and sales trainer, and I can testify that there are many poor agents employed and some of the very best salespeople are still looking for work. It is a shame- I stopped shopping agents last summer because it really made me ill on the skill level being presented on the sales floor right now.

  3. Scott Stroud says:

    m reading this on the way home from a housing conference where I was speaking. From my conversations there, sales managers – even owners – know that their sales force is largely undertrained and unqualified. While they, too, might roll their eyes at this report, until they are willing to pony up and do something about it the situation will never change. What an opportunity for those who take the initiative to provide real training and support for their sales team! It’s a choice that will pay huge dividends and put them in a class by themselves… And shame on those that do nothing and perpetuate the status quo.

    Scott Stroud

  4. Scott,

    The thing I don’t understand is this: As Shawn Marie said there are many great Agents who are unemployed now. Doesn’t make sense.

    If I were a Builder I would keep a close eye on whose driving my bus through video shops and my own observation during training. I would also have very good head hunters hunting me up some talent, so I would have plenty of hires available when I didn’t see that hunter mentality happening in my sales team. I would make my team well aware of the fact that they were being shopped on a consistent basis and they would have the sales mentality that welcomed the opportunity to improve their sales skills.

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