Have you noticed Sales are on the rise?

October 8, 2011 by Shirleen Von Hoffmann Leave a reply »

By Shirleen Von Hoffmann President and Sales Coach of Home Builders Edge® Copyright ©2011

It seems as though there’s a slight sales surge going on, amidst the normal negative banter.

I purchased a foreclosure and I have folks fighting to purchase it.  I got offers before I had the chance to even clean the carpet or put it on the market.  People saw work going on in the house and knocked on the door begging to get a peek at it.  Something is going on!

Rates and Prices are low; inventory is down all good signs. The market is still very fragile, the economy is even more fragile, and with loan requirements and the employment issues it is amazing we are still able to sell homes.  But we are selling homes!  And now is a great time to buy a home.  That fact remains. There are buyers out there, that is another fact. The Sales Professional and their companies who employ them, that are ahead of the pack and prepared for success, will be the ones who capture these sales.  That is the most important fact.

I believe there’s going to be another year of the same back and forth but there will finally be some semblance of and upward market and economic recovery.

QUESTION: Will you get your fair share of this economic surge?

ANSWER: Only if you’re ready.  More ready than your competition.

CHALLENGE: What are you doing to lay the foundation for the years ahead so that you can take full advantage of the sales surge?

Here are things you need to do as the economy begins to rebound:

Make certain everyone’s attitude is shifted to positive and to Sales

Not just salespeople. Everyone. Everyone in your organization needs to be sales centric and sales focused.  Sales are the blood flow and the life force in most companies.  So we can boost the Sales folks all day long with Sales Coaching and training but if the folks in the home office are not there to support them fully and encourage them on, we are not a sales centric organization, are we?

Maintain pricing, even when your competitors discount

Price pressure has lowered your profit for the past three years and it lowers our values in our market and your value in the market place.  You want the bleeding to stop, then it begins with you! I hate to see a builder just give away 30 and 40 thousand off their price in marketing campaigns, when I am trying to teach Sales Professionals to sell value.  Lowering your price is like chopping off your toes, one at a time, until you can’t stand anymore.  You also lower the overall price and value of your community in the appraisers eyes.  Value takes a long time to recoup.   Give away options, closing costs, lot premiums everything but do you best to hold your price and sell value.

Stop giving away

Don’t give away anything without giving value to it.  If you include a 2-10 warranty, a granite countertop, tile flooring, backyard landscaping…make sure to put a retail dollar value to it and make sure to post it everywhere so the customer can see it.  It goes hand in hand with holding your pricing and will help you hold your price.  As a consumer you need to tell me how much is the value of what you are giving me is or I won’t value it.  I won’t know if you don’t tell me.

Train everyone

Everyone in your organization should be trained and evaluated regularly on how they deliver a customer experience.  For office people that support the sales staff, the sales staff is their customer.  For people who answer phones, deliver customer service and have direct contact with the customer, well they all need customer service/experience training regularly.  Be sure everyone knows who is the boss and the king of the road…our customer.

Create your value messages in everything you do.

Be known as the Mercedes Benz of homebuilding.  Constantly reinforce the value your company brings to homebuilding making your home, a home to be sought out by prospects. Proactively send these value statements in your marketing, your advertising, your social media, your sales team and your customer service team… to every customer. People love carte blanche; figure out how to give it to them.

Make certain that upper management has complete buy-in

Support from upper management both verbally and monetarily is so important and really establishes a new norm in any company.  If there is a culture shift, it starts in upper management first and then oozes throughout the company.  Utilizing video, onsite visits, blogs, email and Skype represent great ways to communicate the vision(s) and get it distributed to everyone in more ways than one.

Employ new technology in everything, especially sales.

Give them ways to communicate their product more efficiently.  This means smart phones, videos, cameras on their computers to communicate and involve them in social media posting.  Create mobile apps and faster ways for people to buy from you. I get sick of big company IT guys not able to keep up. They poo poo ideas before they even look at the positive effects it may bring to sales.  Again, sales centric visions. We are losing sales because you can’t figure out how to turn the ship quick enough.  Figure it out; we are a sales centric company now doing everything we can to support sales and the new way of doing business.

Make it easier to do business with you

Not just 24/7… It’s time to make personal appointments to show and sell your homes. Your new hours: 24-7-365 is the new 9-5. Just because your sales office is closed doesn’t mean the customer will wait for you to open before purchasing.  The web never closes, make sure your internet coverage is being monitored and leads are responded to in seconds, not hours or days.  Also make sure there is a great handoff to the sales team.  Remember 80% of people go to the web first.

Our economy is changing and it will get back to a new norm, you’re either on a surfboard riding the wave, or sitting waiting for the perfect time. Don’t wait! Take the wave; grow your talent, tighten up your structure and get out your message, before the next guy takes the wave from you.

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