My article in July’s California Builder Magazine

July 29, 2010 by Shirleen Von Hoffmann Leave a reply »

Beat the Summer Blues

By Shirleen Von Hoffman

It’s 2010 and we are seeing an economy that our country has never seen before. Now as summer is upon us and people start vacationing, it can slow down your traffic. You have options, you can either sit around and do nothing or you can step up and take on the challenge.

We don’t have to let the economy or season dictate our success. Selling during these times can be more challenging, yet top producers are not feeling the pinch as much as others.

How can you ensure you prosper during these times? With action. Do you ever notice how top producers are busy no matter what? Even in tough times, top producers continue to sell as if there were no challenges. That’s because great salespeople stick to their good habits no matter what.

Following are 10 key habits that will make your sales season and recession proof. The actions you take now are the ones that will make it a great finish to 2010.

1. Set goals

Do you ever drive to a place that you have never been without directions? Then don’t start each day off without direction. You can’t get where you want to be if you don’t clearly know where you want to go. Write down your goals for income, work, home, family … whatever is important to you. Then write an action plan of what you are going to do to achieve those goals. You should be touching on these goals and actions to achieve these goals each and every day.

2. Always hone your sales skills

You can never stop learning, growing and honing your skills, no matter what. All top producers challenge themselves with sales training, reading, practicing their skills. Learning new skills and seeing them work on your prospects is what makes sales fun.

3. Prepare strategically

Research industry trends. What is your competition doing? What are other cities doing? Other states? Use the information to plan strategically with your managers so you can compete in the marketplace and be the best you can be.

4. Sell from their prospective

Prepare, practice and script every stage of your sale. You need to research what is going on inside their heads so you can prepare and communicate value to them. Look at it as what’s in it for them and follow a process to connect with the person. Ask awesome open-ended questions, facilitate their understanding of the process of buying and what it means to them, work through objections and ask for the sale. If you don’t get the sale on the first try, make sure you follow up with them until you do.

5. Identify alternative prospect streams

Think creatively on who may want to buy your homes and come up with a strategy to market to them. There are some industries that are positively impacted by a slow economy. Can you market to them? Look for opportunities to bring in alternative prospects that the builder’s advertising may miss. You know who comes in to your models. Are you tracking where they come from on a map so you can market to them? Is there past builder communities you can market to? Are there employers you can market to? All of these are alternative prospect streams.

6. Give something of value today

It doesn’t have to be your product or service given away. Information is free. Find an article, a reprint, a cartoon that you can share and stay in front of them. Give a cup of coffee, lottery tickets, even gas cards to Realtors to encourage them to bring their clients. Find something positive to contact them about. Giving away something today can build a relationship and trust level for later.

7. Use the power of one

Just one more action each day can make all the difference later. One more phone call, one more email, one more note sent, one more plan, one more question. You get the idea. Before lunch, after lunch, before you leave at the end of the day, these are all great times to add one more action.

8. Treat prospects you see everyday as gold

The builder pays a lot of money in advertising to bring one prospect in the door. In this market you should never let them leave without knowing all of their contact information and all of their needs, wishes and wants. You should be walking them and getting to know them like never before. You should be following up with them, making second viewing appointments, site tours so you can close and sell them on your community.

9. Reintroduce yourself to customers you’ve ‘lost’ over the years

You might find a hidden treasure in this group. Maybe they are ready to return if they were asked. Maybe they can give you referrals. Research what is going on with them, and then reconnect and ask for referrals.

10. Ask for referrals

Make it a game to think of a new way to ask for referrals from people you know every day: the grocer, your hairdresser, drycleaner, daycare, mechanic, friends, family and past buyers. The opportunities are endless. Once you think of a new referral source, start asking for the referral from the source right away. It is an endless chain of opportunity. Tap into reciprocity generosity. Ask “Who do you know that might benefit from what I do?” It’s amazing what contacts you might make.

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” —  Chinese Proverb

In order to create your future you have to know what you want to create. Top-producing salespeople find a way to succeed in all economies. With some upfront effort to ensure your actions are effective and efficient, the door to success is wide open, walk through it and take those sales your competition is giving away.

Happy sales!

* * *

Shirleen Von Hoffmann is president of HBA-Home Builder’s AdvantEdge, a sales coaching company that teaches new home agents techniques that elevate them to a fresh place of success, and the author of  Secrets of Top Producers. She can be reached or at her websites, or

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2 Responses

  1. Del Barbray says:

    Good afternoon, Shirleen
    You make some very good points in your article pertaining to employee satisfaction and how this helps in the success of a company.
    I agree with you that if the employees are happy working for the company then they will help make the customers happy and satisfied which in turn should result in sales and profit for the company which is the ultimate goal of every company in business today.

    I am a firm believer in training and sometimes a company just can’t afford to provide training on a regular basis for its employees because of budget restraints so when this happens, I feel that every employee that can afford to get training on their own should get the training so that they become more valuable to the company. I for one don’t wait for the company that I am working for to train me since I believe that I am ultimately responsible for educating and training myself about the industry I am working in which happens to be the home building industry so i am going to take as many classes as i can and attend seminars and workshops when i can so that I learn whatever I can so I become better at my job and more valuable to my employer.

    It is a team effort and every employee must do what they can to get training and education so that the company is successful in today’s market.

    Thank you for sharing your article today.
    You do a GREAT job.
    Del Barbray

  2. Del Barbray says:

    Excellent article, Shirleen.
    I like and agree with the ideas on how to “beat the summer blues” that you list in your article.
    Summer vacation is no excuse to not do everything possible to increase your traffic and continue to sell the homes in your new home community. It is your number one responsibility to do this as a new home sales person and not your builder’s responsibility.
    Thank you for sharing these ideas.
    You do a GREAT job.

    Del Barbray
    Real Estate Broker
    DRE #01049232

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