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The Fear Factor.  I think most of us have certain fears in our lives that take hold of us in many forms. Some of it legitimate such as in a life threatening situation. Some fear is emotional such as fears in personal relationships. Some of it is psychological such as phobias. Would a tarantula make you beat feet out of a room? We are supposed to face and conquer our fears. Some believe by walking on hot coals is a way to conquer your fears. While I appreciate the ‘Yes I Can’ attitude, the real possibility of scorched feet does not seem all that appealing. My fear is heights…the kind where you do not have anything to hold onto when looking down from the edge of a cliff or building. Can’t say I am too anxious to stand at the edge of either without being attached to a very secure harness tied to a very strong tree or building. Of course when I started up this business I had to overcome some major fears. As many of us who are self-employed know all too well, starting up and maintaining a business can be similar to walking on hot coals. Lots of ‘yikes’ times.

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Some fear is placed upon us by events and ideas that are spread around and for whatever reason, without substantiation, we tend to embrace and believe in those fears. In those situations the historic saying of ‘the only thing to fear is fear itself’ rings true.

So why am I writing about fear? Because it is a factor in our sales lives. Sometimes our prospective buyers come into our sales centers with an element of hidden fear. They seek out a new home with trepidation because of uncertainties they hear about or believe to be true. This is probably one of the greatest challenges facing our sales professionals. There are many fear factors that can prevent our prospective buyers from making a purchase commitment:  change in location; change in lifestyle, financial fear, fear of the unknown…. the fear list, legitimate or otherwise, can be very long. Perhaps at your next sales meetings your sales team should create a list of all the fears they know prospective buyers have and then discuss how to effectively overcome them.

If the agent accomplishes an effective and comprehensive sales presentation, but the buyer still is reluctant, then the agent must determine what it is that is blocking the buyer’s decision to purchase. Why do they fear committing? It is critical that agents have established rapport and a sense of trust in order to find and resolve the buyer’s commitment block.  If the agent has conducted a thorough discovery process to learn something about who they are selling to, then they have a chance of determining what the fear is. Hopefully it is just one!

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Some agents fear failure. They know what works, or think they know what works, and will resist changing how they sell. By resisting change, they end up doing OK but in the end, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. What has worked in the past for the most part no longer works as effectively. Change is inevitable. Change is not easy but absolutely mandatory to stay ahead of the pack. Does anyone really think they can use the same selling techniques from 15 years ago in today’s market? If they do it is time for a reality check. Just think how our buyers have changed over the years. While the buyer’s basic motivations are mostly the same, there obviously have been changes in buyer’s requirements over the years. Who heard of a ‘man cave’ 15 years ago? But as you have read in these articles as well as volumes of other materials, blogs and training seminars, today’s buyer is different. Agents can no longer use an out of date selling template just like builders can no longer offer the same home design from 15 years ago. Our industry is new construction. Should not our selling techniques also be new? That does not mean throwing the baby out with the bathwater. However, that bathwater does need to be changed.

Management - do not fear shopping your agents. You know you have to confirm sales skills no matter how good you think your sales team is. I have seen the best of agents become complacent and their mystery shop became a wakeup call. We will work with you to pull together an effective program to assess and evaluate the strengths of your agents and where to target training. It is easy to connect with us. Just a call or an email will get you started. 

 

 

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Every salesperson has a selling preference, a favorite style.  Some salespeople wait and hope sales happen; others participate and cause sales to happen; still others combine waiting and participating in order to make sales happen. A salesperson’s selling preference will determine a sales person’s level of success.  Read the three selling preferences below and decide which one comes closest to describing your sales style.

Administrator

The salesperson who waits and hopes for sales to happen is an administrator. Normally, this person is very good at handling details. As long as the market is good, this salesperson succeeds, but if the market softens then this salesperson often gives up and moves onto another career.

Participator

Salespeople who cause sales to happen are participators. They participate in their customers’ home buying experience and assure themselves a positive outcome. They cause sales to happen in combination with marketing and merchandising efforts.

Something Vince Lombard said describes these salespeople well: “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will”. It takes a strong will to be a participator but with discipline most salespeople can achieve this effective type of selling.

Facilitator

Salespeople who are both administrators and participators are facilitators. Webster defines facilitator as someone who makes something easy or less difficult. This selling style makes home buying a smooth and seamless process.

Facilitators are willing to participate in the customer home buying experience but are also willing to follow their customers’ lead. If a customer resists a salesperson involvement, this person will step back and wait for the next best opportunity to participate.

Even though facilitators retreat momentarily, they don’t give up. They realize it is sometimes best to allow a customer to experience the house and reengage the customer later on. They understand that sometimes it is best to follow customers rather than attempt to control them.

The difference between participators and facilitators is that the facilitators allow things to happen according to their customers’ pace. Facilitators understand where they are in the home buying process and are constantly developing selling strategies to stay in alignment with their customers.

My experience is that the participator and facilitator will succeed year in and year out, in good times and bad, while the administrator will frequently stumble and fail.  Begin today to examine your selling preference and make the necessary changes either to make things happen (participator) or cause things to happen (facilitator) through your words and actions.

If you decide to participate or facilitate you will enjoy a successful 2014.

Bob Hafer has been a leader in the housing industry for 41 years.  His extensive experience gives him unparalleled insight into the mysteries and marvels of home buying and selling. His background includes success in consulting, management, administration, sales, marketing, merchandising, research, sales training and real estate sales.  Contact Bob at www.bobhafer.ebby.com, e-mail him at bobhafer@ebby.com, check out his profile at bobhafer.brandyourself.com or call him at 972-795-5926.

 

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Top 10 Turnaround Housing Markets

Realtor.com did a study of U.S. housing markets to see which recovered the most from the downturn. They examined median home prices, plus the age and amount of home inventory. Six of the top ten turnaround markets were in California, including San Diego. Here are the cities where prices increased and "inventory age" decreased most from Q2 2012 to Q2 2013 (San Diego and other markets have slowed since this study):

PRCENTAGE INCREASE INVENTORY AGE CITY
1. 41.3% -53.1% Oakland, CA
2. 29.44% -43.3% Orange County, CA
3. 34.3% -30.9% Santa Barbara, CA
4. 25% -64.0% San Jose, CA
5. 17.2% -55.8% Seattle, WA
6. 30.3% -27.2% Los Angeles, CA
7. 37.8% -25.0% Detroit, MI
8. 12% -45.8% Portland, OR
9. 21.1% -26.4% San Diego, CA
10. 26% -32.3% Reno, NV
 
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SEEING IS BELIEVING. Eliminate the doubt. No matter what the market conditions may be, a community’s success ultimately relies on the quality of the sales agents. Video Profiles from LeBlanc & Associates capture each agent’s sales presentation, the good and the not-so-good, through the eyes of the buyer.
CONFIRMATION:You must confirm your site sales staff is selling at peak performance. Accepting mediocrity or less is never acceptable.
TRAINING. Using a Video Profile from LeBlanc & Associates of your best agents demonstrates what you expect from the rest of the sales team. What better way can an agent learn than from the best of their peers? The training aspect is then reinforced with our self-evaluation guide.
TECHNICALLY SPEAKING. To maintain the highest quality of final product, all our work is done in-house. Our clients receive two DVDs of each sales encounter. Each video is processed to eliminate non essential footage.
QUALITY. LeBlanc & Associates is established as the premiere company for sales agent evaluations. Our business is your business . . . new home sales. Our high level of training for our field techs provides the best capture rate of your agents. We know you are paying to see your agents – not the walls and windows of your sales office.
WHY LEBLANC & ASSOCIATES? Have you tried the rest and found ill prepared field personnel? Have you seen more walls than agents? Do ceiling shots make you dizzy?
THEN BE PREPARED FOR THE BEST. GIVE US A CALL!
LeBlanc & Associates
800.838.1779
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