SmarterSelling

I came across a previous article I wrote several years ago and thought it was worth running it again with minor modifications. This article was written in the height of a strong sales environment. It still rings true today.  See what you think.

Stuck in traffic the other day (what else is new), I was listening to the radio and heard a real oldie on the radio… Hitchin a Ride.   Remember that one? Ride, ride, ride, hitchin' a ride’.  That song was in the era of bell-bottoms, long hair for men and youthful foolishness for everyone. It also was an era where we were less prepared for life’s lessons. 

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Hitchin a ride.  How appropriate for today’s selling environment.  How many are just hitching a ride with a strong marketplace? How many agents are actively selling homes? This is a question that must be answered by both management and the sales agents themselves. Too many agents are racking up awards and money just by being in the right place at the right time. Their thumbs are up and the ride magically comes along. While this is gratifying in many ways, it is also setting the stage for future failure.

LeBlanc & Associates continually sees evidence of how this strong market has negatively affected sales agents. Through our Video Profile evaluation programs, we see two types of agents. The first is what we know to be a good sales agent that has become lazy.  These agents no longer feel it is necessary to showcase their product and community through a demonstration process. These agents no longer feel it is necessary to establish the essential ground work for the sale through an effective discovery and qualification process. They no longer feel it is necessary to ask what is important to the buyers.  They no longer feel it is necessary to bring their home to life for the prospective buyer. And they no longer feel it is necessary to ask for the sale. 

We also see agents who have never developed the basic skills.  This agent is passively earning good money but has one approach to selling homes:  “Hello. Here is our brochure. Here is our price list. There are the models. I will answer your questions when you return (maybe).” Boy isn’t that an inviting atmosphere for someone to want to buy your home and live in your community! This agent has become accustomed to selling from a priority list. Get pre-qualified, line up and good luck!

If all an agent knows is the ‘accidental’ sale (one that would happen anyways in spite of the agent), then how will that agent ever move product in a normal or slower market? Like young hitchhikers, these agents are not prepared for life’s lessons when a different selling environment will inevitably come.

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LeBlanc & Associates has been receiving more and more requests to determine why a company’s homes are not selling better.  The traffic is good (demand and supply). The product is fine. But why we are not selling?  Sometimes we are asked to conduct a competitive project report to see if the good selling communities are wheeling and dealing. Sometimes they are giving deep discounts, free upgrades, etc. Other times we find the competitor agent just knows how to sell better than our client’s agent. Most of the time we are asked to assess the sales agent first. Usually our evaluation reports, combined with our Video Profiles, will confirm management’s suspicions. Their agents either have become lazy or the agent never had the skills to begin with.  

A word of caution here for management.  Have you been actively supporting your sales agents with training? Whether it is one on one time with your sales agent in the field, training sessions in your sales meetings, or bringing in an outside trainer, you must give that agent every opportunity to succeed. The mystery shop is part of that process. When you call us to assess an agent, we do expect that the report is used as a training tool. Of course the true sales professional will not rely solely on management to enhance their selling skills. A true sales professional will seek their own way to continually improve their sales performance.

Managers, make sure your agents are prepared for the sale. Remember, hitching a ride went out with long hair and bell-bottoms. Hitching a ride will never replace having your own transportation and planning your own course to success. It’s easy. Submit a request online or give us a call!

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Top 10 Cities for Older Job Hunters
A site that posts jobs for people over 50 combed their data for the best U.S. cities for older job-hunters. They based their rankings on the number of open positions listed on their website. Along with obvious listings like New York and L.A., some smaller cities like Newark and Fairfax also made the list. Here’s the top 10:
CITY POSITIONS
1. New York 2,224
2. Newark, NJ 1,758
3. Fairfax, VA 1,587
4. Philadelphia, PA 1,550
5. Los Angeles, CA 1,293
6. Atlanta, GA 1,268
7. Dallas, TX 1,073
8. Chicago, IL 869
9. Miami. FL 851
10. San Francisco, CA 584
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