SmarterSelling

May 2017

The roll of the dice.  Most of us have had some experience with gambling. Whether the gambling occurs at home in a poker game with friends or family, horse races, casinos, lotteries, or professional sports, the experience is the same. Gambling can be fun, exciting and for some people, very addictive. The lure of the big payoff beckons us to roll the dice one more time or to keep putting money into those losing slots. Not to mention the rush we feel when we do win any amount of money. Let’s go again!

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Some people like to live their life on the edge and make decisions by taking a chance on a hunch or a feeling. But there are some things in life we should not gamble on. Do we really want to gamble with fate by running a red light? Do we gamble by putting off seeing a doctor when you know something is not right? And down to the business we are all in, do we want to gamble on sales teams’ performance skills? The front line sales staff is the economic life line of any organization. Every department within a company is interdependent and without an effective sales force moving product or service, there is no company. If no one is buying what you are offering, there is nothing to build, manufacture, or create. The roll of the dice is not an effective business plan. There has to be a blueprint or roadmap to where you need to go. Otherwise you will crap out.

Every manager always strives to learn the effectiveness of their sales team. The most obvious is how they move product or service. Do they meet or exceed sales goals? If your sales agents are on target, something right is happening. If they are exceeding target, then something really good is happening. Otherwise, there is a problem. If management suspects a problem because product isn’t moving, they usually look to sales agents first. It is a good place to start. 

Many companies use satisfaction surveys. These instruments have a valid function. By receiving direct feedback from the consumer, companies can make appropriate adjustments. The one drawback of solely using satisfaction surveys is that it is a post-sale measurement. Post sales surveys do not address prospective buyers’ decisions to buy from your competition. Surveys do not tell you if the agent knows how to effectively create the sale. Satisfaction surveys are good tools for measuring the buyers experience in terms of how they liked the sales experience, customer service or design center experience. They can also tell you what negative occurrence the buyer believed they experienced. One thing that should be factored into satisfaction surveys is that people usually respond by how they feel about something or someone. If they connect with an agent, i.e. they liked them, they will tend to rate that agent high. If they don’t connect with that agent, then the survey results could be negatively skewed. Sometimes that feeling is valid. Other times it is not. Sales agents deserve more than a thumbs up or thumbs down rating.

So that brings us to the one 3rd party measuring tool that is objective and factual. There are pros and cons to mystery shopping, also referred to as secret shopping. If done correctly, the process should always be a positive experience. Secret shopping can bring a wealth of information to the table for both management as well as the sales professional. The use of hidden video allows all vested parties to see and experience as the typical buyer does when visiting your community. Video shops allow you to see the agents’ expression, visual impact, and body language. Video shops capture the smile, the handshake, and the welcoming demeanor. Video shops also capture the opposite. Is the sales agent too preoccupied with a personal telephone call or their lunch to bother getting up off their chair to welcome a visitor? Is the agent dismissive by what they say and how they say it? Are arms folded telling the prospective buyer ‘don’t bother me’? It is not so surprising how many times as agent’s view their video shops they truly do have that ‘ah ha’ moment. Did I really say that???

Video shops also provide you the ability to view how effective your physical plant is in terms of the selling environment. Is all material in one central location for your sales associate or do they need to run from one end of the office to the other to gather up collateral material? Is your sales associate forced to continually turn their backs to the prospect to explain a community or product feature? Is the sales center welcoming and conducive to a relaxed buyer experience? 

Most of all, you need to conduct periodic secret shops to assess not only the basic essentials of a successful sales presentation, but to also determine if your agents know how to create the sale. Beyond the meet, greet, qualifying, demonstrating, etc., do your agents proactively engage the prospect in conversation to gather essential information? Can they create a product and community match? Do your agents have rapport building skills to discover who they are selling to? Or are the agents waiting for the sale to come to them? Do they believe in your product? Passiveness in your sales center is never acceptable. The most successful companies secret shop their agents at least once a year. Many twice. Others only call us when they think they have a problem. By then, it is usually too late.

Don’t roll the dice and gamble on underperforming sales agents. You can’t afford it. You must make sure visitors to your sales centers are not turned away because who represents you is not doing their job. At LeBlanc & Associates, quality is not an option. We understand your business because it is our sole focus. When you need to confirm the strength of your current team, need a pre-hire skills assessment, or want to know what your competitors are doing, then we are here to help. It’s easy! Call, email or make an online request.

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Los Angeles has been experiencing a boom in its luxury real estate market and some experts are predicting that 2016 may have been the peak. Many of these homes pull out all the stops with spas, screening rooms, marble, and more.
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