Changes in Latitudes

One of Jimmy Buffet’s great songs in the mid to late 70s was Changes in Latitudes and Changes in Attitudes. For all the ‘parrot heads’ out there who have attended any of his concerts or still like to listen to his songs, we know the tune well:

It's those changes in latitudes,
changes in attitudes nothing remains quite the same.
With all of our running and all of our cunning,
If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane.

Oh how we need a change in attitudes for some sales agents. Perhaps we need to pipe in Jimmy’s songs into the sales centers. 

I just do not understand how agents brush off and ignore a prospective buyer. I recently viewed a video shop for an agent that left me in total disbelief. Following our client’s instructions we arrived at the sales office on a sales meeting day mid afternoon. Our person arrived finding the gate to the community closed with a posted sign stating by appointment only on that specific day. OK…this is understood and that is company policy. Our person calls the posted number. The agent tersely states that she was busy and the visitor would need to return. Our person asked since she had taken the time to drive quite a distance could she at least see a model home? The agent curtly replied OK but make it quick. I won’t bore you with the horrific details but the message was loud and clear - I am busy with emails and other ‘stuff’ so take a look- and don’t take long. The agent seldom left her desk. She merely pointed to the brochures and waived the shopper on to view the sales office model. Little to no interaction. Brief responses. You get the picture. This is where the attitude was definitely in the wrong latitude. However we could not find anything to smile about during this encounter.

Since when is it acceptable to send a message to a prospective buyer that they are bothering the agent because they have things to do?! For many years trainers and every other leader in this industry has been discussing the importance of a buyer centric experience. How any agent has missed this message is beyond comprehension. Yes agents can be overwhelmed with reports and paperwork. But time management is part of their job. An agent is not paid to passively direct a potential buyer through their models and expect the prospect to appreciate the full value of what they are seeing. The agent is there to create value, create the sale and obtain the buyer’s commitment. Otherwise you can assume you just lost a sale.

Prospective buyers must always come first. Every sales professional needs to make every effort to connect with their visitors. Most paperwork can be handled in down time. However, if there is an urgent and pressing report senior management is requiring, then at least take a few minutes to make that personal connection, determine some basic qualifiers and needs, explain your situation and then set up a specific return appointment. In short, make an effort to make that prospect buyer feel like a valued customer. Managers, with a busy sales office, you must also consider the demands on the site agent’s time. Most professionals do stay late or come in early to catch up on their paperwork. But many agents also have demands on their time for family needs. If you have a heavy traffic sales center, then consider hiring a temp to meet and greet, hand out brochures, and handle the lighter needs. If you have the budget, some companies hire assistants who handle the reports with sales agent oversite.  Each situation is different.

Yes paperwork and reports can drive you insane. But never allow the administrative portion of the job take priority over prospective buyers. It will only send them running to your competition.

Do you need to verify if your agent’s attitudes have the right priority? LeBlanc & Associates welcomes the opportunity to be your partner in confirming your agents are in the right sales latitude. It’s easy! Call or submit an online request

24/7 Wall St. census data for the past five years to see which American cities have grown and shrunk the most. Among areas looked at with at least 100,000 residents, a city in New Mexico shrank nearly 5% from 2010 to 2014, while The Villages, Florida grew an incredible 21.3%. Here are the ones that grew the most (notably including Austin, TX):
1. The Villages, FL +21.3%
2. Midland, TX +13.7%
3. Austin, TX +12.5%
4. Odessa, TX +12.3%
5. Myrtle Beach, SC +10.3%
And the ones that shrank the most:
1. Farmington, NM -4.9%
2. Johnstown, PA -4.0%
3. Sierra Vista, AZ -3.4%
4. Flint, MI -2.8%
5. Cumberland, MD -2.6%