April 2017

For the last couple of editions of our Smarter Selling series we have addressed the intangible elements of the sales process: value, trust and likeability. There is one last component in the world of sales intangibles that should also be addressed. Feelings. Feelings guide our lives. Songs and poems have been written about them.  When looking at the evening news, when some tragic incident happens, you can count on news reporters asking a grieving individual, “How do you feel…?”  I admit to yelling at the TV when I hear that question being asked. But reporters continually ask it. So does it work? Is it effective? If so, why do our sales agents in the housing industry never ask how a prospective buyer feels about their product?

Most of us realize that today’s buyers have more power, more information, and more control over the sales process than at any other time.  As a result, while all agents should be aware, generally only the top sales performers are cognizant of the fact that the emotional experience of buying is far more important and powerful than the factual presentation of product, prices, and features. 

Capturing a prospective buyer’s emotional interest goes way beyond a features list. Your product may have a better design and better features than your competition, but if it does not feel right to your prospect, that better design will not matter when they are making a decision to purchase. 

When looking up the definition of feelings you will find some variation of the below:
1.    The function or power of perceiving by touch.
2.    An emotional state or reaction such as a feeling of joy. 
3.    A belief, especially a vague or irrational one. (suspicion, hunch, idea)

The Function and Power of Perceiving by Touch
Everyone should agree on the importance of product demonstration. This is where you not only showcase your home, but it is also where you make a house a home. This is where you bring a home to life. This is where you make it very personal. This is also where you allow your prospective buyer to touch the home. Allow them to open cabinets, drawers, sliding doors, closets, appliances, etc. The more the prospective buyer touches some portion of your home, the more opportunity you have to gain that buyer’s emotional involvement. Sit them down in a room to discuss an important feature. Make them feel comfortable and at home.

The Emotional State
As with other intangible components of the sales process, assessing and evaluating a buyer’s emotional state takes a little work. Agents need to perfect the skill of getting their buyer to tell them how they feel about their product without being that annoying news reporter. This is where an agent’s discovery process is so important. The more you learn about who you are working with, the quicker you will get that conversation to a point where there is an open flow of information. As your buyer begins to share information about themselves, their family, their lifestyle, etc. you have succeeded in creating a personal connection. Once that connection is in place, then you can proceed with your ‘test questions’ such as, ‘Does this home feel right for you and your family?’ If you get any response falling into the Yes column (I think it does. For the most part it does, etc.), then you are on the right path towards the sale.

A Belief- Vague or Irrational
For most buyers when they first visit to your community, they usually come with a clean mental slate. However, as more and more buyers create their short list of communities from their internet search, what information they receive from your website may not have been understood correctly. So by the time you get to the meet and greet, that first time prospect might hold some underlying misconception(s) about what you are selling. Every agent must clearly explain their product and community. Additionally, if that first time prospect has visited one or more of your competitors, they might also be carrying some ‘mental baggage’ so to speak. Unless you root out these underlying beliefs, your ability to reach a successful sale is highly compromised. These usually fall under the unspoken objection/concerns part of a sales presentation. Perhaps those competitor communities are offering some deep concessions and it is now the buyer’s belief that all builders are, or should be, offering the same type of giveaways. This challenge ties into the value component. You need to convince that buyer that concessions do not necessarily equate to value.

So what is your belief about mystery shopping? Our belief is that every manager needs to validate their agents’ sales skills. If you have never utilized a video mystery shop you have missed out on a highly effective tool to see and hear your agents conducting a sales presentation without management present. Your perception of an agent might be that he/she is terrific. After all they say the right thing in sales meetings correct? But have you independently verified their ability to connect with their buyers? Have you confirmed he/she knows how to create the emotional component of a purchase decision? Allow LeBlanc & Associates to be your partner to confirm your agents not only know the technical part of sales, but they also know how to create that all important good feeling about your product and community. It’s easy! Call. Email or make an online request.  

Top 10 U.S. Cities Where Downtown Is Making a Comeback
Thanks to redevelopment efforts in the 1990's some American downtown areas are making a comeback. Research was done in 200 of the largest U.S. cities examining several different factors such as population growth, job growth, and residential and commercial vacancy rates to name a few. Below is what they came up with.
1. Pittsburgh, PA
2. Indianapolis, IN
3. Oakland, CA
4. Detroit, MI
5. Columbus, OH
6. Austin, TX
7. Los Angeles, CA
9. Chicago, IL
10. Providence, RI