Sales Essentials

While the sales experience can be different for each of us, there is a lot we do have in common. For the most part, before we buy, we like to see the product, touch it, and experience it. How many dresses do we ladies try on before we find the right one? If we are buying a new sofa, we need to sit on it to make sure it is comfortable. For an auto purchase, we really need to experience the ride.  We select several makes or models to meet our specific needs which could be style, power, comfort or a combination of all. Buying online is quick and efficient. However, it does not work for all types of purchases. In our business, the housing industry, it is no different. While we can create a shortlist from an internet search, we still can’t make a final purchase decision about a home only from online information. We all need to see and experience the home to see if it is the right match.

Product Presentation is critical in creating that match for your prospects. Unfortunately, most model tours are still stuck on perfunctory techniques, i.e. here is the kitchen. Whether you are selling senior living, new home or apartment communities, your product presentation must bring the home to life. In the end, it is all about a new place to live for either one person or a family.  An agent’s product presentation must create value and uniqueness along with generating that ‘feel right’ experience for their prospects.

We know that the majority of people will visit more than one community as they seldom commit to the first place on their first visit. We also know there are many competitor communities.  Therefore every sales and leasing agent must know how to make their community and product perceived as better and distinctive. If they don’t, their competition will.

Each agent is charged with making their product presentation not only informative but also a memorable experience. Let’s face it, after visiting multiple communities, they all tend to blend together unless there is that one special feature, amenity or agent that hits home. One way is to focus on what meets their prospect’s specific needs. In senior living, most communities offer the same basics beyond care levels such as a communal dining area, activities center and social functions. But what if your community also offers a computer center, exercise area that provides age/health appropriate equipment designed for seniors? Do your competitors also offer them? Leasing and sales agents for all types of communities need to find at least one feature or amenity that makes them memorable and distinctive from the competition. 
So what can each sales agent do to stand out from the crowd and create that lasting positive impression? There are many components to getting there but below is a short list of sales essentials:

1. Focusing:  Any follower of my newsletters has read numerous times how critical it is to learn about your prospect. This involves the ability to listen and probe. Make sure your discovery process includes the opportunity for the prospect to talk about their needs and desires. What we are selling is not what we want correct? It is always about the buyer and your need to focus on what is important for them. If your buyer states they do not want a formal dining room, then direct them to plans that do not have one. If a family member states they prefer their parent to have a studio unit (price point qualification?) then it is not time efficient taking them to a 2 bedroom unit. Focus on what they are telling you.

2. Personalization:  It starts with introductions. Learning someone’s name sets the initial tone for personalization. Then use the prospects name during the course of the encounter. No over kill please. Just use their name sufficiently to send the message that they are more than a traffic unit.
In new home communities, if the opportunity arises, introduce the prospect to the project superintendent. Everyone wants to know their home is being built with competent construction personnel and quality material. For senior living communities, introductions to the activities director, chef, nursing staff, etc. makes a lasting impression. Whether it is for yourself or for your parent, you want to know who will be responsible for you or your parent’s day to day living situation. 

Beyond the initial basics, make sure your discovery and needs assessment takes place away from the sales office.  As you tour each room or section of the community, learn if it is important to your prospect. Use open ended questions to encourage conversation. In a kitchen, if your prospect is telling you about their family gatherings, special meals, etc. then sell those features that will benefit that living need. For senior living, find out what activities or hobbies are important for the prospective resident and then sell to that interest. The product tour must be fluid, relaxed and personalized. How else can you get someone to experience living in your community without incorporating their lifestyle? Each prospect must feel that your product is home for them.

3. Competence:  In any sales situation, the agent must convey competence. Think about it. If you were considering a major purchase and the agent had to constantly look things up or offered incomplete/vague answers, the likelihood of you buying have been greatly reduced. The agent must demonstrate full knowledge about their community, product and corporation. And don’t forget your competition. The agent must convey that knowledge in a comprehensive yet efficient manner so it does not overwhelm.

4. Reinforcement:  During the course of your product presentation, remember what was important to your prospect and then inquire if they would like to return to that room/area/location. Reinforce what they liked and see if they have any additional questions. Incorporate what you have learned about them and then bring them home.

Managers, are you ready to see how focused your sales team is? LeBlanc & Associates will assist you to assess and evaluate your sales team through our personalized mystery shopping services. If you are a new client, allow us to introduce ourselves. For our returning clients, let’s reinforce your agents’ sales skills growth through our Video Profiles or other offered services. Give us a call!

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