In each region and state of the country there are so many different ways of saying the same thing. For example, Hawaii’s local language is very unique. At first Pidgeon English is hard to understand. But after a while, you get it. At a cafeteria you order a plate lunch not a lunch plate. But one of my favorites is talk story. To talk story, you are just chatting with people. But talk story sounds so much better doesn’t it? When in Hawaii, you should take the time to talk story with the locals. So many times you will get the flavor of local life and learn about its special places.
The sales profession requires we talk story. If you do not like to engage people in conversation, you should assess if sales is the right profession for you. Too many agents do not engage their prospective buyers in any type of conversation. Then there are others who chat way too much and talk themselves out of the sale. Successful selling requires the right balance.
Let’s review how this applies to the sales process.
Story Telling: We all like to hear a new story. When we are conversing with someone new or visiting someplace new, we all want to engage in an enjoyable conversation and hear something interesting. In many ways, selling is like telling a story. A prospective buyer wants to hear something interesting and have a pleasant experience. In sales, the components of a good story are a solid beginning (warm and welcoming greeting), an engaging in-between (product showcasing, community information, builder story, needs assessment, etc.), and a strong ending (asking for a purchase commitment). The trick is to keep this daily story telling fresh. The last thing any prospective buyer wants to hear is the identical story from the previous 2-3 communities they visited.
Whose story? Many agents miss this point. There are 2 stories to be told in an effective sales presentation. One is the company story. Beyond the actual product information, a prospective buyer needs to know who they are buying from. How solid a company are they? Will the company be there for them if problems arise? How long have they been in business? Too many agents just assume their prospective buyers know about XYZ Communities. Never make that assumption. The 2nd story, and very important story, is about the buyer. The buyer’s story is obtained through the agent’s discovery process…learning about who they are selling to. Never make it your story. A buyer does not care about listening to an agent’s life story. It is OK to affirm a buyer’s level of interest in a feature or plan, but don’t take ownership. Ownership needs to be in the buyer’s vocabulary. Neither do they care what the agent likes or does not like about the product they are selling. The product must always be focused towards what works for the buyer and attracts their interest. Don’t kill the sale because you don’t like a certain feature. This is the buyer’s experience.
What will you learn? When we talk to someone new, we usually learn a little about them. At least enough to determine if we want to continue and develop a relationship or find an excuse to leave as quickly as possible. Just remember some of the bad blind dates you had over the years. In our world of sales, the initial contact is much like a blind date. It’s all about that all important first impression.
Engage your buyer sufficiently to get a good sense of who they are and what they want. But don’t cross that line where you end up being the grand inquisitor. Conversation yields a lot of information. What would you prefer if you were the buyer? Have an informative and engaging conversation or be the recipient of a thousand questions? A great sales professional always learns how to balance questioning along with conversation.
How will you incorporate the information? Now that you have this important information, what will you do with it? If you need to take notes while conducting your discovery and needs assessment, then ask your buyer’s permission and take notes. As you narrow down which of your plans best matches your buyer’s stated needs, then use those notes! Usually it is room usage to meet their lifestyle needs. If you learn someone needs a private space, then perhaps that private balcony or retreat off the master is that special spot. Or that extra tandem space in the garage is the special spot to unwind with hobbies, etc. In short, there is always a room or location that can be made very personal.
End of the Story: After you have spent sufficient time with your prospective buyer, have you come to its logical conclusion? Before you say goodbye and thank you for visiting, did you establish an effective closing sequence? Did you slowly gain their commitment? Did you ask for that commitment? Did you provide an informative yet enjoyable experience? When you have spent quality time with a ready, motivated and able buyer, make sure you have created a reason for them to return. After all, do not the great story tellers keep us wanting to hear more? That is why there are movie and book sequels.
Let’s talk story. When it’s time to assess the strength of your sales team, you want a company who understands your sales needs. At LeBlanc & Associates, our sole focus is the housing industry. Whether it is new homes, condominiums, apartments, active adult or senior living, this is all we do. We talk your story and understand your needs and your objectives. Our goal is to make the evaluation experience informative and meaningful for both management and the sales team. Give us a call!
Top 10 U.S. Foodie Cities
|Infogroup wanted to find out where people are the most passionate about great food. So they looked at factors like rate of cooking for fun, upscale grocers per capita, rate of fine dining, and non-chain restaurants per capita. They ranked 381 cities on each factor to create a “foodie score.” (Lower scores are better.) Standbys like San Francisco and New York make the list, but so do some towns you wouldn’t expect. Here’s the top 10:|
|1. San Francisco, CA||84|
|2. Santa Cruz, CA||87|
|3. Bridgeport, CT||87|
|4. Barnstable, MA||89|
|5. Ocean City, NJ||119.5|
|6. Boulder, CO||125|
|7. Santa Fe, NM||129.5|
|8. Trenton, NJ||164|
|9. New York, NY||168|
|10. Santa Rosa, CA||168.5|