Video Mystery Shopping: Those Crazy Upgrades are KILLING me!

I have noticed a recurring theme in several of the shops I have been watching. It’s almost like having the same dream over and over….you know the one I’m talking about. You are in high school, running later for class and you get to your locker and you’ve forgotten the combination! I CAN’T be the only one who has that dream.

Anyway, the recurring theme I keep seeing in the video shops has to do with explaining (and selling) upgrades. Here’s how it starts: The new home sales associate and prospects are walking through the beautifully decorated and very well appointed model home and the prospects start asking about the upgraded features. They want to know what is upgraded vs. what is included. The sales associate begins pointing out ALL the upgrades in the model (from the crown modeling, tray ceilings and plumbing fixtures to the cabinets, flooring, and windows!). The prospects get a strange look on their faces as if thinking ‘is ANYTHING actually included in the home?’

Part two of this recurring theme is when the prospects ask the sales associate what the base price of the home is versus the price of the UPGRADED model home they are standing in. Now it’s the sales associate’s turn to get the strange look on his face as he has to explain that the base price is $250,000 but the model with upgrades is actually $325,000!

In one shop, the sales associate actually blurted out in frustration ‘this house is FILLED with crazy upgrades!’ Yep, I am sure her sales manager loved that one!

Let’s face it, as long as marketing managers, design center managers and interior designers are on the planet your model homes are going to have upgrades. Upgrades SELL homes. Upgrades allow prospects to SEE what they can have. Upgrades are NOT going away.

So, how do you solve the ‘upgrade vs. standard’ dilemma? Here are a few simple tips:

  1. Explain to your prospects BEFORE you tour the models that these homes have many upgraded features in them to highlight all the different options your builder offers. At this point, I would also let them know the base price versus the model price. They are probably going to ask anyway. The key here is letting them know the reason the builder included the upgrades. It isn’t to play ‘smoke and mirrors’ with the buyers….it is to showcase the many available options.

A good way to say it is: “This is our showcase home with several designer features. It will show you all the possible ways you can personalize your home.”

  1. Ask your prospects what areas of the home they would be interested in upgrading. For example, if your prospects LOVE to entertain and cook – then you may want to spend more time discussing upgrades like the gourmet kitchen or granite kitchen island. There is no need to point out every single upgrade in the home, focus on those that are relevant to your prospects.
  2. If your prospects are still hounding you to tell or point out and give a price for every upgrade in the model (I have seen this happen), don’t do it! Let your prospects know you will give them a price sheet once you return to the sales office. Otherwise they are going to become preoccupied with pricing, you are going to look like you are nickel and diming them, and the presentation will be a bust.

Embrace the upgrades!! Use them to your advantage in your sales presentation. They CAN and WILL help you sell a home if explained the proper way.

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