Posts Tagged ‘sales trainer for new homes sales’

Video Mystery Shopping: What’s YOUR Super Bowl Sales Commercial?

January 24, 2014

clydesdale-horses-450As many of you may know, I am not a huge football fan. I DO know which teams are actually playing in the Super Bowl this year, but that is about where my knowledge of all things Gridiron ends. This year, I have the pleasure of actually being in Las Vegas for the International Builders Show on Sunday, February 2nd…the day the Broncos take on the Seahawks. Already many of my traveling colleagues are discussing “WHERE” they will be to watch the BIG Game. I, of course, will join them to watch the game…..however; my real focus will be on the commercials!

For years, I have LOVED watching the clever commercials that are always unveiled at the Super Bowl. Some are hilarious, some are strange, some make your cry, and some are just plain risqué! But, for the most part, they are all very MEMORABLE and make for fun discussion the next day with friends.

A commercial is basically a 30 or 60 second opportunity to ‘sell’  a product or brand. A Super Bowl commercial is an opportunity to sell a brand or product to MILLIONS of people! That’s not a lot of time to make a sales pitch. The commercials must be clear, concise, and get the point across quickly! But, most importantly, they must be memorable enough to make you want to buy the product!

Believe it or not, in many ways you can compare a Super Bowl commercial to a new home sales presentation! You have a brief period of time to ‘sell’ your product to the consumer. Your presentation must be clear, concise, and memorable! You’ve got to stand out above the crowd!

Think about YOUR sales presentation…is it Super Bowl worthy or is it just ho-hum? Do your prospects leave wanting MORE or do they just want to leave? And, most importantly, will they remember you and your presentation the next day?

Every person that walks into your sales office has high expectations….the same way we have high expectations for the Super Bowl commercials. Make sure you are able to deliver on those expectations! If I asked you to name for me your favorite Super Bowl spot, I am fairly certain you would be able to spout out several from years gone by that have made a lasting impression! Budweiser, Dorito’s, the cute kid from the E-Trade commercials….are just a few that come to mind.

What if I asked your prospects to name their favorite new home sales person? Do you think you would make the cut?

Remember, every day is Super Bowl Sunday when you are in new home sales! For your viewing pleasure….the 25 BEST Super Bowl commercials…..Budweiser and Dorito’s are dominant players!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_xI5E4zVFs

Video Mystery Shopping: A wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a WOLF!

January 10, 2014

kids-hate-vegetablesOnce when I was a little girl, my mother tried to get me to eat lima beans. Now, I don’t like lima beans…..never have and never will. Anyway, back then, I had never actually eaten a lima bean before, but I could tell by the way they looked (and smelled) that lima beans would probably never make it on my Top Ten favorite foods list. Anyway, Mother decided to disguise the limas by hiding them in a casserole and neglecting to tell me they were in there. Well, I took a bite of the casserole, immediately tasted a lima, and promptly spit out my food! (Mother was not real pleased with my reaction; but she also never hid lima beans in any more dishes either!)

Anyway, I share this experience not to provide you with too much information about my eating habits, but instead to stress a point…..a wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf. Or, a lima bean in a chicken cacciatore casserole is still a LIMA BEAN!

Fast forward to today……I am sitting in my office and  my bank manager calls and leaves me message. Of course, I call her back (good strategy on the bank’s part!) to see if something is wrong with my account. Am I overdrawn?? Has someone stolen my identity?? Did a mystery person deposit a MILLION dollars into the account???

When I reach the manager, she begins by reading from a script, (yes, it was THAT obvious). She asks me if she can send a team member over to my house as a “courtesy call”. A courtesy call? Who are they kidding? Banks and Courtesy Calls are polar opposites!

When I explain to her that I am busy (my January is like an accountant’s tax season! I am in IBS mode…International Builder Show, NOT irritable Bowel Syndrome. I am writing speeches, creating marketing materials, rehearsing with fellow speakers; I have NO TIME for a courtesy call!)

Anyway, at this point I AM getting irritated. The bank manager then starts ‘introducing’ me to all of the bank’s new investment products and services. Ugghhh. Finally, I tell her point blank that I am not interested and that while I appreciate the call, I don’t appreciate the pretense upon which the call was made.

This is an excellent example of how NOT to provide good service. The bank had disguised a sales presentation as a customer service call………..the old bait and switch routine.  After I hung up, I couldn’t help but smile as I recalled that evening many years ago when Mom did the same thing with lima beans. No matter how you slice it, a sales call in customer service clothing is still a sales call…and a lima bean in a casserole is still a lima bean!

Video Mystery Shopping – Attention New Homes Sales Associates – You guys are FABULOUS!

November 14, 2013

6461815-gold-award-seal-rosette-editable-vector-illustrationA big part of my job centers on watching and critiquing video shops. I’ve literally watched THOUSANDS of them during my career, and have seen it ALL! In fact, I’ve seen so much that I was actually inspired to write a book this year, ‘They Said What??! Behind the Scenes of 25,000 Undercover Video Shops’, which chronicles just some of the things I’ve witnessed in the three decades I’ve been doing video mystery shopping for new homebuilders.

I was recently asked to be a judge for a Homebuilder Association’s Sales & Marketing Annual Awards program. Naturally, I was appointed to review taped video interviews of those sales associates who had been nominated by the Sales Manager for the coveted ‘Sales Person of the Year’ awards.

I dedicated a Sunday morning to review the interviews. I got curled up on my couch, sipping a hot cup of coffee and started watching these interviews. As I sat and watched each video, I felt a deep sense of pride in our industry. The sales people were AWESOME! Ironically, I saw several familiar faces from video shops in the past, and in some cases, the sales people actually referenced being video shopped and proudly recited their scores!

I was blown away by the professionalism, talent and true passion for the building industry that each of these sales people exhibited. Honestly, it almost brought tears to my eyes! This was the crème de la crème of the industry. Many had been sales associate for 15 plus years, and had weathered the storm of the industry crash in 2007. However, I was equally impressed with the ‘young lions and lionesses’ that had only been in the industry for a few years and yet were representing the best of the best.

Judging these interviews was very difficult for me, as I truly felt each and every one these nominees were winners! And, this is coming from a person who has made a career out of carefully critiquing, judging and scoring new home sales associates.

My big ‘take away’ from the whole experience? The building industry is back and better than ever. There are some very talented sales professionals out there selling new homes who know that ‘making the sale’ is about much more than selling sticks & bricks. It’s about listening, questioning, meeting your customer’s needs and forming a strong relationship with them. Way to go new home sales professionals! You guys are fabulous! Thank you all for what you do and for your professionalism and passion. Those two characteristics will never go out of style!

Video Mystery Shopping: An objection is just a directional sign!

October 11, 2013

GARDEN_AND_LAWN_SIGNS_DIRECTIONAL_ARROW__35365_1361764064_1280_1280I was conducting a coaching session with a seasoned sales associate a few months back and we were discussing overcoming objections. He was telling me how much he LOVED overcoming prospect’s objections. This surprised me because most sales associates in new home sales would much rather have a root canal than deal with a buyer’s objection. When I asked him why he enjoyed overcoming objections so much, he replied “Melinda, an objection is really just a directional sign pointing you towards the close!”

Now, how clever is that? And, indeed, how true it is! Think about it, if a prospect is giving you an objection what they are really doing is telling you that they are interested in moving forward but need to get through a particular challenge or situation in order to do so. If they were not interested AT ALL in your product, they would just keep quiet!

Objections are your opportunity to ‘move the prospect closer to the close’. As my client said, objections are directional signs!

One thing that is very important to understand about objections is that you WON’T be able to overcome all of them. I don’t care how good of a sales person you are, there is NO WAY you can overcome every objection that you are going to face. However, that is OK. This gives you the chance to put the objection into perspective for the prospect.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you have a prospect that LOVES everything about a specific home EXCEPT for the fact that is does not have a formal dining area. Chances are you are not going to be able to have your builder change the entire floor plan to include a formal dining area, right? So, instead, you have to determine how important this feature is to the client so you can put it into perspective for them. This is done through questioning. For example:

SA: I understand that it is important to you to have a formal dining area. Why is this important to you? Do you do a lot of entertaining? As we discussed this home features a large kitchen and open dining area as well. Would that work for you instead?

Prospect: No, I REALLY want a formal dining room. It is how all my previous homes have been laid out.

SA: Well, I can appreciate that. However, I wanted to point out (INSERT ALL THE FEATURES THEY LOVE ABOUT THE HOME). This home seems to work for you in every way possible with the exception of the formal dining room. Is this something that you could work with and look at alternative ideas for you dining space?

At this point the prospect will now have to weigh the options being presented. In many cases, through this line of questioning, the prospect will be able to determine if this objection is a deal breaker. Most times, it isn’t. But, if it is….that’s OK too! Your job is to find the perfect match for your prospects! Objections are the powerful tool that help you do your job!

Video Mystery Shopping: The Model Employee

August 9, 2013

Guest Blogger: Jeff Shore, Shore Consulting, Sales Trainer, Author & Speaker

www.jeffshore.com

jeff-headshot-230x300The organizations of today’s market are looking to be as efficient in their operations as they can.  That sounds like a pleasant way of saying “saving money”, but the reality is that working towards business efficiencies in every aspect of the operation is a necessary leadership step in keeping an organization healthy through the difficult times.

Ask the experts and they’ll tell you that the biggest impact in efficiency comes through the productivity of the employees.  The company whose employees perform at the highest level will find the best chances of success.  Employees who perform at the highest level will find the greatest income, the greatest job security, and the greatest chance of advancement within an organization.

With many years of experience in managing people, I have found five distinct actions of the model employee.  Note I didn’t say “attitudes”, “characteristics” or “personality traits”. These are actions – clear and specific steps you can take each and every day.  Follow them carefully and you’ll increase the effectiveness of your organization.  It won’t hurt your career one bit.

1)    Exceed Expectations – Every Single Day. Model employees have a specific purpose to outperform, to rise above the minimum expectations of the job.  Mediocre employees ask, “What is the least I can do without getting in trouble?”  Top performs ask, “What specifically can I do today to exceed expectations?”  This mindset, when turned to action, will guide you in doing extraordinary things on a daily basis for your company, for your customers, for your coworkers and for yourself.  But it must be specific. Every day you must start with an action plan of what you will do above and beyond the call of duty.

2)    Arrive Early; Stay Late. When you get to work at the exact start time and leave at the exact ending time you send a message to your leadership that you really don’t want to be at work any longer than you have to.  Moreover, you live this part of your life with no margin, cutting the time too close and risking disciplinary action.  It doesn’t have to be a long time before and after the assigned hours, but padding the time just a little bit sends a message that you are fully devoted to getting the job done right.  One more thing on this topic – I’ve been in leadership for a long time, and somehow I always know when someone struggles in this area.  You may think the boss is blind to your arrival and departure times, but the boss somehow always knows.

3)    Be a Good Businessperson. You greatly increase your value to the organization when you understand the business of your company.  Read industry articles, search for information on industry websites, and develop an inquisitive mind in queries to your co-workers.  Learn everything you can about your organization and apply what you learn to improve your own performance.  This increases your value on a number of levels.

4)    Get Into Self-Training. Too many employees rely on their company to provide any and all training and skill development.  Top performers seek out their own growth opportunities and take ownership of their own development.  In fact, the greatest growth of your career will always be self-directed, if you allow that to be so.  When you set your own developmental agenda you are more likely to utilize what you learn because you have more personal buy-in.  You direct the learning, so you are more likely to also find the application to your work.  Make it a priority to develop a new skill or to learn something that will improve your performance, and do that every single day.

5)    Adopt the Boss’ Vision. Finally, find out what is important to the leadership of your company, and order your own activities to compliment that vision.  In the broad sense, your very job is to make your boss look good.  And that is never a bad way to go about your daily tasks.  If you don’t connect with the vision of the company there is little chance that you will ever perform even to the minimum standards.

So now it’s up to you.  Are you a mediocre employee, or are you an invaluable team member?  The choice is up to you, and you choose with your actions – every single day.

Video Mystery Shopping: They Said What??!! Behind the Scenes of 25,000 Undercover Video Mystery Shops

July 5, 2013

TheySaidWhat_Signature (3)After viewing more than 25,000 video shops over the past three decades, you could say I have pretty much seen and heard it all when it comes to New Homes Sales.  Last year, I came up with the idea to write a book showcasing the many things I have learned from watching these shops. The purpose of the book is to educate, entertain, and engage those in the home building industry.

“Yeah, I’m running a little late and slow today (said the new home sales associate upon greeting the prospects). I got ripped last night on too many beers. I probably should not have even driven myself to work today!”

They said What??!!” is different from any other book you’ve ever read about selling new homes. I am going to share with you how to do everything wrong in new home selling. Yes, wrong! By stepping into the shoes of hundreds of new home sales counselors who made a total debacle of the selling process, you will have the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. The end result? You’ll learn how to do your job far better and make your sales soar!

“If you thought this was long (said the new home sales associate upon showing his prospect’s the features sheet), just wait til you see the F…….ING contract! (Yes, he actually dropped the F-bomb!)

Many people have asked me if I will be ‘naming names’ in the book. My answer: You will have to buy the book and find out for yourself

Here’s what’s in store for you:

  • Good, bad, ugly, funny, and bizarre examples from 3 decades of undercover video mystery shopping
  • How to build instant rapport, stop talking so much, quit feature dumping,  end snoozer tours, and confidently ask for the sale
  • Things to make you stand out in the crowd
  • Checklists and exercises for Sales Managers to perk up sales meetings
  • Advice and tips to break your best sales record so far (and keep breaking it)

The book will officially publish in September; however, I am pre-selling NOW. There is also a discount for ordering your copies early.

To pre-order your copy of “They Said What??!1” simply click the link below. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

http://www.melindabrody.com/they-said-what.html

What others have to say about Melinda’s book:

“They Said What??!! is a fun and interesting read right from the start. The book encapsulates everything that could go wrong, and Melinda Brody turns that into instruction on what should go right. Enjoy the book, but more importantly USE the book”

-Jeff Shore, Sales Trainer, Author, Speaker

 

Video Mystery Shopping: Want to create a positive company culture? Don’t forget the cheerleaders!

May 17, 2013

High school cheerleaders4[1]This past month I had the opportunity to attend not one but TWO Parade of Homes’ Awards events, one in Orlando and the other in Tampa. I LOVE everything about what the Parade of Homes represents to our builders. The past couple of years, I have witnessed this annual event grow and emerge from the sluggish homebuilding market. It is exciting again!  Entries are up, attendance is high, and people are having FUN!

Not only are many new homes being built (and sold!), but the sales teams are getting back in the spirit of the true meaning of the Parade. They are part of a winning team once again. In my opinion, the most enjoyable part of the Parade of Homes Awards program is watching the audience respond when the winners are announced. It’s the Super Bowl for the home building industry! People are hooting, hollering and cheering their teams on! This is really what is it all about.

You can tell a lot about the culture of a new home builder based on the excitement level of the team. In most cases, when a builder’s model won a category at the Parade events I attended the sales team went WILD…and I do mean WILD! They could barely contain themselves.  They were proud of being part of a winning team and were not embarrassed to show their enthusiasm.

For some builders, however, I noticed that the cheering was not quite so loud, or not at all in the cases where the builder didn’t even bother to show up for the event! Now I ask you, what team would YOU rather be on?

Are you passionate about the home builder you work for? Are you a cheerleader for your team? If not, you may want to think about joining another team. Company culture is so important in today’s market. Everyone wants to feel like they belong to, and are part of, a winning team. Creating that team spirit is critical to the overall success of the organization. When we are passionate about who we work for, we are passionate about what we do and how we do it! We work harder because we don’t want to let our team down.  We celebrate the victories together and support each other during the defeats. We are proud to be a part of the company culture.

In a day and age where sales people flip flop more often than politicians, building a strong company culture is important in creating a sense of loyalty to the builder. Just ask any Sales Manager what the secret is to building a great sales team and they will tell you it is all about creating a positive experience and company culture. When your team is celebrating the sweetness of their success, make sure you pack the stadium with plenty of cheerleaders! Their cheers leave no doubt to anyone who the real winners in the room are.

Congratulations to ALL builders who participated in the 2013 Parade of Homes!

Video Mystery Shopping: Something is Wrong! My Top Producer Scored Very Low on Their Shop

April 13, 2013

thCAGEUMCRDo those words sound familiar? As a sales manager, have you ever wondered aloud why your super star sales person scored a whopping 14% on their video mystery shop? Were your first thoughts those of disbelief?  Your second thought was probably, “I’m going to FIRE the Video Mystery Shopping company! There is NO WAY this can be right!”

Well, before you pick up the phone and call….let me explain a few things to you.

Let’s discuss what constitutes a ‘Top Producer’. A top producer has the capability to sell well in ANY location. We all know that if a sales agent is has an excellent PRODUCT, with a great PRICE, in an ideal PLACE (Location), the chances of them selling are pretty high! In fact, some would call these folks order takers. In other words, the product actually sells itself.

So, how do you determine if your ‘Top Producer’ really is a Sales Super Star? One of my clients has a process he uses to separate the ‘wheat from the chaff’. He puts his Top Producer in a less desirable location that has had some issues with sales. However, he offers them an incentive of a higher commission. You see, TRUE Top Producers love a challenge and they love to be financially rewarded for their efforts. WHY?

Because a Top Producer can sell and close anywhere at any time, not just in a beautifully decorated model that has a great price in an ideal location!

Typically a Top Producer has a ‘system’ of doing things a certain way because it has worked well for them in the past. However, “their” way may be to sit in their office waiting for prospects to arrive. In today’s market, it takes MUCH more than that. You need someone who is pro-active in driving traffic and excellent at converting and closing buyers.

Oftentimes I hear that “Top Producers” have been offended by the fact that they were video shopped. Really? Why would that be?? Usually after digging a little deeper, it becomes clear that the sales person knows very little about the selling process and a bad shop simple exposes that.

A great salesperson welcomes a shop! It is their time to SHINE and showcase “how it’s done right”. They are usually the first ones to volunteer to role play to show the rookies how it’s done.

Remember this; a video shop is a glimpse into their overall sales performance. It allows you to look at and analyze the entire picture. Things are not always as they appear. I encourage you to conduct a second shop before drawing conclusions. You may be surprised at the results.

Video Mystery Shopping: Why a GREAT salesperson MAY NOT be a GREAT Sales Manager

January 17, 2013

(Part 1 of 2)

Ahhhhhhh!!I’ve seen it happen a million times in the building industry. The builder has a SUPERSTAR sales person. She can sell ice to Eskimos! She meets (and usually exceeds) her sales goals week after week. She knows how to overcome objections, win over clients, and CLOSE the deals. She’s awesome! So awesome in fact that the division president decides to make HER his new Top Gun Sales Manager! She has all the traits of a GREAT Sales Manager. She is a self- starter, problem solver, goal oriented woman who is also very professional in her appearance and demeanor. Everyone is THRILLED……for the moment. Now, let’s fast forward 3 months.

Our Superstar sales person has lost her mojo.  She resents attending so many meetings. She doesn’t like all the fires she has to put out on a daily basis. And, her sales people DRIVE HER CRAZY! She becomes very frustrated and starts to feel like a loser with a capital L. Finally, in desperation, she goes to her Division President and BEGS to have her old sales job back!

How could this happen?? Don’t ALL sales people strive to be promoted to management?? The answer is NO. Promoting your top salesperson to sales manager is NOT usually a good idea. The reason is simple, there are major differences in the characteristics of a great sales and a great sales manager.

If you are heading to the International Builder’s Show next week be sure to attend my POP! 30 Secrets to Building and Managing a Firecracker Sales Team’ workshop on January 22nd, as this is just one of the things I will be talking about and I will have a hand-out that shows the MAJOR differences between what constitutes a Salesperson from a Sales Manager.

One of the primary differences between the two has to do with focus and vision. You see, a GREAT salesperson has focus. They understand what the immediate end result should be (getting the sale) and they come up with a game plan, focus on it, and work towards that goal.

A Sales Manager on the other hand, has VISION. He has to see the BIGGER picture, not just the immediate result. He has to look at every aspect of the process, including how to create a team culture and then how to motivate that that team to get results. The Sales Manager’s focus is not on self. It is on his team. While a great sales person may or may not be a team player, it is imperative that a great Sales Manager is!

For another analogy, think about your favorite sports team…in most cases, the ‘star’ athletes do not go on to become coaches, and most of the coaches were never the ‘star’ athletes. There is nothing wrong with this, actually is makes perfect sense. We are all given strengths and weaknesses and the REAL magic happens when we understand our place within the team. That’s when it becomes a Win/Win for everyone!

Video Mystery Shopping: Stay Connected with Your ‘A’ Team – the REALTORS!

December 27, 2012

You know, one of the great mysteries to me in the new home industry is why there is oftentimes a huge disconnect  between new home sales associates and Realtors. It’s as if they live on two different planets yet have one common goal – to sell houses!

Your Realtors are a vital part of your marketing plan! They are your ‘A’ team! They have the clients, you have the product! The quicker you realize this and begin to build a marketing system that includes your real estate comrades the quicker you will sell new homes.

Let’s look at the facts for a moment, shall we? As a new home sales associate, you spend a great deal of your time in your sales office…..waiting (and praying) for walk in traffic, correct? A general real estate agent typically spends a great deal of their time on the streets, showing clients potential homes for purchase…..OK, call me crazy, but doesn’t it make sense to have the REALTORS show their CLIENTS your new homes??

Now, let’s look at it from the Realtor’s perspective. A Realtor gets paid a commission once a home closes.  They do not make money ‘hand-holding’ a buyer through the long (and often tedious) process of closing the home. So, call me crazy, but isn’t a NEW HOME transaction easier, quicker and more cost-effective for the REALTOR? Their client buys your home, and the Realtor gets paid at closing, but they don’t have to be involved in the time-consuming minutia that occurs during the process….that becomes YOUR job.

So, how do we get Realtors to help us ‘sell’ our new homes? Here are 5 quick tips that you can begin using today to increase your Realtor business.

  1. Identify the top real estate firms and realtors in your target market area. You need to know WHICH realtors are actually selling homes in your area. Once identified, create a database with their contact information. You have now created your ‘A’ team!
  2. Meet & Greet – Now that you know WHO you are targeting, get out there and meet them! Offer to attend a sales meeting at the top real estate firms. Bring some bagels and plenty of collateral materials. And, get specific in your presentation! Let the Realtors know exactly why they should bring their clients to your community.  Better yet, hold an open house at your community so the Realtors can actually see your product.
  3. Educate and Engage – Don’t assume your Realtors know everything about your community or the new home sales process. Oftentimes Realtors don’t show new homes because the process (and commission structure) is unfamiliar (and scary) to them. Why not offer to conduct a brief workshop on how the new home process works? Create a partnership with your Realtor ‘A’ team.
  4. Keep in touch – Make sure you keep in touch with your Realtor ‘A’ team. I know a new home sales associate that schedules a lunch once a week with a top producing Realtor. It’s all about building relationships! Also, be sure to keep your ‘A’ team posted on events in your community, new inventory homes, special promotions or incentives. Make it EASY for them to sell your product!
  5. Appreciate and thank your Realtor community – Remember, people do business with people that they KNOW, LIKE, and TRUST. Let your Realtors know that you appreciate their time, their business, and their referrals. Thank them! I know a very successful new home sales associate that gives every realtor who brings a prospective buyer into her sales office a $10 Starbucks gift card. This is a great way to say ‘thank you’ for your business.

Bottom line, Realtors account for a VERY large portion of new home sales, well over 60% in many areas, can you really afford NOT to have a Realtor ‘A’ team in place?