(If you would like to read the discussion between Kimberly and Leah, the video transcription is below.)
“THE TOP TEN MISTAKES MOST SALESPEOPLE MAKE.” What happens when two long-time friends and travel buddies go Head-to-Head? Will the friendship survive? 😉 LOL! I am happy to report that it did. We cover some of the crazy things we have seen and done in new home sales and, of course, give our TOP 10 LIST, with the examples and analogies to back it up. The timing for this one could better! With the market as 🔥 as it is, even top salespeople are getting rusty. Join Kimberly Mackey and Leah Turner to learn what NOT to do. Isn’t it always better to learn from other people’s mistakes? Who should join? Onsite sales agents, builder sales management, OSCs, general agents, and more.
Head-to-Head is not a webinar nor a podcast. It is a conversation, and when you join us LIVE you get to be more than just a fly on the wall when two masterminds get together to break down a topic.
To learn more about this or any of our Head-to-Head series, please visit NewHomesSolutions.com/Head-to-Head. Head-to-Head is not a webinar nor a podcast. It is a conversation, and when you join us LIVE you get to be more than just a fly on the wall when two masterminds get together to break down a topic.
Kimberly’s next guest will be the one and only Mike Lyon, from Do You Convert. If you have ever seen Mike speak, you know he is a wealth of information on all things related to online sales, digital trends, and more. Plus, he is one of the most entertaining speakers in our industry today. Register now and save the date of August 10, 2021, at Noon, E.T. to join us LIVE! You won’t want to miss this one!
The talking points are bolded and numbered in the conversation as listed below:
1. The funny things that have happened
2. Not building rapport
3. Overcoming objections
4. Getting complacent
5. The builder’s story
7. Epectation setting
8. We seem to have skipped the 8th topic
9. Talking instead of listening
10. Not asking the right questions
Kimberly: Welcome everybody, we’re excited because we’re talking about the top 10 mistakes that salespeople make that should probably have other salespeople make because we know if you’re on here then we’re probably preaching to the choir but it’s always more fun to learn from other people’s mistakes. I don’t know sometimes feel like I have to make them the hard way. How about you, Leah?
Leah: Yes, absolutely. You don’t forget them when you do it that way.
Kimberly: You don’t and hopefully you learn it the first time. It’s when we repeat those things over and over, that becomes a challenge. Allow me to introduce myself. For those of you who know me, my name is Kimberly Mackey. My company is New Homes Solutions consulting, and I am a sales management consultant. People ask, “What the heck is that? What do you do?” Well, I’m the person that people call to make sure that sales is the engine that drives the train. I’ve done just about everything you can think of at home building including building. I’ve worked in purchasing. I’ve literally done it all if it’s in a home building company. I like to put the parts and pieces together to make sure that, again, sales is driving the engine and not running it off the track. Whether we’re keeping that sales pace where it’s supposed to go, making sure we’re profitable, and keeping an eye on land, you don’t want to run out of land. That’s something right now we’re all doing – that sales throttling thing, so I can help you build your customer experience and make sure you’re crossing those Ts and dotting those Is all the way through the process and don’t have any bottlenecks, give me a shout. With that, I’m going to let my friend Leah take it away and talk to you about her role at Melinda Brody and Company.
Leah: Well, hey there. I am happy to be Here. Thank you, Kimberly. I’m excited to be on Head-To-Head today. I am the sales coach and trainer with Melinda Brody and Company. Melinda Brody and Company is one of the premier video shopping companies in the country. I know a lot of salespeople h video think, “Ahh, video shopping!” So, we’re going to debunk the myth of video shopping. I’ve had the honor of being affiliated with Melinda Brody and Company for 10-plus years. Ben Marks, who is the president, is joining us today as well. He took over the reins about five years ago. We continue to be the premier video shopping company. We’ve expanded based on last year, so not just video shops, but we do virtual shops and competitive shops. You name it, we do it. We’re kind of a pivoting company. If our clients have the need, we do that. When I’m not doing that, I’m a sales coach and trainer as well and just work primarily in the real estate and new home building construction industry. Kimberly and I go way back. We met when we both started, and when we were in the building industry, so it’s my honor to be here today. Kimberly, thank you for having us.
Kimberly: This is a lot of fun for me. I mean it’s always fun when I can have my friends on the program. This program was designed to allow people to be a fly on the wall and even participate in conversations that you and I would have whether we were on camera or not. These are some of the things that we really do go head-to-head on, and talk about.
Leah: Didn’t we just do it yesterday? We were on the phone head-to-head, but we didn’t have makeup on. We didn’t look quite as cute as we do today. You guys are like a fly on the wall to many of our conversations over the years.
Kimberly: It all comes together. So, a little bit about us. Yes, we’re not kidding when we say we go way back. We are travel buddies. We do remember the Alamo, and we have a thing about taking selfies, and selfies in front of animals. We especially like them when they end up on John Palumbo’s head. This had to go in there because John said, “That monkey is never going to get off my back.” John, this one’s for you. The monkey will not get off your back. We train together, and we’ve done new homes construction training teaching REALTORS® how to sell new homes. Leah is one of my partners, and when I can’t be somewhere, she’s whom I call to ask, “Hey, can you teach this class?” It’s amazing to have that partnership. Then we travel together and train. This picture was taken up in Jacksonville. I think it was 2019. Yes, right before the pandemic when we could all still travel. There’s a cute picture of Ben Marks. For those of you who wanted to know what he looks like. Yes, he gets behind that camera every once in a while. I did promise that Elvis would make an appearance. For those of you who don’t know who Elvis is, Leah, tell us about Elvis.
Leah: Elvis is my 1,800-pound black Angus steer pet. I have a lot of people ask me, “Is he going to be a hamburger or is he going to end up on somebody’s plate next to a baked potato?” The answer is, “No, he’s my pet.” As you can see, he’s very loving. When Kimberly comes out here to my five-acre farm in Dade City, the first thing she wants to do – not hang out with me – but run out and feed Elvis. You can see I put little bows in his hair, and we pet him, and he’s just like an 80-pound golden retriever or lap dog. Wouldn’t you agree Kimberly?
Kimberly: As long as he doesn’t step on your toe. 1,800 pounds on your toe hurts. You guys know I have my horse and Leah has a steer, so the steer is far more interesting.
Leah: We talk livestock too and we share livestock tips when we’re not talking new home sales.
Kimberly: We even share a vet. Later today, guys, if you don’t get enough of me on here and you’re a member of NAHB, I would invite you to join me with Chris Hartley who’s the VP of sales from K. Hovnanian Homes in the Dallas Fort Worth area. We’re going to be talking about delivering the dream despite the unexpected. It’s all about the customer experience and what a nightmare it is in today’s climate. You know the one where everything’s changing every three seconds and you know and then it changes back. The media doesn’t help because now they’re all going out there reporting lumber futures have dropped. Yeah, but the prices haven’t, so there’s a difference in what a future is, so now we all have to be amateur armchair economists to know what’s happening out there. Chris and I are going to tackle that at two o’clock today. You can register. I shortened it. It was a big, long URL, so just go to tinyurl.com/NAHBwebinar, and that’ll get you there. I am taking July off from Head-to-head, but I’ll be back in August. There’s just too much going on in July. August 10th Mike Lyon, the one and only is joining me. Who knows where this conversation will be?
Leah: He’s awesome. If you’ve not seen him, make sure you tune in.
Kimberly: It should be a lot of fun. Now we’ve gotten all the housekeeping out of the way, guys feel free to chime into the chat. You are part of this conversation. We’d love to hear from you, so if you have questions, comments, stories, or whatever, go ahead and share that in the chat. (7:45) Leah, let’s go into Melinda Brody and Company. You do these benchmark studies, and I think that’s a good place to kind of kick things off.
Leah: I agree with you. This is one thing that Melinda Brody and company has been doing for 30 years. What we do is compile all the information from the video shops from the year prior, and we give it a score based on all the scores. We’re talking about, in an average year, 45 different builders and maybe 1,200 to 1,500 different sales associates from across the country. We take all those scores and come up with a national average. The slide that you guys are looking at right now is comparing 2019 and 2020, and the scores are in categories such as approach and introduction, your meet and greet, builder story, model demonstration, home site demonstration, closing, and follow-up. Kimberly, I think the cool thing to mention here is in the 30-plus years that we’ve been putting this program – this benchmark together – typically closing is the last on the rung of scoring, but if you’ll look at this year under 2020, it’s builder story. We’re noticing a trend in that the builder story is fewer salespeople are talking about the builder’s story. What that’s telling you is only 48 percent of the 100 percent of the sales associates that we shopped in 2020, only 48 percent told a builder’s story. Go down to closing, only 49 percent suggested moving forward with the close. I have to interject here that when we send our buyers in – and Kimberly you know this – they are ready, willing, and able buyers – our video mystery shoppers are, so this is a cool report, and it helps us to track what the trends are. It also helps from a training standpoint. When we go in later, we can say, “It looks like you guys are doing great at model demo and approach and introduction, but you may need some additional training on follow-up or closing.” This is kind of our crystal ball in the Melinda Brody and Company world. I just think it’s relevant when we’re talking today about some of the mistakes that salespeople can make out there.
Kimberly: Here it is, guys, in black and white and red but black and white. We’ve talked for years, that 50 percent of all sales encounters – not just in new homes, but all sales encounters – end without inviting the person to own whatever the product is. Here it is. You know if you’re going to be in sales, and you’re not inviting people to own whatever it is you’re trying to sell – in this case, our homes – I mean, come on.
Leah: Kimberly, the other thing that is always astonishing to me is follow-up – especially last year. If you take 2020, which was our pandemic year, only 51 percent of those sales associates followed up. That’s probably the easiest thing to do on this chart, and when we rank follow-up, we rank it as some type of follow-up whether it’s an email, a phone call, or something within a 24-to-48-hour period. Just barely half of the people are following up. That’s kind of astonishing to us as well.
Kimberly: CRM anybody? Come on. Builders, if you do not have a good CRM, I’m going to go out there and say this: if you’re using your – I don’t want to call out their name – but if you’re using your product that you use to do your scheduling, and to take pictures of what’s going on the home site, and share that with the buyer, and to track your communication, once you’ve started building, and you’re thinking that that company has a CRM, they do not. I can’t tell you how much time I spend with builders that say, “Oh yeah, I have a CRM”, and then they tell me what it is, and I reply, “No, you don’t have a CRM. We’re going to have to work on that.”
Leah: No excuse not to follow up.
Kimberly: No and there are so many of them out there that you can use. Amy says she wishes that they were on the call to hear that. They might be, you never know, Amy. We got a bunch of people on here so who knows who’s listening, but hopefully, that message does get through. If you’re not following up in a way that is personal, relevant, meaningful, and timely…
Leah: Don’t do it.
Kimberly: You’re missing out. Now people are thinking, “Why bother? We have more people who want to buy our homes than who we can sell to.”
Leah: This is not going to last forever.
Kimberly: No, and there are already chinks in the armor for sure. Carol asks if we’re recording. Yes, we are recording, Carol, so if you have to pop in and out, no worries. Let’s move on and let’s talk about some of the crazy things. I think that’s a good place to kick off. What are some of the craziest things that you’ve seen when you’re looking at video shops?
Leah: Kimberly, it’s funny you ask that because in my history with Melinda Brody and Company, I have watched thousands and thousands of video shops. Ben puts out a newsletter each month called Sales Tips and Clips, so if you aren’t already getting that, please be sure to go to melindabrody.com and sign up for it because we have a portion in the newsletter called The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. We highlight different things that we’ve seen in video shops. Whenever I’m out and about talking to people and clients, etcetera, they’ll say, “Leah, there’s no way that happened. You must be making this stuff up.” Ben and I just laugh and say, “We couldn’t make this up. I mean, we’re creative and fun, but some of the things that we’ve seen you just can’t make up.” I’ve got a couple of favorites, but I think my all-time favorite was when the gentleman was taking the prospect out to the home site. They had a wonderful conversation, and all engines go. He gets out on the home site, he’s out there a minute and a half, Kimberly, and he pulls out a cig! Yes ma’am. Lights a cigarette. Now, you think that’s bad, I thought, “Okay, that’s one cig”, but after number two and number three I thought, “Oh my goodness! This is cray-cray!” I think that probably is the pinnacle. I’ve only seen it once. Hopefully, we’ll not see it again. We’ve seen things from people eating their lunch while the prospects are there, and people painting their fingernails. A recent one was somebody called Uber Eats and ordered their food.
Kimberly: While they were working with the prospect? Did they order food for the prospect too?
Leah: No. they said, “I’m waiting on my Uber Eats to show up, so why don’t you go ahead and start walking around the model and I’ll catch up with you after my Egg McMuffin shows up.” We’ve seen everything. Some of the outfits that we’ve seen look more like people are going clubbing versus presenting a sales presentation, so you just have to laugh at some of this. It’s not everyone, and for the most part, the salespeople are doing a fantastic job, but now and then you just see something that makes you say, “Are you kidding me?” It’s been quite a journey watching some of these video shops. You can’t make it up. You really can’t.
Kimberly: That’s crazy, I have a thing about flip-flops for two reasons: number one, if your article of clothing is an onomatopoeia, which means it makes the sound of what it is, then perhaps that’s not something you should be wearing in a professional setting.
Leah: Oh my gosh. How often do you get to say that word? Onomatopoeia.
Kimberly: Yeah, I love that one. That’s one of those that stuck with me in fifth grade when I learned it. So, that’s a big one. I don’t want to lose out on a sale because I don’t want to mess up my pedicure, or I’m afraid of being bit by a snake, or I won’t go out on site, and I certainly don’t want to get a nail in my toe. I have been guilty as an on-site agent. I’ve scaled a few two-by-fours in four-inch heels. I don’t recommend it. That could be probably part of what’s wrong with my hips today. I don’t recommend it but keep some shoes that allow you to do your job while remaining professional.
Leah: I was just going to say our moms were right when they said to wear sensible shoes. Always have a pair of sensible shoes in your car for walking the home site. Very important.
Kimberly: You can have cute sensible shoes. Fellas, you too. You can have cute sensible shoes. The guys are thinking, “Why are we talking about it?”
Leah: They don’t care about cute.
Kimberly: I’ve seen some crazy things out there, so if you’re going to eat, have enough for your prospects. Share. I used to cook on Sunday mornings in my model center.
Leah: As long as it’s something nice like chocolate chip cookies; that’s one thing, but no tuna fish or no leftover Chinese food.
Kimberly: Nothing that’s going to stink up the place. Burnt popcorn smells bad, by the way. When we first came out with the microwaves that had the automatic popcorn setting, I burned some popcorn in the model. I had a small little bag. I walked away and left it. Not good. Not cool at all. We had to open all the windows that day. Stuff does happen. We get it, but we do need to put our best foot forward. Sometimes, because we’re out in the field, we’re just so separated from everybody. I know that it gets hard. You can get away from these things. Aside from (1) the funny things that have happened – that’s number one – we promised ten things today. Number two was (2) not building rapport. I know when I did the poll on the Sales and Marketing Power Hour Facebook group, the number one thing that people chose. On-site agents – I see that with general real estate agents too – know we have some general REALTORS® on, but not building rapport. I just coached one this week. She was trying so hard to help this buyer and I asked her some questions, and clearly, she hadn’t dug deep enough to understand. I said, “Go back. Go through my discovery questions. You’ve got to get this information, because if you can’t understand their why, how are you going to help them?”
Leah: It’s not only that too, Kimberly, what I’ve seen from watching shops is when the prospect comes in, the salesperson immediately wants to get into sales mode. They don’t take those 10 or 15 minutes to start building rapport, asking the questions, and getting the information. It’s a proven fact that people will work with people that they know, like, and trust, and if you’re immediately jumping into the sales presentation, you haven’t had time to develop that rapport. One of the books that both Kimberly and I are very familiar with is Ninja Selling. It’s one of the Berkshire Hathaway programs. In Ninja Selling, they refer to the best way to build rapport is through the F.O.R.D. mechanism. F.O.R.D. stands for family, occupation, recreation, and dreams. Once you start getting your prospects to talk with you about that and share this information, number one you’re getting great information to be able to personalize and customize your sales presentation, and number two you’re allowing them to open up and engage with you
which automatically starts to develop trust. We must be honest; sales in general, a lot of people don’t trust salespeople. I wonder why? If you take the time in the beginning
and spend that to get to know them and build that trust and build that rapport, that’s going to make the rest of the sales presentation better. I can typically tell by watching video shops if they’re going to be successful or if they’re going to flop within the first 5-10 minutes. A huge part of that is building rapport. Did they start to ask those questions? Or did they immediately say, “Let’s go take a look at the model.” The tip here is to spend 10 minutes. Invite them into the kitchen. Kimberly, you and I have talked about this. “I’m getting ready to get a cup of coffee. Join me in the kitchen.” Pour a cup of coffee. You’re not sitting in the sales office, it’s not intimidating, and you have that opportunity, “Tell me a little bit about yourself, about your family, what is it that you do?” I cannot stress the importance of building rapport enough.
Kimberly: That’s so true. I once was in a model center working with a new trainee, and I spent 25 minutes talking to a gentleman about Harley Davidson motorcycles because that was his motivation for moving. He wanted a tandem garage where he could work on his Harley-Davidson. Now, I know what a Harley is. I know what a Harley Davidson sounds like. Very unique sound, right? I know that it was started in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I know that every week is bike week in Daytona because I’ve been there, and it’s always bike week, but there’s also Sturgis out west. I don’t know when that happens, but I know it’s in the summer sometime because I’ve been out west, and I see lots of people on motorcycles. I also know that chrome is good. More chrome is better, so after that, I’m done. There’s no depth to this conversation with me, but I can ask questions if that’s somebody else’s passion.
Leah: You know that that’s important to them. Kimberly, I don’t recall at IBS last year or the year before, but they had the chief marketing officer of Harley Davidson speaking at one of the presentations. You talk about a company that has created a brand. I mean, people get the tattoos. Do you know any home builders that are doing that? They have created a brand – a tribe. The key is, Kimberly picked up on something very important to this person, so I’m sure that as you went through the sales presentation you were dropping little, “Your Harley would look good here, and look how close you are to trails where you can take your motorcycle.” It’s gaining those tidbits of information that are going to make the world of difference in being able to customize your presentation.
Kimberly: It’s just asking questions. I mean curious people, F.O.R.D. is just a great thing, so even if you’re just going to a cocktail party or a networking reception use F.O.R.D. to talk to people. It’s just polite conversation.
Leah: People love to talk about themselves. You ask questions, and they’re going to open up and tell you everything you need to know to sell them a home.
Kimberly: Those discovery questions, if you want them, they’re a handout on my website. It’s free, and there’s no obligation to do anything else. You can download them for free. It’s a pop-up that will come up on my website, so you put your info in and it
sends them right to you. Let’s talk about number three.
Leah: Oh my gosh. This one is near and dear to my heart. I do, as you know, have a training program on (3) overcoming objections. I’m passionate about overcoming objections, and I think that what happens is salespeople don’t like the answer no. We don’t like things to not be a-okay and happy, so when we get objections, our first impulse is to solve it or run away from it. When I train, I teach a four-step method for overcoming objections. The reason I’m bringing it up is twofold. I’ve seen it as an issue before, but what I want to stress is that based on this market in this past year, our library of objections is very different now. It’s not so much this home is too close to the highway, or I don’t have any mature trees, or this bedroom is too small; we’ve got a whole new litany of objections that as salespeople we need to be able to address. With our REALTOR® community, there are some builders out there that are changing commission structures. That’s an objection with our REALTORS®. Some of our builders have escalation clauses. Some of our builders’ build time has increased from seven months to 12 months. We’ve got issues getting appliances and windows and different things like that, so there’s a whole new slew of objections. I’m adamant about role-playing and working through how to overcome these objections. Working with your sales manager so that you, as a salesperson, can overcome the objection. Don’t stick your head in the sand blah, blah, blah, blah, blah it’ll go away. It won’t. We both know what happens when you don’t overcome an objection. I call them bombs. They’ll blow up in your face, so you need to learn how to confidently overcome objections and be aware that there’s a whole new set of objections that are out there in the market today.
Kimberly: Sales managers, your role right now is to be training for these. Teach your sales team. First, they should have always known how to do this, but how to review the contract; if you’re not going over that contract with people, don’t dismiss and say, “There’s an escalation clause in here, but we’ve never done that to anybody. It’s just there just in case.” No. What if that’s the buyer that you must use that escalation clause with? Instead, set expectations. if it’s in the contract, it should have teeth. There’s a reason it’s written it’s in writing. Sales skills. While it’s less difficult to find a buyer who wants to buy your homes, it’s more difficult to keep them engaged and happy and part of the contract, and I think that’s where the key is right now. I’m working with a builder in Virginia and Maryland right now, and we have done extensive trainings talking about using our sales skills to manage our pipelines. Once we have these buyers, they’re doing lotteries up there for their homes. They have limited releases and they do a lottery. Then people buy because of fear of missing out. Then they take what they get. Then the questions start after you have them under contract. That’s when the real trip for the customer experience kicks in, so you’ve got to be able to overcome objections such as, “I don’t want those floors, I wanted these floors.” Hear the objection. Sometimes that’s the hardest because sometimes we’re just shutting people down.
Leah: Exactly. Hear it and acknowledge it. I think that it asks questions our salespeople typically have, and most people do when we get an objection. The first thing we want to do is solve it, solve it, solve it.
Kimberly: It may not even be an objection.
Leah: It may not be something we can solve, but we don’t know this until we get the information. Ask questions when you’re faced with an objection. “Tell me why that’s a concern to you. What is it that bothers you about that? Why is this important to you?” Get that information because as you just said, it may not be an objection. It could be an observation. It could be a multitude of things, but our first response to salespeople is to hurry up and solve it and move on, but you really can’t solve it unless you get the information you need to determine where this objection is coming from.
Kimberly: Here in Florida one of my favorite ones is the yard is small. You’ll hear people say, “You have to understand.” They just regurgitate all this stuff. “The growing season’s 365 days a year, and we don’t have real grass, we have St. Augustine, you don’t want to be playing out in that stuff.” Just on and on and on. A lot of times we get a buyer who’s coming from the Midwest or they’re coming from somewhere else, and they exclaim, “Look at this yard! It’s big enough I could have my pool. I could have this, I can have that, but I don’t have to mow all the time. I don’t have to spend every day of the weekend taking care of my yard. This is manageable.” You’re not going to know unless you stop, and ask those questions.
Leah: Dig deeper. It’s like peeling the layers off the onion. Dig deeper. What they throw out at you at first is probably not the whole story.
Kimberly: The good stinky part anyway.
Leah: And with the yard thing, here’s my response to the yard thing. They drove into the community, they saw those yards, and they still came into your sales office. We all know that type of person. They’re just going to throw objections your way left and right. It’s just their personality, so that’s why it’s so good to dissect these objections. Find out what the root is and then see if you can overcome it, but key point is to understand that the objections of two years ago are still there, but we have a whole new set of objections coming in as well.
Kimberly: When you’ve learned how to overcome objections, and you’ve learned to ask questions – and of course my very favorite question when you don’t know enough of what to ask – just turn it into whatever they said. Take it and turn it into a question. This yard is small? If you emphasize the last word, all of a sudden, it’s a question, and then zip it. if you ask a question, zip it. Shut up, people, and listen to the answer. That one is huge. Just we when we start overcoming objections, we just blah, blah, blah, blah, blah right through it. That one’s huge. That one is ongoing. It doesn’t matter what the market is.
Leah: It ain’t going away anytime soon.
Kimberly: We’re going to have that one. Let’s talk about, particularly with today’s market, some rust building up. A little bit of complacency that we might be seeing out there. What are you seeing in the shops?
Leah: I am seeing that people are (4) getting complacent, and I do think that a lot of it has to do with this market. We talked a little bit yesterday, Kimberly, and I feel like two words – frenzy and frustration. We’ve got a frenzy going on, and we’ve got frustration. A lot of times when your buyers are walking in, they just ask, “What do you have for sale? I want to buy it.” We’ve become almost like order-takers. “I’ve got this release. This is what we’ve got on this release. This is what I’ve got available.” There’s just such a frenzy and frustration out there. I think sometimes we’re not necessarily being asked to or forced to go through the steps of a normal sales presentation. I remember coaching a couple of years ago, and we had a builder that video-shopped their team every year. I had met this young lady in the first year that got video shopped, and her score was like a 43. For those of you who don’t know, your score could go up to a hundred. She wanted to excel so badly, so throughout the year, she worked hard. The next time that I coached her, her score was 100. That’s almost unseen, so I asked her, “How do you explain going from a 43 to a 100?” She said, “You know what Leah, I treat everybody that walks into my sales office as if they were a video shopper, and I go through the entire sales presentation from soup to nuts – every bit of it. That’s my training. And it worked. I mean her number went sky high and she said, “It was great practice for me.” Plus, on the flip side, you’re giving your client the ultimate experience, so you don’t want to shortchange your client just because of today’s climate. As Kimberly and I know all too well, and a lot of you on this call do as well, what goes up eventually comes down. Use this time to be able to perfect and master your craft. Don’t shortchange it. It’s a great opportunity to perfect your sales presentation.
Kimberly: People are thinking that it’s just that great, or they’re that great right now, and I think that’s a mistake. What’s happening is we’re seeing buyer fatigue. It is a real thing. Buyers are dropping out of the market. I’m having onsites that are telling me that it’s getting harder and harder. They’re having to work harder for these sales, but what we’re seeing is that smaller pool of buyers now that are still trying to buy a home is going everywhere. Even within your own company, you may be competing if you have the same home in two or three different communities. They may be registering at that community, and the next one, and anything that’s close by within that price range. These buyers are registering, so if you’re not building that rapport with them and you’re not setting yourself apart when it comes time you can write the sale – because not everybody can write sales whenever they’re limited. Everybody’s throttled. They can only write so many per month, then you’re going to lose them because they already said that the time just came up on another location. It was simply timing. Again, building that rapport and going through all these steps with them. Amy just chimed in on the chat. Thank you. Amy’s been in Florida looking for a home, and in looking for a home she’s seen a lot of this. As a sales manager from another area, it was great to get her perspective. I was thrilled to be able to spend some time with Amy while she was in Tampa to learn what she was seeing out there. She said people were just letting people go through the models and not going through all those steps.
Leah: You’re doing your buyers a huge injustice by not doing that. I don’t want to date myself, but Melinda Brody used to always say, “Anybody that comes through your sales office, pretend it’s Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.” Of course, they’re divorced and 18 kids later, but get excited about that, because even though you’re doing this several times a day, it’s their first opportunity to come in. They deserve that type of presentation. One thing I’ll jump on to add to what you said, somebody in the chat stated back to the basics. This is the time to get back to the basics and not rest on your laurels. One thing that has always been important, but I think is even more important now when you’re doing your sales presentation is empathy. You must be able to show empathy. I said there’s a frenzy and a frustration. Buyers are tired, and buyers are frustrated. Show them that you understand where they’re coming from and that you feel their frustration. Empathy is probably more important today than ever. It’s always important, but now more than ever because of this market.
Kimberly: Put yourself in their shoes. During this whole thing, I sold my home, had to move into an Airbnb, and then after that, moved again into a brand-new home. I must tell you, even as somebody in this industry who does it every day, there were frustrations. Thank goodness my salesperson was amazing and always treated me as a human being and not as Kimberly Mackey. That was our deal in the very beginning. Treat me just like you would anybody else. If you would tell somebody else, don’t assume I know it. You’re right, Matt, get back to basics. As a sales manager, I know that Matt does this since he’s a great sales manager but get out there and role-play. I know, I know salespeople hate it and salespeople are going to hang up from the call now. “Kimberly, I don’t want to be on here if you’re going be talking about the role-play word.” Guys, you’re not going to get any better if you don’t practice it, so it’s time to do this stuff so you don’t get complacent. We saw this before. It’s a different time. They’re different circumstances. When this market changes, and it will, there will be those who are left standing because they use this time to grow themselves. Then the others who got more complacent are going to find out that they’re not that great.
Leah: Amy just mentioned the salespeople are exhausted too. Amy, you’re correct. I certainly don’t want to dismiss that. That frustration and frenzy are on both sides of the platform. I get it. A lot of times they’re not being given the right information, so what I strongly suggest at that point – this is speaking more towards your sales managers – is understanding that there is frustration with the sales team. Making sure when you do your one-on-ones that you’re allowing them just to verbalize, “It’s frustrating. I’ve got REALTORS® yelling at me. I’ve got buyers yelling at me. I’ve got prospects yelling at me” You’re the front line. The salesperson is the front line, so it is very important to recognize they’ve got a level of frustration going on too. I want to encourage sales managers to understand that. I know that sales managers can’t tell you everything. We can’t tell all the corporate stuff that’s coming out there, but what you must be able to do is recognize that these are your frontline heroes, so you want to keep them motivated. You want to keep them positive. You want to keep an open line of communication with them. Help them to not become complacent. It’s hard sometimes to get excited when you’re getting beat up every single day, so we’ve got to work from the management side as well as the salesperson side.
Kimberly: That poll that I mentioned in the Sales and Marketing Power Hour got great responses. It was phenomenal and it’s in a Facebook group, so if you’re not part of it I invite you to look it up and join us. I also got private messages and people stating, “I didn’t want to put this in the poll, one of the things is the exhaustion factor.”
A lot of people that I knew when I was in on-site sales a hundred years
ago are now retired because of this. It is exhausting.
Leah: It is. It’s hard enough in a normal market.
Kimberly: It’s a tough job.
Leah: It is a tough job, and it’s even tougher now, so it’s empathy all the way around for your sales team, for your prospects, and for your buyers in the pipeline that may have been delayed. We all need to show in this world in general a little more empathy and a little more compassion. Even if you can just be a listening ear for your salespeople. If you can do anything about schedules and change schedules up so you’re always covered. Maybe not everybody is there all the time so people do get a little extra breathing room. They still need to do their job. Let’s move on and talk about the builder’s story. I know this one’s important to you. The (5) builder’s story. Let’s define a little bit about what we mean by builder story. When I’m talking builder story. I want to talk about your unique selling propositions. What makes builder A different than builder B? Not by comparing. No, never that, but you talk about what you do well. The things that set you apart in your marketplace because that buyer is going around and registering everywhere right now. Leah, you see this firsthand with these shops, so let’s talk about that.
Leah: You’re right, it’s knowing what your USP is. Your unique selling proposition and making yourself memorable. You’re right, they are going to multiple builders. They’re getting packets, and packets, and packets of information. By the time they hit the third builder, they forgot who the first builder was. What are you doing?
It’s twofold. What are you doing as a salesperson to make yourself memorable, and what are you doing that when they get home, they’re going to remember? You know what? Kimberly at Builder ABC, I had a good vibe about that. It’s USP but make it memorable. It can’t be work. Quality builder since1902. Quality construction. Well, at this point in my world, I hope you’re a quality builder. I hope and pray. What is it though, that sets you apart and is going to make you memorable? The biggest concern to me with sales folks is in the benchmark study. The builder’s story continues to get lower and lower and lower in that study, so we aren’t even bringing up the builder. One of the things, when I talk to salespeople, is they say it sounds corny to say, “I can tell you about ABC builder.” I get that you don’t want to sound cornball but what if you ask, “Have you ever built a new home before? Yes, or no?” Tell me a little bit about that experience. Great. What did you like about it what did you not like about it? Now if you wouldn’t mind, allow me to share a little bit about my builder.” This allows you to find out number one if they’ve ever built a home before because there’s a big difference between somebody who’s gone through that build process versus somebody who has not. Number two, it allows them to share with you hot buttons. If they said,” I did build a home before, and that builder nickeled and dimed me. They never communicated. It was a horrible experience.” Now you know what their hot buttons are. “Let me share with you how we build our homes. ABC will communicate with you. Your salesperson will be calling you every week. Our prices are transparent.” What you want to do – back to building rapport – is find out what their hot buttons are. Relate to those hot buttons. Now you’ve got a memorable builder’s story. But for goodness’ sake, you’ve got to be able to incorporate your builder, because especially in this market of frenzy and frustration where they’re just going anywhere and everywhere, if you have anything to sell, what’s going to set you apart from the competition and make you memorable? I mean that that’s a biggie for me. Make sure that your builder is your brand, and we are brand ambassadors in a sense, so you want to make sure that your brand is being represented and discussed. That’s my opinion on it.
Kimberly: Do it in a way that’s important to them, by asking questions before you just start saying stuff. One of the biggest experiences that I had was with the late great Bill Herring. He was the first sales trainer that I worked with when I got into new home sales. We were in a big group room, and they had all the companies in all the different franchises, and everybody came together. Bill called on me and he asked, “Kimberly, what’s the most important feature of your model?” Being a newbie, I just started regurgitating something, and I talked about our structured wiring and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. He looked at me and said, “So what.” I replied, “Bill, you don’t understand. I mean this is cool. Like this on-queue thing, man. None of our competition has this, and this is the way of the future, and you know people must think ahead.” The builder’s in the back room, and he’s in the back of the room, and he’s thinking, “Yes, yes, she paid attention during on-queue training.” The thing was, I didn’t stop, and I didn’t say, “Bill, I don’t know what the most important feature in my model is until I know what’s important to you. What are you looking for in your new home?” We talk about those, and we talk that’s how you just weave this story in it.
Leah: Yes, it’s storytelling.
Kimberly: It’s not a speech. It’s part of the conversation.
Leah: I love to share this story. To piggyback on your point, we have a client that had a golf course community, and a lady had come to purchase in that gated community. Immediately the salesperson threw her on this golf cart and schlepped her out in the 90-degree Florida sun for an hour and a half showing every aspect of all the golf courses et cetera, et cetera. They get back to the sales office and he said, “Okay, I’ve shown you all the golf courses. do you golf?” She said, “No, I don’t.” She was purchasing in that community because her sister lived there, and it was a gated community. That’s 90 minutes of life nobody’s getting back, so you’ve got to find out what’s important to your client before you jump into this dissertation. What you may think is important may not be what’s important to you in your new home. “What are your three must-haves? You’re out here at a golf course community. Do you golf?” Ask that before you schlep them around in the Florida heat.
Kimberly: Or the rain or whatever.
Leah: Exactly. That’s funny. Back to the point of the builder’s story, try to weave it in when you’re storytelling. The best way to do that is to start with the questions, “Have you ever built a new home before? Tell me about your experience?” If they say, “No, I’ve never built”, then you say, “Kimberly, you’re in for a treat. If you don’t mind, let me share a couple of things about ABC builder that sets us apart from maybe some of the other builders you’ll be visiting today.” I mean it’s easy to be able to weave it in there.
Kimberly: It is, and you know sales managers; this is on us, man. We have got to be teaching our on-site agents this stuff. We throw them out there. It hasn’t changed in the 20-something years that I’ve been doing this. On day one I got, “Here Mackey. Here are the keys. Go sell something.” Not everybody is going to just scrap their way through it as I did. You’ve got to give them some stuff, so please don’t assume these things. Work with them. We hit on follow-up before. We’re up to number six for those of you who are counters and are following on this. Let’s briefly touch on it in the interest of time. So, we make it for others, let’s talk about the importance of (6) follow-up.
Leah: My main thing about follow-up is that you’ve got to do it, it’s easy to do it, just do it but make it memorable. It can’t be Dear Kimberly, thank you so much for visiting 123 Main Street today. Call me if you have any questions. It needs to be something memorable. The key to the follow-up, if you’ve done a good job at building the rapport, then you follow up and say, “Kimberly, you mentioned that Cora – Kimberly’s daughter in real life – loves to swim. Did I mention to you that they’re building a YMCA right across the street? Make it memorable. See how all these tie together? It goes back to if you’ve built that rapport and you know who the family is. “Oh, Leah, you have a cow named Elvis? Did I mention to you that this home offers five acres?” What if now it’s relevant to me? It’s just not thanking them for showing up. Do your follow-up. Do it number one, and number two, make it memorable. That to me is follow-up.
Kimberly: It does not matter what method you use except use the right one for the buyer. Ask them what the best way is for me to follow up with you. I always like to plant a little bomb in there somewhere. Such as, “I’m going to check that out for you. Now when I get the answer, how do I follow up with you? Is it better to call you, or do you prefer to text? Should I email?” Then make sure you have that method of following up with them. Text messages get more responses than email responses. Phone if you text first to tell them who you are and why you’re calling. The phone will get a better response, but because most of us have spam filters on our phones now, we may not answer from somebody that we don’t know.
Leah: I never do. I don’t need a car warranty extension.
Kimberly: I think I’ve had three of those today.
Leah: I just want to share one very, very funny thing. When Melinda Brody started this company 30-something years ago, we didn’t have the team of shoppers that we have. It was Melinda Brody going as the secret shopper. She always remembered that one salesperson who had done all the building of the rapport and everything else. This is a true story. Melinda had a pet bird, and this bird’s name was Scooby. This is 30 years ago, so snail mail. The salesperson was thanking Melinda for coming out to the community, he wrote, Here’s a five-dollar gift card to PetSmart. Scooby’s next dinner is on me.” Something like that.
Kimberly: How cool is that?
Leah: She remembered that going back 30-something years, so I like to share that story because that to me, is follow-up. I listen to you, what’s important to you. I’m making this memorable for you. So, what do we say? Make it memorable and do it.
Kimberly: Whatever method you use, you could have the buyer program your phone number in their cell phone before they leave so they recognize that it’s you calling. Text them. You can use chatbots, you can use your CRM, and you can use all kinds of methods, but those tend to be less personal. Put your personal on top of it. Now this one is near and dear to my heart. I talk about this all the time, (7) expectation setting. Salespeople, I know you don’t like to give bad news. If you want to avoid giving bad news, set expectations for stuff because stuff happens. Set those expectations regularly and don’t say, “I told them about it back when they were signing the contract”. A million things were running through their head that day. Tell them again and again and again. Have stories. Make that memorable. One of the things that I would do is my drywall speech where I would go running into, “Now once we get to drywall, here’s what’s going to happen; you’re going to come running in and ask, “Since there’s drywall in my home and I can visualize the rooms, can I start to plan where I’m going to put stuff?” Then you’re going come back three days later, and the electrician’s going to have been through there, and something got buried, so the screwdriver went through the wall and there are holes all through it, or they’re kicking the carpet and they kick right through the wall and now there’s a big hole. You’re going to panic and you’re going to come running and shouting, “Ah! I can’t believe my drywall!” When they start running into you doing that then you state, “Remember when I told you were going to come in here like your hair was on fire?” “Oh, yeah. You told us that.” It doesn’t matter what the thing is; whether it’s drywall, or we can’t get those windows in for six months instead of four. Now we can’t. The appliances are going to have to be reordered. We’re changing them. It doesn’t matter what it is, you’ve got to communicate that and be prepared by setting those expectations in advance and following up on them frequently as you go through. Then say, “You know when I told you there was a chance we wouldn’t get the appliances? Guess what? You’re the one in 100 that it worked right for!” You’re a winner. Take the wins where you can get them.
Leah: If you’ve built that rapport with your buyers and you’ve got that open line of communication, it’s a lot easier. In watching the Head-to-Head that you did with Roland a couple of months ago, I thought he brought up an interesting point, and I think a lot of salespeople struggle with this. He said, “I hated conflict. I would run a mile to not have to do this conflict.” I loved him for this. He said, “I started watching these other salespeople that were good at conflict and I learned that, so I think what we have to do is let go of this fear of conflict. When you’re building a home, chances are something is not going to go exactly as planned, but if you’ve got the relationship, you’ve built the trust, you’ve set the expectations, and you’re honest with your buyers, they’re not going to be mad at you. I think that’s what salespeople think, “Oh my god they’re going to be so angry with me!” Not if you’ve established this relationship and you’ve set the expectations. They’re going to appreciate the honesty versus, “What do you mean? You didn’t tell me. You never told me this!” “Well, I was scared you’d get mad. “Well, now I’m even madder!”
Kimberly So sooner is better than later.
Leah: Exactly. I liked how he stated he had a fear of conflict and having that type of conversation. He had to work through that. The relationships with your buyers are going to be much better if you’re open and honest and build that trust.
Kimberly: It’s not up to you to decide how they’re going to take the news, so get out of your head. Stop getting in your head and thinking they’re going to be upset or they’re going to be this. Some news is just news. It’s not good; it’s not bad. Don’t assign anything to it. It’s just news. it’s not your job to determine how they react, but they will react much more favorably if you’ve prepared them for it than when it comes out of the blue. Let’s talk about this one that’s near and dear to your heart. Not understanding when reading buyer’s behavior and the D.I.S.C. that you and I use all the time.
Leah: That could be a whole other Head-to-Head. Kimberly has some D, I have some I, and some Head-to-Head is going on in there, but D.I.S.C. is understanding buyers’ behaviors. The way you might share the news with a high D would be very different from the way you share the news with a high I or a high S or a high C and we’ve got some builders that through Melinda Brody and Company utilize the D.I.S.C. program with all their prospects and their sales associates. How do you talk or how do you share bad news with somebody who is very analytical? They’re different. What you could say is that D.I.S.C. is saying the same message, but almost translating it in a way that your buyer is going to be more open to hearing that message. If you haven’t done this before, and I’m sure everybody out here knows what it is, there’s a free survey online that you can do. It’s a10 minute thing, and it gives you an idea of where you are. If you are a high D, and you’re dealing with a client that’s a high S which is a little more calming, it’s body language. It’s tone. It’s words that you use, but I think it’s very important to realize that we communicate differently with different people. If you’re talking with someone who’s more analytical, they may want to know the details of why the windows are taking so long. You may want to get into a lot of explanation with that. If you’re talking to someone who’s a high I – a people person, they don’t want to hear all those details. Just tell me when the windows are going to be here. To me, D.I.S.C. is an aha moment in sales and interpersonal relationships – all relationships, really – in terms of best practices for communicating good news, bad news, or any news quite frankly.
Kimberly: Eliminating the noise, to me. When you can take it upon yourself to understand who you’re talking to. You can slow it down, you can speed it up, you can do it in a way that they are going to hear it and that they’re going to receive it.
Leah: I had a friend that I used to work with years ago, and he was a high C which is very analytical. you would ask him what time it was, and he would tell you how to build a clock. I’m a high I. I have no C, so I would feel like he was driving me crazy. Once I learned that that’s his way to communicate, the way I communicated with him became very different and my level of anxiety calmed down because I understood this is how he communicates. It’s eye-opening. It’s not only very important in sales but your interpersonal and personal and family relationships as well.
Kimberly: These are all things that involve quite a bit of study. I’ve spent you know years studying D.I.S.C. You can take the high level and benefit from it, but if you do a little deeper dive, you’re going to take a lot more away.
Leah: It’s important for sales teams too, so I can’t stress it enough. I’m passionate about this. We offer it through Melinda Brody and Company now. It’s pretty eye-opening that’s for sure.
Kimberly: I did the program with Quint Lears last month, and we went in way deeper than even D.I.S.C. goes, so there’s a little bit on there if anybody wants to look at that. Let’s combine 9 and 10 in the interest of time since we’re almost to the top of the hour. I think we’ve touched on a couple of these. (9) talking instead of listening I always
say the good lord gave you two ears and one mouth, so use them accordingly. The other is (10) not asking the right questions.
Leah: Talking instead of listening. We’re so excited about our product, and we want to share so much, but if you’re just throwing this information out, envision a funnel. You dump all this information in, but it’s the little droplets that they retain that are important. It’s important to ask the right questions so you’re not just regurgitating and
dumping all this information. You are listening and asking the right questions to be able to personalize and customize that sales presentation specific to their needs. The other thing is not asking the right questions. I sell all the time in video shops. “Well, do you like it?” It’s yes or no. We ask closed-ended questions versus, “Tell me what it is you like about this. Let’s rank the 3 models that we’ve seen. Which one’s your favorite?” Utilizing your questions to do one thing and one thing only, and that is engaging. We are back to D.I.S.C. There are going to be some people that will tell you everything – more than you’ve ever wanted to know – but there are a lot of people out there that are going to be like, “It’s fine.” How do we get them to engage by asking open-ended questions? “Tell me specifically about this floor plan and what you like. Which one of the three elevations that you’ve seen do you like?” Make it engaging versus yes or no questions and try to listen more than you talk. In the Ninja Selling book, I think there’s something like a good salesperson should be speaking about 20% of the time. The other 80%of the time it should be your prospect. Imagine that. We see it’s quite the other way around. It’s the salesperson talking 80% of the time. Back to D.I.S.C. regarding salespeople, we love people, we love to talk, and we want to share everything. You’ve got to reel this in and flip it around a little bit. I guarantee you that if you listen, they’re going to tell you everything you need to know to sell them a home. They are.
Kimberly: When I’m visiting my builders all over the country and a prospect comes in, I don’t have to know the price or know a whole bunch of stuff because I know the questions to ask to get the prospect through the process. Then I might have to go ask somebody else for the answers and the solutions for these things, but at least I’ve got enough by asking the questions. Salespeople tell me they’ve got to learn about their product. Yes, you do, but at the right time. When you’re new, it’s more important to me that you learn the right questions to ask, and that you’re listening, and you can pick up on those key importances than to be able to help that buyer and to know when you have a buyer who might be a good fit for your homes. Your homes are not going to be built for everybody. They’re not going to work for everybody.
Leah: I would agree.
Kimberly: We’re at the top of the hour. Any parting thoughts? Does anybody have anything in the chat? Thanks for sticking with us. We’ve got such a good group sticking with us here.
Leah: I just want to throw two things in while you’re looking at the chat. Number one is, as I mentioned earlier, you can go to melindabrody.com and sign up for our newsletter, Sales Tips, and Clips, and we’ll share with you lots of cool things that are relevant to the industry and things we see in shops. The other thing we didn’t touch on, but I just want to throw out there is don’t fear the video shop. Don’t fear the video shop! These are great tools for you to improve your sales presentation. Think of it as a gift to be able to see yourself in action. I coach with a lot of people that are very apprehensive and so nervous about it, but when you get past feeling like you look fat or my voice sounds stupid, you start to get to the meat. There are some great takeaways, and a video shop also shows you what you do well. It’s not necessarily you didn’t do this, or you didn’t do that, it’s also you are the best closer we’ve ever seen or look at your strategy for overcoming objections. What we’ve seen builders do now Kimberly, during this market where things are a little bit slower is they’re taking video shots of some of their best salespeople and using it as training. Kimberly did a great job here of overcoming objections. Let’s show it during the sales meeting, then we’re going to talk about overcoming objections. A lot of the things from the benchmark study utilize that to reward and recognize some of your people that excel at these strengths. It’s a good thing, and I know it’s scary at first, but most top producers that I deal with – Kimberly you probably can agree – they want to be video shopped. Bring it on. How can I get better? I want to see how I did. I want to see where I might need improvement. Don’t fear the video shops.
Kimberly: Absolutely not. You know we know that growth happens out of the comfort zone. Yes, video shops do pull you out of your comfort zone, but if you need to look at them in the right way. I encourage you to look at them two, three, or four times because you start to get used to seeing yourself, and then you can focus on what you did well or what you need to work on. I didn’t realize how that sounded. Get past seeing yourself on video, and hopefully now that we all Zoom all over the place, we’ve reached that point. Thanks, everybody for joining us today. Leah, thank you. What a treat.
Leah: My pleasure, my pleasure, my pleasure! I’ve loved it, loved it, loved it. You guys got a sneak peek of the Kimberly-Leah conversation, so thank you for having me. and thanks to all who joined us. It was a wonderful way to spend a Tuesday afternoon, and we didn’t even have to get physical this time.
Kimberly: We did not. Absolutely not. I will send the video out to everybody so you will have that. You will also have all the links that Leah and I both mentioned. Again, thanks for joining us, everybodyHave a great Tuesday. I’ll see you later.
Leah: Thank you. Bye