(If you would like to read the discussion between Kimberly and Roland, the video transcription at the bottom of the page.)
Are you starting to experience Market Whiplash? Listen in, as Roland Nairnsey, from New Home Sales Plus and Kimberly Mackey go Head-to-Head. We will dive in HEADfirst into what you can do, right now, to avoid a sales slump. It isn’t too late, but you must start now to get the jump on your competition while they are all still wringing their hands and whining about the market shift and changing sales policies at their company. To learn more or register for future Head-to-Head events, visit https://NewHomesSolutins.com/head-to-head
To register or learn more about the New Home Sales Plus Tropical Retreat, visit: https://NewHomeSalesPlus.com/KimberlyMackey
(If you would like to procced past the intro conversation and begin reading the video topic, please scroll down to where it’s notated in red.)
Kimberly: Keep that chat going. We love the chat. This is sure to be a lively topic with avoiding market whiplash. It seems to be the conversation du jour that I have with most of my clients daily. yesterday I did the rounds around the country and thought, “This is a broken record. What is happening here?” Almost everybody was asking me the same thing, “Hey, this is happening. This is happening. What do I do about this?”
Roland: It seems like it’s so. You and I are similar in the number of ups and downs we’ve been through over the years, and this seems accelerated for some reason, so that’s why we’re doing this. We must be prepared, right?
Kimberly: Nothing is normal. What we think is the spring selling season is not the spring selling season so yes, everything is just a little off-kilter, but that’s okay because Roland and I have your road map here.
Roland: We have your back.
Kimberly: We’re going to remind you of some things that you may have forgotten. For those of you who may not know one or the other of us, I’m Kimberly Mackey and my company is New Homes Solutions Consulting. You can find me at newhomessolutions.com. It is plural with two s’s in the middle.
Roland: I couldn’t afford a second s; I’m sorry. I only have one.
Kimberly: People are very confused by what it is that I do, and they often think, Roland, that I’m more of a sales trainer like you or others, and I do those things, so I understand the confusion, but I’m more of an immersion consultant and a management consultant. I get in there with the nitty-gritty. I roll my sleeves up, and while you’re busy telling them what they need to do, then I’m on the other end holding their hand and helping them to do it.
Roland: It’s great. As you know we work with quite a few clients. Now that we’re working together, I’m front-end sales and a bit of marketing and then you’re in the back room there with your traction and getting people to implement processes and systems, so we work very nicely together. There’s a nice fit there of what we provide. I know your clients love you. I’ve had great feedback from the clients who work with you, so you’re doing a great job.
Kimberly: I love that we’re sharing clients. We’ve shared clients for years but not always at the same time. Usually not at the same time, so I love that we’re sharing so many clients right now. That’s a lot of fun. Part of that came because of the Head-to-Head that we did last year so that was good. I like to say that I’m the person that makes sure that sales is the engine that’s driving the train rather than running it off the tracks. Too many sales is a bad thing as we saw, and not enough sales is a bad thing, so let’s find that sweet spot and make sure that you’re staying on track, on focus, with a predictable and profitable sales pace. With that is Roland’s intro. He’s got so much going on right now it’s hard to fit it all in, so Roland, take it away.
Roland: Thank you for that. I was just thinking if we only looked as good as those pictures that would be a perfect thing. My website is newhomesalesplus.com and my email is rolandnewhomesalesplus.com. The thing that I think marks Kimberly and myself as authentic, is that we’ve done this; we’ve walked the walk. I’ve been in the new home sales business now, I don’t we didn’t even want to admit it, but it’s over 30 years – just under 40. My math maybe isn’t good, but my first new home sales job was in 1987. We’ve seen these ups and downs, and we both believe in sales processes and systems – not to make us robotic in any way, but a system that you can follow that you can replicate will earn those extra sales. I just recently finished my first book, The Mastery of Selling for New Homes. Guess what? Listen, everybody. Listen carefully. The first 3 people who email rolandnewhomesalesplus.com and write h2h Head-to-Head will get a free book. It will be signed and personalized by me as well. So, off to the races; go do that. I’m happy to provide it for 20% off based on being a viewer of this webinar. It is sort of an encyclopedia if you will of new home sales.
Kimberly: I’ve got mine, and it’s signed. It’s hefty. You can tell Roland’s spent all this time. It’s the meat behind the workbooks, and it’s the meat behind the seminars. It’s very well written.
Roland: You’re very kind. I felt that there was a slight void in the marketplace in books that covered the whole project with the sales process from a to z. There are lots of great books out there on new home sales, don’t get me wrong, but they’re finite. They’re into formulas and things that are good to know about, but there’s nothing if you’re a brand-new salesperson or somebody that wants to have a recalling or a refresh with the market change, here’s an opportunity to go get a book where you can read it slowly and absorb it and replicate it, implement it and be successful. We’re getting great feedback on that.
Kimberly: You’re getting it out there, and then you and I are going to be live and in-person coming up.
Roland: Second annual. Let the record state we’re doing this again. It’s going to be on the beach from November 2nd to 4th and I’m honored to have you back but in person this time.
Kimberly: In-person, yes. I’m excited to be there in person.
Roland: The theme is Better Together. Fortunately, Leah Fellows approached me about having an online sales counselor track along with sales training for new home salespeople and management and marketing, and I thought that was the most logical thing I’ve ever heard because why should online sales counselors get trained separately from salespeople. We’re in this together, and there’s that transition. Quint Lears, America’s most popular trainer, a new home sales trainer, is going to be there with me during the new home sales training, and then Leah and her team with Heidi and Alexis will be working with online sales counselors. Then we have you coming in to talk to the managers along with Kevin Oakley and David Hagen and Tom and Corey and Paul with the other management topics, so we’ve got 12 of us there. Where else can you for 3 days listen to 12 amazing speakers on the beach? Best of all, if you sign up through your online link right here, then you get an incentive of $50.
Kimberly: I look forward to seeing everybody there. It was very thoughtful of you to do it at Clearwater beach. Thank you. I don’t even have to get on an airplane to get here. I love that.
Roland: That was my thought the whole time. Abi and I wanted to make sure that Kimberly doesn’t have to travel far but make it convenient for Kimberly.
Kimberly: Sunset on clearwater beach. If you haven’t seen Clearwater, it’s just phenomenal. That alone is the icing on the cake.
Roland: It’s breathtaking. My whole philosophy of everything in life is to have fun as well. I know it’s very privileged to say that we’re in the best industry in the world as far as I can tell. I’ve done it my whole life, but I also want to make training fun where you enjoy it. Literally toes in the sand as you’re right on the beach. During your lunch breaks, we’re going to do team building and have fun and build sandcastles and do some amazing things as well as all the amazing training. We’re looking forward to it.
Kimberly: Let’s dive right in.
Roland: Let’s get started, shall we?
The topic discussion begins here:
Kimberly: I don’t even know that we can still say the market is changing because the market has been in a constant state of change, but the market has certainly changed, and it changed rapidly. We saw that. We saw those interest rates this morning. The news is the fed may go up as high as three-quarters of a point instead of half a point when they meet, which I believe is tomorrow. That’s some pretty hefty news.
Roland: Inflation hasn’t slowed, but it takes a long time for these things to normally, but in housing, the impact was very quick. I think everybody in housing has suddenly felt the traffic. I don’t know of a builder that has told me yet that their traffic is good or is the same as it was. It seems like the brakes have suddenly gone on is what we’re hearing in terms of traffic, which means that we’ve got to get back to converting traffic at a much higher rate if you want to get that consistent even flow sales process going.
Kimberly: Absolutely. The builders that I was talking to this week – my publicly traded builders are reporting traffic down as high as 60%.
Roland: I can believe it.
Kimberly: I thought that was pretty dramatic. Most of my smaller builders have not reported that kind of drop off, but I think when you’re in those really hot markets of North Carolina and Florida, that’s where we saw that switch come on, but sales haven’t dropped off because we still have those people who were in the pipeline and in the process who needed to move, so we haven’t seen sales drop off any more than the builders are still throttling them. Builders are still only allowing a certain number of sales when it comes to the larger building.
Roland: I think it’s both. I mean it depends on the builders that you work with and talk to. I think that sales are still there. Not at the rate that they were, and everyone complained about having too many because you couldn’t build them and that kind of stuff, so you’re right that the releases of only a few a month have certainly throttled it. At the same time, I’m sensing that a lot of the salespeople I work with are now paying much more attention to sales processes and systems and trying to get back to some fundamentals of their sales process.
Kimberly: I’ve been working with a team out of North Carolina that we’ve been for months now preparing for t’s coming, it’s coming, it’s coming. As per usual about 25% of the team embraced that and got out there and started doing some of the things. Their sales pace has continued, whereas those who were more resistant and were of the I’ll deal with that when it gets here mindset, are the people who are on the struggle bus right now. The market is always changing, so the things that Roland and I are going to talk about today are things you can do in every market. Oh wow, Kurt’s saying 88%.
Roland: Traffic down 88% but sales down 25%. It makes sense, but that’s a lot of traffic falloff, but at least they’re still getting sales. It’s back to basics. Kurt, by the way, is a great manager who trains his sales team, so he’s going to get sales. Training is now compulsory. It’s not something that we have to think about. You’ve got to embrace it and do it. Training is about action. It’s not about these conversations. It’s about really working hard, so let’s talk about the sales process and the fundamentals, can we?
Kimberly: Let’s dive right in. I would say the first thing is don’t panic. It’s not too late for you to still make some changes and adjustments. Don’t panic. As Roland said, “Take some action.”
Roland: My observation is that in our process that we must get back to a sound process. Something I’ve recently watched is a bunch of video shops of salespeople, bless their hearts. What I’m noticing is there has been so much confusion over the market shifting, that the sales presentation becomes very sort of convoluted, and it’s a bunch of what people don’t do. We don’t do this, we don’t have any homes right now, we don’t do this, we don’t personalize, we don’t customize, and it just sounds very negative. For those that are taking notes, I’m the stuff guy. I want to give you stuff you can use. Let’s focus on what you do, do, do not what you don’t, don’t, don’t. Does that make sense? Maybe we could get away with that three months ago when rates were much lower in the and p 3s, and people were lining up. Now people want to be coddled and they want to be told it’s going to be okay and be reassured by the consultative sales approach, so let’s rebuild your presentation to some of the fundamentals of what you do. That’s my first big thing. Make sure that what you’re saying sounds good. For example, one salesperson stated that her builder made all the selections. I replied that the builder didn’t pick anything because you have an interior design team and a design consultant so that just sounded like the buyer had to settle for something. Instead, state that this brand-new home is professionally designed or professionally curated by our interior design team to represent the latest in finishes. It’ll maximize your investment, and it’s all the latest trends so you’ll be happy. It’ll help you to move in on time. How does that sound? It takes more effort to say things correctly, but it’s so easy just to sound downtrodden. I have nothing right now, there’s a waitlist or the builder made the selection. Make sure that we check with each other and practice and attractively speak things. There are going to be extra sales for saying it correctly. The idea of a waitlist or the builder only releasing a couple of homes per month – a show of hands – how many of your builders are letting you sell only a few per month? Almost everybody. If you’re allowed to sell some homes but it’s a limited release or the faucet’s on just slowly. Why is the builder doing that? What’s the why behind that? It’s to protect the quality of the homes. Most builders could write as many contracts or agreements as they possibly could but that wouldn’t be good because then the quality would suffer. You don’t have the labor pool and you don’t know what the prices would be. It would be chaos. Instead of that, the smart builders, or a lot of the smart builders we work with are releasing a certain number of homes a month but explaining the benefit to the buyer. We’re doing that to protect the quality of your home. I’m sure you’d like to own a brand-new home. is that correct? Good, I’ll put you on the list. I’ll stay in touch until we have something available. Would that be okay? As opposed to I don’t know what’s going on. We don’t have anything to sell. There’s a waitlist. Maybe we’ll call you. That’s depressing and not what the buyer is going to respond well to. That’s my point.
Kimberly: I would even jump back a step before that. The thing that I saw when we were throttling ourselves, we had limited releases, and we had more people coming through the door than we could help, is we forgot to focus on the customer. We’ve got to ask them questions and build those relationships. When you start with building the relationships with them, that’s where you have the answers to be able to personalize your delivery, as Roland was saying to them, in a way that builds value because price and value must equal. In any market – up or down – doesn’t matter.
Roland: It could be a high price for great value, and it could be a low price and terrible value if you present it incorrectly.
Kimberly: Focus on that value in a way that matters for them, not that matters for you. That’s important. You must hear them first. As Dr. Covey tells us, “Seek first to understand and then be understood.” That means that you must ask a lot of great questions to understand where they are. How many homes have they tried to purchase? Have they lost out on? Are they downtrodden? Show them a way that they could get in the process with you and how that could benefit them. Yes, things have changed. Yes, the interest rates have gone up, but that just means that now some things are in their favor, and there are other things that we can do. We’ll get to the rates and all that later.
Roland: I’m so proud of you for bringing that up. I’ve been a salesperson all my life, and when I was younger, my manager would tell me something and I would go out and communicate it directly. I wouldn’t filter it or sanitize and pasteurize it and come up with a nice message. I want to encourage this sort of mental flexibility for our salespeople where you change what you’re doing based upon the market shifting all the time. “When do you want to move into a home? We don’t have that. Next!” State instead, “We’re releasing 2 homes per month. Our first availability is probably going to be in September or October. How does that sound? Would that work for you?” Then if that doesn’t fit perfectly, be flexible and say, “Let’s talk about what could work and how we can work with you on the price range. Prices are constantly changing, so you can’t qualify for an exact number. Our homes are $350 to $380.” It should be up to a number. “Right now, we’re building from the $350s to the mid $400s. What did you have in mind? Are you up to a certain number? Is there flexibility?” You’ve got to change those questions to embrace where the market is. It just can’t be so absolute that it must be 2 months from now. It must be a certain number because you’re not going to make a sale to that client when you don’t have something exactly available. I’ve been involved in condominium sales where you pre-sale 2 years out even and 3 years out sometimes, but buyers accept that because they understand that’s what the market is if you want a brand new luxury condominium or an apartment. I agree with you entirely, Kimberly. Let’s get back to the fundamentals of discovery. Make sure they’re open-ended questions, but make sure that you’re embracing the shift in the market so that you’ll allow your buyers to be flexible with you and the extended time frame to get what they want as opposed to compromising and settling for a used house as-is where they’re getting into a bidding pool. You can still get a brand new home with your finishes, with luxury professionally created finishes in a reasonable time frame. I will guide you through it, and hold your hand, and there’s a warranty and customer care. You’re still getting all the benefits of a brand-new home. That, people need to be reminded of; we, as salespeople will need to get better at discovery and presentation.
Kimberly: We also need to remember ourselves in this. Each salesperson was kind of saying the same thing all the way through and it seemed very robotic. “I only have two to sell blah, blah.” It was because we felt robotic. I heard salespeople complain that they felt they had been taken out of the process. Good news, you get to reinsert yourself back into the process which means that you understand who you are and what your unique selling propositions are and not just your builders’. Certainly, we need to know what our builder’s unique selling propositions are, but know who you are and how you’re going to impact and affect the sales process all the way through, so you get to shine a little bit.
Roland: Shine on. I agree with that because you are the absolute difference maker if I’m driving around the countryside of Tampa where you are, or wherever you’re tuning in from, and you meet a salesperson that tells you what I can’t have and what you don’t do, I’m just going to say, “Thanks,” but no thanks. I’m depressed by that approach as opposed to a shiny bright person that says, “Isn’t it great we’re sold out temporarily? We’ve got a couple of homes every month that we’re releasing, and they’re professionally designed and curated, and I’ll be happy to share that with you and keep you in the loop and make sure that at some point we help you acquire a home in our brand-new neighborhood.” I’m going to work with you. I’ll be loyal to that person all day long that has the right attitude and is prepared to help or work or at least direct me. The last thing in the sales process that I want to make sure of that there’s confusion on. “Roland, Kimberly I can’t close on anything.” You close on the next step. You’re closing on what we’re going to do next. It’s much easier, of course, if you can narrow down to one-of-a-kind. You probably should still attempt to do that and narrow down to a floor plan, but maybe you can’t narrow it down to a home site because you don’t have them released just yet. “It’s in this area that we’re going to be releasing home sites. The next step would be that I would call you to invite you back if you could get in here quickly.” Please close on the next step and don’t think that closing has gone away. Kimberly and I preach involvement and close as you go anyway, so there’s lots of involvement constantly, but I think people I’ve seen presentations ending with, “Call me if you’re interested.” If you ever say that, please take a wet noodle and slap yourself as hard as you can with that piece of spaghetti because that is not how you end a presentation ever. You should be controlling what the next steps are.
Kimberly: Which means that you must stop and think through the steps in your process. If you have mapped those out, you know what the next step is in that process wherever it is. Maybe you get through the first 3 steps in the first visit with them, so now what’s step 4? But maybe you only get through steps 1 and2 with them because they have limited time today, so then invite them back. Go ahead and schedule that. When you let people leave without scheduling that appointment – maybe you missed this information, or you’re going to do some research for them, or you don’t have anything, whatever it is – now you have to call them back. They have to check with their significant other, and that can take a couple of days of getting everything back and forth, and the next thing you know you’ve lost another two weeks in the process.
Roland: If I hear you correctly, what you’re saying is the best time to make an appointment is while the client is still in front of you?
Kimberly: You hear me loud and clear, sir.
Roland: If you don’t tell them what the benefit of that action is going to be – “I’m going to stay in touch with you if that’s okay, and as soon as we have our next release or I know what they’re going to be, I’d love to invite you back out. Would that be okay? We’re going to guide you through this.” I think the word is profligate. It’s a big word, but I think we’ve been very wasteful of leads up until now because we’ve had so many of them as salespeople. There’s always somebody else coming in the door. OSCs are bringing leads, so we haven’t had to nurture them properly. I think the ability to nurture leads, not to be mean-spirited, but I think it’s been lost a little bit. I talk to a lot of the sales teams who I like, and we relate well because I’ve always been selling my whole life selling homes, but I ask, “Who do you have in your database?” “Not many.” “No, because you’re only counting the ready, willing, and ables.”
Kimberly: You’re only counting the As.
Roland: “You’re only counting 8 people, but what about normal folks that need 3 months, 6 months, or a year to look around before they’re making a decision?” Using that CRM properly, I can’t believe that you don’t have hundreds if not thousands of people in your CRM that you can go to every day and you can dial for dollars or follow up with whatever you want to. I do but I get it because we’re so used to taking the cream off the top. Everybody has an OSC that we work with. OSCs are amazing. They’re lining up these sweet deals. It’s about 1 in 2 or 1 in 3 of them get closed. Great that this happened, but sales skills have atrophied because you’re just so used to that. What about the walk-in? What about prospecting? We’ll get into that in a few seconds here. Under prospecting and maybe follow-up is part of that umbrella. What is your habit every day? Go into your database and call people back or email or text or however you want to creatively do that. We need to get back to that. Action cures anxiety, so sitting around complaining about the market shifting and traffic is down 88% – not that my friend was complaining – but it is down. Something you can do about that is you can get back to the correct habits which are follow-up and prospecting and all those fun things that we use 3 years ago.
Kimberly: I’m going to circle back. Follow up in unique ways. Follow up in ways that people will notice. Number one: if you are not using video in your follow-up, then you are leaving sales on the table. Get over not being on video. I’m not having a great hair day today. I’ve been sitting here wanting to mess with my hair, but I’m here talking to all of you regardless of what my hair looks like. You know what I look like. This is what I look like. I could pick that apart or I can get myself up, dust myself off, and do something. Create videos, go walk around your community, and show them what’s happening in the community to keep that excitement alive. If you personalize the video, you can hold up a card with their name in the video on that first screen, so they think, “Wait a minute! That’s my name! I’ve got to click this!” You can send it by text message, or you can send it by email. Text messages get opened a lot more than emails. We know this. Depending on who your audience is. If there are retirees, that might not be as well-received as getting it in an email.
Roland: The retirees are on Facebook. They’re on social media.
Kimberly: You could do it that way. A lot of them do it from their computer though bigger screens.
Roland: Oh, do they? Okay yeah, bigger screen. Not quite there yet, so that’s good to know.
Kimberly: Some do. Some whip those smartphones out doing all kinds of stuff, so you can’t always generalize.
Roland: So, can I paraphrase what my friend Kimberly? Not only do you follow up, but make it fun and interesting, and use the latest technology to embrace that to make sure that it’s open and read.
Kimberly: Show your personality. Don’t be a doorknob. You guys have gotten sales because you like people, and you like connecting with people, and you want to help people, so use that.
Roland: I would take it further. If you’re making good notes in your CRM to people’s personalities, I like DISC or BOLT. My friend Charles Clark III’s bulls, owls, lions and tigers or DISC – either one of those 2 – so when you’re finished with your clients, and you put into the CRM you know he was a D and she was an IS or something like that. When you follow up, if you care to take it to the highest possible level, then you can adjust the follow-up. (From the chat) “This training is such a helpful tool.” “Thank you, Stephanie, for saying that. I agree with you entirely.” Some people say that their salespeople aren’t motivated and it’s boring. What Stephanie is saying is right. If you know DISC, then you can adjust your follow-up, so you can go through all your Ds and be very direct in a text.
Kimberly: You get 3 bullet points with a D, but preferably 1 or 2.
Roland: If it’s an I or an S, then make it fun. Obviously, with an S, make it more about the family. But with your analytics then it would be sort of all about facts, figures, processes, and systems. You can challenge yourself to follow up differently. It’s not all clients are equal; you need to adjust them to sell them the way they’d like to be sold. It’s a habit that I think is truly atrophied. The market’s been so good. OSCs are so amazing. In the last 5 years, I’ve never seen such a growth in a side of our industry, but it’s not an excuse for our salespeople to not do it as well. Let’s fit in together and make sure the salespeople on the front lines are dialing for dollars and all that stuff or videoing.
Kimberly: They buy you first. I have a little script that I like to teach when you’re calling people that you haven’t touched base with for a while. It’s very simple, “Hi this is Kimberly Mackey calling from Bodacious Builders. When we last spoke, I remember that you told me”, and this is where hopefully you’ve taken some good notes right so you can insert that you were nervous about the market, you needed more of down payment, you weren’t sure you know if you were going to be able to participate, you’d lost out on x number of homes or whatever it is; fill in that blank, “as you know, the market’s changing so I just wanted to reach out to you to find out where you are in your process towards your goal of owning a new home?”
Roland: I love it. Where are you in your process? Can I borrow that? When I’ve had it for a few days, then it’s all mine.
Kimberly: He’s taking it and running with it.
Roland: I love it. Where are you in your process? They’re probably confused, they’re probably circling the airport, and don’t know how to land. I don’t know how to sell my home now, I don’t know 6 percent interest rates, I’m scared. They’re probably just not doing anything. They’re probably just confused, so it’s a great way to start a conversation.
Kimberly: Somebody just asked us questions about escalation clauses, or whatever their issue. That’s your opportunity to shine with that.
Roland: Can I jump in about that if that’s okay? I believe I coined the phrase; I don’t just take credit for things.
Kimberly: Yes, you do. You’re taking credit
Roland: My head, it’s getting so big now. Have I told you about my book? Last year when price escalation started to happen which was unheard of, instead of an escalation which is scary, I decided to call it a price cap guarantee because it is a price cap guarantee for most builders. It’s 3 or 5 or 7%, whatever it is, and in dealing with objections, the fear of the unknown is one fear, fear of something being chronic and going on forever is unknown. Look early Covid. We didn’t know what it was, we were going to die, and how long is it going to last? Thank goodness we seem to have gotten through it. I got a twitch. Did you see I twitched when I said that?
Kimberly: Yeah, did we get through it?
Roland: it seems to be behind us. I hope the heck it is. So, about objections, the price cap limits it, so if you haven’t worked with a builder, but you’re fortunate to be able to build something then instead of saying it’s an escalation clause that is a scary term, state, it’s capped at whatever, so why don’t we budget for that, and if you’re okay with it, we can budget up to $500. If you’re looking at $400, and maybe there’s a cap of 5%, then maybe you should budge it up to $420. Would that be okay? Great. Let’s go ahead.” As opposed to it being an unknown thing and we’re going to have to cancel our agreement if it gets too out of hand. Again, back to great selling skills, this is going to be a market where you guys are going to define yourselves. Nobody knew who you were in a good. Everybody was selling in the good market. Now I find when I was selling in a market like this, I would continue to sell where others stop selling. Those of you out there that have a sales process, take the time to say things properly and work harder at it. Quint Lears and I were chatting, and I love his phrases. “Roland, your stuff is simple but it’s not easy.” Saying it more nicely is simple, but it takes a bit more effort to dig down deep, but it’s going to define you. A price cap or professionally curated designer show home, as opposed to the builder made the selections; it just takes a bit more effort to say things nicely, but the sales will be there. but clients will buy you is what you’re saying. They’re going to be connected to you. Then when you follow up with video for those high Is and S’s they’re going to love that.
Kimberly: Remember, people are bad at math, so getting back to the escalation, 10% sounds like this insurmountable amount. That is high but, how often have you done an escalation clause? Most of the builders that I work with have never utilized it because they changed their sales process and they started not selling homes until we got them further into production.
Roland: I’ve had quite a few builders that had to implement it. In the coaching that we did, we presented to the buyer the price if they walked in today, so even with our price cap guarantee, it’s going to be here. They still did the right thing. It’s still less than it would be if we were even building today. This is what the price would be. As long as that’s an honest conversation that you can have, we just wanted to make the client feel like they weren’t a loser by going ahead or making it more puzzling. Make them feel like a winner that they did make the right decision even with the 5% price cap implemented. You’re still less than today’s pricing. When buyers hear it, they may not be happy, but they’re going to proceed with their brand-new dream home that they can’t wait to get because it’s everything that they’ve been dreaming about. It makes it sound more palatable.
Kimberly: There’s just a lack of understanding. We’ve tried to keep our building process, which is out in the open, and anybody can see us doing it, and it’s done with many hands, but we try to keep it this mystery. I don’t know why. We need to demystify the building process and explain, “This is this period of time for when we start your home from the dig, and then when we complete the home and hand over the keys, all these processes are going to take place.” In the meantime, the market is still doing what the market is doing and we’re all getting a little motion sickness from this whole market thing, but if you take the time to break it down, most people do understand. It is about having real conversations.
Roland: I think just chunking it down and making it simple for people and less scary. That’s where it goes to. Everything starts with people’s attitudes. On the front-line sales, if you can work on your attitude and make sure you’re presenting a positive picture of what it’s going to be and that you’ll be there to guide them. You can tell others have felt the same way, but we’re so grateful that they did invest and did jump in. We’re going to make sure that you have that same experience. It’s known as the popularity concept that people have fear but they see others jumping in but wonder what you told them to get them started on this journey. We have to have that confidence in a very authentic way, but it does start with your questions and listening and finding out what their why is. You can’t start by telling them what a great builder you are and everything’s great. Ask them how you heard about us and find out what the hot buttons are going to be and what’s driving this or the dominant buying motives. Rally dig down deep and listen.
Kimberly: Ask your buyers who overcame their worry of say, the escalation clause, since we were just on that, as part of your video testimonials. Get permission and get a video testimonial of how that buyer thought through their process and their brain and why it worked for them. That could help a potential buyer down the road. We have to be open to asking the questions and stop assigning good and bad to things. News is just news.
Roland: Empathy versus sympathy. It is what it is, as people say. Just look at the guarantees and the benefits that you do get; you get a brand-new home professionally curated or designed with all the latest finishes that you see on HGTV. There is a move-in date, but it might be slightly longer than they had in mind. There might be a price cap up to a certain amount. We’ll talk financing in a minute, so if we can allay the fear of what the numbers are and if it’s still affordable, we can talk about that and make them feel comfortable with that. There’s no reason to wave the white flag and give up. I know it’s not what it was last month or the month before, but that’s what change is, and you’ve got to embrace it. You and I’ve been through 4 downturns. The late 80s, the late 90s, and ’08 was the worst; I think the great recession, here we are again with something that’s slowing down, but we don’t have to go through economics and macroeconomics. Yes, we’ve got inflation, but we’ve got such low unemployment and such high demand and a shortage of homes. People are still going to want our homes; we’re just going to be better at selling them and more empathetic and have a better process. It’s not going to be what it was 3 months ago, so we need to get let go of that and move forward.
Kimberly: We do. The past is the past, so build those relationships with the people that you’re dealing with today. Go back and mine for gold in that CRM go find those Bs and those Cs and follow up with them. Hopefully, you took well enough notes that you’ve got something to start with, but if you don’t, treat them almost like they’re brand new. And find out where they are in their process.
Roland: I just had a good idea. What about this phrase? Where are you in your process? I just thought of that.
Kimberly: It’s amazing how that happened out of the blue.
Roland: I can’t believe I just thought of that. I could write it down. The thing about Kimberly and myself as trainers is we only teach what we’ve done ourselves. I was in one community for 10 selling homes. We had 2,000 homes that we sold. I didn’t sell 2,000, but 3 days a week I sat down from my follow-up. I’d come in, I wouldn’t meet with the coffee clutch over there as much as I wanted to, I would have my CRM. Believe it or not, it was up and ready to go from the night before. I had my leads ready, and I would dial for dollars or email or do whatever I had to. Then I rewarded myself after an hour with a cup of coffee and a muffin because you know I love my sweets, but I had that habit. I created a habit very early on. It’s just natural for me to go in there and go through my leads in an order that made the most sense. I believe we’re back to having to create those habits with follow-up, and then you were saying it’s relationships. The other thing I did was always REALTORS®. It was always the second Wednesday of the month was my REALTOR® drop day. I’d go out in my car and visit with REALTORS® and drop off flyers. There wasn’t one month for 10 years where I wasn’t doing a REALTOR® breakfast somewhere, whether it was at our models or their offices. I could get my foot in the door, but people were always amazed at how Roland’s still selling homes when it’s quiet? Because I had those relationships with REALTORS®, and I would call them constantly. You can either deal with a whole office if you want or you can identify those top REALTORS® in your area and just become their friends; just compliment them. Tell them how much you admire their success or whatever it is, and start nurturing those one-on-one relationships with REALTORS® because they will sustain you going forward. They will have hot leads for you. You need to have those connections and friendships.
Kimberly: Did I just hear you say one-on-one with REALTORS®?
Roland: Is that okay or did I make a mistake?
Kimberly: I just want to put that out there. I want to just emphasize one-on-one with REALTORS®. You don’t need thousands of REALTORS®.
Roland: That is your thing. I have heard you say that before.
Kimberly: You don’t need thousands of REALTORS®. Stop e-blasting REALTORS® because they just hit the delete button. Stop it, stop it, stop it right now.
Roland: I don’t know what works or what doesn’t. I just do it all until something works, I must admit. I managed a team in Sarasota just south of you about 4 years ago. We did both. We did the REALTOR® presentations but found they weren’t working, you’re right because no, we didn’t have enough people. Then we identified the top 50 agents in our marketplace in southwest Florida, and then we split up. We had 10 each. Each salesperson took 10 names that they wanted. They picked the ones they wanted, and they nurtured those people, and had coffee with them, had lunch with them, took and them out on the golf course. They did whatever and it worked. It took a little while. It took about three months.
Kimberly: Relationships do take a while.
Roland: Right. A real relationship.
Kimberly: You can’t approach a REALTOR® with, “Give me all your buyers.” Just like they shouldn’t approach you and say, “Give us all your listings for anybody who comes in and needs a home to sell.” The relationship is not about what you get, it’s about what can you give to each other.
Roland: I love that. I had a broker across the way from where I worked in Boynton Beach for years. Every time he got a new salesperson he would send them to me for coffee, and I would show them around. Spend an hour showing them our models and that kind of stuff. This one time the broker sent over a fellow named Steve. Steve was brand new and had never sold a home before. He brought me his first client. Within an hour they were sitting down to write an agreement, and Steve was amazed. I had 18 sales that one REALTOR® over the next 2 and a half years. He just was trained like Roland sells homes. A lot of great models, brand new, no need to show a bunch of resales. This brand-new sales agent is great to work with. The bottom line is I performed for him, and I think that’s what the REALTORS® like to see. We can be nice and have coffee and really good pastries, but at the end of the day, are you going to treat their clients well and treat them with respect? I always thanked the REALTORS® and told the buyers how lucky they were. Steve’s a great REALTOR®. You’re lucky to work with him. But at the end of the day, we sold a bunch of homes together, so nurturing those one-on-one relationships I think is essential. How many would you recommend that you need to have?
Kimberly: Depends on how many sales you want which is a great question. If you want 50 sales a year which is the thing that I’m known for with teaching is 50 Sales a Year Before Any Walk-in Traffic. The easiest way to get there is to have 25 REALTORS® who are going to bring you 2 deals a year, and 25 times two is 50, and that’s before any walk-in traffic. If you’ve cultivated those relationships. Your 25 may come and go and change a little bit over time, but if you’ve got that core base that’s what you’re going to do year in and year out if those people are still in business.
Roland: This is great because I’m big into habits. My favorite book this year other than mine, which I like, but my favorite book that I’ve read is Atomic Habits by James Clear. I have a habit where I walk every morning early and I listen to audibles. James talks about what it takes to create a habit. I’m talking directly to salespeople now not sales managers. You don’t need to worry. As a salesperson, take action and start nurturing that REALTOR® database and go out and find your group of REALTORS®. It may be 10 to start with.
Kimberly: It may be 5 to start with if you’re starting with nothing. Start with 5 because it does take work.
Roland: It’s about a 1 in 3 closing ratio with REALTORS® on average across the country still. So, if you have 3 REALTOR® appointments, you’re probably going to make 1 sale. When you go out and do breakfast or meet with them, get appointments going and that’s a direct correlation to your sales success. The best news is that’s something you can control. You’re not worried about traffic being down. You can go out, you can get on the phone, and you can go visit REALTORS®. We looked in the MLS and picked out REALTORS® that we thought would have clients for us in the areas that we were building in the value range and work with buyers. We got quite strategic, and it took about 3 months, and it worked.
Kimberly: It does pay off. There are lots of different ways that you can follow up in meaningful ways with REALTORS®. The good news is during this pandemic because the inventory was so low in used, they had to start working with us.
Roland: They love us again.
Kimberly: You have more REALTORS® in your pool to choose from, so that’s a beautiful thing.
Roland: I would recommend not being fickle. We should always love our REALTORS® you know, God bless them. I’ve been licensed since the early 80s. I got my license a long time ago. Those relationships are key.
Kimberly: Educate your REALTORS® because the educated REALTOR® becomes a real asset; an uneducated REALTOR® becomes a pain in the you know what in the end.
Roland: I agree. REALTORS® love education just so you know. If you can have a breakfast, pull it in under the guise of education. You’ll get a lot more people. Let me educate you on how the new home sale works or how to build a new home. They absolutely love it. I have a REALTOR® program just as you do, but yours is bigger and better, but I have one where you get credits for REALTORS® in Florida. It’s very popular, and I’m always very impressed with how REALTORS® do love training and education. That’s a smart approach to get them to work with. Do we have time to talk about the important numbers?
Kimberly: Yes, let’s talk numbers. Should I bring our slides back up?
Roland: Kurt has a REALTOR® open house with 60 REALTORS® this week. Good for you, man.
Kimberly: Way to go.
Roland: About 5 years ago I created a financing app. It’s free to anybody listening to this webinar. Email Roland@newhomesalesplus.com. For the rest of 2022, it’s going to be free, but we probably will we’ll change that early next year. I was early with this I suppose but as a salesperson and the sales manager and my salespeople were always good at having a basic understanding of the numbers. On your phone or your computer, you download it. We’ll send you a code for that. Abi will send you the code. Mortgage EZ. You put in whatever interest rate you want. What is the amortization? You guesstimate taxes and insurance on the plus version. I read an article in the Wall Street Journal saying that the mortgage calculators were the devil because they didn’t show taxes and insurance, and I agree that’s not honest. With mine, get an idea from your lender what you would guesstimate taxes and insurance, and it stays that way whenever you use the app. It holds it in there. It’ll show you very quickly. I put this at 5.8% and within a millisecond it shows you what the monthly investment is. The main thing that I love about this is that you then forward it to your client from you. If it’s on your phone, you press the share button and it’ll say Kimberly Mackey New Homes Solutions and have your contact information on it. It comes from you, and you can either text or email it whatever your preference. This is the objection I get, “Well, I don’t do mortgage, I don’t do this, I don’t do that.” I get it, but we don’t want you sending it to the mortgage company for something that we should be able to control. Last week a salesperson told me that they sent a qualified buyer in the Baton Rouge area to their lender, and the lender told them they were going to guess them at a rate of 8%. I’ve not heard 8%. The buyer got scared and didn’t want to buy a home. What if we controlled it and said, “Would you like me to help you understand an approximate monthly investment? There’s a big disclaimer along the bottom that says this is for estimation purposes only, and it may vary based upon credit down payment and it’s got a whole legal disclaimer so please don’t worry about that.” You’re not qualifying people, you’re guiding them in a very intelligent way to be able to say, “Even though the rate’s a lot higher than I thought, that monthly investment works. Or if it doesn’t work, we can put more of a down payment, or look at a lower price, or look at a lower interest rate – maybe on a 7-year adjustable. What did you say yesterday?
Kimberly: A 3-2-1 buy down. We need to dust off these old programs that we haven’t had to use for a long time because now they’re relevant again.
Roland: We haven’t had 3-2-1 ARM for about 10 years. Salespeople out there, it’s up to you. You can struggle along, bump along, and have a mediocre existence, or you can dominate your market by understanding basic numbers. The app is free. It’s no joke. I get a lot of pleasure out of people thanking me when they use it. I was in Nashville about a month ago with the team, and at least 10 of the salespeople said they now were not afraid to do numbers. Yes, yes! That’s the victory for us trainers.
Kimberly: The only way you’re going to get over your fear of the numbers, is to do the numbers.
Roland: I was never able to find this; if somebody comes in and they want a monthly investment of a certain number, how do you equate that to a purchase price? I built a reverse mortgage calculator. How much is your monthly investment goal? $2,500 is what I put in. How much are you planning to invest initially? $25. 000. Let me put in 5.8% percent and guesstimate taxes and insurance. You’re looking at about $332,000 for your purchase price. Now I’m not saying that’s good or bad. That’s what you have to sell, but at least you can now guide people, and that takes as much time to put the purchase price or the investment and the interest rate, and it tells you what it is. Forwards or backward. Last but not least, I get a lot of good feedback on this, this is a technique called Reduce to the Ridiculous or Reduce of the Daily. For example, let’s say you had home site premiums or premium home sites, as my friend Ralph Williams likes to call them. Let’s say the premium home site was $12,500. “Oh no! $12,500! I can’t possibly afford that!” “Well, let me just show you what it is at 5.8%. It’s $2.44 a day.” Then you could equate it to, “That Dunkin Donuts cup of coffee you have there is probably 4 bucks.” So, I only teach what I’ve used myself. For 10 years I was in one community and people always wanted to negotiate over 5 or $10,000. I had learned what that was in a daily, so if it was $5,000, I would write down 87 cents, and I would turn the piece of paper and say, “It’s 87 cents a day. You wouldn’t let that stand your way?” The wife would be kicking the husband. “Don’t be so cheap!” He would say, “Well could you split the Pepsi?” Or split the soda, or whatever I had equated to which was cute. So, people didn’t say,” Yippee-ki-yay, I’m gonna buy right now because you showed me that”, but they’re going to think, “I guess you’re right.” All we’re trying to do is empower people to feel good or move forward with what they want to do anyway. Would you agree?
Kimberly: That’s exactly right because we’re trying to help people.
Roland: If they don’t understand the fear of the unknown. if they don’t understand what their monthly investment is if they can’t work backward from that and find out what it is if they think that dream gourmet kitchen, which is $20,000, sounds like it’s too expensive, but it’s $3.20 a day; there’s not much you can buy for $3.00 a day now anyway. You’re going to make them feel better about what they want to do anyway. and you’ll get those extra sales.
Kimberly: I want to talk to your Reduced to the Ridiculous or Reduce to the Daily. That is a tool that I love for everyone to understand. You’re not trying to manipulate anyone. I don’t believe in manipulation. I don’t think it works but if you do that what you do is you take the buyer who’s getting myopic and focused on this 5 or $10,000, and you relate it to something that has absolutely nothing to do with anything. We’ve often referred to this as the Starbucks close or the Dunkin Donuts close. I’ll even equate it to a monthly. Just relate it to something that happens by 30. That is 4 bucks a day. If you can you give that up, you have your dream house. Find something to refocus them. It’s like when you’re trying to work a jigsaw puzzle and you get frustrated. You don’t see anything anymore, so you leave it sitting out on the table. When you come back into the room from a different angle, all of a sudden, those pieces you were looking at make sense because you just looked at them from a different perspective. That’s all you’re doing there.
Roland: I’m glad you said that because now and again people will say to me or think, “Well, this is manipulative and it’s a technique.” No, but it starts from a very central place of caring about the client. The client got dressed up, and they came into our office. Nobody made them fall in love with our homes and our home sites or the idea of building, but they’re struggling with the concept of moving forward because in their mind they had a line in the sand they’ve drawn with a certain investment amount, and now we’re crossing that. What’s going to motivate them to move forward is the fact that they’re in love with that quartz countertop and their dream kitchen, so if they don’t get that, they’re probably not going to buy at all. Helping them justify it in a very pragmatic way is all we’re saying. There’s always a gap. My third book is going to be on negotiation and bridging the gap. I’m not going to call it Bridging the Gap, but I’m just saying that’s what it’s about. There’s always a gap; otherwise, it would be so easy to sell homes. Is it 10, 20, 50, $100,000? I worked for a builder as a sales director, and we built from a million and a half to $10,000,000, so our gaps were sometimes a million dollars, but we had to bridge them. We eventually did most times. That’s what we’re talking about. That’s where we earn our money as salespeople is making people feel better about doing what they wanted to do anyway and be able to justify it. I can look back on over 30 years, once they move in, they’re in love with it, and they’re very grateful that you guided them. So, don’t feel bad about the reduce to the daily to get them to buy. They’re going to thank you. You’ll be their favorite person for many years to come because you help them acquire what they were afraid to.
Kimberly: You helped them when they were afraid. That’s what happens when you get afraid; you get stuck. Let’s summarize because we are just past the top of the hour. Go back to the relationships. That’s the key. Not only your relationship with the buyers but your relationship with your REALTORS® and your relationship with your lenders. It is about the relationships, and the relationships will get us through., so spend the time.
Roland: It’s a relationship with yourself. Are you a day trader or is this your career? if you’re a day trader, you’re not going to succeed in this market; it’s over. There are very few easy sales. If this is your career, now is the perfect opportunity to get some training and implement the training and practice everything that Kimberly and I have been saying, and you will have a long successful career. You will distance yourself from those folks that are going to start dropping out of the market because it’s going to get too tough.
Kimberly: Allow me to mix a couple of metaphors that I like. A rising market floats all boats, but when the tide goes out, you get to see who was swimming naked. Go back to these basics. Go back to being real with people and try to find that genuineness. Try to find your love for this again. I know it was tough these past few years and some people thought it was tough because it was so easy to sell at home, and it kind of was because we are people people. We do love those relationships. Go back to your first love and build those relationships. Try to knock the rust off of these things because there are skills that probably drew you to this career, to begin with.
Roland: I would be grateful for the opportunity to have it slow down. Work on your skills because hopefully, you’ve got a big backlog of sales. You’ve got the income from that, and you need to nurture that list, but now is the time to practice. I do gratitude lists every day and work on my attitude. As a new home salesperson or sales manager, your attitude is everything, and you’ve got to get yourself in the right frame of mind and be appreciative so that when somebody walks in, you’re pleased to see them. If you’ve been following up, you’ve been practicing for hours on the phone or with your videos, and you’re doing positive things, all that good energy attracts other good energy is what I have found. I might spend a day following up and get no direct ROI on it, and then somebody walks in because I’m already in a good mood, I’m in a different frame of mind and I’m much more positive. I’ve been sitting there all day waiting for something to happen, so make it happen. Go shift the energy.
Kimberly: Absolutely make it happen. Dr. Seuss says the waiting place is a useless place. So, go make it happen. Thank you all for joining us. Roland, thank you very much. I hope you’ll take advantage of the books and come to the retreat. We’d love to see you all in person. Thank you for making those generous offers. Go get ‘em, guys. The market’s changing, but you’ve got this!
Roland: Thanks so much, and thanks for the audience. Thanks so much for inviting me. I look forward to seeing you soon.
Kimberly: Bye everybody.