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The Lasso Blog

We are back with another edition of our popular “Top New Home Sales & Marketing Tips” for the new year!

We asked the leading new home industry experts to give us their advice for 2020—now you can read it all in one blog! Get some great tips on a wide array of topics and start the new year right!

Looking for marketing tips for 2020?  Check out the article, Top New Home Marketing Tips for 2020.

Here is to a successful 2020!

Jen BarkanJen Barkan, Do You Convert
Know Your Numbers

Being an online sales specialist is not just a job, it’s a career. Taking care of your business means knowing your numbers…where you’ve been and where you need to go. It means being proactive in bettering your business by communicating with your onsite teams, setting planned encounters with your manager and marketing colleagues, and taking time to enhance your follow up process with the latest and greatest tools and tactics. Come out from behind the screen and make 2020 the year of the Online Sales Influencer!

Myers Barnes, Builder DesignsMyers Barnes, Myers Barnes Associates
Don’t Be Average

I just want to be average.

We all hear about the “average American”. What does that person look like these days?

– The average American household takes in about $44,720 in annual income and has an average family size is 3.14 people. How are you faring on the “average” meter so far?

– “C” means average. Does a “C” average get you into a good University?

– A 40-hour work week is average, with a one-hour lunch. Will this time commitment give you an edge over your co-workers when it comes time for a raise and promotion?

Average, for me, is another way of quitting. Being average means, you don’t reach for greater heights, achievements, or rewards. You’re satisfied with being satisfied, but not glorious.

You’re average if you’re not a standout. That also makes you replaceable. You’ve got to be willing to do more, to excel in whatever you do in order to rise above the average. Place yourself among the best and recognize that “good enough” never is.

I find it fascinating that the only people who worry about mediocrity are the ones who rise far above that level. Maybe the view is just clearer from up there.

Chad BriaChad Bria, BDX
20/20

2020 seems the right year to talk about full transparency. Let’s call it 20/20!

Too many times, we as an industry, think we can hide information to get our phones to ring, or get people to set an appointment at our model homes or sales offices, but with our industry secrets come a devastating downside – elimination.

We’re in a digital age–the companies doing it right are giving you the elephant on one page, and letting you eat it one bite at a time, on any device, at any time of day, the way you, the consumer, would like to consume the information. This creates a trust, that the company being researched has nothing to hide.

There are tremendous side benefits to a “transparent” mentality in home building. Eliminating the “what else are they not telling me” objection in buying a home is a tremendous help in the sales process. It also keeps your company from the elimination I am speaking of.

In 2020 (20/20) give buyers the information they want on your website and on their devices, at any time of day, and in their own way. Because if they can’t find the answers in your digital journey, they’ll find it somewhere else.… leading to–elimination.

Paul GortzigPaul Gortzig, Bokka Group
Embrace Disruption

It’s here! The day you can purchase a new home from a new home builder in three easy steps…completely online! There has been a lot of talk surrounding AI/AR and VR in our industry for good reason. The emergence of chatbots, online sales and access to builders’ homes after hours are taking center stage. These are the disruptors that focuses on how today’s prospects want to buy.

Delivering a great customer experience requires us to get out of our comfort zone, be bold, and start thinking like the customer. They need our help so be there for them. It’s time to start examining your systems and processes through the buyer’s lens and be vulnerable to change and disruption. Embrace the technology that helps us interact with our customers more effectively. Stop comparing yourself to that other builder down the street and start looking at how great companies like Amazon, Zappos, and Southwest Airlines interact with their customers to deliver a great customer experience.

Challenge yourself, challenge your team, and challenge your company. While I still believe nothing is more important than building a great relationship with your customer, it’s the way we go about it that’s going to be wholly different in 2020. Embrace disruption and keep pace with your customer!

 

Mar’Sue Haffner, Sales Solve Everything
Embrace Cultural Differences

We are one of the few cultures who shy away from asking for a better price when purchasing a product. Because of this, we often are offended when someone asks us to discount our product. We need to re-train our brains to see the buyer’s offer as an exciting “buying sign” and say “thank you”.

Often it is the willingness to play the negotiating game with many of the cultures that creates an exciting purchase experience. Just realizing that the HOME actually represents something entirely different depending on the culture, changed the way I approached negotiating.

To the Indian culture the home is a Shrine, to their children, family, and success. The Hispanic culture buys their homes for a legacy to pass on from one generation to the next. To the Asian culture, the home represents more of an investment, so appreciation, tax benefits and buying as low as possible helps them realize a better profit at resale. While the American culture sees it as more of a dream. A dream that is supported by their core values that everyone should have the ability and opportunity to own their own home. Just understanding this one simple principal helps give us better insights when it comes to negotiating.

Erica LockwoodErica Lockwood, Joseph Chris Partners
Take the Risk in 2020

When a brand-new year approaches the mindset tends to be: what is my resolution for the new year?  While setting goals to be healthier, more organized or save money are commendable, perhaps it is time to consider taking intentional risks. Eleanor Roosevelt stated, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

While the average person normally does not gravitate toward this daily activity, perhaps the practice should be considered. Admittedly, being a risk-taker is not for the weak at heart. Failures and mistakes can and will happen along the way but anyone who has experienced the positive results of taking chances will tell you that risk-taking is failure-prone, but that is why it is not called “sure-thing taking.”

I have spoken with countless individuals over the years who not only have a career and life plan created, but the actions needed to get there intentionally mapped out with defined timelines. With these strategies, risks can and will be taken to achieve the milestones. With so many opportunities to produce positive change where could it go wrong? One thing I know for certain, not taking risks is the riskiest move of all.

Mike LyonMike Lyon, Do You Convert
Need for Human Connection

2020 sounds so futuristic. Despite all the tech advancements, we have seen a resurgence in the need for human connection. Some builders have gone too far leveraging sales technology, almost eliminating the human interaction customers crave. This year, I am challenging the front-line communicators to focus on connecting with prospects and practice new ways to warm up those digital conversations. Purchasing a home is emotional. Even those just starting their journeys seek a friendly voice, a smiling face, or a warm text – even if it is virtual.

Kimberly MackeyKimberly Mackey, New Homes Solutions Consulting
Think Like a Customer to Create a Better Customer Experience

When we do things over and over again, it is easy to assume that everyone knows what we know. We do things like use industry jargon. SPEC, anyone? Do a Punch List lately? And, we forget to share with our prospects and customers what to expect next. Although it takes quite a bit of effort, try to step back and think like your prospects and customers. In your mind’s eye, try to experience buying from you for the first time. Anticipate and prompt for questions. Let them know that it is both normal and okay to have questions and that you are here to help guide them. Try to set the stage for what the next step in the process is, especially when you are handing off to another team member. For instance, think about how the transition works between your OSC (On-line Sales Counselor) and your sales professional; or, from sales to the design center, sales to construction, construction to customer support, and so on. Anyone who has ever competed in a relay knows that the most critical part of the race is the hand-off of the baton.

One best practice I witnessed this year when I spoke on “The Customer Experience Funnel” at the Master Session at the International Builders Show with Chris Hartley from Trendmaker Homes in Dallas, TX is to create a video with both team members in it to share with prospects (if they haven’t yet purchased) or customers (after they have purchased). This way, you know you are sending a consistent message, and it helps the customers to feel more comfortable because they see the next person on video with the person to whom they already have a relationship. Your team members can have a little fun with these videos and let their personalities shine through. Just make sure everyone stays true to the message that should you want conveyed to support the brand. To get more personal than this, you could set up a quick video chat using Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Skype, or Facebook Messenger, but this will create more work when you need to repeat it with each prospect or buyer. Use technology to help you, but more importantly think through your processes as a company and map them out. Do they put the customer first? If not, it might be time to refocus them in 2020.

Jane Meagher, Success StrategiesJane Meagher, Success Strategies
Upserving and Influencing your Design Studio customers

Upserving is not Upselling—which is disingenuous, builder-focused, price-focused and makes the customer feel pressured. Upserving is about genuine interaction that is customer-focused, consultative and helpful, and makes the customer feel grateful.

I’ve slightly modified Dan Pink’s famous definition of Upserving to be more appropriate for the design studio application: “Doing more for the other person than he expects or you initially intended, taking the extra steps to transform a mundane, transnational interaction into an educational, inspirational, and mutually-rewarding one.”

Yes, a Design Consultant does have to move home buyers through dozens of decisions, accurately documenting their selections, and finishing on time. But that’s the role of an order-taker. A RockStar Design Consultant harnesses the power of influence to truly upserve their customers by delivering the highest quality customer experience while maximizing per-home revenue. A RockStar Design Consultant shares their immense knowledge-base with customers to empower them to make their own best decisions with confidence and ease, by employing communication skills, presentation skills, sales skills, and organizational skills among others; essentially the same skills that are required for your New Home Consultants. Yet, often in our industry, we don’t look at our Design Consultants as sales people. For many builders, the Design Consultant delivers (or should deliver) greater impact to the builder’s bottom line profitability on each home than the New Home Consultant does.

Make sure you’re properly hiring and training your Design Consultants so they can be RockStars for your customers and your building company.

Alaina MoneyAlaina Money-Garman, Garman Homes
Stop. Checking. Boxes. Start checking in.
Check in on your values, your mission, your long-term vision and ask how you and your business are measuring up. Or not? And don’t be discouraged if you find areas that aren’t measuring up. We’ve all been there. It’s ok to start wherever you start. It’s the starting that’s key.
Also, there’s no shame in identifying some low hanging fruit! Pick off a few things that are obvious for some momentum, then challenge yourself to identify demonstrable, observable, and even tangible evidence that you are who you say you are…that your business reflects the value proposition it offers. What are the behaviors associated with those statements? What are the habits you will build around those behaviors to make you and your business do what you say you will? There are lots of people talking the talk out there but very few walking the walk. That’s your opportunity! But, I get it. We all check out sometimes. Life gets busy. Life gets hard. But life is also way too short to settle for an automated box checking version of yourself or your business. It’s all too precious to waste. Check in on the parts of the business that you love. I’m talking about the parts that set your soul on fire and let that fire fuel you to check in for a whole new year.
Melissa MormanMelissa Morman, BDX
All About Great CEX!?

Got your attention?

And no, I did not misspell it! I mean great ‘Customer EXperience’. As we move further along the digital journey with our prospects and customers, customization and personalization are so vital. I am talking about customization and personalization of the experience. In today’s world, we all have been accustomed to our ‘Brands’ knowing us and understanding us–you would be annoyed if you had spent thousands of dollars over the years with a particular brand, and they are still marketing to you as if you are a ‘newbie’ versus a ‘loyal groupie’.

We all have gotten better at creating ‘reach’ and new ‘eyeballs’ in the digital world, and it is incumbent on us to understand who these new connections are and how best to engage with them, and ultimately hopefully convert them to buyers. This means we need to know more about them—What market segment? What demographic? What have they already done on their journey?

Today, we do know all of this information, so let’s use it to create great tailored experiences for our prospects (and customers). We will have a higher conversion rate and happier customers once they do buy. Now let’s all go out there and have more and better CEX!

Kerry Mulcrone, Kerry & Co.Kerry Mulcrone, Kerry & Co.
Great Discovery Leads to Greater Closings!
What do you need to close more sales? Easy…stronger discovery during the “purchasing process”. Discovery comes in many ways. It doesn’t just happen. You make it happen by inquiring, listening, learning, and applying. Remember, “inquiring minds want to know.”
Here are 5 inquisitive ideas to help you along the way!
1) Macro before Micro; Macro = Customers Situation Micro = Model & Community offerings
2) Knowledge and Discovery Process (KDP): This is a two-way street. Theirs and yours.
3) Data Mining: Like in a gold mine for awesome data that gives you valuable prospect information.
4) Consultative & Conversational: Resist selling without first understanding and speak by exchanging thoughts.
5) E.Q.: Know your essential questions that personally take you down the right track to gaining confidence and trust in your customer!

Roland NairnseyRoland Nairnsey,
New Home Sales +
Build Your 2020 Vision

Thanks to a healthy economy and the extension of record-breaking low interest rates, most of us are enjoying wonderful success across the country. Let’s remember to remain gracious and humble and still maintain a service mentality with our clients. It is easy to believe that we are bigger than this incredible industry and it’s also easy to forget the importance of working hard at our craft, developing the skills and processes that will last a lifetime. Let’s greet the New Year with pragmatic optimism and reflect on how we can “BUILD” a better future for you and your clients.

  • B – Believe in your company and build upon your success
  • U – Unite through authentic connections–today’s buyers need to feel unified with your company and your values
  • I – Invest in your people
  • L – Lead your market, don’t just copy others
  • D – Develop your processes, home plans, and your sales & marketing infrastructure

Use these tips to build your vision in 2020!

Amy O'ConnorAmy O’Connor, Shore Consulting
Creating Cognitive Ease for Your Buyers In 2020
What do buyers have an abundance of in today’s housing market? Choice! Good, right? Not really. The paradox of choice says that while buyers like the idea of having an abundance of choice, too many options actually bogs buyers down and hinders them from making any buying decision at all. Simply said, too much choice creates cognitive strain and shuts buyers down.
The solution? Create cognitive ease by proactively answering your buyers’ three biggest “why” questions to help them narrow down their decision quickly:
  • Why you? Why you as salesperson? What do you do for your buyers that other sales people aren’t willing or able to do? Action item: Create a personal brand promise and share it with your prospects.
  • Why here? What makes this community special? What do I, as a purchaser, get if I purchase here that I won’t get if I purchase elsewhere? Pro-tip: To do this well, or really at all, you MUST know your competition.
  • Why this? Why this floorplan versus the other ones you offer? Why this homesite over the other ones available? Hint: Make it personal!

Answer their whys and 2020 will be your best year yet!

Jeff ShoreJeff Shore, Shore Consulting
Shorten the Cycle
Long buying cycles cause home buyers to dive so deeply into the analytics that they often become unmoored from the necessary emotional impetus. We tend to think that a customer who visits a community over and over again is exhibiting a strong buying signal, when in reality, that prospect is doing nothing but introducing confusion and mental strain. The short-cycle sale makes for an easier and more satisfying purchase experience. Sales professionals would do well to insert the phrase “If you purchase today…” right from the early part of the conversation, and then repeat it a couple of times during the discussion. The goal is to normalize the very idea of a first-visit purchase decision.

Chad SanschagrinChad Sanschagrin
Cannonball
The Hell with the Commission be on a Mission!!
All too often, new sales professionals think about the amount of money they are going to make; calculating the commission on every sale and every deal. They look at their backlog report as if it is the bible. The challenge is that the commission (the money) is only a result and a by-product of the intensity of the mission you are on. If your mission is to contribute to the betterment of everyone you meet, everyone that walks in your door, and the betterment of every REALTOR® you talk to, you will never have to worry about the commission. BE MISSION MINDED, NOT COMMISSION MINDED!

Ryan TaftRyan Taft, Shore Consulting
Do Something Different
Let me ask you a question, from the customer’s viewpoint: What do you and your nearest competitors have in common?
The answer: A LOT. Both you and your competitor have a sales office, model home, salesperson, price sheet, etc.
There are a lot of similarities that could confuse a potential buyer. So if you want 2020 to be your best year ever, you have to figure out how to be the most memorable salesperson the customer visits with. How do you do that?
You should first conduct what I call a C.E.A–Competitive Experience Analysis. In a nutshell, a C.E.A. is a study of your customer’s experience with each of your competitors. How are they being talked to? Are they being shown a model home or told to go by themselves? Where does your competitor stand when talking to prospective customers? What does their follow-up look like? Get granular here. Your goal is to get a clear picture of what happens to a customer at all points of the sales process with your competition and then… DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT! When you get that right, you’re on your way to making 2020 your best year ever!

LleahLeah Turner, Melinda Brody & Company
Master the Art of Delivery

As the sales coach and trainer, I have the opportunity to watch hundreds of video mystery shops every year. One thing I have learned is that no two sales presentations are ever alike. Everyone has their own, unique selling style. There is no “one size fits all” formula.

Often, as I am coaching sales people, they will ask me what the secret is to sales success. Well, the secret is…there is no secret! But there are areas that you can master in order to perfect your craft and sell more homes. One that we feel is most important is to understand the science of the presentation and then master the art of the delivery.

To understand the science is to know what the ‘structure’ of the presentation is….Meet & Greet, Discovery/Qualify, Demonstration, Overcoming Objections, and Closing. Then take it one step further and perfect the ‘art’ of the delivery. Make it your own. Be authentic. Be passionate!

Once you “own” your presentation by perfecting your sales delivery, being your true authentic self, and allowing your passion to shine through, the job becomes much less stressful and much more fun! Your prospects pick up on this immediately and they are instantly put as ease. Happy Selling!

Ralph WilliamsRalph Williams, Sales Solve Everything
Certainty is the Separator
One of the most valuable nuggets I’ve held onto through the years, and still use daily. It comes from the great Tony Robbins quote, “When 2 people meet, if they have rapport, the person who is MOST CERTAIN will always influence the other person.” So simple and so profound. When people are making the biggest purchase of their lives, slivers of doubt cause hesitation. It’s our job to help them through this. They need us to be certain for them. In 2020, separate yourself by showing certainty in all you do from making appointments, to demonstrating your product, and closing the sale. I’m CERTAIN this tiny tweak will change your life!
Lisa ArmstrongLisa Armstrong,
ECI Software Solutions
Don’t Assume, Ask!
One of the key ways to build a positive belief system about customer service and interaction in your business is to listen. We can get into trouble by making assumptions rather than bothering to ask. Your brain is wired to get 5% of the information and then try to fill in the blanks. When a customer expresses a concern, even if you’ve heard it before, they have not said it before. Therefore, to THEM it is the first time. When you dismiss their concerns, and give a “typical response,” you make the customer feel stupid or like they are a nuisance. Let the customer air his frustration, then ask questions so you can get to the real issue and not what you assume is the issue.
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