Contributed by Ryan Taft, Shore Consulting Certified Sales Trainer
It is time we start questioning why we do the things we do in new home sales. As you analyze the typical new home sales presentation, it becomes clear that much of what we do comes from habit rather than a clear strategy. And these habits tend to be known as “best practices.” But where did these so-called “best practices” originate? Why have they been handed down generation after generation? Why do we still cling to them in utter futility?
I’m reminded of the story about the little girl who was learning how to cook a ham dinner. As her mother was preparing the ham, the little girl asked, “Why?” after every move the mother made. At one point, the mother cut the ends of the ham off and put it in the oven. The little girl asked with a look of confusion, “Mommy, why did you cut the ends of the ham off?” The mom responded, “Because it makes it taste better.” Well, that answer did not satisfy the little girl’s curiosity and she asked again, “But why does it make it taste better?” After a few rounds of this, the mother got frustrated and told the little girl to go ask her grandmother since she was the one who taught her. When the little girl asked her grandmother why cutting the ends of the ham off makes it taste better, the grandmother laughed and said, “Honey…when I was teaching your mother to cook, our oven was so small that I had to cut the ends of the ham off so it would fit in our oven!”
Let’s apply this principle to the typical new home sales presentation. If you have been in new home sales for any length of time, you have probably been through a type of training where you were told that in order to get the sale, you had to “Create Urgency,” right? What if I told you that was not true…and never has been? Would old patterns and beliefs flare up in defense, or do you have an open mind to understand why this is a fable? Hopefully you are open-minded.
What does “creating urgency” really mean anyway? Typically, sales counselors will attempt to create circumstantial urgency by creating a fear of loss in customers’ minds with the goal of pushing them off the fence and into a new home. To make sure we are on the same page, here are a few examples of “creating circumstantial urgency”:
- “Interest rates will be going up!”
- “You may want to pick your ‘second’ favorite homesite.”
- “Act fast, we are going to have price increases”
- As you and your customer are looking at the community plot map, your partner casually walks by and says, “Oh…if you are looking at homesite 62, the Green family was really interested in that site…I am just letting you know.” (wink, wink)
- “I am not sure how long I can keep these incentives for you.”
The concept of “creating circumstantial urgency” implies something. It implies that urgency only applies to the product or to the deal and that customers don’t have any urgency of their own. But I believe they do. It’s called “personal urgency” and it is a much stronger motivator than any “circumstantial urgency” we may try to create. Let me explain.
Every customer that walks into a new home sales office is on a mission to do one thing: improve their life. If you truly understand that statement, it implies that every customer has something wrong with their life before they walk in the door. No one wants to take time out to go have an awkward conversation with a sales person for fun. And if you were completely happy with your home, your community and your life, why on earth would you go to shop for a new home? You wouldn’t.
That means that customers have high level of personal urgency that has driven them to the point of walking into a new home sales office to find solutions. Let me give you an example of how uncovering a customer’s personal urgency is far more powerful than building urgency.
A couple walks into a new home sales office and is greeted by a sales counselor who creates rapport and makes our prospective homeowners very comfortable. She then asks:
Sales Counselor: “What got you thinking it might be time to make a move?”
Customer: “Our home is too small.”
Sales Counselor: “When you say your home is too small, can you share how that has become a challenge for you and your family?”
Customer: “Well…we have two teenage daughters and only one bathroom.”
Sales Counselor: “Wow. That’s probably been a challenge for a while. Did something happen recently to cause you to finally want to make a change?”
Customer: “Yes! Mornings are like World War Three in our home. If we don’t get another bathroom, I am afraid it will tear our family apart!”
In this example, this customer has a high level of personal urgency that is already in place. And guess what? It isn’t the need for a second bathroom. Let me explain. You see, personal urgency is found on an emotional level and as you know, people buy emotionally.
If we agree that people buy emotionally, then let me ask you this question: Is “our home is too small” an emotional response? The answer is no. Plenty of people are completely satisfied living in a small home. You need to know why living in a small home has become a problem for this couple. Once you connect to the emotion behind the customer’s personal urgency, you will understand what got your customer on the fence in the first place. So what is this couple buying? They are buying peace and restoration for their family. And that is all the urgency you need to help this couple buy a new home.
As you can see, you don’t need to create urgency here. In fact, attempting to create urgency would clearly show you didn’t understand your customer’s mission on any level and you would come across as though you were manipulating them for your benefit.
It’s not about fear of loss, and it is certainly not about a slick presentation – it’s all about discovering the customer’s personal urgency on an emotional level and helping this customer achieve their mission.
Be sure to attend the 2014 PCBC Sales Rally with me, Mike Lyon and Michael Landers where we will obliterate even more sales myths! See you there!
To register for the Sales Rally, “Obliterating the 10 Biggest Fables in Home Selling Today,” on Wednesday, June 25, click HERE. Tickets are required, so grab yours before they sell out.
As the former National Sales Training Manager for KB Home and a licensed Realtor® in Arizona, Ryan Taft is consumed with a passion for helping others achieve breakthrough results in sales, business and life. With a career spanning two decades training and coaching sales teams from call centers to new home sales to Realtors®, Ryan combines his knowledge of human performance, psychology and sales skills development to deliver extraordinarily engaging, energizing and insightful training experiences that drive peak performance at all levels. Ryan is a member of the National Speaker’s Association and frequent contributor to leading industry publications.