Circumstances only matter to the extent that we let them. What I mean is that a circumstance (such as a difficult economy) only has the power over us and our selling process that we give it by the way we think about it. Let’s talk through an example from recent years.

People naturally go through buying stages as their lives change. Whether they’re aging, gaining wealth, growing their families or just evolving in their tastes, buyers tend to fall into three categories:

Category One: Buyers who are just starting out (and are truly just looking)
Category Two:Buyers who have decided they're definitely going to do something (and just haven't decided what yet)
Category Three: Buyers who have a clear idea of what they want (including their price range and more)

Once 2013 hit, buyers in category three got social permission and/or the circumstantial opportunity to move forward. As they bought and sold homes, they drove demand (and prices) up. So now in 2014, that leaves us with the majority of category three buyers settled into their homes and off the market. What they left behind were higher prices and fewer people in the market. This is the situation we find ourselves in now.

But don’t panic. It’s not bad, it just is what it is. This is where the circumstance has as much meaning as we give it. This is why we’ve got to see this thing right. If we decide this is the worst thing ever, then it will become the worst thing ever. But if we remember that it’s just the natural buying cycle (and what always happens with a pent-up market) we will stay focused and stick to the basics of selling. Our job remains the same in any market—to move buyers through the categories and into the sale. We went from an uncertain time during the recession to a certain time, which made things appear better than they were. The truth is that this time last year, the market was overinflated. Now we’ve got more of a natural flow of buyers in the three categories.

So what does this mean for your selling process? Not much, really. It means that you must meet buyers where they’re at, just as the most successful salespeople always do. The buyer in category one doesn’t need to hear why they should choose you over everyone else. They need to first be sold on the how their lives will improve if they make a change. As always, just do your part to move prospects closer to category three and then, the sale. The circumstances only have as much meaning as you give them.

Builder Video: Circumstances and Meanings from Forrest Performance Group on Vimeo.