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They don’t always act like it, but your customers think with their guts. The best builders realize this, and they build an entire purchase process aimed at triggering those emotions. From website design to the initial online sales counselor conversation and from the first encounter with the salesperson to the first construction meeting, everything sends a message that is embraced—for better or worse—at an emotional level. The critical question is: “How will our buyers feel at this point in the process?”

The best sales leaders are the best coaches

I used the term “sales leaders” on purpose. Management deals with systems, processes, and best practices, while leadership focuses on people. Builders who invest time and energy into developing their salespeople—those who consistently coach them to higher levels of performance—are rewarded with customers who buy more quickly, spend more money, and are happier with their experience. The best builders free their sales coaches from mind-numbing meetings and meaningless paperwork in order to focus their attention on superior sales performance.

What the customer is coming from is more important than what they are moving to

The most important customer insight we can gain can be summed up in four words: Why are they here? Nothing is more vital to our understanding of how our customers think and act than knowing their core motivation. What problem needs to be solved? What dissatisfaction needs to be remedied? Too many builders (and their salespeople) fixate on bedroom count, price point, features, and buying capability—all aspects of what the buyers are moving to. The best salespeople delve into the backstory. They grasp the emotional aspect of the buyer’s journey, their needs, and their motivation. When we know our customers well enough, the sale begins to unfold in front of our eyes.

The best builders (and the best salespeople) are market-proof

Having joined the industry in 1987, I’ve witnessed three major recessions and numerous smaller downturns. We all know that every market eventually corrects and declines, and yet history shows us that builders routinely neglect sales fundamentals when the market heats up. And then they are somehow surprised when the market turns soft, and they suddenly discover that their salespeople are ill-equipped, undercoached, and wholly unprepared for the softer market. The best builders do not make fundamental adjustments when the market softens; they don’t need to. The basics remain consistent: market in and market out.

This is still the greatest industry on the planet

It’s been three-and-a-half decades in this business, and I still love it as much today as I did back then. Considering the risks, the complications, the uncertainties of the market, and the pace of change, why do we love it so? The answer is simple but meaningful. At the end of the day, we all aspire to make a difference. And what greater difference can we make than when we help people accomplish their lifelong dreams? Home building is a noble profession, and helping people to own new homes is an admirable vocation. We are changing the world, one new-home buyer at a time.

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