“Don’t become a wandering generality. Be a meaningful specific.” —Zig Ziglar
I’ve always loved this quote from the master. To me, this speaks to what I see so often out there in the selling fields of new homes across the country.
Sadly, the inexperienced salesperson believes the customer’s pitch—that they are just looking or wanting to wait to see what happens with the economy, rates, election, or the moon rising in Sagittarius.
As a result, the salesperson gives a halfhearted presentation, may demonstrate a model home if it is convenient, but rarely takes the customer to an actual homesite or home. The customer has been deprived the opportunity to fall in love with something specific, making it impossible to complete a sale.
Think about your last major purchase, such as a car. It wasn’t until you picked out a specific vehicle at the dealership or online, with the perfect color, sound system, and rims, that you started seriously considering moving forward with your dream ride.
It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy when the salesperson says, “I am just getting lookers, everyone wants to wait, they have no urgency.”
I assure you it’s not our buyers, it’s us. In a normalized market like the one we are in, we must take responsibility for creating excitement for a one-of-a-kind home and site and reassuring our buyers that now is an ideal time to buy a brand-new home.
Research shows that the most powerful part of our brain is the amygdala, which helps us intuitively deal with fear and survival. So once your customers have experienced a specific home and site and you have recapped showing them it with their favorite finishes and the monthly investment at today’s rate, now the fear of missing out (FOMO) starts to kick in.
I worked with one of the largest local on your lot (OYL) home builders in Texas; out of over 40 salespeople, the top five had the same selling trait. They would build the customer’s home on the computer together, with the “plug-and-play” structural choices, price it out, and ask for the sale.
They could have easily sent the customer away to do this, but that would have reduced the buying temperature. So the top salespeople created connection and urgency by narrowing down to the customer’s dream home together and then riding the emotional wave that they had created by assumptively moving forward with the sale.
‘I’m Just Looking’
When you have discovered that your customer could buy a home but won’t answer a question regarding value range, investment range, or features, giving you the proverbial stiff-arm response of “I’m just looking,” then rephrase the question, making it hypothetical.
Here is an example: “I know you’re just looking, but hypothetically what would your dream home include?”
Or hypothetically “when” or “value range,” if that’s the question they deflected with their “just looking” rebuttal. For some reason when we are asked a gentle hypothetical question, we tend to sing like canaries.
We have to shift the customer’s perception away from the idea that delaying action will be good for them. With human influence, repetition of a message between three and seven times is the key. So when you hear the “I’m gonna wait and see what happens with …” from the buyer, get ahead of this with a powerful suggestion of a solution and a brighter future.
“If I could show you that now is an ideal time to invest in a brand-new home, would you consider investing sooner?”
When the customer says yes, now you have their attention and can continue with your discovery and presentation, take them out, and have them fall in love with their dream home and site. Or in the case of OYL, come back and build their dream home on your computer with them.
Before we create an answer for why now, let’s examine the very valid reasons. We may look back on the post-COVID boom with rose-colored glasses; however, let’s be honest and realistic. When rates were low and demand was high, we all know this had many negative impacts on the housing market, such as massive inflation causing prices to soar, leading to escalation clauses and even builders canceling contracts or pausing construction for months on end.
Quality went out the window, and there was no personalization, as many products weren’t available. Time delays were prevalent, in some markets bidding wars took place, and customer satisfaction didn’t exist.
Now with higher rates, demand is steady. We still have a significant housing shortage in the United States, very limited supply of available home inventory, and just a few days of average time on market in most markets. Quality is back—your customer can relax and enjoy the dream of homeownership, select their favorite home and homesite, and then have fun personalizing it with their favorite finishes.
Time frames are under control, and we can also guarantee locking down the investment all the way to closing. Most builders have either increased the level of their included features or are offering incentives, none of which would have happened before. Let’s craft an answer based upon these factors and see if it will help your customers to think differently and invest in a home now, as opposed to waiting for an imaginary time in the future.
Disclaimer: I write dialogue the way I speak and am comfortable saying after a life of success in front-line new-home sales. However, if the exact wording isn’t how you would say it, please be open-minded and take the principles and rewrite them. This way you can become comfortable saying them in your own distinct voice, as the concepts are rock solid and work.
“Our homeowners feel that now is an ideal time to invest in their brand-new home. Unlike last year, they love that they can choose the home of their dreams, their favorite homesite, and then personalize their home at our state-of-the-art design studio. They also love that we are including more quality features in our homes than ever before, and even have a special limited time incentives for moving forward this month.
Also, they are thrilled that economic research shows that we have a national housing shortage, and our local inventory is so low. This makes selling your home much easier as you aren’t competing against many others. That makes sense doesn’t it?
Finally, can you imagine what will happen when rates go down just a little. There will be huge pent-up demand and another feeding frenzy, and you will have been one of the smart ones sitting pretty with your brand-new dream home and rapidly appreciating investment.
With all of this in mind, wouldn’t you agree that now would be the ideal time for you to invest in the home of your dreams?
Fear of the Unknown
Last, most objections are based on the fear of the of unknown, so again it is up to us to help our customers by being specific. When a customer voices concerns about high interest rates, the most successful salespeople I work with can immediately help guide them with an approximate monthly investment.
Calling a lender may be perceived as too much pressure for some buyers, so I created a simple financing app about six years ago, called NH Sales+. Thousands of salespeople are using this every day to help guide their customers, best of all you can email or text the info to your customer with all the salesperson contact info, creating even more connection.
I have always found that in markets like this, you have to become like the frog in the old parable. Her friends told her not to bother trying to escape from the well because it was impossible, but she kept trying until she succeeded because, as it turns out, she was deaf. So, in today’s market, be deaf to negativity and kindly suggest to your procrastinating clients:
“Let’s just take a peek at that homesite after we see the model so at least you will have an idea of where this beautiful home can be built.”
Once they experience the specific homesite and you sit down together and build their home on paper for them at the office, they will start to fall in love and their emotions and perception will start to shift. Learn to become a “meaningful specific,” and magic will happen for you and your sales team in terms of increased connection and sales.