Friday, October 16, 2015

There Aren't Any 'New' New Home Sales Skills

People like to take advantage of the latest and most up-to-date anything - soap, cleanser, cars, software, apps, clothing, shoes, and other consumer items. So, when it comes to new home sales, we look for new techniques can be used to improve performance - shortcuts, sure things, or the idea-of-the-month.

Unfortunately - or fortunately, depending on your perspective - there aren't any new home sales skills that are new, improved, revolutionary, or anything else that would cause you to revamp your sales program in favor of adopting a new regimen.

I say that it's unfortunate because this means that we have to work with what we have been using. I say fortunate for the same reason.

While the pace of a new home sales presentation has changed over the years - in the seventies and eighties we never let the customer sit down until we were ready to write the order, and for many years we knew that there was someone else waiting to talk with us as soon as we finished our current presentation - the essence of a good presentation has not changed appreciably.

The way we involve the customer certainly has changed - we actually want them to tell us what they want, what they don't care for, what they like, and share other issues that will lead to a sale. In most cases, there no longer is a steady stream of homebuyers queueing up to see and acquire what we have - we have to treat each customer with much more care and respect.

The main part of any new home sales presentation - more than just showing and talking about the product - is asking the customers questions and then using those responses to direct the remainder of the presentation - as far as the pace and what is shown and discussed.

While some parts of how a new home sales presentation is conducted has changed over the years in terms of the pace, how our time is actually used, and how the customer is encouraged to participate, the actual sales skills used remain the same.

We greet and welcome a customer, learn about their needs (there is much more emphasis on this than before), matching their needs to a product (rather than convincing them that a product we had or wanted to sell met their needs), and then determining how to proceed from there (a reservation deposit, purchase agreement, second appointment, referral, follow-up call, or basically parting ways).

So before we try to find that secret to making a good presentation, let's focus on engaging our customers and really getting to know them and what they want. That remains the one constant throughout the years. Then, they will provide the pacing and direction for us to use in the presentation.


Learn about my new home sales training programs, or aging-in-place/universal design classes and programs by visiting my website at, or call 561-685-5555. © Steve Hoffacker.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"Sometimes Falls Just Happen"

This is "Falls Prevention Month," and we want to focus on eliminating as many possible tripping, collision, and poor footing conditions for people as we can - including those present in our own homes. Nevertheless, falls do happen so just think how much more they might occur or how much more serious or debilitating they might be if we weren't focused on preventing and eliminating as many potential trips and falls as we can.

There are just so many things in and about a person's home - let alone places away from the home - when accidents can happen. All falls and slips are uncomfortable - if not embarrassing - but not all are injurious. Many are. Sometimes it's just a slip or a fall that produces no lasting effects - maybe just a bruise or a light muscle strain, if anything. Sometimes, the strain or sprain can be a little more severe. Sometimes, a broken bone or dislocation results.

Regardless of the severity of a fall or slip, the objective is to eliminate as many potential causes for such conditions as we can. There are the obvious ones such as extension or power cords that cross a passageway, or a hose stretched across the sidewalk. There are pools of water from rain or lawn and garden watering that can look simple enough to walk on or through but become problematic.

Toys, clothing and outerwear, tools, groceries before they are put away, and things on their way to the garage, attic, closet, basement, or car can cause someone to trip over them or misstep as they try to walk around or avoid them.

Look carpeting or flooring, tears in carpeting or vinyl flooring, glare from shiny surfaces, and loose throw or area rugs (or ones with the corners curled up) can present navigation issues in the home. Wet flooring in the bathroom or from moisture tracked in from the outside (near exterior doorways) can lead to slips.

In short, the idea that someone's home is their castle or sanctuary comes with no guarantees. It isn't automatically true. There are so many things going on - nearly constantly - that we need to watch out for and then correct to keep our homes relatively safe. Then we need to take those lessons and apply them to our clients homes.

Safety is not an easy proposition - necessary, but not easy.


Learn about my new home sales training programs, or aging-in-place/universal design classes and programs by visiting my website at, or call 561-685-5555. © Steve Hoffacker.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

"Make Sure Fall Is Without Falls"

Fall weather is quickly approaching - so is that beautiful fall color we wait for all year. Football and school are both back also.

September is "Falls Prevention Month" so as we begin fall, let's make sure that the only type of fall we are talking about is the weather - not one where someone is potentially injured.

Falls aren't limited to the elderly, but it seems to be more disastrous and longer lasting (even traumatic) when it happens to people who aren't quite as physically prepared to rebound well from an accidental fall.

Falls and falls prevention relate back to personal safety - how well someone's home or apartment allows them to exist within it safely. Are the passageways open to permit free movement? Is the space comfortable? Are there obstacles that restrict mobility, storage that is out in the open rather than put away, general clutter, or just too much stuff that is accumulating everywhere?

Whether it is our personal residence, that of a parent or other loved one, a neighbor or someone else we know, or one that we have been retained to improve, we have a huge responsibility. As aging-in-place specialists, remodelers, OTs and PTs, designers, builders, real estate sales professionals, and others knowledgeable about interior space utilizattion, we know the danger that clutter generates. General busyness of patterns and furniture, too much glare, and lack of contrast also contribute to potential falls.

Restricted access and passage, dizzying patterns, not enough light, and glare that hides surfaces or creates the illusion of wetness are dangers that we cannot afford to let exist as long as we have some say in correcting them. This is our challenge - for our own residences, for our relatives and friends, and for our clients.

Let's take "Falls Prevention Month" as a reminder that this is a top priority all year (and not just September) - creating and maintaining safe, comfortable, convenient, ancd accessible dwellings for everyone that we have the ability to do so.


Learn about my new home sales training programs, or aging-in-place/universal design classes and programs by visiting my website at, or call 561-685-5555. © Steve Hoffacker.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"People Are Looking For A Long-Term Home"

People still look for and purchase new construction. They have various reasons for wanting something new. Among these are the fact that it is new and never before occupied, that it comes with many warranties - builder as well as manufacturers, that they get to select their features and colors, that it may have a better chance of appreciation, and that it is located in a desirable neighborhood with recreational amenities and other natural features.

A second group of people prefers to rent - single family homes or apartments. They may want to save for an eventual down payment on a future home purchase, enjoy not caring for a home in terms of normal maintenance, or prefer the freedom of being able to move frequently without marketing their home first.

Now a third group - arguably the largest - is the one that wants to continue living where they are now - regardless of their current age, family situation, age of their home, or how long they have lived in it. This is the aging-in-place market - "AIP."

The AIP market wants to remain in their current home indefinitely - for the long-term. For some in this market, they have found what they believe to be their "forever" home and see no need to move from it. Others have no real issue with their present home and don't think about the possibility of replacing it down the line.

Aging-in-place comes about in many different ways, but the bottom line is that people want to remain in their current home. It may serve their needs perfectly as is. It may be real close. It might serve them better with a little TLC or renovation. It might need a lot of work, but the neighborhood, the size of their investment, and other factors make moving rather impractical for them.

Many people simply cannot afford to replace what they have now - to get the same size home or layout for the money they spent on their current home. It would take considerably more to replace it, so they remain where they are.

Others - in fact most people - have such an accumulation of stuff that it makes the prospects of moving seem quite tall. Some cannot part with what they have and don't see moving as the answer to their space issues. Others know that it would take an inordinate amount of time to sort through and cull what they have. Better just to remain put.

So whether the initial objective was to find a long-term home, or it just happened, AIP is real. Those of us who provide services to people who want to remain in their homes - such as safety makeovers, accessibility renovations, room additions, new products and finishes, technology, or modernization - there is a huge market who needs our help.


Learn about my aging-in-place/universal design instructional programs or new home sales training programs at, or call 561-685-5555. © Steve Hoffacker.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

"You Can't Afford To Fake It - And Neither Can Your Customers"

An old adage is "fake it 'til you make it," but people today want the real deal. If you can't deliver as you intend or promise, then go a different direction or wait until you can do what you say you can.

On the job training is fine for some pursuits, but in the aging-in-place market, we are talking about working inside people's homes and using their hard-earned savings wisely. We have a fiduciary responsibility to them that cannot be undertaken on just a general idea of how to approach something.

It's more than just displaying confidence about what you might be able to do or what you think you should be capable of. You actually have to have the technical expertise to evaluate what your clients need, advise your them about what works within their budget, prioritize the work if necessary to accommodate their budget, and then deliver your solutions as you have described them. This is more than just a typical remodeling effort.

People want to live in their homes safely, comfortably, and conveniently - long-term. It does no good to agree with them that changes need to be made to accomplish that purpose if you aren't the one who can do it.

Of course, you can function as a consultant, and that's fine. Just make sure your clients know the extent of your expertise and then find the right professionals to execute the job you and they envision.

Whether a consultant, carpenter, remodeler, OT or PT, designer, handyman, electrician, plumber, or general contractor, make sure you are up to the job of creating effective aging-in-place solutions.

Being CAPS certified is a great place to start. Then, you won't have to fake it. You'll know.


Learn about my new home sales training programs, or aging-in-place/universal design classes and programs by visiting my website at, or call 561-685-5555. © Steve Hoffacker.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Just How Much Time Are Buyers Going To Give You?"

You can have the most carefully crafted new home sales presentation. You can practice and rehearse it. In fact, you should. But, there's more to the story.

Being ready like an opening night performer - with all of the lines memorized, the stage blocking practiced, the mental rehearsal of how everything needs to come together, and trying to keep the performance real rather than stiff - there still is the element of the customer that has to be factored in.

A stand-up comedian or a stage performer in a play that has a perfectly timed joke that misses the mark with the audience comes off flat. They thought it was funny. It should have been funny. It was funny in rehearsal. Nevertheless, when it really counted - in front of the audience - it didn't resonate. Therefore, it wasn't funny - no matter how much it was supposed to be.

This brings us back to the sales presentation. You plan for where you want to stand to illustrate a certain room, and you want your customers to stand in a certain place as well - to take in the room and hear what you want to accent. They aren't interested in the room, in staying put that long, or in hearing a long explanation. They are ready to move on.

You plan a very elaborate tour of your recreational amenities, but they want the 30-second tour. You want to take them room-by-room through your model, but they want to see the one or two key spots they are interested in considering. You plan for a 45-60 minute fact-filled and discovery-packed presentation, but they tire of this scenario after a few minutes.

Of course, each person is different. Some will give you two hours or more - when you really only want 45 minutes of their focus. Some will have one foot out the door in 10 minutes.

The point is this. All of the exhaustive preparation and various techniques you have created for involving your customers in a complete presentation may get shut down early on. They may not give you a fair hearing, so you have to be ready to shift gears and give them what they think they need - regardless of what you think they should hear and see.

It's a matter of communication. If you are information dumping or too controlling, you risk losing your customers. You have to take your cues from them and keep them engaged. Some will appreciate an in-depth presentation, and some will just want the Twitter version.


Learn about my new home sales training programs, or aging-in-place/universal design classes and programs by visiting my website at, or call 561-685-5555. © Steve Hoffacker.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Steve Hoffacker - Top Ranked Aging-In-Place Sales Trainer

If you are looking for someone to help you understand the aging-in-place market or attain your Certified Aging-inPlace Specialsit ("CAPS") designation, look no farther than Steve Hoffacker. Take a look at today's Google SERP (Search Engine reults Page) for "Aging-In-Place Sales Training." How often do you get to occupy the entire first page on Goggle - all 10 positions?

The page is nice, but the important thing is the aging-in-place expertise and services that are available.


Learn about my new home sales training programs, or aging-in-place/universal design classes and programs by visiting my website at, or call 561-685-5555. © Steve Hoffacker.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

"Put A Smile On Your Presence"

So many people who interact with us as salespeople, sales clerks, cashiers, or customer service - on the phone or in person - seem to be doing so stoically rather than enthusiastically and engagingly. In a word, they need to smile.

Smiling is more than having your mouth formed into an upward curve - although that is a great start and has a lot to do with it.

Smiling reflects an inherent helpful, courteous attitude. It is enthusiasm, joy, and a caring spirit. Many people are doing themselves, their companies, and especially us, their customers, a disservice by attempting to complete a role for which they are ill-suited. They simply aren't happy or caring enough to be dealing with the public. Find them a job indoors away from the public or outside where no one is around them. Don't let them engage or talk with the public.

While smiling is an outward sign that we recognize and appreciate, we also can identify a smile even when we don't see it - such as on the telephone or when someone has their back to us. When someone is really trying to help (even when things aren't going as expected or they don't have the answer we are looking for), we can tell. We can hear it in their voice. We can sense that they really are interested in our issue and that are attempting to resolve it in a pleasant way.

Of course, there is the forced smile and the over-the-top friendly attitude that we detect on the phone. This doesn't help or count.

I'm looking for genuine happiness and pleasantness. If people really enjoy working with people this should come rather naturally. We all have our off moments, but we can tell when people are sharing a smile with us - or when they want to.


Learn about my new home sales training programs, or aging-in-place/universal design classes and programs by visiting my website at, or call 561-685-5555. © 2015, Steve Hoffacker.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

"Being A Difference Maker In A World That Needs This"

People have never had more shopping opportunities nor access to merchandise than they have right now. Want to shop in a retail store? There are ones that never close - they used to close a day or two but now they don't. Time was - pre-shopping mall - when stores were mostly located downtown, and the were only until 5:00 (Monday-Saturday), and they were closed on Sunday. Once or twice a week, plus back-to-school, Easter, and Christmas, they would be open until 8:30 or 9:00.

Then came the suburban shopping malls. Their stores stayed open until 9:00 during the week, with some closing a little earlier on Saturday and not opening at all on Sunday. At Christmas, they would stay open until 10 or 11.

Even now, there are mall stores that maintain 9:00 closing times, but if you want to shop later than that, there are places where that can happen.

Then TV stores like QVC and HSN and online sellers like eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon changed the game forever. Don't forget the infomercial! Now most any business that sell a product - including even some home builders and parts stores can  be accessed on their website at literally any hour. Time zones no longer matter unless you need to speak to someone, and even there, many online retailers have 24-hour live phone help.

So, with the abundance of places to purchase what people want - in their neighborhood, their home town, or on TV or online from anyplace in the world.

That means a huge sea of sameness except for the special value or connection that can be created between a company and its customers. That's our challenge.

The world is crying out for businesses that rise to the top like fresh cream and are noticeably different that they others in some way - it could be selection, specialization, availability, delivery window, pricing, service during and after the sale, product knowledge, or something else that really connects with the customers in your marketplace.

Don't settle for sameness. Be freshly different!


Learn about my new home sales training programs, or aging-in-place/universal design classes and programs by visiting my website at, or call 561-685-5555. © 2015, Steve Hoffacker.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

"Follow-Up Is Initiated By The Salesperson"

Customarily, follow-up is done by the salesperson after a sales presentation, phone inquiry, email contact, or site visit. As new home salespeople, you know that sales seldom happen on their own.

Therefore, you have to remain involved with your customers and help them understand the decision they are about to make as you assist them in making that commitment. Even when sales happen on the initial visit, follow-up is still a vital part of the sales process because the sale must close in order for it to count - for the customer, the lender, the company, and the salesperson.

Knowing this - that follow-up is conducted by the salesperson - imagine my surprise when I got an email recently inviting me to get back in touch with my salesperson in case I hadn't heard anything by now.

It went on to explain how they had a lot of people to contact and that I should go online and determine what I had seen - then contact them to pursue a discussion.

Follow-up is not customer generated. Customers may be quite interested in what they have seen and may want more immediate information than is forthcoming from the salesperson. Thus, they might generate the initial contact before the salesperson reaches out to pursue their presentation.

However, don't count on the customer to do or to replace your work. Follow-up is still a sales function!


Learn about my new home sales training programs, or aging-in-place/universal design classes and programs by visiting my website at, or call 561-685-5555. © 2015, Steve Hoffacker.

Friday, January 23, 2015

"Creating A Positive Impact With Universal Design - Ply Gem Presentation At IBS"

Wednesday, January 21st, Ply Gem hosted "Pro Talk" - a series of single-topic programs at their strategically located booth at the IBS/KBIS in Las Vegas. I was invited to present a program called "Creating A Positive Impact With Universal Design" as part of this series.

This was a fast-paced introduction and an overview of the topic rather than an in-depth look, but it was a hard-hitting review of some of the important design standards and benefits of using universal design to create safe, comfortable, convenirent, and accessible living spaces in North America.

I discussed the strategies for builders, remodelers, architects, and designers, and building trades - all of whom were represented at the show - as well as occupational therapists and other professionals to incorporate accessible design into their new homes and renovations - regardless of the home's size or price point.

As I explained, universal design is simply good, attractive design that accommodates the widest possible use by nearly everyone who might live in or visit the homes where such design elements are included.

For more information about specific types of design features to include in a home, or strategies behind the designs, visit my webpage on aging-on-place and universal design. You can also find these features described in my books on universal design.


Learn about my new home sales training programs, or aging-in-place/universal design classes and programs by visiting my website at, or call 561-685-5555. © 2015, Steve Hoffacker.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

"Learn How Universal Design Can Help Your New Home Or Remodel Design"

I just completed teaching another 2-day course on Universal Design for home builders, remodelers, architects, interior designers, and related professions on how to identify universal design opportunities in a home and to incorporate them as a tremendous advantage to the current or potential owners. It offers several benefits, including increasing the value and marketability of the home.

Universal design is a popular topic, but it is an often misunderstood concept. While there are elements of aging-in-place, ADA compliance, and green building accommodated or addressed in particular strategies or tactics, universal design is none of those. It stands alone.

Let me help clear up the confusion and empower you to take these concepts to your marketplace.

I offer this course several times a year, and the next on is January 29th and 30th - you have more than a month to determine if this fits your schedule.

In addition to the classes, I have several books on universal design and would enjoy discussing you questions or design needs. Let me hear from you.


Learn about my new home sales training programs, or aging-in-place/universal design classes and programs by visiting my website at, or call 561-685-5555. © 2014, Steve Hoffacker.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

"Practice As If The Results Counted"

The purpose of practice is to get ready for the actual competition that counts in the standings - sports, sales, and life. In new home sales, you can't replicate in role-play or practice situations exactly how customers will act when you are front of them, but you can act as if the outcome will count.

You can go through the actions as if the person role-playing with you is an actual customer and that how you respond to them - with a script or hopefully without one because you have learned the basic techniques - will determine if they decide to purchase from you or not.

Even though a practice doesn't count, you can't be sloppy or lackadaisical about it. You must treat it as serious business so that when you actually do work with a customer, that same sense of focus, preparation, intensity for doing a good job, and interest in them as a person will show through.

Watch your favorite sports team. You can tell which players have practiced at full speed and which just went through the motions during the week. The attitude and performance of the team as a whole will reflect how much everyone on it has practiced and prepared under game conditions rather than just putting in time at practices.

Practice, rehearse, and prepare as if the results really do matter - because they really do.


Learn about my new home sales training programs, or aging-in-place/universal design classes and programs by visiting my website at, or call 561-685-5555. © 2014, Steve Hoffacker.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

"Like It Or Not, Your Email Address Is Part of Your Brand"

We do a lot to create and maintain our personal brand so that people will want to purchase a new home from us or ask us to renovate their home for them.

As a salesperson (regardless if you view yourself in this role or not), you should look like it every chance you get - including when you are using your email. Save the inventive names associated with your yahoo, hotmail, outlook, live, gmail, aol, and other accounts for personal use or when you are trying to maintain some level of privacy or anonymity.

Unless you are known by your nickname and it appears on your business cards, it should not appear anywhere in your email address.

Why do you send someone an email" Likely, to have it opened and to have your message read.

There are two inherent issues here: (1) the intended recipient has to get it, meaning that it has to get past the spam or junk filter and (2) they have to open it and read it, which stands a greater chance of happening if they recognize who is sending it.

I'm not saying you shouldn't have a yahoo, gmail, hotmail, or other free account. I'm not saying that at all. In fact, as you move about the marketplace, your gmail account may give you the ability for people to continue to contact you rather than to figure out which company you are associated with now.

Still, compare "" with "" In the first instance you (or my customer) might not recognize or know who it's from. In the second it's identifiable as a business email.

If you do not have a company domain or website to use as part of your email address, use your whole name (first and last) or the name of your company with the public email address. If you have a registered domain name, use that in your email - people will more easily understand who it is from and you'll get another opportunity to brand your company or community.


Learn about my new home sales training programs, or aging-in-place/universal design classes and programs by visiting my website at, or call 561-685-5555. © 2014, Steve Hoffacker.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

"There's Always A First Time, So Press On"

Growing up, we have each had hundreds of things we did, saw, or experienced for the first time. Some bothered us, and some were fun. There was a first time for riding a bike, shooting a free throw, hitting a ball, skating, driving a car, placing a cell phone call, solving a math problem, writing a term paper, and on and on.

The first time we made a new home sales sales presentation or met with someone in their kitchen to discuss a remodel, the first time someone said "no" to a closing question, and the first time we wrote a purchase agreement and took a deposit were all defining moments of our sales career. Before each of those happened, there may have been a little apprehension about how to do it or how to keep from messing up. Nevertheless, we got through it.

None of us should ever have tried to invite sympathy from our customers by explaining that this was the first time we had ever filled out a purchase agreement or the first time we had ever used this form or that. Some salepeople feel the customer will grant them extra understanding and leniency by proclaiming that they are new or inexperienced - or that it's their first day or first week.

Actually, the opposite is true. Customers want to work with someone who knows what they are doing. It might indeed be the first time for something (or the first day on the job) - after all there is a first time for everything - but we must not use this as a crutch to try to explain a weak performance.

We need to be prepared. This comes from doing our homework, practicing, and developing confidence that we will do things correctly even when we are doing them "live" for the first time. No one has time for us to learn on the job at the expense of the customer.

Of course, the more times we do something, the better we become and we are more at ease with doing it. Still, the customer should never know that we haven't done something before. This diminishes the confidence they have placed in us to be able to help them.


Learn about my new home sales training programs, or aging-in-place/universal design classes and programs by visiting my website at, or call 561-685-5555. © 2014, Steve Hoffacker.