Thursday, November 20, 2014

"First Impressions Are Lasting"

I saw a post recently that was advertising a home for sale where the picture was so blurry and dull that it makes the property unappealing without even learning what it offers. Unfortunately, I have seen this several times before for various properties.

Does the person listing the property think that poorly of it that this is all they want to show as a representation of it - or could it be that they are photographically challenged?

The post in question (and I have seen many others like this) talked about the supposedly great qualities of the property, but it was really had to get past that first photo impression.

The post did not score well in terms of marketing. Regardless of what was proclaimed about the attributes of the property, there was no getting around the major turnoff of a very poor photo of the site.

Let's make sure that any photos of new homes for sale - or the community, amenities, or vacant homesites - show things in their best light. Even if the photos show good contrast, brightness, and are in sharp focus, the content has to be good also. This means that the grass is cut, no liter is laying about, and everything look showroom fresh.

With that kind of attention to detail, a picture can scream more than a thousand words - all positive about what is available!

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

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"A Special Opportunity To Appreciate Special People"

Veterans' Day is an occasion when we get to acknowledge the tremendous, selfless contributions made by men and women over the years who have fought for us to preserve the freedoms we enjoy.

As we welcome veterans into our new home sales centers this week especially, we are reminded of their contributions and should make a special effort to express our appreciation to them.

Not only is this a necessary thing for us to do, but it begins the conversation by honoring them and takes away any barriers that might have been present for beginning a conversation about the needs and wants in looking for a new home.

Once that conversation and resulting dialog is begun, we can begin focusing on finding a solution for their housing needs.

This is not just a Veterans' Day opportunity to engage our veterans when they visit us, but we can make a special effort at this time.

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Learn about my new home sales training programs, or aging-in-place/universal design classes and programs by visiting my website at stevehoffacker.com, 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.

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Learn about my new home sales training programs, or aging-in-place/universal design classes and programs by visiting my website at stevehoffacker.com, 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 "steve123@generic.com" with "steve@companyname.com." 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.


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

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

"Capture The Season Before It's Too Late"

While it's still fall - while there are still some colorful leaves on the trees and while there are beautiful fallen leaves dotting the landscape - make sure to take plenty of pictures. You don't need to use all of them now, but throughout the year when you want to share a great fall scene, and you will have the ability to do that.

Fall is such a special time, and you can't reproduce that color at any other time of the year. The green is available for much of the spring and all summer. The barren trees are there all winter and into the spring. This is the time to act.

Then take more pictures in the winter. There is nothing so peaceful and serene as a blanket of freshly fallen snow. Next summer you won't be able to share how beautiful your homes are with fresh snow. Of course, after the snow partially melts or gets trampled is not the time to take those photos or video. Capture your properties at their prettiest - fall, winter, and certainly summer and spring.

The important thing to do is to make a photographic record - still photos and videos that you can post and share out-of-season. Just like fruit when it's out of season and priced higher as a result, your photos will be more impressive and valuable then because they direct people's imagination to those other times of the year.

Happy shooting!

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

"Don't Just Tell What It Is, Personalize It"

Most of us really enjoy what we sell, and we also like sharing all of the great features with our customers. However, if our customers want just a list of features, we can give them a sheet that enumerates all of them - or they can read about them on our website.

We know from shopping for various items ourselves that we appreciate learning more than just the basics. While the features are certainly nice to have - and they make our homes what they are, we really want our customers to understand what they mean - to them.

When we shop for a car, camera, boat, major appliance, or anything with a useful life expectancy of more than a year, we want to know what it will do for us. Even when we get something that has a very limited lifespan (even just one use), we still want to know how it will perform and what it will do.

The next time we start in with a recitation of all of the quality features that are in our homes, let's pause and ask ourselves "so what?" - meaning what difference does it make to the customer we are working with at the time?

As we recount the various features that we are proud to include and those we think they will appreciate, let's connect the dots and get them to understand why those features are worthwhile and how they will enhance their enjoyment of the home.

We really need people to connect with our homes, and going beyond just mentioning or pointing out the features to illustrate and explain what they mean and why they are important to our customers is the way to do this.

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

Friday, October 31, 2014

"A Halloween Reversal"

Halloween is a fun time. We look forward to it all year - for the parties, the decorations, the changing leaves (those still on the trees), and the cooler (and even blustery) weather that seems to come along with it. If we have children, we know what a great time it is for them - planning their costumes, going trick-or-treating, and then stuffing themselves with their candy haul.

Halloween presents us with a paradox, however. We are supposed to dress up as a scary creature, imaginary figure, or villian to convince neighbors to provide candy and treats. The scary side and the sweet side - while perhaps cause and effect, seem at odds.

Moreover, Halloween shows the exact opposite of the way we want to act in our new home sales center.

Sure we can get into the spirit of the day by dressing up as a cartoon or comic book hero, a current movie role, or other popular character, and we certainly can decorate our sales centers and models with corn stalks, dried corn, pumpkins, other colorful squash, crepe paper streamers, paper or cloth ghosts, cutouts of witches, black cats, and the like. We can have candy for the children that visit (with parents or from the community), and we can serve hot cider and cookies.

Back to the behavior. While Halloween is characterized by scary scenes and costumes, designed to elicit chills and screams - and where people hide or mask their appearances with costumes and theatrical makeup - we want to very be very real, approachable, nice, and helpful. This is what I mean by the Halloween reversal.

On a day when so many people are trying to scare someone else, get scared themselves, or totally fool others as to their real identity, we want to create friendly relationships where we can help people purchase the home that will meet their needs.

Have fun, but keep it real. Add some balance to this zany day.

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Learn about my new home sales training programs, or aging-in-place/universal design classes and programs by visiting my website at stevehoffacker.com, 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 meet 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.

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

Saturday, October 25, 2014

"Celebrating Physical Therapy Month In October"

October is "Physical Therapy Month" each year so we celebrate this month with the PTs. In honor of this month, Steve Hoffacker, Certified CAPS Instructor, is encouraging PTs who are not already CAPS certified to participate in the CAPS designation program.

Americans, Canadians, and people around the globe are desiring to stay in their homes as they age. Also, many people have serious limitations with how they can use their homes in terms of mobility, reach, range of motion, navigation, and maneuvability.

PTs - along with OTs and other health care professionals, architects, designers, remodelers, and so many other professionals - are important in providing home modification services and solutions.

If you are an OT or someone else who would like to find out how you can help you home modifications and people remaining in their homes as they age, contact me at any of the sources listed below..



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Learn about my new home sales training programs, or find out how to get copies of my sales books for new home sales and universal design by visiting my website at stevehoffacker.com, or call 561-685-5555. © 2014, Steve Hoffacker.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

"Inconsistent Answers Destroy Peace-Of-Mind"

As professionals that are helping people decide on their next home or helping them to remain comfortably and securely in the home they already occupy, we need to contribute to (rather than confuse) their peace-of-mind.

Peace-of-mind, or general contentment, is a summary state or feeling that is achieved when other factors work to achieve that. This includes security, confidence, comfort, convenience, safety, and accessibility. When people feel that their home is working with them instead of against them and that they are in control, they find that peace they are seeking.

With all of the stresses and challenges of life, people don't need for their homes and their time at home to create that kind of conflict.

As we are designing for our customers, or working with them after the design has been implemented, we need to make sure that we are consistent - that the information we share with them, and the answers we provide, do not sound like conflicting directions.

Often in the marketplace, we are told one thing when we are attempting to buy something or when we have an issue with something after purchasing it and then something else later - or we learn that we had been given incorrect information as we learn more about the issue on our own.

This should not happen to our customers. They should get a consistent story each time no matter whom they consult on a particular issue. Poor, weak, or inconsistent information destroys peace-of-mind.


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Learn about my new home sales training programs, or find out how to get copies of my sales books for new home sales and universal design by visiting my website at stevehoffacker.com, or call 561-685-5555. © 2014, Steve Hoffacker.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"Meet The New CAPS Graduates"

Today, five professionals from around the country completed the coursework (3 days) for the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist ("CAPS") designation program offered through the National Association of Home Builders in collaboration with AARP.

The courses, offered several times a year in the West Palm Beach, Florida area by Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, cover "Marketing and Communication Strategies for Aging and Accessibility" ("CAPS I"), "Design/Build Solutions for Aging and Accessibility" ("CAPS II"), and "Business Management for Building Professionals" ("BMBP/CAPS III").

The courses typically are attended by remodeling contractors, occupational therapists, architects, designers, durable medical equipment suppliers (DME), and related professions from around North America. This set of classes graduated the following (from the photo below, seated left-to-right) Jamie Casey OTR/L (Middleton, NY) and Sara Story OTR/L (Louisville, KY), (standing, left-to-right) remodeler Missy Escribano (Lutz, FL), remodeler Heather Miconi (Pompano, FL), and.general contractor Ryan Stephens (Dallas TX).

The classes are scheduled again in West Palm Beach and will be held over a three consecutive day period Monday, December 8 - Wednesday, December 10. They will resume in January once the 2015 schedule is set.

For information on how you can gain your designation or questions about what the program offers, contact me at 561-685-5555



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Learn about my new home sales training programs, or find out how to get copies of my sales books for new home sales and universal design by visiting my website at stevehoffacker.com, or call 561-685-5555. © 2014, Steve Hoffacker.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Who Wants It More?"


When you watch a  football game or other sporting contest, you'll often see a team that supposedly is outmatched physically by their opponent, but they somehow win the game - even convincingly.

The difference maker many times is the desire or will to win. That won't always carry the day, but when one team wants it more than the other, they do seem to find a way to prevail - regardless of physical ability or other factors. It's a case of which team wants the win more than the other.

This desire to win creates extra effort, more drive, greater intensity, and a better execution of fundamentals.

When someone says 'no' to us - whether it's to a closing question to signify a purchase, agreeing to an appointment, or trying to save a cancellation - who wants to prevail more than the other? Do we want to convert that 'no' into a 'yes' more than the customer wants it to remain a definite 'no'?

So how do we convey to the customer that we want it more than they want to stop us? Perhaps an emotional argument that connects with their original reason for saying 'yes.' Maybe a factual one that really establishes a strong case for going ahead with the decision. Possibly it's believing that this is truly a good outcome for the customer and we strongly make a case for that.

If the customer is able to convince us that they need more  time, that they were being hasty, that they just aren't sure anymore, or anything else that gets us to agree with even one of their points, then they have shown that they want it more than we do.

This is not meant to be a battle of wills. It is meant to illustrate that whoever has the strongest believe that their position is correct for this situation that they will prevail in the moment against the other. Of course it is subject to change in a "rematch" later, but for now, we can see who wants it more.


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Learn about my new home sales training programs, or find out how to get copies of my sales books for new home sales and universal design by visiting my website at stevehoffacker.com, or call 561-685-5555. © 2014, Steve Hoffacker.

Friday, October 17, 2014

"When You Win Out Over Football"

Tomorrow as you wait in your new home sales center on a beautiful fall Saturday, it will be very easy to spot the serious home shoppers. They are the ones who will turned their back on a local college match or televised football game to meet with you.

Some people be visiting you who are indifferent to football. They will be easy to spot also and won't necessarily be visiting you instead of home watching the games - or seeing them in-person at the stadium.

The football fans who do visit you - and they may be wearing their team colors, tee-shirts, sweatshirts, or caps so it will be easy to notice who they are - must be serious about buying a new home. Why else would they be they in lieu of watching their favorite team on TV? 

I know there is DVR, Hopper, and TiVo, but that's not quite the same as seeing the game when it happens. Be ready for people getting alerts or checking their phone for updates during the presentation. Show some understanding if things aren't going well for their team and some excitement for them if their team is winning. Promise to get them on their way as soon as you can.

They are taking a great risk in giving up watching the game live to meet with you. Take advantage of this intensity and make it work for you. Purchasing a new home must be pretty important for them to give up the game or games to visit you and possibly other builders.

Show your concern and compassion for their sacrifice. Vow to help them find a home, approve the paperwork as quickly as possible, and get them on their way. This is no time to draw out the process with a lot of small talk or unproductive activity. You might even set a time for them to come back and do their selections in a day or two when there is no game

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Learn about my new home sales training programs, or find out how to get copies of my sales books for new home sales and universal design by visiting my website at stevehoffacker.com, or call 561-685-5555. © 2014, Steve Hoffacker.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"Website Visits Don't Count"

You may have heard people tell you that you should count someone who visits your new home sales center after they have been to your website (earlier that day, the day before, a week earlier, or whenever) as a returning visitor. I'm sorry, I can't agree with this.

When someone walks through your front door for the first time, they are - by definition - a first-time visitor. Website visits are nice, but they don't count - except for getting a person to visit.

Sure your website is a great reference tool and introduction to what you are offering. It may have photos, floor plans, videos, virtual tours, and more, but it is not the same as seeing and experiencing what you have first hand. Nothing can replace that. Watching a TV show or documentary about Paris may help you recognize the scenery when you get there and have an enhanced appreciation for it, but it's not the same as being there. You would never tell someone that you had been to Paris just because you had seen a movie of it.

So, use the fact that your customers have seen your website (when you learn this through some of your early questions, or perhaps they volunteer it) and use it as a way of reinforcing what you are telling and showing them. Use your website to anchor your presentation, not replace it.

If we subscribe to the notion that a website visit counts as the initial visit, then you do not need to show your models or amenities like you typically do on an initial visit -- they already would have seen them. All you would do is verify which plan they have selected and help them pick out a homesite. Obviously, this is presumptive and further evidence that we can't really count the website visit as the initial visit.

Treat all first-time visitors to your sales center the same in terms of orienting them to your community, your homes, your location, and what you have to offer. If they have a good working knowledge of what you are telling them because they remember it from the website, tie it down and use it to strengthen your presentation, not abbreviate it.

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Learn about my new home sales training programs, or find out how to get copies of my sales books for new home sales and universal design by visiting my website at stevehoffacker.com, or call 561-685-5555. © 2014, Steve Hoffacker.

Monday, October 13, 2014

"A Columbus Inspired Day About Us"

Where would our new home sales presentation be without discovery? It defines the sales process. Without knowing what our customers want in a new home (layout, style, number of bedrooms, or one level or more than one, for instance), what they have experienced in the marketplace (looking at other new homes, rentals, and existing homes), where they are in the sales process (from just getting started to ready to make a decision), and so much more, we can't be effective at helping them to make a decision.

Why the emphasis on discovery today? Why not? It's always an important topic. True, but actually it's Columbus Day - a day devoted to annual discussion and debate over who should credit with discovering America.

Discovery is so important in new home sales that we cannot be effective without it. Who tries to convince someone to buy a new home without knowing anything about their needs, desires, timing, price range, or economic situation? Where are they living now and what about that home or apartment? Do they want something ready to move into today or in six months?

The list of questions goes on and on. In fact, my book "Operation Discovery: The Who, What, When, Where, & More In New Home Sales" provides dozens of actual questions to use.
 
Imagine going into a clothing store and the clerk just grabs a shirt off the display and starts ringing it up for you without any regard for style, color, size, or personal preference. Silly isn't it? That's why we use discovery.

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Learn about my new home sales training programs, or find out how to get copies of my sales books for new home sales and universal design by visiting my website at stevehoffacker.com, or call 561-685-5555. © 2014, Steve Hoffacker.