Thursday, June 19, 2008

It’s Not Always How Much You Know

There’s an old saying that goes “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

In sales, it might seem that product knowledge is the most important content of a presentation – that it’s very hard to make a sale with someone if you can’t convey all of the features and specifications about what is being offered, and how well designed or conceived it is.

Actually, it’s not as important as it might appear.

In fact, the two most important parts of a sales presentation are asking questions (often called “discovery” or “qualifying”) and listening.

This doesn’t mean that detailed product knowledge is not useful or that you won’t use it to make a sale.

However, if I knew nothing about your product or service, I could go a long way in building the sale just by communicating with your customer about their needs and desires.

By skillfully asking questions and establishing a relationship with a customer, it’s possible to make a sale without a lot of detailed facts and figures, demonstrations, examples, and technical information.

Some people will require the detail, while others will be more interested in relating to you.

* For more information about my consulting and coaching services visit my website stevehoffacker.com.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Your Data Base Can Hold Some Real Nuggets

One of the best places to look for a potential sale is in your data base among those people you’ve already talked with about your product or service.

They already have some familiarity with you and what you can do for them, and you already have some relationship with them.

However, only a few potential sales are going to be hidden there, so you have to be strategic about locating them.

Just as you wouldn't go panning for gold in a stream where no gold has ever been found, contacting people in your data base who expressed no interest in your product at your first meeting or any subsequent contacts with them is not going to be effective.

Therefore, calling everyone in your Rolodex or card box or Outlook, Top Producer, Maximizer, Gold Mine, ACT!, or other CRM (contact manager) is not going to be a good use of your time.

First of all, there is little likelihood that you can reach and talk to everyone in your data base - even if this was your goal, and second, you aren't going to be that influential in changing someone's mind who didn't feel that your product or service was something they wanted or was not particularly serious about making a buying decision.

Rather than spending a significant amount of time trying to recontact everyone in your data base - just so that you can say that you did - consider how much more strategic and efficient it would be to contact just those people who showed an initial interest in what you offer and indicated that they would be happy owning your product or having your service at some point.

How are you going to know who these people are that you should be contacting and looking for? By reviewing the notes that you make after each contact. Not making notes or not making them consistently? It's times just as these when the importance of good notes becomes apparent.

Spend time evaluating your contact notes to determine which people have the potential of buying your product or service and then contact them.

Not only will you have a better chance of making a sale or moving the sales process forward, you will be using your time more wisely and not risk irritating people who clearly are not - and possibly never were - good candidates for what you offer.

* For more information about my consulting and coaching services visit my website stevehoffacker.com

Friday, June 6, 2008

Save Gas, Become a Specialist

Whether you’re a remodeler or you’re selling new or resale homes, there’s no reason to be a generalist – someone who tries to be familiar with a broad segment of the market and may end up attempting to serve too broad of an area.

There’s no need to drive all over town and be available for everyone who wants a piece of you – or to spend hours driving around trying to learn about and understand areas that are not in your immediate market.

First decide who your competition is if you are in new home sales. Decide your target market if you’re a remodeler. Define your market area or farm area if you’re in general real estate. The principle is the same.

Become an expert on your immediate area and leave the rest of your community to someone else. Become a trusted resource. Be the most knowledgeable there is on real estate in your market area.

Define a market area as concise and finite as possible to allow you to produce a sufficient amount of business and then become an expert on your area. Nothing should escape your attention.

Let anyone else who tries to compete against you or gain a foothold in your market area, and it will be clear to all who know or meet you that you indeed are the expert and the one they should work with for buying or selling or renovating property.

You will become the force to be reckoned with in your market area and will be highly successful – and you’ll save gas as you make money and help create solutions for your customers.

* For more information about my consulting and coaching services visit my website stevehoffacker.com

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Why Here? Why Now? Why Me?

Most of us would be happy to have a customer walk into our office or call us on the phone and express an interest in buying a new home (or other product or service that we offer). In fact, we might be so excited about this that we would launch right into our presentation with only a few cursory questions about what they’re looking for, price range, and when they want it.

While I would share your enthusiasm in working with such a customer, there is a more basic set of questions that you should be asking that actually will help you make the sale.

Consider why someone has chosen to contact you – among all of the other companies and people that they could have approached – at this very moment to discuss your product or service.

Knowing the answers to these questions often will tell us what we need to make a sale before we ever learn what our customers are actually looking for.

For instance, if you are talking with someone about a property that is listed in the MLS, they could go to any number of other realtors or offices and view the same property – so clearly it’s not just the property that has caused them to seek you.

If you are selling new homes in an area where other builders are offering a similar product, then the location is not the only reason they have visited you.

If your product or service is promoted on the internet, there likely are many similar ones listed as well.

If you have an office or showroom, chances are you’re not the only one offering those products or services in your area.

No, it’s much more basic than what you’re offering or where you’re located.

Seriously. Of all the other offices, showrooms, websites, or properties that someone could visit, view, or contact at this very moment, why have they chosen your company and the way in which they contacted you – why here?

Then what’s so special in their lives about their personal timing? Why today? Why right now?

Of all the people they could be talking to or visiting with right now, why you?

When we begin asking ourselves these questions and getting the answers from our customers, we will have an inside track on how to help them effectively.

The product, price, features, and the other details will fall into place after that.

Look first to the essential motivation – why here, why now, why me?


For more information about my consulting and coaching services visit my website
stevehoffacker.com.