Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Good Referral

The best qualified, most inexpensive customer we can get is from a referral.

Since referrals are so valuable for our business, I want to make sure we can tell others exactly what we are looking for in a top customer.

We need to think about and then be able to quantify and express what we consider to be our optimal customer or job so that we can share this with others would like to help us by giving us qualified referrals.

People enjoy helping each other, but we have to be specific about the type of customer that can help us and we can help also.
For more information about my sales training and consulting programs visit my website at

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Maintaining Our Strengths

We all have various natural abilities, talents, and skills. We have a predisposition to doing well in certain areas - even without much practice. We say that someone is "born with" a certain ability - meaning that they do well at it weven without much training or practice.

So when they focus on it, it becomes really good, and they become quite proficient with that skill or ability.

We should work on our strengths to make them even stronger and more reliable. They are strengths for a reason and we enjoy using those skills so it's not always a huge or unpleasant effort to work on those skills.

There is some thought that we need to work on the weaker areas of our life to make them stronger when it is the opposite that is true. We need to exploit and strengthen our strong attributes to make them that much better.


For more information about my sales training and consulting programs visit my website at

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Just Like Practice

Preparation is essential for a good performance. A musician or actor doesn't walk onstage without dozens of hours practicing the piece they are going to perform and years of apprenticeship and study to get to that point.

We're no different. We don't show up to give a sales presentation knowing nothing about our product, the competition, or our sales process.

Regardless of what endeavor it might be, practicing and rehearsing for all of the issues and conditions that might come up in a real life situation will prepare us so that we can take them in stride.
For more information about my sales training and consulting programs visit my website at

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Stinging Is A Distraction

Interesting thing about bees. They aren't interested in bothering human closeness to what they are doing as long as there is not direct interference. They are totally focused on their work.

This is a fantastic illustration of what focus and concentration are. When bees are getting pollen from flowers - unless they are specifically interrupted or feel threatened in the performance of their mission - they don't seem to mind when we get close to their work.

They are far more interested in completing their assignment than they are in pursuing a distraction like us. Excellent lesson here to stay on task.

For more information about my sales training and consulting programs visit my website at

Friday, September 28, 2012

Grading Your Customers For Maximum Efficiency

Not all customers are created equal. Some will buy on the first visit, some will come back more than once, some won't ever buy. Some will purchase from a competitor.

Some will pay cash, some will have great credit scores, some will have such credit challenges that a sales can't be financed.

Shouldn't you understand the quality of the customers (prospects if you prefer) you are working in terms of level of interest, ability to make a decision, and capacity to pay for their purchase?

Don't just guess at who you should be working with. Make an objective assessment. My book "Making The Grade" gives you all the steps you need. Not only that, it ranked number one on Google today for "Grading New Home Sales Customers" - out of more than 3.6 billion results!

For more information about my sales training and consulting programs visit my website at © Steve Hoffacker. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Be More Specific

To achieve our goals, we need to be specific in spelling out what it is we want and not use just vague or general descriptive terms.

We need to quantify what we want.

Just having a general goal or objective is not good enough. There is no way to know if we did what we set out to do or if we have accomplished enough. Words like a few, a couple, some, and more provide no direction on goal attainment and achievement.

If we need a certain number of sales or a certain percentage increase, we need to be specific.

For more information about my sales training and consulting programs visit my website at

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Take On Leadership

Leadership - just like empowerment - is taken not given. When the opportunity is there to lead or provide direction, the person comfortable with assuming that role takes it on.

Salespeople lead or control the presentation. They direct it. They aren't aggressive, but they are assertive and definite. They take on leadership.

A a key part of success in sales or business is assuming a leadership role when the occasion arises. Another way of looking at it is taking control.

In a sales presentation, it is being the one who leads or directs the flow - the person in control. This doesn't have to be an authoritative move, just one who you are leading the presentation. Same thing for empowerment.

I suggest that we look for a way to control the presentation in a skillful, professional way to have a productive outcome for both sides.

For more information about my sales training and consulting programs visit my website at

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Finding Leads

Finding people to talk with about what you offer or how you can help someone solve a need they have is often a challenge. That's because most advertising and marketing messages are passive - dependent on the one to whom the message is directed to see or hear it, identify with it, and then contact us.

There are many ways of creating new leads, and I provide dozens of examples in my my 2 books for new home salespeople: "Making New Friends" about meeting strangers and developing that relationship into someone who can purchase from you of provide referrals and also "Using Your Network" about cultivating and developing your circle of contacts and the people they might know as well.

I have similar book for real estate sales and general sales.

One thing I would never recommend, however, is buying leads from anyone. It's not necessary, and you have all the tools available to generate your own directly or through your referral network.

Leads are the lifeblood of any business, and we need to develop the skill of looking for and attracting them ourselves.

For more information about my sales training and consulting programs visit my website at

Monday, September 10, 2012

What Makes You Special?

Of all the businesses in the world, have you ever stopped to ask yourself what makes you special?

That is, with all the businesses that are similar to yours in product or service, those that serve a similar market area or clientele, and those with other similar qualities to you, what makes you stand out?

What is your USP (unique selling proposition) or claim to fame? What do you offer that truly is special or remarkable for the type of business you have? What bragging rights do you have?

Now for the second part to this question. In addition to what makes you special, how do you let people now this?

Do you advertise, rely just on your website, trust your customers to share your message through word of mouth (WOM), publish on social media including blogs, or use a clever tagline?

For any of these questions that are unanswered or unclear, it's time to focus on them and come up with an answer.

For more information about my sales training and consulting programs visit my website at

Monday, August 27, 2012

Some Days Are Just Really Challenging

Some days have the odds stacked against us - nothing that we did to cause it and nothing we can do to fix it. We just have to recognize it and move on.

Consider those days when there is a blizzard or a fresh snowfall of several inches. A rain of over 10" like we had today. An oppressively hot and humid day. A bone-chilling day with a below zero wind chill. An excessively windy day.

On such days, hardly anyone ventures out of their homes. Schools and businesses are often closed. It's not a day when people are shopping for a home.

It doesn't mean we get a day off, however.

If people aren't out and about - whether our office is open and we are there or not - we have a telephone and hopefully a computer, assuming the electricity is still on and the internet connection is working.

This is when we can reach people by phone - unless it's inappropriate to contact them due to a weather event that has caused destruction and misery.

Even on days when our customers aren't playing along, we can make things happen.

For more information about my sales training and consulting programs visit my website at

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What's For Sale?

When someone visits your sales center or pavilion, stops by a model home or open house, or they contact you by phone about your offerings and opportunities, what are they really interested in buying - and what are you really selling?

On the surface, the answer might seem to be a new home. That is partially true, but why with you?

What do you offer that the builder across the street or the Realtor down the road doesn't? Service? OK. Features? Possibly. Price? Maybe.

It's real tough to be competitive in today's market because as soon as you identify the ideal location that someone wants - or the home layout, feature, or price point, someone else will want something completely different and look elsewhere to buy it.

While it's true that ultimately the home is for sale - along with its features, homesite, and local amenities, that may not be the deciding factor. It might come down to you.

You could be the tie-breaker. Given homes from different builders or sellers, all priced relatively the same with similar features, the decision on which to purchase could just revolve around you and the relationship you have created with your customer. In new home sales, this means your community or your builder. For Realtors it means the home you counsel your buyers on being the best fit for them.

What is your customer buying? You, for starters.

For more information about my sales training and consulting programs visit my website at

Friday, August 17, 2012

Area Codes Matter

Years ago when you asked someone for their phone number, they would just tell you the digits - often just 5.

For the past 50 years or so people have mostly had 7 digits but in some places you could still get by with just dialing the last 5. The first 2 numbers represented a name such as "BRoadway," "FLeetwood," "EMpire," "PLaza," or such and were optional in some areas.

Then came the time when you had to dial all 7 digits. Now, many people have to dial 10 digits - even for a "local" call.

If we don't live with multiple area codes in our immediate area or with different area codes within an hour's drive, we likely don't think too much about the need to request or write down the area code when noting a phone number. We just assume its the same as ours.

Now that people are able to take their cell phone numbers with them when they move, it's not unusual to see an area code from several states away that you must dial just to talk to a neighbor or associate.

Hardly anyone pays long distance charges anymore so having non-local area code is not an issue.

Just make sure to give out all 10 digits of your number when giving it out or leaving a callback (just to make sure) and request all 10 digits when you are getting a number from someone even if you area certain the area code is a local one.

We can't afford to lose contact with someone just because we are missing a 3-digit area code or assume incorrectly that it's the same as ours.

For more information about my sales training and consulting programs visit my website at

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Trick To Remembering People's Names

When someone comes into your model home, open house, showroom, or sales center - or you meet someone at an event, you greet them and introduce yourself. They may tell you their name - maybe not. If they don't, you politely ask for it.

Now that you have heard their name, how do you remember it?

I've attended seminars on how to remember names and other thing I wanted to remember (grocery lists, for instance). Mostly it's an association game. You associate the sound of a person's name with a common object and that reminds you later on of their name.

What I find happening, however, is that coming up with an association is so challenging that it's actually easier to remember that her name is Susan rather than coming up with something like "Black-Eyed Susan" and then remembering to visualize it as a trigger to think of her name - or that his name is Robert or Bob rather than triggering it from remembering an image of an "English Bobby."

Name or word associations may work for you, but there is an easier way to remember someone's name when you meet them - regardless of where it is.

To remember someone's name when you meet them, say it aloud in front of them to make sure you heard it correctly and that you are close on the pronunciation (they'll help you tweak the actual way to say their name if you're off). Then write it down. Use your information card, your pad, the back of your business card, or ask them for a card - depending on the circumstances of your meeting.

Now you have their name in your hand, and when you forget it in a few minutes, you can glance at your note and eliminate the need for requesting their name again - very unprofessional to do this.

There is no mental trick for remembering names - nothing short of writing it down when you learn it. That's how it's done.

For more information about my sales training and consulting programs visit my website at

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Avoiding Email Misunderstandings

Many of like to communicate with emails, and that's fine. Our customers like it, and we can get the message composed and sent quickly without having to find a convenient time to make a call when our customers are available.

Emails can be tricky, however, and we have to be very careful how we express a phrase. We might know what we mean. We might even hear ourselves saying it as we write it. However, the person reading it may "hear" it an entirely different way.

Take the two words "hard" and "drive." We can say that we had a hard drive home last night in the rain. We aren't talking about the storage device in our computer. Maybe "hard drive" is not the best choice of words for our commute.

A word that I'm thinking of can be used as a one-word answer and have many different meanings and intonations, so we need to make sure that our meaning is clear - or use a different word if we aren't sure. And that's the word - "sure."

Question to us from our customer: Can we do it?

Answer to our customer: "Sure" (affirmation, confirmation, certainty, or assurance). "Sure" (we can reluctantly or if we have to). "Sure" (we'd rather not). "Sure" (as in "not really" or "don't count on it").

Language is so important to communication, and sales do not happen and survive cancellation or disappointment without effective communication. If words are clearly understood or transmitted without any change of misinterpretation, communication has not occurred.

For more information about my sales training and consulting programs visit my website at

Friday, August 3, 2012

Ability Produces Courage

Courage is a great trait to have. We all have it in various amounts, but like other traits that we possess, it thrives on being used and developed. In other words, the more times we summon our courage and step out bravely, the move times we will get to use it and feel good about it.

At first, courage may seem a little scary, but we are not talking about doing something totally out of character - just stretching a bit. No one is suggesting that you go skydiving if that is not something you can see yourself doing anyway.

I am simply suggesting that your comfort zone is a whole lot more elastic that you give it credit for.

I have been told that under hypnosis you can't be tricked into doing something you wouldn't normally do. It just relaxes the inhibitions. That's what courage does. It just takes away a few of the gatekeepers and let's us progress with the mission.

In sales, let's say that you don't think you can call or approach someone you've never met. OK. Now suppose you practice doing this through visualization and role plays with people who agree to help you. After a while you develop a confidence based on your newly developed ability. Now you have the courage to approach someone because you believe you can.

That same example can be applied to a sales presentation, setting an appointment, upselling, or anything else that might be just a little outside or beyond what you feel comfortable doing right now.

Once we have confidence in our abilities - depending on which one we need - we can call upon the courage to branch out into a new area.

For more information about my sales training and consulting programs visit my website at

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Choosing Opportunities Carefully

Not a day goes by when some opportunity comes our way or crosses our path. It may be something as simple as being asked to go to lunch with someone or play golf. We can accept or not depending on our schedule, other activities we have planned, and how well we like or want to be with the person making the request. Either way, it's not likely to have a long term impact.

On the other hand, we may be presented with an opportunity to take our business in a new direction, to accept a new assignment, to travel for our company or a client, or something else that can mean much more in the long term.

Thus, we must carefully evaluate opportunities that come our way before accepting them, Some will lead us astray while others are valuable to us.

I'm talk about looking and thinking before we jump at a new opportunity - particularly those that may provide a distraction or be more consequential than others.

For more information about my sales training and consulting programs visit my website at

Friday, June 15, 2012

Don't Read A Script

Scripts have no place in the sales process other than for practice and education - certainly they should not be used in an actual sales call or conversation.

Sales calls over the telephone should be engaging and conversational - scripts are stilted and controlling.

Reading a script is beneath the abilities of the salesperson and the dignity of the potential customer. Both sides lose. Anyone still using this archaic practice should drop it.

If you know your message then communicate it in your own words. If you don't, then wait until you practice so more. Speak from knowledge and practice - not from a piece of paper.

For more information about my sales training and consulting programs visit my website at

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pour Yourself Another Cup Of Coffee

Everytime a professional research study is done on the effects of drinking coffee, coffee comes out looking better than when it went in - and it looks better all the time.

As a result of the most recent study, coffee looks like the perfect drink.

A year ago, the University of South Florida (USF) published a study that told us that drinking coffee in our 30s, 40s, and 50s would have a cumulative effect and ward off Alzheimer's disease. Now USF, along with the University of Miami, shows that people age 65 or over benefit from 3 or so cups a day. It is found to prevent Alzheimer symptoms from developing.

Coffee has already been found to demonstrate a range of health benefits in addition to generally prolonging life.

I sure am glad I took up coffee drinking way back when - and glad that I drink it the way it comes out of the pot.

So go ahead and have another cup. The only question is how large the cup should be - 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 20 ounces, or even larger?


For more information about my sales training, consulting, and teaching programs visit my website at

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Coffee Wins Again

What's a dark liquid with outstanding aroma served and consumed several times a day in a cup? That's right. Coffee!

Coffee is a wonderful beverage, and every attempt to prove it ain't so comes up short.
There have been many recent studies trying to show that coffee increases cholesterol and blood pressure and that it contributes to other conditions. All ended up proving that coffee had substantial health benefits of one type or another. It is a great anti-oxidant as well.

Now we find, in the largest study on coffee ever done on some 400,000 people, that coffee - for reasons not totally understood - promotes longer life. That length has not be quantified as yet - other than it has been measured in general.

It seems that there are some 1000 different chemicals and properties in coffee - most of which have not been studied.

For now, let's just raising our cup or mug - and they say that 4-5 cups a day is a good amount - although less is OK, too. Just drink it black.

For more information about my sales training, consulting, and teaching programs visit my website at