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