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.

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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.

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.

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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. © 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. © 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.

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.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

"Make Sure Your Web Address Doesn't Lead You Astray"

Everyone needs a website today - and that means a web address or domain name. There is an old saying that all of the good .com names have been taken and that there is no choice but to go with a different extension. This just isn't true or necessary unless your name is the same as that of a very popular and prominent brand.

Even with that, there is punctuation and changing a consonant or two that still makes it work. Many words that actually are spelled with a "c" are successfully changed to a "k" for a web address - or an "f" for a "ph." Adding an internal dash, underscore or "." often makes a name work as well.

To me, the worst domain extension is the "co" for company when the .com has been around since the inception. The trouble with this (and it actually happened to me) is that people sometimes can't read the "m," don't know whether it's a "co" or "com," or inadvertently drop the "m" in com when recording the name on their forms or CRMs.

Then's there's the all new cutesy extensions - email, consultant, sales, business, radio, and more. Consumers and those who want to find us online or email us have enough issues with just spelling our names right and adding the .com (or occasionally a .net). Let's not make it any harder for people to find us than it already is.

Additionally, watch the spelling - two repeating consonants together (to end one word and begin the next) when used in separate words is fine, but becomes an issue in a web address. Do you use both or just one? Take Direct TV which is directv.com (missing the second "t").

Finally. avoid repetitive consonants like an "l" or "s" in the case of "sallysellsrealestate."

We need web addresses, but they need to be our friend and work for us rather than against us.

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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. © Steve Hoffacker.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

"What Makes Your New Homes Special?"

When someone visits your new home sales center, most of them are doing so because they are considering purchasing one of your new homes. They may never get past the consideration stage for a number of reasons, but this is where most people start. Some have no interest in a new home at all and visit your model center purely for the sport or entertainment value of looking at model homes.

However, some people are actually serious candidates to purchase a new home from you - or another builder that builds a home similar to yours.

The question you must ask yourself - and then have an answer you can defend -  is why someone should be impressed with the homes you offer and why they would want to own it - to the exclusion of other homes that might be available to them.

If you can't honestly and enthusiastically determine why your homes are a good value for someone, why they offer an excellent design, and why your particular community location (even though it might be right next to another builder) is something someone would want to own and live in, you are going to have a very difficult time of making sales.

You must believe - and then be able to persuade your customers - that your builder, design, quality, included features, and the total package is the best available in the marketplace for its size and price.

You have to be totally convinced - without any wavering - that you absolutely offer the best home and value proposition on the market for the size, price point, floor plans, and location you offer. As long as someone can use and likes what you offer, there should be no stopping you in your enthusiasm to help them acquire it.

You won't make a sale every time, but it won't be because you don't believe in what you are doing.


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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. © Steve Hoffacker.

Monday, October 6, 2014

"Steve Hoffacker Captures Page One For Universal Design Sales Trainers"

Today, out of an organic search for "Universal Design Sales Trainers" that returned over 3.1 million results, Steve Hoffacker had the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, and 11th entry.

Capturing the number one spot on a Google search is great, but essentially winning the entire first page is outstanding - especially with over 3 million responses.
 
I have two more "Universal Design/Build" courses and two more sets of the three "CAPS" courses scheduled for this year. Contact me at 561-685-5555 to find out about attending.



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Learn about my new home sales training programs, get copies of my sales books for new home sales, universal design, or real estate sales in print or as eBooks, visit my website at stevehoffacker.com, or call 561-685-5555. © 2014, Steve Hoffacker. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, September 29, 2014

"Happy 'National Coffee Day!'"

Coffee is a great beverage, and nothing says welcome to your sales center as much as the aroma of fresh coffee - even for the non-coffee drinker. Chocolate chip cookies, hot apple cider, and cinnamon are great sales office smells as well, but it's really hard to beat coffee!

Today is "National Coffee Day" so it's an even better time to enjoy a cup for yourself and to look forward to serving your guests that have decided today is the time to look for a new home.

Obviously we don't - and shouldn't - limit this to just one day.



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Learn about my new home sales training programs, get copies of my sales books for new home sales, universal design, or real estate sales in print or as eBooks, visit my website at stevehoffacker.com, or call 561-685-5555. © Steve Hoffacker. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

"Don't Promise What You Can't Deliver"

It makes sense in terms of discussing a floor plan or included features not to promise something that cannot be delivered to the customer because they have been substantially changed or discontinued. Few new home salespeeople would do this, but it does happen.

Of more concern, however, is making a commitment to a customer about a future contact or an answer to a question that does not materilaize. This frustrates and aggravates the customer, weakens the brand, and may cost a possible sale.

If you need to check on something and call the customer back by or at a certain day and time, then make sure you do it - even if you don't have a complete solution like you thought you would. At least call and report where you are.

If you set an appointment, promise to send a email, or promise to contact someone for your customer, don't let it slide.

This is a reputation killer at a minimum - and likely a deal killer, too.

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Learn about my new home sales training programs, get copies of my sales books for new home sales, universal design, or real estate sales in print or as eBooks, visit my website at stevehoffacker.com, or call 561-685-5555. © 2014, Steve Hoffacker. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

"You Can't Sell Without An Emotional Connection"



So often, people will look at our homes and just tell us that they are "nice." This reveals absolutely nothing about their level of interest or intent. We know the homes are nice. What we want to know is how impressed they are with what we are offering - to the point that they want to own it.

We have to uncover and establish that emotional connection!





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Learn about my new home sales training programs, get copies of my sales books for new home sales, universal design, or real estate sales in print or as eBooks, visit my website at stevehoffacker.com, or call 561-685-5555. © Steve Hoffacker. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"Connecting With Your Customers By Phone"




Telephone follow-up is meant to offer a dialog between
you and your customers, not a series of voice
mails or unanswered calls. Call when your
customers expect to hear from you.

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Learn about my new home sales training programs, get copies of my sales books for new home sales, universal design, or real estate sales in print or as eBooks, visit my website at stevehoffacker.com, or call 561-685-5555. © Steve Hoffacker. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 20, 2014

"Ownership Transferred"

When any of us - or our customers - put a house on the market (or car, boat, RV, or anything else for that matter) it ceases to be ours. We have given up emotional title and claim to the property the moment a decision is reached to sell it - even before it is advertised.

As such, we must treat it with added respect - as a guest or visitor would do. We actually are using someone else's property at that point - we just don't know who the new owner will be yet.

This is a major paradigm shift, but an important one. That's why we paint, fix up, clean, and get everything ready in the home or vehicle before listing it. Then, our claim to it ceases. We are only being given temporary rights to continue using it until as sale is affected.

Many people react just the opposite and figure that since they are selling it anyway they can be a little more careless or reckless with the property. That is unfair to the eventual new owner and will hurt the price achieved and the selling time.


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Learn about my new home sales training programs, get copies of my sales books for new home sales, universal design, or real estate sales in print or as eBooks, visit my website at stevehoffacker.com, or call 561-685-5555. © Steve Hoffacker. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"Land Clearing Is Great To Watch"




This is an exciting part of new home construction because it is the
first visible sign that things are getting underway. After the land
clearing, comes the streets, and then the new homes can start.

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Learn about my new home sales training programs, get copies of my sales books for new home sales or universal design, in print or as eBooks, visit my website at stevehoffacker.com, or call 561-685-5555. © Steve Hoffacker. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"Take Universal Design Over ADA"


ADA has its place. It provides guidelines - although many misguided - for mobility assistance. Fortunately, they aren't required to be followed in residential construction of 4 units or less.

Universal design, on the other hand, takes into account mobility and sensory challenges as a matter of course. Additional design considerations can be made, but often, universal design is enough to provide a safe, comfortable, convenient living environment for anyone - people without major challenges and those that do need their homes to be kinder to them.

Essentially universal design meets the needs of the very young to the very old, without regard for their physical size or abilities.

For instruction, more information, or my best selling books on universal design, visit my "aging-in-place" page. 

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Learn about my new home sales training programs, get copies of my sales books for new home sales or universal design in print or as eBooks, visit my website at stevehoffacker.com, or call 561-685-5555. © Steve Hoffacker. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, April 21, 2014

"Value Is A Function Of Price"


In new home and real estate sales we talk to our customers about price, quality, and value - and we illustrate that with features and benefits. Nevertheless, value is extremely subjective. It is a function of price.

While we think we can give a consumer all of the reasons they should make a decision (based on why we think something is a good value or why our research demonstrates that it is), those reasons may seem hollow or like information dumping if they aren't looking for those features or it doesn't connect with them emotionally.

If something doesn't seem important to the consumer, they aren't as likely to want it - whatever it costs. If a home contains many of these great values or bargains (in our estimation or the opinions of others) but they don't register with the customer, they can't and won't justify a price above what the customer feels is justified.

Price has to make sense to the buyer.
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Learn about my new home sales training programs, get copies of my sales books for new home sales or universal design in print or as eBooks, visit my website at stevehoffacker.com, or call 561-685-5555. © Steve Hoffacker. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

"What Is Wrong With .Com?"


What is wrong with a .com domain - or a .net or .org? Actually, nothing.

Operating under a mistaken and misguided assumption that the "good" .com addresses were taken, they created .biz, .info, .tv and others.

For schools there is a .edu, but now there is also a ".education" - why?

This is getting silly. Soon we'll have to know how to spell all of the extensions as well as the actual domain names. Rather than making things easier, this is a big step backward.

If you are creative enough with spelling and punctuation, there are plenty of .com (and even .net) names to go around.

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Learn about my new home sales training programs, get copies of my sales books for new home sales, universal design, or real estate sales in print or as eBooks, visit my website at stevehoffacker.com, or call 561-685-5555. © 2014, Steve Hoffacker. All Rights Reserved.