It’s no secret that the current housing market and rising interest rates have created a challenging market for selling homes. As the market continues to evolve, it’s critical your new home sales team changes with it to meet rising pressures and customer demands.
A few weeks ago, we held a sales bootcamp for the New Home Star team that served as a refresher for everyone as well as brought important new topics to the forefront. Here’s what we covered during the training event.
1. How to break down payments and handle them inside the model
When interest rates first started rising, we saw an increase in customers wanting to know specifics about incentives, rates, and what the payment would look like laid out for them. Today, if a new home salesperson is unable to walk customers through how to break down a payment, they’ll leave with too much uncertainty — and the salesperson will never hear from them again.
Our bootcamps are designed to teach our team how to break down payments and answer the most specific questions from customers. Times have changed, and customers have more inquiries and follow-up questions. The more prepared new home salespeople are to answer any potential incoming question, the higher the likelihood of a closed sale.
2. Being an expert on the mortgage process
At our sales bootcamp, we focused our training on attacking all aspects of mortgage. We laid out different potential mortgage packages sales teams could share with clients and asked them questions: What’s the implication of each package for the client? 2-1 buydown; what does that mean for interest rates over the years?
While our sales team knows this material, it was a good chance to refresh everyone on different packages for those who know it but hadn’t discussed it in a few years. Customers need to know they’re talking to subject matter experts who can get them past the commitment fear and guide them to a purchase.
3. The importance of closing the appointment — and how to make it happen
When times are good and demand is high, it’s more common to see sales team members not as aggressively going after making appointments. But now, customers have options, and they’re not the ones who need to chase the sales team: the sales team needs to chase them. There’s a national 10% conversion rate from appointment to sale, meaning a seller would need to see ten people in the model to just get one closed deal. It then takes an average of 3-4 appointments for a customer to buy. With this math, you can see you need many appointments to even make it to a couple of successful sales.
We’ve refined the way we train our team to set appointments, and it starts with goal setting. Every team member should have a unique goal they want to hit for the number of appointments booked.
I like what our Founder, David Rice, has to say about it: when you’re in a closing situation, someone is closing someone else — are you going to let the customer close on you on not buying the home, or are you going to close on them? You always want to be the one doing the selling, so our team practices being more aggressive in closing techniques and being upfront about asking for appointments.
A big part of the closing practice is follow-up. Is your team practicing follow-up with customers? How are they calling, how are they leaving voicemails, and what is the long-term plan of action? How are they setting up their calendars to be conducive to constant appointment setting?
Reorienting around the importance of appointments helps keep your team focused on growth, success, and building relationships in a down market.
4. Helping customers move past their fears
Customers have a massive fear of what’s coming next in the market — when they decide to build, are they going to close at a significantly higher rate than what is being shown now? They have a lot of fears that sales team members need to proactively walk them through to make them feel more comfortable.
Making them feel at ease all comes back to hitting on their emotional hot buttons (remember, there are 12: family, love, sex, convenience, financial, investment, prestige, ego, privacy, security, culture, and recreation).
If they have a big family, make them feel good about building a home with a grand kitchen that everyone will gather around for years to come. If they’re seeking a very social neighborhood, remind them of how many dinner parties and block party events they’ll host with their new neighbors every year. Spend the time figuring out why they’re deciding to move right now — and keep returning to those main motivators to remind them why it’s important to build the home of their dreams, at this moment, even in a tough market.
5. The importance of Sales Associate Marketing Initiatives (SAMI)
In the current market, focusing on boosting traffic is critical to boost appointments and interest in building and drive more sales. At New Home Star, we encourage our sales team to focus on SAMIs early and often, as they take 90 days to see the effort start to pay off. We teach our people to go out and practice guerilla marketing techniques and put in a minimum of around 35 mins per day, or ~3 hours per week, to drive one extra unit of traffic a week.
SAMIs don’t need to be massive campaigns or events; they just need to be small and consistent touchpoints with new potential customers.
6. Welcoming objections and getting them handled quickly
Gone are the days of desperation for a home; people are no longer buying any old home off the block. Now, people are starting to have stronger opinions about what they want and what they need in their future home. As a salesperson, passing off objections is something you can no longer afford.
Our training bootcamp had an entire section dedicated to handling objections and even welcoming them — as long as you’re prepared, objections shouldn’t be roadblocks to closing a deal. It’s all about redirecting customers to aspects they love about the home and, again, returning to their emotional hot buttons to remind them why they need it now.
7. Selling with incentives against your competitors
The dialogue going through many new home sales team members’ heads right now: Incentives are back? We never thought we would see the day when we would be able to offer incentives again! How would you even use them? My competitor is killing me with their incentives, and I feel they have undercut my value!
Our bootcamp acted as a refresher for the purpose of incentives and how to go about overcoming them. A few key tips:
Help your customer understand that a discount is not a reflection of value.
Plant a seed of doubt that undermines your competitor’s incentive.
- Value is the price you are paying compared to what you are getting.
- Your competition may be priced $50,000 above their value just so they can offer a large incentive. This is not their value.
- Gain agreement that a discount is not equal to the value of their home.
Refocus the customer on the main idea.
- “Why do you think that builder X needs to offer that much money to get you excited about buying their home?”
At New Home Star, we’ve always believed in bringing our team together for frequent training opportunities. Given the current economic environment, we believe it’s of the utmost importance to continue training our sales team even more consistently on tools they’ll need to close the deal with customers who might be more hesitant or need more of a reason to buy right now. By constantly assessing your training cadence and the themes you’re teaching, you can put your sales team in the best possible position to perform successfully for builders and close deals no matter the state of the market.
- “Take away the promotions for a second. Which home suits your needs better?”