Many new home organizations spend millions of dollars on model homes and marketing tactics. But in the rush to put more into marketing, they miss out on their single biggest branding tool — the sales associate.
The right associate can be your golden ticket to success and the factor that makes or breaks a new home sale. But how do you determine which associates can close deals quickly and foster personalized, long-term relationships with clients? At New Home Star, we believe it comes down to ten traits.
The selling market changes so much each year, but these traits of rockstar new home sales professionals have remained fairly constant. Here are the ten traits of sellers who stand out:
1. A Positive Attitude
Rockstar sellers who advance quickly and have a long-lasting career at New Home Star are those who maintain a positive attitude through every up and down of the sales process. Without an optimistic attitude, sales associates can drag the rest of their team down and impact everyone’s motivation, resulting in fewer positive sales experiences across the board. With a positive attitude usually comes strong energy and a “self-starter” way of thinking, and the best associates have that internal drive that inspires buyers and gets them excited about their move.
Empathetic sellers can step into their customers’ shoes to understand each buyer’s unique background and values. Empathy has become an even more critical trait for those selling in the COVID-19 pandemic housing market, which has seen explosive growth since March 2020 and turned hyper-competitive practically overnight. While many have welcomed this market, buyers have found it frustrating, and many sales associates, in particular, have become jaded and beaten down. Sales associates are now dealing with a world of unknowns — between seeing build times extended and a lack of available inventory to customer frustration — and empathy is at the core of maintaining strong relationships despite external forces and understanding different points of view.
3. Active Listening Skills and Strong Communication
Most people think to sell anything, you need to dominate and spin the conversation to work in your favor. The rockstar agents of today lead with listening. Active listening is a core part of understanding unique buyer needs and learning how you can fulfill these desires. It starts with paying close attention to everything they say, taking down notes, and remembering important details on each buyer’s story — the names of their close family members, the names of any other core decision-makers, etc.
In thinking about the sales funnel we guide people through, we always teach our associates that the most important part of the funnel is the “discovery section” when they’re responsible for learning what makes each customer tick. Close listening for the answers and then acting on what you hear can help speed up the sales process and create a more seamless long-term relationship with the customer.
No sales agent is a “perfect” communicator — if everyone knew how to communicate perfectly, there would be no misunderstandings. But the best sales agents learn how to communicate with and navigate different personalities during what is typically one of the most emotional purchase decisions of a customer’s life. This requires a certain degree of emotional intelligence as well as training yourself to talk to and reach people where they are at any given moment.
4. Curious Nature
The best associates have an innate curiosity to learn everything they can about the buyer and ask the right questions. Some initial follow-up questions to a customer’s explanation of what they’re looking for can range from basic asks like, “can you tell me a little more about that” to questions centered on knowing the customer better such as, “help me understand where you’re coming from with that requirement.”
At New Home Star, we use a standardized seven-question process that covers what we want our associates to discuss during the first conversions with clients. But curiosity goes beyond just getting through that list of seven asks — rockstar new home sales agents always have the drive to learn more, ask smart follow-up questions, and dig deeper to discover their clients’ hot buttons and determine how they can best support their needs.
5. Creative Problem-Solving Skills
Let’s be honest — moving is never really a “fun” experience, even if you’re excited about the new city or town you’re going to, the prospect of a desirable school district, or the idea of living closer to extended family. Moving takes hard work and time, and every single client has a reason behind why they’re willing to put in so much effort and work to make this move — and it’s the job of the sales associate to creatively figure out their key drivers. Sellers who classify as creative problem-solvers not only get the bottom of what the customers know they want and need, they uncover things customers didn’t know they wanted or needed along the way.
Selling homes is not hard in a lot of markets right now, so many salespeople have gotten away with being more transactional during this past year. But that’s not a smart or sustainable outlook; the season will change, and customers ultimately want to build relationships with sales agents they can trust.
At New Home Star, we foster a collaborative client/sales agent relationship that goes far beyond your standard transactional home sale. By building relationships with clients, you not only create a more favorable sales environment during that one sale, but you also set your business up for strong referrals and long-term success.
7. Well-Prepared for Anything
Rockstar sales agents know their products, offerings, collaborators, markets, and industry in and out. They need to stay well-prepared to respond to questions across all of these facets of selling, and they need to have assets and information to access and utilize quickly in the case of not knowing the answer to a client question. We, of course, acknowledge that it’s impossible to know everything about every aspect of the new home, but we expect our agents to only have to do the research once and always know the answer the second time they’re asked the question.
8. Hunter, Not Farmer
Sales agents who go above and beyond typically fall into the “hunter” category, meaning they don’t just wait for something to come to them — they get proactive and figure out how they can best educate themselves on specific markets and customers. If they’re selling in a golf course community, for example, we expect our sellers to go hang out there and get a sense for the people who live there — what does their day-to-day look like? What are some of the community perks and special offerings that aren’t listed on the website? Knowing these first-hand and proactively offering the knowledge helps sellers quickly build trust with clients.
9. Committed to Self-Education
Staying committed to learning sounds cliché, but the best sales associates are always on a quest to continue their self-growth and become better sellers, and this starts with committing to training and learning. They must always be willing to challenge what they know and stay vulnerable to acknowledging they may not have all the answers. Along these same lines, most strong sales associates have an entrepreneurial spirit — they’re go-getters and like to stay up-to-date on housing trends and market info without waiting for the questions to come to them. Learn more about New Home Star's sales training process that we use to jump-start each associate's career.
We all just experienced one (if not the) most unpredictable years of our lives, and practically every industry had to pivot overnight to stay afloat at the start of the pandemic. Selling homes was no exception — the market went from somewhat normal activity to complete shutdown to a massive spike of activity, all within a few months. When you take a step back to think about everything at scale, the fact that sales associates and counselors could continue selling, and even thriving, in this environment is nothing short of remarkable. The abruptness of the pandemic’s impact on the industry combined with the personal struggles many faced brought a layer of extreme uncertainty and a need for a truly flexible mindset.
To keep getting up every day and rolling with the tides, maintaining a certain pliability — that’s undoubtedly a core trait of a sales rockstar. While we may have made it through many challenges of this pandemic, there’s no saying what’s around the corner, and the best sales associates prepare themselves to stay ready for any given scenario.
Every single one of these traits is critical to creating the best possible customer experience, which has become even more critical to build in an age of ever-higher client expectations. At New Home Star, we look to hire sellers who possess these traits at the start of their careers, but we also commit to furthering every employee’s education through the right training, mentors, and resources with the knowledge that there’s always more to learn.
To learn more about our new home sales training, or if you are interested in exploring new home sales jobs within our organization, please check out our website for more information.