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Among the biggest problems facing builders is the quality and performance of the people who sell their homes. Because builders are busy dealing with trade contractors, monitoring cash-flow against projections, correcting mistakes made in the field, looking for new communities to build in, and working on blue prints, it is hardly surprising that they have little time to devote to sales. In fact, most builders spend less than 3 percent of their time in sales—even when sales generate 100 percent of their income.
Typical builders and developers close only 2 percent of the total traffic visiting their model homes, in contrast to new-home professionals who will sell a home to one of every four visitors. Why is there such a discrepancy? In order to identify problems, we need to aware of them. We need an outside set of eyes to evaluate our company because over time we unconsciously over look areas where we are weak.
For example, Foster Cathcart, owner of Flooring Systems in Houston, tells how on a plant tour he took the manager aside and asked, “What do you think of that corner of the plant?” The manager replied, “It looks okay.” Foster told him, “Clean it up so it looks okay to me, too.”
Successful builders need a vision of what they can accomplish. Once the builder has the vision, he or she can create a plan to show others. A company’s vision starts from the top—with the builder. Here are five steps a builder can take to better fulfill a vision to guide sales.
1 Be smart enough to be aware that you don’t know everything. Pride is self destructive. Only a humble person is teachable. Builders who are wrapped up in themselves make for very small packages. The greatest battle is fought within one’s own mind and heart. The crown of character is self-control.
2 Set a proper goal for your company. Successful builders don’t plan the number of homes they will sell for the year based on a modest increase, say 8-10%, over previous year. And that year’s figure in turn had been based on the year before. Instead, the builder’s goal should be based on how many homes the builder could build if sales were not the problem.
3 Be a leader. Start with aiming yourself up to a higher purpose. Leaders have mastered self-management, are idealistic and incorruptible, and inspire others.
4 Be cautiously watchful of so-called experts. Avoid hiring anyone as a sales manager or trainer who thinks they know it all, is unteachable, is unwilling to approach a client who walks in the model and try to sell them a home, or who will not pick up a telephone in front of your staff and make a cold call. After all, who’s paying the interest on your land or standing inventory.
5 Either retrain nonproducers or dismiss them. A builder should expect salespersons to invest as much planning, energy, and expertise to sell the homes as the builder has put into building them. Your sales staff should be earning good commissions—the more money they make, the more the builder earns. Reward productive sales staff—they are the builder’s most important asset!
Lou Principe Lou@LouPrincipe.com 251-367-7953 Home Builders Trainer and Consultant Powerpoint created by: April Williams April@LouPrincipe.com