THE AFFIRMATION: "THAT SUIT LOOKS WONDERFUL ON YOU"
There I am standing in one of those mirrors that as a kid I would play in and stick my head into and look at a zillion of me. You know the ones, tucked in near the fitting rooms at Bamberger's or Macy's. My mother would bring me shopping with her and leave me outside the dressing room as she was in trying on dresses. I think I actually saw the back of my head for the first time in one of those alcove mirrors. I could move my arm over my head and simultaneously see a long line of kids that looked just like me move their arm as well. To this day I can't walk past one of these alcove mirrors and see a kid in there without thinking of my childhood. Today, however, I was sucking my stomach in and only looking at me in the middle mirror. I was test driving a new double breasted blazer. The salesman was behind me brushing off an imaginary piece of lint.
Then he said those important words, "That blazer looks wonderful on you." Then another sales associate "happened" to walk by behind me and she offered, "What a good looking jacket; very slimming on a tall man like you."
"I'll take it" I announced. That little push was all I needed: The affirmation; the expert opinion; the clincher.
In real estate sales we are often reticent to make that affirmation to the client. The sales people that do make that affirmation make the sale and build the relationship. Those that don't, will not.
I was discussing the "That suit looks good on you" technique with my wife Gail. She told me that if she heard this from sales person in real estate, she would automatically recognize it as sales fluff. I then explained more about what I felt was a necessary process from an expert sales person.
The sales person in the men's store sell suits all day long. He dresses well, knows style and recognizes a good fit. In fact, I admire the way he looks. When he tells me it fits well; I believe him. When he tells me it looks good; I believe him. Perhaps he built my trust in him over the time he took to ask me questions about my likes and dislikes. He has picked out a few jackets for me to try and solicited my opinions. Bottom line is: I respect his opinion and I want his opinion.
In real estate, as buyers, we need and rely on our professionals. A professional gets to know his client and his objectives and likes and dislikes. But more importantly, real estate professionals are already given a status as an expert - even on the first meeting.
Let me give you an example; and this is the one I relayed to Gail. A customer came into our Market America Relty and Investments property shop this week. He and his wife were looking for a three bedroom house on a canal with a pool as a second home. They were here visiting from Canada. They had already visited Sarasota and Punta Gorda and now wanted to tour our Fort Myers and Cape Coral. (They, in effect, had tried on two suits and were looking at a third). One of the Market America Real Estate agents spent some time with the couple and then affirmed in a very positive manner, that canal homes in Cape Coral were an excellent opportunity for them and that Cape Coral was a superb choice. She knew this because indeed she went through the same process looking at Punta Gorda and Sarasota and she indeed had settled here and loves it!
Now if the agent were to take the very neutral position of, "Let me show you around and you make the choice, " she would not have been as helpful to the clients as she was in making the affirmation. The clients wanted the affirmation.
By the way, have you ever heard a waiter tell you, "You made a wise choice sir."? This is also an affirmation that we appreciate. After all, the waiter serves this food all the time and should be an expert.
Understand that I am not talking about sales fluff here. I am talking about being confident in your opinion, your expertise and your product. If the customer does not look good in the suit, tell him so.
Also, a sales person should not offer expertise where he does not have it. It would be unwise to say you are really going to love this area within the first minute of meeting someone. After all, you have no idea what they love or do not love. What is fair to say is that YOU love this area, and it is the area that YOU chose. In the commercial arena things are actually quite similar. Selling commercial real estate and investments is an area that I spent a great deal of time on. I also buy investment properties myself. I learned a long time ago not to judge the suitability of an investment for someone else until I know their criteria; but my enthusiasm for an investment property is very apparent to my client. It is easy to share my expertise, but dangerous to impose my investment criteria on my client. What may be good for me may not be good for him. But I can affirm his decision and I can validate his thought process.
Now IS the time to buy. Now is the time to acquire investments and your second home. But be patient. Yes asking prices may go down a bit further in some sectors,, but SELLING prices are at bottom
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