This started as thoughts on paper for on site sales to share with our staff. I decided to share it for comment and ideas.
Prospecting, Presentation and Follow Up
Webster’s defines prospecting as: to explore an area, especially for specific minerals. Let’s face it, we’re looking for gold! So what areas can we explore? As I see it, our best area to explore is where we know the gold is and having someone who helps us find it…fellow Real Estate Agents. The next area to explore is our niche market, local economy.
Building a team of real estate agents that work with us is the key. It all starts with relationships. We have to start asking ourselves the questions: who are they? Where are they? Why aren’t they here? Let’s start with “why aren’t they here?” Awareness. How can we make them more aware of what we have and where we are? I feel like that every agent we come in contact with needs to be treated like that little piece of gold leading us to the mine. We need to ask all of them for testimonials so we can pass them along to other agents giving us more credibility. We also have to help them understand that we’re their gold mine and here to help them put the gold in their hands. We know who they are and we know where they are so the next step is a unique concept…we’ve got to sell to them on us! We need to keep presenting them with promos etc. to keep the excitement and interest rolling.
Our next area of exploration is the local economy. Remember marketing 101 Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. We’ve been building the awareness through advertising and agent contact so we’re quickly approaching the interest level. Now what? Keep digging the gold is near!
The next part of the sale is what many sales people leave on the curb, creating the desire and action, which brings us to presentation and follow up.
Webster’s defines presentation as: something offered or given; something set forth for the attention of the mind; a descriptive or persuasive account; (and my favorite) an immediate object of perception, cognition, or memory. Think about it! An immediate object of perception, cognition, or memory. Wow! Are we doing this with every customer and where does it start? Let’s start with the property since it’s the client’s first contact. How’s the entrance? Are there “porta johns” in sight? Landscaping? No trash in sight large or small? Let’s move to the model. Clean, neat and decorated? Lights on? Is everything in place and on purpose? How about us, the salespeople? Are we brushing off the dust from inactivity when we take the next up or have we been engaged since the last up so we’re fresh and mentally prepared to meet and greet? How do we look? OK, I’ll turn off the flashlight and stop the interrogation. The bottom line in presentation is it’s the starting line of the sale. Bang! An immediate perception, cognition or memory. This is all visual. We look good, crisp, ready and we don’t stink (I forgot about smell). It’s important to remember that many people find cologne as offensive as B.O.!
OK, we’re off to the races! Run Forrest run! Uhoh, what do we say? Do you have a plan? Dr. Tony Allessandra, world renowned sales consultant, teaches P.M.S.P.C.A. which I’ve found to be one of the most basic, fundamentally sound, sales techniques. Plan, meet, study, propose, confirm, assure. Right now we’re talking about plan and meet. So we look good (part of the plan, right) maybe even property logo wear and name tags (cognition or memory) and we know what we’re going to say. It doesn’t have to be “canned” but planned. “Welcome to The Village at Bradley Branch, my name’s Dave and I work on site here for the developer. Is this your first visit with us?” OK, I know it’s a nasty habit but shake everyone’s hand. The opening greeting has a three-fold purpose. It introduces us, determines if they’ve been here before and it informs them that we work for the seller covering the introduction of the “working with real estate agents” brochure. It’s important for them to learn about us so we need to be able to have a conversation to that effect, weave in a little F.A.B., and then we need to learn about them. Building rapport is a lost art. I’ve always said “the more you learn about people the smaller the world gets”. Before you know it, you’ve got something in common and when you’ve got something in common, you’ve made a friend allowing you to ask the harder questions when comes to studying and ultimately, a close.
We move on to studying, finding their needs so we can make a proposal. If you can’t qualify a customer you might as well be a tour guide at The Biltmore House. After a quality presentation and some sound studying one of the questions I’ve found to be effective is “so, everyone’s looking for someone to cross off their list to make their decision easier, what would cross us off your list?” Don’t fear the reaper, objections are good. It allows you to uncover and address something that they may have been their reason for leaving. I think it’s important for the sales staff to get together and come up with a list of objections and practice overcoming them. At that point, we’re in a good position to make a proposal and confirm/close the sale. Don’t forget most people who are unsuccessful in sales never ask for the sale and studies show that it takes four attempts before it closes on the fifth. OK, we don’t exactly sell an impulse item but we can’t approach it with that in mind. If you think you can or whether you think you can’t…you right! I’ve made the paradigm shift in thinking I’m going to get them all but if we don’t get the sale today, then what?
Webster’s defines follow-up as: maintenance of contact with or reexamination of a person. There you go. It doesn’t get any easier than that.
All the traffic reports in the world are nothing but reports if we don’t use the information to follow-up. How many ups that we pay good money to get on the property are burned because we didn’t capture adequate information or did nothing with the information we captured. No maintenance. Just because we fill up a traffic report doesn’t mean they’re going to magically reappear! We touched on closing taking four attempts, it’s the same with follow-up. It typically takes five contacts to close a deal. I’m not talking about letting months go by before you call them. If you can’t remember them, they definitely can’t remember you. Follow-up needs to be immediate with a thank you for coming in either by email or card. Now comes the tricky part. You’ve got to have a reason to contact them again so get creative. Keeping them posted on the activity of a home they’re interested in, creating a take away close, can be effective. Price increases, open houses, seller incentives anything you can think of to contact them…. for a reason, can be effective. Keep your contacts in front of you don’t stick them in a file out of sight out of mind. Even the fancy smancy programs don’t keep them in front of you. I can hear George Carlin now “they prompt you”. If you can see them you can think about them because that’s what it takes. If you want to sell you have to be able to think. Ben Franklin said, “thinking is one of the hardest things to do that’s why so few people do it”. So start thinking. Look at each prospect and think what can I do today to increase the desire and create action? The phone is your friend. Heck we’re addicted to them and getting in touch with people is easier than ever! When I was a whipper-snapper (just ten years ago) we only had a land line and snail mail.
It’s three easy steps, prospecting, presentation and follow-up. Salespeople make the most money because we’re not clerks or tour guides. We’re thinkers and thoughts are things. Think about it!