Myers Barnes Blog

New homebuying has changed. CMAs should, too.

Categories: Customer Service, Leadership, New Home Sales, New Home Sales Coach, New Home Sales Process, New Home Sales Training | Posted: June 28, 2016

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Not so long ago, when you were trying to communicate the market value of a home to a prospective buyer, you prepared a competitive market analysis (CMA). The report compared the home being considered with others in a comparable neighborhood, with comparable features. You compared a 4-bedroom, 3-bath traditional home with another of the same size.

And it worked well.

The problem is, today’s homebuyer isn’t just “buying” a certain number of rooms in a desirable neighborhood. They’re looking at value, not just as purchase price, but in long-term ownership.

“Big data” is a term that describes a gathering of data that is highly focused and in-depth. The politicians have been relying on big data to better understand voters in narrow segments—like college educated, minority women under the age of 30 who live in a particular state. Big data provides a deeper understanding of behavior by particular sections.

That includes homebuyers. You can no longer sell the value of a home by comparing its structure to another “comparable” one. You have to dig deeper when creating a comp for your new homebuyer.

Lifestyle preferences are more important than the number of bathrooms or the square footage. You need to calculate other factors, like the proximity to the best schools, the view, and the age of the property, to name just a few.

Can you calculate the value of an easy commute? How much is it worth to your buyer to be able to walk the kids to school? When reviewing comps, do you take into account that one home will need to make a major renovation in the not-too-distant future, like HVAC or a new roof? Just as when you purchase a new car, you consider the cost of maintenance, you need to look at a property’s value in relation to ownership, not just purchase.

Forget the way you’ve been doing CMAs. You need to do better to sell the value of a new home to a prospective buyer. A standard CMA algorithm doesn’t take into account enough of the criteria that matters to homebuyers now. They do more research than ever before, so they come to you more informed. They won’t be satisfied with a run-of-the-mill CMA. Use a CMA platform that gives you the ability to customize the report to deliver a value that accurately reflects the home, and not just its physical attributes.

“Value” is in the eyes of the beholder. What matters to your particular buyer? First, find out. Then enter as much data as possible into your CMA program.

Then, go farther. Look at the cost of ownership. In a ten-year span, what will it cost to live in this house? How much will the utilities be for one house without energy efficient systems as compared to a new one with the latest eco-friendly advances?

Let’s also estimate the cost for replacing the roof in seven years, and the commuting cost for 20 miles, as compared to five miles.

You add it all up, and the new home you’re selling presents a total cost of ownership that is $27,000 less than the “comparable”. Can you sell that?

The housing market isn’t the “way it used to be”. Your CMAs shouldn’t either. Technology is giving you the tools to better define “value”. It’s your choice whether or not to use it. Do you want that advantage to go to your competitor?

Myers Barnes is America’s favorite new home sales trainer, author, speaker and consultant.  For more information, please visit www.myersbarnes.com.

Stop selling quality.

Categories: Customer Service, Leadership, New Home Sales, New Home Sales Training | Posted: June 14, 2016

For the remainder of 2016, we will be hearing certain words far too much—like “pundits”. A few years ago, the word “guru” was used so frequently that actual “gurus” had to find another word to distinguish themselves from the wanna-be’s. I think “thought leader” took its place.

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“Quality” falls into the same realm of terms that are have been so trampled by the masses that it no longer has any life left. When you hear someone boast about the quality of a product or service, does the word conjure up visions of excellence in your mind? Are you so moved by the promise of “quality” that you can’t wait to acquire more of it?

Of course not. Quality has no quality any more. First quality. Top quality. High quality. Now you need qualifiers to add meaning.

Stop selling quality. Sell benefits that have meaning, that resonate with your buyers.

Quality is purely subjective.

Don’t talk about quality construction. What IS that? Quality is a perception, and its meaning varies from one person to another. What’s your idea of a quality night out? Some people might say an evening at the theatre, while others describe it as pizza and a movie with no kids.

Offer specifics of the exceptional craftsmanship, the superior materials, and the meticulous attention to detail. Demonstrate true quality in the homes you are selling by pointing out factors that contribute to their positive perception.

For example, before you boast about the “quality” insulation, stop yourself. Instead, offer this:

“Here is the R-value rating of the insulation we’ll be installing in your home, which exceeds the standard, so you enjoy greater energy efficiency.”

Don’t talk about quality service. That’s not a tangible feature. Show your new home buyer the unmatched level of personal service that you provide. Follow up and follow through. Give them more information than they ask for. Answers questions they haven’t thought to ask. Be on time. Be available. And don’t check your smartphone in their presence.

“Quality” has no value as a word. Stop using it. Start showing it.

Myers Barnes is America’s favorite new home sales trainer, author, speaker and consultant.  For more information, please visit www.myersbarnes.com.

Take A Deep Breath

Categories: Personal Development, Uncategorized | Posted: May 31, 2016

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A young man asked Socrates the secret of success. Socrates told the man to meet him near the river the next morning.

When they met, Socrates asked the young man to walk with him into the river. Once the water got up to their neck, Socrates took the young man by surprise and swiftly ducked him under the water.

The man struggled to get loose, but Socrates was strong and held him there until the man’s face started turning blue. Finally, Socrates pulled the young man’s head out of the water. The first thing he did was to gasp and take a deep breath of air.

Socrates asked him, “What did you want the most when you were down there?”

The young man replied, “Air!”

Socrates said, “That is the secret of success. When you want success as badly as you wanted the air, then you will get it!”

Myers Barnes is America’s favorite new home sales trainer, author, speaker and consultant.  For more information, please visit www.myersbarnes.com.

Differential demonstration: Sell the community along with the new home

Categories: Customer Service, Leadership, New Home Sales, New Home Sales Coach, New Home Sales Management, New Home Sales Marketing, New Home Sales Process, New Home Sales Training | Posted: May 17, 2016

I realize that all new home sales professionals recognize the importance of selling the community along with the new home. They know they need to sell the community in addition to the home itself, but many of them don’t know how to best succeed here.

Demonstrating a model home effectively is a skill, and one that can be learned. Differential demonstration reflects a presentation style that focuses on guiding the prospective new home buyer into the mindset of homeowner, not browser. You do this by helping them envision themselves at home, with their family, their furniture, and their pictures on the walls. They can see themselves cooking in the kitchen, enjoying a long soak in the tub, and entertaining friends in the back yard.

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Part of being at home is the neighborhood—life beyond their yard and their driveway. What will it feel like to turn into the community as a homeowner, wave at your neighbors as you go by, walk your dog, and watch your kids play with others in the neighborhood? When you arrive at your home, where should it be with respect to the rest of your neighbors and the community? How about enjoying community amenities, like a clubhouse, pool, or walking trails?

Use differential demonstration to highlight community features that enhance the lifestyle for homeowners. As a new home sales professional, pose directed questions that will help you identify their location needs within this community.

Here are some differential demonstration questions to sell the community along with the new home you’re presenting.

Have you had an opportunity to drive through the community?

Was there something in particular that attracted you to the neighborhood? Are there any other details you would like to learn a little more about?

How important is neighborhood security to your choice for a new home?

As far as the location within this community, do you prefer the privacy of a cul-de-sac, or maybe the security an interior homesite, where neighbors surround you?

Have you considered a corner homesite? Do you know what makes a corner homesite special?

How close do you want to be to the amenities, like the pool, clubhouse, and fitness center? Do you want to be able to walk there or would you rather be a little farther away?

What direction would you like your home to face?

We do have a few green space/conservation/waterfront/pond front homesites. Of course, they are at a slight premium. Would that be of interest?

Ask questions—and lots of them. Every question should be designed to paint that picture of living in this home, on this property, and in this neighborhood. Practice your presentation questions in advance so you can ask them in a non-scripted way.

I welcome your ideas, suggestions, and experiences with respect to differential demonstration. Let me know what you’ve tried and the results. Feel free to contact me directly with any questions.

Myers Barnes is America’s favorite new home sales trainer, author, speaker and consultant.  For more information, please visit www.myersbarnes.com.

Differential demonstration: The right questions to ask your new home buyer

Categories: Customer Service, New Home Sales, New Home Sales Coach, New Home Sales Management, New Home Sales Marketing, New Home Sales Process, New Home Sales Training | Posted: May 3, 2016

A good interviewer knows how to guide a discussion to elicit more telling responses. You never ask a question that can be answered with just one word, because the conversation ends there.

When you are demonstrating a new home, you’re not merely showing a prospective homebuyer around, guiding them from room to room. Consider yourself a combination of a tour guide and a talk show host. Point out truly interesting aspects and engage the buyer in useful conversation.

Differential demonstration is distinguished from run-of-the-mill demonstration because it is more purposeful and, ultimately, more effective. Involve them in a discussion that guides their imagination. Encourages the buyer to experience the property, feel at home here, envision living the daily routine within this new home.

I’ve worked with superachiever sales professionals who practice differential demonstration with every presentation. Their conversion rate is consistently higher than those who just guide the buyer along a walk-through. Here are the right questions to ask your new home buyer.

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In the kitchen:

Can you imagine yourself preparing your family’s favorite meals in this kitchen?

Wouldn’t all this cabinet space and huge pantry make any chef happy?

In the living area:

Where you place your sofa in this room?

How would you situate your television and stereo in here?

In the master suite:

How would your bedroom set look in here?

Where would you place your bed and dressers?

Who would get the larger of the two closets?

In the children’s rooms:

Which of your children gets this room?

In the guest room:

How can you see yourself using this room? For guests? A home office? A craft room? Maybe an exercise room?

In the garage:

How would you use the garage space?

Would your workshop fit well here?

In the yard:

How would you landscape this yard?

Throughout the differential demonstration process, look for opportunities to spark your buyer to think about actually living in this new home. Rather than view it from the perspective of a visitor, guide them to think like the homeowner.

If you’d like to learn more about the differential demonstration approach to new home sales, please contact me.

Myers Barnes is America’s favorite new home sales trainer, author, speaker and consultant.  For more information, please visit www.myersbarnes.com.

Differential demonstration: Is your new home presentation on the right route?

Categories: Customer Service, Leadership, New Home Sales, New Home Sales Coach, New Home Sales Management, New Home Sales Marketing, New Home Sales Process, New Home Sales Training | Posted: April 19, 2016

I’m still en route to differentiating new home demonstration the right way. In this article, I’m literally on the route to success.

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Differential demonstration is a process for showing a new home in a way that drives the vision in the prospect’s mind of living in this house—from the furnishings to the activity. It’s not just a matter of walking them through the new home and exalting its wonderful features, but rather finding the “touch points” that matter to this buyer and hitting as many as possible. Help them picture themselves cooking in the kitchen, relaxing on their own furniture in the family room, waking up to the sunshine streaming through the master bedroom window, and getting ready in the morning without having to share a sink.

A new home presentation is enhanced by these differentiating points but you can also up your psychological advantage by following a pre-planned route through the home. Yes, it matters not just where you go, but when.

Is your new home sales presentation on the right route? Here’s the tour I recommend to new home sales consultants:

  1. Start at the curb. Your presentation should begin with a full view of the home’s curb appeal. Stand as far back as necessary, even stepping into the street if you have to so your prospect can get the big picture.
  2. Pause at the entry. Distinguish the home by telling the homebuyer the name of this particular home design, also noting the basic features, like number of bedrooms and baths, and the square footage. This is the introduction, appropriately offered at the threshold.
  3. Enter the foyer slowly and intentionally. Look around and remind your prospect of this place where they will be welcoming their guests.
  4. Point out the formal dining room. If there is a formal dining room off the foyer, introduce this space first.
  5. Move to the family room. The family room is probably close to the kitchen. To give your buyers the best view of the family room, move into the kitchen, far enough so they can see the full room—but you’re not going to give them the complete family room and kitchen tour…not yet, any way. Instead, you’re building up the anticipation for this important room so you can present it later in the presentation. Just let them know you’ll come back to this area.
  6. Visit the secondary bedrooms. Remember, you’re rising to a crescendo in anticipation. So, never start with the master bedroom. That’s like presenting the main course before the appetizer. Show the buyers where the other family members or guests will stay.
  7. Return to the family room and kitchen. I bet you thought I was going to guide you to the master bedroom, huh? No. Take them back to most of the living takes place. Give them the details. Talk about family activities that would happen here—family movie night, enjoying a crackling fire on a chilly night, hosting friends at the holidays. Take your time here. Paint that image so clearly that they can see, hear, smell, and taste the experience.
  8. Save the master suite for last. You’ve teased. You’ve offered subtle hints. Now take your prospects to the master suite. Ask them how they would arrange their furniture in this space. Explore the “tv or no tv in the bedroom” debate. Have them linger here so they can create the image of “home” vividly in their minds.
  9. Walk back through the family room. Redundant? Certainly not! This is the heart of the home. Bring them back here a few times to feel comfortable in this space.
  10. Exit to the patio. Guide them to the entrance to the outdoor living space. Let them take it in a moment.
  11. Move from the patio to the corner pin. Just as you started from the farthest reach in the front to enjoy the curb appeal, walk to the end of the property in the back yard. Explore the activity that could occur here. Kids playing in the yard. Cookouts. Evenings by the fire pit. Ask them to envision how they would enjoy their outdoor living in this home.
  12. Re-enter through the family room and kitchen. Again, return to the core. Ask the potential homebuyer(s) if they would like to revisit any part of the home. Invite them to browse on their own. While they wander, stay in the family room, relaxing comfortably. That means no talking or texting on the phone. Show them how it looks to have a friendly visitor.
  13. Finish. When they return, present your close in a casual, conversational manner. Your goal is to gain some type of commitment before they leave. What is the next step in this process? What do they need in order to choose this house as their home?

Practice the differential demonstration tour of your home before actually guiding any prospective homebuyers. Finetune your presentation and know your touch points so well that they are reflexive and don’t come across as scripted. Train yourself to escalate your energy level so they feel your enthusiasm for this home.

Please feel free to contact me to learn more about the essential skills involved in differential demonstration.

Myers Barnes is America’s favorite new home sales trainer, author, speaker and consultant.  For more information, please visit www.myersbarnes.com.

The key to new home demonstration: WIIFM?

Categories: Customer Service, Leadership, New Home Sales, New Home Sales Coach, New Home Sales Management, New Home Sales Marketing, New Home Sales Process, New Home Sales Training | Posted: April 5, 2016

In my last post, I talked about “differential demonstration” and the “Ta-Daaa Girl”. She’s the one on the game shows who waves her arm to show all the lovely prizes a contest might win. Yes, that’s a real job.

I want to explore differential demonstration a bit more, because I think there are many new home salespeople who still don’t understand how to effectively present a model to a potential buyer. The key to new home demonstration boils down to answering the buyer’s unspoken question:

“What’s in it for me?”—or “WIIFM?” as the marketing industry likes to call this approach to establishing value proposition.

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You can guide the buyer through the home and point out lovely features, but if you don’t connect the value to the prospect, you don’t gain any points. You haven’t effectively communicated to this person why they should care about that feature. You need to establish that connection and make it personal. Paint the picture of this individual, couple, or family living here in this home. They should picture themselves, with their furnishings, eating meals, relaxing in the living room, playing in the yard, working in the garage. Make no assumptions that they are having these visions. For all you know, they are overlooking a valuable feature, or are simply distracted.

Try this as you walk through the family room:

“This is where you and your family will spend most of your time. You can see, we move away from a traditional plan and have combined the family room and the kitchen in a manner that is both convenient and inclusive, meaning everyone in the family can enjoy one another’s company.”

When you give your buyers a tour of the kitchen, ask them to picture themselves preparing meals in this space. Don’t you love this kitchen? This open design allows everyone in the family to spend time with one another. How’s the kitchen design feel to you?”

In the master bath, communicate the value of the double vanity. “The design of double vanity is perfect for the on-the-go couple trying to blend two busy and sometimes similar schedules—getting ready for work or play at the same time. Also notice the enclosed, private toilet. It allows two people to access to the bathroom to dress, groom, or wash at the same time, while still affording privacy and space.

From room to room, plant the seed that converts their minds from browsing to living. Pull them into this home, rather than just showing it, like the Ta-Daaa Girl.

Before you demonstrate a home, differentiate it. Walk-through and create scenarios for buyers. Be prepared to adapt your presentation to the needs and wishes your prospects have communicated or might appreciate. Show them a room that would be ideal for a home office or media center, even if it isn’t presently decorated for that purpose. It’s your job to create the image of this model being a home to your buyer.

If you can’t answer their “WIIFM?” question, you haven’t done your job.

Myers Barnes is America’s favorite new home sales trainer, author, speaker and consultant.  For more information, please visit www.myersbarnes.com.

Differentiate your demonstration: New home presentation success

Categories: Customer Service, Leadership, New Home Sales, New Home Sales Marketing, New Home Sales Process, New Home Sales Training | Posted: March 29, 2016

I heard someone use the term, “TV spokesperson” and I asked what that job entailed. He told me it was usually a woman, the one who demonstrates an item on television, like on the game shows.

“Oh,” I said in a moment of enlightenment. “The ‘Ta-Daaa Girl’!”

Vanna White made a career of waving her arm at a display of prizes on a stage. It doesn’t take any skill. Those players will drool at the prizes with or without an attractive woman “demonstrating” them.

So, when I was talking to a group of new home sales professionals about the importance of “differential demonstration”, I recalled this conversation about the Ta-Daaa Girl.

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When you’re presenting a new home, you must do more than guide the prospect from room to room, waving your arm at various features. Unlike those game shows, your new homebuyers have other choices—other “prizes” to be had, with other salespeople who do more than smile and nod.

“Differential demonstration” is a careful process in which you understand and communicate the noteworthy features of a new home in a way that resonates with the potential buyer. If they have a growing family, you point out the back yard play area, the open floor plan that provides a comfortable gathering space, and the second-floor laundry. For someone who is downsizing, you show that the space is easier to manage, while still offering comfort, luxury, space, and ample storage.

Differential demonstration utilizes a planned route for guiding a prospect through a new home. For example, you always enter through the front door, even if it’s more convenient from the sales office to pass through another doorway. You give your buyer the first view from the front, where they can experience the curb appeal. You follow a pre-planned path that gives them a sneak peek at the kitchen and living room, but only for a brief moment. Your demonstration is intent on rising to a crescendo—building the anticipation of the most sought-after space. You return to the kitchen and dining room, and then highlight the many details.

Yes, there is a pattern, a method, and a thought process to successfully presenting a new home. It involves recognizing the hot buttons in the buyer, pushing them with finesse, and reminding them of the many ways that this home suits them.

I’ll be giving more insight into differential demonstration in the weeks ahead. Stay tuned. Or email me if you’re anxious to get started right away.

Myers Barnes is America’s favorite new home sales trainer, author, speaker and consultant.  For more information, please visit www.myersbarnes.com.

The handoff only works with a ready player.

Categories: Customer Service, Leadership, Personal Development | Posted: March 22, 2016

You can be a great quarterback, with a powerful throwing arm, keen vision to spot the plays on both sides of the field, and the strategic insight to create results with a team effort.

No matter how much preparation you invest, the true test of a winner is what happens on the field—where performance delivers results.

So, let me share a story here.

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A football coach invested considerable time in training Jake, a running back whom the coach believed showed potential. Coach was confident he could cultivate Jake into a strong contributor to the team’s offense.

Coach taught Jake the game strategy. He worked with him on the skills a running back needs, like finding that small opening and pushing ahead through a force field of defenders blocking the way. When he felt Jake was ready, he put him in his first game. The opposing team had a notoriously aggressive defense, so Coach told Jake to be ready. Coach told the quarterback to give the ball to Jeff.

He watched from the sidelines as, on the first play, the quarterback seemingly handed the ball to Jake. Then, the quarterback tucked the ball and ran with it himself. He didn’t get far, just a yard or two, as the defense barreled through and sacked him.

Frustrated, Coach yelled into his headset which was connected to the quarterback, “Give the ball to Jake!”

Again, the quarterback faked the handoff, held on to the ball, and stepped back, looking for a receiver so he could pass the ball. Again, he went down, losing even more yardage.

At fourth and sixteen, the offense walked off the field, dejected, as the punter headed out to kick the ball back to the opponents.

Coach grabbed his quarterback, pulled him aside, and said, “I told you over and over to hand off to Jake, but you kept the ball every time. What’s up?”

The quarterback replied, “Coach…Jake says he doesn’t want the ball.”

Never hand the ball to someone who does not want to run with it. If you have somebody on your sales team who shows reluctance or fear, hand that scoring opportunity instead to someone else who can and will make forward progress. Coach your players, cultivate.

Myers Barnes is America’s favorite new home sales trainer, author, speaker and consultant.  For more information, please visit www.myersbarnes.com.

Perception and Reality

Categories: Personal Development | Posted: March 15, 2016

 

The saying goes, “perception is reality.” It’s true. What you perceive becomes your reality. Humans are interesting creatures. We can filter out what we don’t want to acknowledge and sometimes read into a situation what isn’t there. You’re not wrong or right. It’s your perception, after all. Much like experiencing a feeling, you can’t be told you’re wrong. Your feelings are based on perception. Just because your perception doesn’t match up with someone else’s doesn’t mean yours is wrong.

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This sort of paradigm shift will save you from being a victim. Instead of reacting to the actions and situations that occur around and to you, accept that your unique perception is what builds your life. You’re not driven by what others insist to be true or untrue. Decide that reality for yourself. Identify those beliefs that are the foundation for your reality.

Perception starts in your mind. Then, your thinking goes into action, and your actions build your life. When you are aware of your perceptions, you make decisions that guide your life, rather than simply being led.

When I was 16, I was sent to military school. There, I was on my own, stripped of everything that made my unique, pushed toward fitting into a mold. Yes, the discipline had value in my life, but I didn’t just give in and allow the rules and regulations define my life. I maintained my individuality, stashed in my perception. I began recognizing my beliefs, embracing them as my own without needing anyone’s affirmation. It was then I started the life journey of realizing that, when stripped of everything, all I have left is my mind and how I filter my circumstances.

I grew from that reality.

Forty years later, at 56, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Once again, I could accept my circumstance at face value, and bemoan this fate. I didn’t take this path. I chose not to let go and drift into someone else’s perception of my own reality—the dire uncertainty that comes with the diagnosis of the big “C”.

With my “status quo” shaken, all I had left was my thinking, and my faith in God. I perceived right than that I could beat cancer with my mind, not my body. I focused my belief intently, shaping my reality.

I created my reality with my perception. I didn’t accept the guesses and estimations I was given. I chose to build my own vision, and I saw myself as a healthy person.

And here I am, seven years later, cancer-free.

Remind yourself of this life lesson. If you are not aware of your thinking—of what you perceive and how you filter—you make a choice. You choose to react the life’s circumstance rather than proactively navigate your life’s journey.

Choose now. Choose wisely. Choose your life.

Myers Barnes is America’s favorite new home sales trainer, author, speaker and consultant.  For more information, please visit www.myersbarnes.com.