Myers Barnes Blog

How Millennials Are Changing The Rules Of Homebuying

Categories: New Home Sales | Posted: July 28, 2015

Screen shot 2015-07-09 at 10.05.54 AMAs a demographic cohort, Millennials (aka Generation Y) have been confounding people for years. They simply don’t behave the way that people expect them to. Their response to the homebuying process is no different.

In a recent article on Forbes“Millennial Money” blog, the Millennial approach to homebuying was labeled “really weird”. And what makes them so weird is a complex combination of economic and sociological factors that no previous generation has faced.

Thanks to the insecure job market and unprecedented student loan debt, Millennials (age early 20’s – early 30’s) have developed a rather unromantic approach to buying real estate. Couples aren’t getting married, but they are buying homes in cities. They aren’t putting down roots, instead fixing up their new homes and then selling them within a year or two.

Yup, it’s weird. And it’s the shape of things to come. Millennials represent the largest segment (32%) of homebuyers in America, and that number will only grow in the coming years.

20-somethings are using their first homes to increase their credit scores and build credibility with the bank – possibly offsetting the ponderous effect of student loan debt. While they are cash poor (which makes down payments a struggle), many Millennials are able to start their real estate ventures with special programs that financial institutions have established for first time buyers.

Financial advisors have some warnings though. While investing in real estate is more exciting and tangible than contributing to a 401k, Millennials should exercise a level of risk management. Owning real estate involves more fees and expenses – taxes, HOA fees, debt payments. Managing savings and investing in life insurance to offset the debt risk is one recommendation. A prenuptial agreement outlining the financial responsibilities of two unmarried people owning real estate is another.

If this all sounds terribly pragmatic, it is. The Millennials want the American Dream of owning a home. They’re just doing their way, as usual.

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

Know The Market Before You Sell Your Home!

Categories: New Home Sales, New Home Sales Management | Posted: July 21, 2015

Screen shot 2015-07-09 at 9.55.02 AMWhen you’re looking to sell your home, you have a vested interest in its value. What you really need to know is how much similar homes in your area are selling for. The same information is also useful if you are in the market to buy a home.

Trusting a neighbor for information on home prices may have once been the norm, but in the current market, it might lead to misinformation. Sellers or buyers can get inaccurate information on a sale because a neighbor may be embarrassed to admit it was a short-sell or they lost their house.

Because real estate sales are a matter of public record, home sale prices are easy to find. However, the days of searching town or county records have been replaced with Web searches that exchange privacy for free information.

  1. Visit a residential real estate website such as com, Realtor.com or Homes.com. Navigate to the “homes sold” page, and type in the address of the home you’re looking for.
  1. Contact a realtor. Even though everyone has access to online websites or neighborhood gossip for details on homes prices, local experts are still recommended for the most accurate information. Find out which realtor closed the sale, then phone or email them to get the price.

Double-checking both the online info and the realtor’s for the sake of accuracy is good practice.

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

 

 

Increase Traffic By Staging Your Home The Right Way

Categories: New Home Sales | Posted: July 14, 2015

Screen shot 2015-07-09 at 9.40.36 AMStaging your home is proven to increase traffic and even your sale price, so take the time to stage each room to best show off its assets, and downplay its flaws. The first rule of staging, though, is cleanliness. Above all, every room must be pristine.

Bathroom: Grimy bathroom walls & shower doors are a major red flag to buyers. Spray down the walls with a bleach & water solution, and watch the mold disappear. Clean the shower doors with a muriatic acid and water solution and steel wool. If your tiles are looking old and beat, paint them with epoxy to update the look. Give the whole room a fresh coat of paint.

Closets: Buyers need to see empty closets and/or clean cabinets. So, start tossing stuff. In the kitchen, arrange pantry items (jars, bottles, cans) in some semblance of order, and neatly stack the dishes. In the closets, hang similar items together and facing the same direction. Line up your shoes.

Kitchen: Revive dated cabinetry with a coat of paint or stain. Update door and drawer hardware. New appliances are always a plus – they instantly say “new kitchen!” If that’s not possible, make sure the ones you have are spotless. Make sure every surface is clean – no crumbs, grease or stains.

Living Room: Revive old hardwood floors. Replace/repair damaged sections, then refinish them in a rich new color. Declutter your built-ins. Remove personal items. Remove excess furniture.

Bedrooms: Declutter shelves, bookcases, surfaces. Remove personal items. Remove excess furniture. Bedrooms should look peaceful and comfortable. In the master bedroom, add a headboard if you don’t have one. It makes the room seem more luxurious. If bedding isn’t show-worthy, buy a “bed in a bag”. Then, paint the walls with a coordinating color. Instant sophistication.

Exterior: No matter how good the interior of your home looks, buyers have already judged your home before they walk through the door. You never have a second chance to make a first impression. It’s important to make people feel warm, welcome and safe as they approach the house. Spruce up your home’s exterior with inexpensive shrubs and brightly colored flowers.

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

If You Want Great Salespeople, Be a Great Sales Manager

Categories: Leadership, New Home Sales Management Training, New Home Sales Training | Posted: July 7, 2015

Sucessful sales peopleIt’s always a joy to take pride when your sales team succeeds. You know that you played a part in achieving those results. Do you also give yourself the “credit” for their misses? Do you ask yourself how you could have helped them achieve better results?

There’s a simple truth when it comes to sales management. If you want great salespeople, be a great sales manager. Give them a role model to follow. Empower them with the skills they need to thrive.

Here are five traits I look for in a great sales manager:

  1. Self-awareness. A sales manager who is keenly aware of his own strengths and weaknesses demonstrates a valuable ability to be flexible, able to quickly adapt and respond to others. Self-awareness reflects an intuitive nature that enables you to tune into your individual salespeopple as well as yourself.
  2. Effective multi-tasker. Managing a team means you must juggle a variety of issues and challenges simultaneously. You don’t have the luxury of tackling one task at a time. You need to be able to pull the members of your team together and keep them coordinated at all times. When any member feels overlooked, you compromise that individual’s success, and frankly, you become less valuable to the team.
  3. Tuned in. In your role as sales manager, you need to know about the prospects that your salespeople are working with. You should be aware of any opportunities they might be overlooking so you can guide them to greater success. By educating yourself about their customers, you also demonstrate your interest in their work, which is a key motivator.
  4. A meeting master. Sales meetings can be a total waste of time that could be spent driving sales, but they are an essential communication and training tool. A great sales manager controls the sales meeting, ensuring it doesn’t wander off point. Be aware of the meeting’s objective at the outset—and make it clear to the sales team. When you stay on task, you show your salespeople how to maximize their time for best results.
  5. Goal-setter. Great sales managers understand that great salespeople thrive on meeting and exceeding goals. Work individually with your team members to set goals, monitor the progress, and evaluate the results.

No matter how great your salespeople are, there is always room to improve. Capitalize on these five traits to help them realize their potential.

Inspire Your Team – Then Get Out of Their Way!

Categories: Leadership, New Home Sales Training | Posted: June 23, 2015

inspire and leadI recently wrote about the difference between leaders and managers. A leader’s role is to inspire people and motivate them to achieve results. A manager supervises the execution of tasks. They are both essential in an organization, but shouldn’t be considered synonymous.

It is also the job of a leader to recognize when it’s time to pull back and let the followers move forward. Let them off their leashes. In other words, inspire your team-then get out of their way!

Once you have sparked that enthusiasm in your group, don’t keep tugging them along. Set them free to use that passion, that knowledge, and that energy to achieve results. Let them explore their potential without your hand guiding them.

Think of professional athletes. Every day, their coaches work with them, preparing them to push themselves to the brink, in order to get that win. On the day of the game, when the smell of victory is just 60 minutes away, does the coach keep preparing them? No. He gives them that last Knute Rockne speech about spirit, drive, and achievement. And he steps out of the way so his team can rush out and use the skills he has honed in them.

Can you do the same? Do you recognize when your sales professionals are trained, motivated, and ready to go? Can you take yourself out of their way?

Successful leadership cultivates future leaders. To do so, you have to empower them with the necessary skills and then allow them to apply what you’ve taught them. Only then can they be on their way to achieving their potential.

It’s okay to stand on the sidelines and watch your players push for the sales victory. Take pride that you have prepared them. And remember that their success is a direct reflection of yours.

Busy-ness or Business: Don’t Confuse The Two

Categories: New Home Sales Coach, New Home Sales Training | Posted: June 9, 2015

Juggling Busy work instead of being productive“Busy-ness” has no place in your organization. The concept of expending energy on tasks that deliver no result is contrary to the productivity that leads to success. I often see people who hurry about, seemingly busy. In most cases, the people who appear the busiest are actually the least productive. They are not overworked, just disorganized.

Don’t confuse activity with action. Action is a results-oriented motion. “If I do this, then that results.” Activity is bluster. Activity is movement with no particular direction. Wandering through a mall is activity. Brisk walking for your health is action.

Take a look at the motions that commonly require your effort. Do they guide you closer toward achieving your sales goal? Is it a lead generator? Do you have someone on your team who seems to spend a lot of time calling prospects but never delivers results? That’s activity, and it needs to be addressed, because such extensive effort should lead to a positive outcome. A sales professional who is busily making phone calls that lead nowhere is a hamster on the wheel – and you’re paying the price of that activity, in lost sales and wasted time.

Take the time to analyze the cost of the efforts across your organization. There may be tasks that could be done more efficiently, delegated elsewhere, or simply eliminated. Imagine if you could create an extra hour a day by converting activity into guided action. What would your outcome be? If you spent one hour a week training others to be more productive, the benefit of that action would resonate across your group.

I recently saw a sign that said, “If you fall into a rut, don’t furnish it.” Following the status quo by letting fruitless activity continue is most certainly turning that rut into a comfy place to be.

Don’t do it.

Aim for purposeful action and you’ll see positive results.

Pump Up with a Mental Workout

Categories: Leadership | Posted: May 26, 2015

Mental workoutWe’ve become a sedentary society. Drive-thrus and remote controls have become our downfall. We need to make an effort to get moving and stay fit.

And I mean physically and mentally fit.

When you stop working out, whatever muscles you had turn to flab. You need to remain active to keep your body functioning at peak performance. You engage in fitness workouts—cardio, free weights, aerobics, walking, sports, or whatever exercise suits your interest. Think how good you feel after a workout. Your blood is more actively circulating through your body and you feel invigorated, motivated, and inspired.

Apply the same concept to your mental fitness. Give it a workout. Challenge your mind to become stronger. Read. Listen to audio books and podcasts. Attend seminars, workshops, and webinars.

The online world is brimming with information. You can find a wealth of knowledge here, whenever you want. Choose a topic you want to explore and search for credible (emphasis on “credible”) resources.

Sparking the brain neurons is proven to sharpen your senses. You become more attuned to the world around you. You respond more quickly. Your memory improves. Before you know it, you’re seeing the world more clearly, uncovering ideas and solutions you had missed before.

Pumping mental iron not only benefits you with greater knowledge and awareness, but presents an opportunity as well. Like you, other people are heading to the Web to find ideas and information. As you build your mental strength, you can become the valued source for creative thinking and intelligent expression—the all-important “thought leader”.

If you saw the movie, “Limitless”, with Bradley Cooper, you learned that we use just a fraction of our brain strength. There is so much more to be activated and cultivated. Just as you have muscles that have yet to be conditioned, your mind has room for strengthening and fitness. Don’t get mentally flabby.

Leaders Versus Managers: What’s the Difference?

Categories: New Home Sales Training | Posted: May 12, 2015

interview clipboardAny successful organization requires strong leadership and management—two different skill sets, not one. They co-exist, leading the group towards achieving goals, but with different methods.

A leader inspires and motivates others to achieve greater potential.
A manager handles, maintains, and supervises the completion of tasks.
And we need both in order to spark a group and then maintain its power, ability, and achievement in the long run.

As legendary software pioneer Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper once said, “You manage things; you lead people.”

You might find all of the qualities in one person, but don’t expect it. While it’s not necessarily a right brain-left brain sort of distinction, there are unique characteristics that define the person who excels in either leading or managing.

The leader: Visionary and inspiring

  • Positive: A glass-half-full mentality is required, because a true leader knows anything is possible, if you believe and can erase the negative thoughts that just hold you back.
  • Charismatic: People are attracted to the individual who is charming, relaxed, and easy to talk to. If people don’t like you, they won’t follow you. Without followers, you’re not a leader.
  • Enthusiastic: Communicates with energy—but not baseless cheerleading.
  • Creative: Sees potential in everything and can turn a bad situation around with creative thinking.
  • Open-minded: Welcomes new ideas, no matter where they come from.
  • Self-confident: Not cocky or arrogant, but confident in his or her own ability, so this person doesn’t feel threatened by others.
  • Self-aware: Keenly aware of his or her own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Inspiring: Sees potential in others and inspires them to achieve.
  • Perceptive: Awareness isn’t just restricted to being self-aware, but also detecting the highs and lows in other people. Being able to successfully “read” other people gives the effective leader the advantage of using visual clues to trigger more effective responses—which then inspires others to follow.

The manager: Organized and responsive

  • Knowledgeable: Knowing the systems, processes, and technology inside and out is essential so that the task master understands what’s involved in getting things done right.
  • Structured: Organized and systematic in everything. A good manager creates processes that make sense to the group, and can be replicated, scaled, or executed even without the manager’s supervision.
  • Dedicated: Forget the clock-watchers. Management requires commitment to seeing the task completed, no matter what it takes.
  • Versatile: Needs to handle a variety of assignments, manage different personalities, and sometimes step in on a hands-on basis.
  • Focused: A goal is not a wish. An effective manager stays the course with discipline and tunes out the distractions that get in the way.
  • Communicative: Today’s managers can’t bark orders with the “Because I said so” mentality. Sharing information with team members and making sure they’re on board with the objectives is key to effective management.
  • Accountable: Remember, there is no “I” in “T-E-A-M”. The manager is in charge and therefore responsible for outcomes, good or bad. However, in those “good” cases, an effective manager knows the share the credit with the team.
  • Resilient: A setback is just a challenge to a successful manager. They don’t allow themselves to get paralyzed when a problem arises, but bounce back with effective action.

When you’re hiring or cultivating talent, compare the individual’s qualities with these lists, and you’ll have a better idea of how they can benefit your business.

You’re Not a Builder, You’re a Technology Company

Categories: New Home Sales Training | Posted: April 24, 2015

Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi wrote, “I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?”

Why am I sharing this? Well, I find that businesses that build homes are a bit unclear as to what they offer to their homebuyers. If we apply Zhuangzi’s principle, are you a builder who utilizes technology to reach your customers and maintain a relationship? Or are you a technology company that uses this expertise to build homes that your buyers want and find?

You can use your building skills to construct homes – so can anyone else with the knowledge and craftsmen.

use virtual floorplans and other technology to set yourself above your competition in new home salesThe vast array of technology tools – website development, social media, virtual floor plans, mobile apps, GPS, QR codes, Google analytics – are those that differentiate you from other builders. When you leverage these power tools to communicate the part of your business that builds new homes, you can market and sell them. You can find your buyers more adeptly. You can locate and reach out to them and pull the right buyers out of a crowd. You can measure their response to your messaging, and alter it as needed.

Imagine if you work conventionally, showing elevations, floor plans, and site maps to potential homebuyers. Now, step it up as you think like a technology company. You pull out your tablet and instantly customize a virtual floor plan to their changes. You add the exterior touches they want. And with one touch of your finger, you send a three-dimensional image to their mobile device.
You’re hosting an open house at your model home. You’re hoping the traffic will pick up. And you wait. Not exactly proactive, is it?

Or you shift to technology mode and post instant updates on Twitter and Facebook, with incentives that will prompt fast response. You text message prospects who should be there and send them photos. You don’t sit and wait. You rely on the power of technology to be a strong sales organization.
You finish a new home and post a “For Sale” sign. But a technology company knows to do more. The sign includes a QR code that a drive-by prospect can scan and then get all the information about the property, even contacting a sales agent right from the site.

The technology company that builds homes knows that most buyers browse on their mobile devices. And they recognize that a website needs to be adapted in order to be viewed on a smaller screen. They develop a mobile app and push out notifications to their prospects, so they can easily tap into this invaluable resource.

Ask yourself which kind of company you are – a builder, like many others, or a technology company with specific expertise in building homes. What is your dream?

Give Your Homebuyer More Than Google Does

Categories: New Home Sales Training | Posted: April 7, 2015

Searching for a new home onlineWhen they’re ready to start the search for a new home, buyers don’t get on the phone. They get online. About 90 percent of them use digital media to hunt for their next home; 52 percent turn to the World Wide Web before looking anywhere else.

They Google keywords, like “new home”, “builder” and the area where they hope to live. What do they find? Google gives them results based on the best matches to those keywords, based on most popular results and the quality of the website’s SEO. From this point, the homebuyer needs to scan through the promotional speak on each builder’s website.

They are looking for a builder who can build a quality home, within their price range. More than that, they want a builder who is reliable, someone with a strong reputation for success.
How do they find a builder with these qualities? Google is a machine. It follows an algorithm, but doesn’t measure personal service. Sites like Yelp can offer some insight, but the reviews are often limited.

The best way you can communicate the quality of your customer service is to deliver it. Be meticulous about your communication with prospects and homebuyers, through every step of the process. Ask them how you can help them make the decision that best suits their criteria. Give them information that will save them the time of Googling and sifting the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Your CRM system is essential to maintaining the strong communication that builds customer satisfaction. Make sure you and your team are trained in using the CRM for its primary purpose: Customer Relationship Management. A CRM will prompt sales professionals to do outreach, will give reminders about a customer’s interests, and keep track of those prospects who haven’t yet committed. What a CRM cannot do is actually make the human connection that leads to memorable quality service.

When you deliver exceptional customer service, you keep your homebuyer connected to you, not Google.