Myers Barnes Blog

Blog Category - Customer Service

Which Came First? Digital Marketing or the Website?

Categories: Customer Service | Posted: July 18, 2017

You know the question. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Well, if you accept the Bible’s word on creation, on the Fifth Day of Creation Week, God made “every winged fowl after [their] kind.” Then He instructed them to “be fruitful and multiply”—i.e., lay eggs. Clearly then, the chicken came first.
Here’s another question that seems to trick business people. Which came first, digital marketing or website development?

If you’re unsure, ask yourself the purpose of digital marketing. It’s not intended to spark a transaction or even make the phone ring. Digital marketing drives traffic to your website. Period.

Every email you send, every blog you post, every tweet and update you share, and every Google and Facebook ad you place has one intention: Go to my website.

When these potential customers reach your website, what will they find? Is it intentional? Have you constructed it to be informative, engaging, and easy to navigate? Will they wander around and then share their contact information, or slip away like someone who suddenly realizes they’re in the wrong place?

A successful website attracts traffic and then fuels the interest of these visitors. It is strategically planned, written, designed, coded, launched, and maintained.

All of the digital marketing activities funnel to the website.


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“No” is the start of a discussion, not the end.

Categories: Customer Service, Leadership, New Home Sales Coach, New Home Sales Training, Personal Development | Posted: June 13, 2017

When someone tells you, “No”, do you take that answer as final?

Your computer doesn’t accept it. Think of all those times you click on a button and get the query, “Are you sure?” in response.

Your kids don’t accept it. They’ll push and whine in order to convert your “No” to a “Yes”, a “Maybe”, or even a “We’ll see”.

As sales professionals, we should feel energized by the word, “No”. It should jump-start our sales skills to deal with the reason behind the negative response. Does it mean “not ever”, “not now”, or “not under those terms”? You owe it to yourself AND your customer to probe more deeply. There could be a miscommunication about the offer, the details, the timing, the product—whatever. The buyer might be experiencing a déjà vu from a previous experience that has made her hesitant to say, “Yes”. She might also not be ready for your close at this moment.

You should pursue the discussion to clarify the meaning of the “No”.

Is there something more you’d like to know about this property, builder, or community?

What is holding you back from making the decision? What’s missing from this?

What would make the timing right for you?

I don’t want to be overly pushy. I want to make sure you’re not missing out because I haven’t communicated effectively.

This last statement is a great way to build the rapport. By taking responsibility for the “No”, the buyer is not on the offensive. They might even feel they owe you an explanation!

Use the “No” to learn more about your homebuyer—needs, timing, budget, concerns, likes and dislikes. Remember, the word “no” is part of “know”. If you don’t want to hear “no” more, then KNOW more!

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

Five-star reviews and how to get plenty of them

Categories: Customer Service | Posted: May 11, 2017

Face it; literally, every new home prospect stalks your homebuilding company first. They check out your online presence: website, social media, and reviews.

You have control over your website and Facebook pages, but you’re at the mercy of customers to post reviews. This is what homebuilders tell me. “The happy ones never seem to go to the trouble of posting a great review, but the dissatisfied minority sure do!” It’s human nature. When you get what you want, you walk away contented. When you don’t, you want everyone to hear about it. Family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and your hairstylist (and they LOVE to spread bad reviews).

Go Get ‘Em

You have an option here. You can go after those five-star reviews, rather than wait around with your fingers crossed.

Matt Riley, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Royal Oaks Homes, was faced with a small stream of eight reviews that were uncomplimentary out of the thousands of homes his company had built. He knew he would lose buyers if he didn’t act. So, Matt created a process to garner those stellar 5-Star reviews from happy customers (which constituted the silent majority of Royal Oaks buyers).

He offered his sales team emotional incentives. For every 5-Star review they obtained, they earned kudu’s, high fives and recognition. Yet, at first, it didn’t work. The process wasn’t frictionless. People agreed to submit a review but didn’t know how to do it and didn’t take the time to figure it out.

Simplify with Visuals

Matt knew he needed to simplify this review system. He created a graphic that showed the three-step process for guiding a customer to that review (one graphic for using Google and the other for Yelp!).

His team contacts customers, asks them to submit a review, and then gives them a frictionless way to upload it to Yelp and Google. When you create a frictionless path to creating and submitting a review, and you ask your customers to follow it, you’ll be rewarded with the accolades you’ve earned.

Reviews matter. Don’t let the good ones pass you by. If you need more help with steering this system, let us know.

Request Your Custom Graphic

Visit BuilderIQ to request a graphic for your company. Need help setting up your Google or Yelp accounts? Contact Builder Designs today, so you can churn up the five-star reviews you’ve earned! (It’s a complimentary service on us, so reach out and let us help.)


Post appeared first on BuilderIQ: Five-star reviews and how to get plenty of them

Do you deliver frictionless buying?

Categories: Customer Service | Posted: May 8, 2017

Friction isn’t just that chafing feeling when someone is rubbing you the wrong way. In the language of selling, friction is a barrier. It’s a reason for someone to think twice, and perhaps go elsewhere. The less friction you create between you and your buyer, the more seamless the experience for both of you.

Look at Amazon, the master of frictionless buying. When you want something—anything—you search the online retailer’s site. You check the reviews, make your choice, and it’s one-click easy to buy what you want, delivered where it needs to be, in two days (or less) for no shipping.

Can it get any more frictionless than that?

Sure. I can order whenever I want because Amazon never closes. If I open a gift on Christmas morning and it’s not what I want, need, or will ever wear, I can go to Amazon’s site and exchange it, right then. They’ll even have someone pick it up from my door. They are always open and they deliver on Sundays.

Frictionless Businesses

Amazon is one of the world’s largest retailers, and it achieved that status without a brick-and-mortar store.

Uber is the largest transportation business worldwide and the company made it to the top without owning a single vehicle.

Airbnb is the global leader in vacation travel, without owning any rooms!

Each of these businesses disrupted their industry and dethroned competitors through frictionless selling and service. They make it as easy as possible for the customer to get what they want. You do whatever it takes to make the purchasing decision a seamless no-brainer. Minimize the steps. Remove the obstructions for a frictionless buying process.

How does this relate to new home sales?

How’s your website?

Today, 78% of your weekend web traffic comes in over a mobile phone! So, is your website Mobile First, super-fast and easily navigable?

Important questions to think about when it comes to your website…

  • How many times do you meet with a customer before they choose to buy from you?
  • How many phone calls and emails are exchanged? Does your customer have to wait for a response? How long is the wait?
  • How many design variations and finance options do you present?

Every unnecessary step along the path to purchase is an opportunity for your customer to take a detour elsewhere.

If Amazon’s store was only open certain hours, would you continue to shop there?

If Uber didn’t conduct their business over your mobile phone, or the driver was not 5 Star rated, and they conducted their business the same as a cab, or if they arrived late, would you use the service again?

There are ways to reduce the friction in your sales process. We’ll come back later to give you more information or feel free to get in touch to get started right away: contact Builder Designs


The post appeared first on BuilderIQ: Monday Thoughts with Myers: Do You Deliver Frictionless Buying?

Sales Profiling: A Lead Is A Person, Not A Thing

Categories: Customer Service, New Home Sales, New Home Sales Coach, New Home Sales Management, New Home Sales Training | Posted: April 18, 2017

Sales professionals often refer to “leads” like a form letter. They read the characteristics and make assumptions.

These same people talk about working their leads via social media or the CRM system.

I wonder, how does these people who are being treated as a “lead” feel about the sales person? Do they categorize him or her as just “someone trying to sell me”? Do they recognize those form emails?

These characterizations create barriers that impact the sales process. You see the other person as a caricature or stereotype, based on brief information gained through an online inquiry or Facebook post. I guess we could call it “sales profiling”.

We’re in a new age of personal selling that was ironically spawned from impersonal impact of the Internet. People shop on the Web. They do their research there. They even look for reviews and recommendations.

But when it comes down to making an important purchase, like buying a new home, the sales process requires a personal relationship. A buyer needs to trust that a sales professional is truly committed to finding the right home—in the right location and at the right price. That trust doesn’t come from an introductory email or a few Facebook messages swapped online. It can start there, but you need to cultivate those relationships.

A “lead” is an inquiry that stems from interest. You need to gauge the level of interest by getting to know the person. A lead could go nowhere, or it could bring you to not just one sale, but more referrals.

Emails, online inquiries, and social media stir up leads. It’s your job to take the one-dimensional thing and create a relationship. Pick up the phone and call. Ask questions. Answer questions. Offer suggestions. Successful selling is a partnership between you and your customer. It only starts with a lead. Where will you take it?

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

Business – A War Without Bullets

Categories: Customer Service, Leadership, New Home Sales, New Home Sales Coach, New Home Sales Process, New Home Sales Training, Personal Development | Posted: December 27, 2016

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In 1964, two men shook hands and formed Blue Ribbon Sports, a running shoe company, inspired by a Japanese company.

Five years later, on the suggestion of a friend, that company became Nike. And it revolutionized the world of sports and athletic clothing.

One of those two men was Phil Knight, who ran track at the University of Oregon, under legendary coach, Bill Bowerman, the other man in the business agreement

Nike’s pioneering approach to shoe design launched a flood of competition, as companies like Adidas, New Balance, and Puma sought to steal their share of the burgeoning market that Nike created.

Phil Knight once said, “Business is like a war without bullets.”

In business, we battle for territory—whether that’s mastery over a geographic region or a particular vertical market. We study the competition’s strategy, learning their winning ways and identifying their weaknesses. We take aim at conquering their territory. Coca-Cola and Pepsi have been at it for years, introducing new ad campaigns and new brands to take consumers away from the enemy. Both have had victories and epic failures. Yet, their battle wages on.

How are you fighting the war with and on your business? Are you strategizing ways to better define your value proposition? Are you identifying aspects about your homes, properties, construction, and service that differentiate you? Have you tried different approaches to overcome potential threats from your competitors?

You will not succeed in a stagnant position. The enemy will know where you are, who you are, and exactly what and how you sell. You’re an easy target.

The dynamic business with visionary leadership thrives. They are finding ways to invade territory that has been “owned” by other companies. They’re adding new designs to their arsenal. They’re looking at under-served markets that present sales potential. And they’re examining the way they manage their own troops—their sales force—to ensure that these front-line soldiers are armed with the knowledge, product, sales training, and ammunition to be successful.

The housing industry is rebounding from the housing bubble that burst about eight years ago. The survivors of that horrific devastation adjusted to the drastic downturn that crippled many developers. They fought through the tough times, having learned how to be agile and adapt.

Yes, the housing market is improving, but you still must be prepared to be tough and vigilant. Every sale you lose is a battle lost.

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

The Power Of The Positive “No”

Categories: Customer Service, New Home Sales, New Home Sales Coach, New Home Sales Management Training, New Home Sales Training, Personal Development | Posted: November 15, 2016

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Former British prime minister Tony Blair once said, “The art of leadership is not saying ‘Yes’. It is saying ‘No’.”

Saying “no” to a request, an offer, or invitation doesn’t have to negative. We just need to learn how to say “No” in the right way.

Warren Buffett told William Ury, author of “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In”, “I don’t understand all this Yes stuff. In my line of business, the most important word is ‘No’. I sit there all day and look at investment proposals and say, ‘No’, ‘No’, ‘No’—until I see exactly what I’m looking for. And then I say, ‘Yes.’”’

Even Ury himself said, “the main obstacle to getting to Yes is learning how to say ‘No’ properly.”

Why is it so difficult?

I think it’s because we perceive the word “No” as negative, limiting, and off-putting. So, we say “Yes” when we shouldn’t. We agree to terms that aren’t reasonable. We commit our time to things that aren’t worthwhile.

Then what happens? We grudgingly go through with what we agreed to do. We kick ourselves, and moan about “what I should have said.” So, let’s put an end to that pain.

Aim for a positive “No”. Rather than a blunt refusal, offer another possibility.

“I can certainly appreciate your needs here, and maybe we can find a different way to meet them that is more mutually agreeable.”

You’ve nicely said rejected the offer without ending the conversation.

“I’d like to do that for you, but right now, I can’t. Is there any flexibility in your timeline?”

You let the person know that you’re busy but still willing to help, if and when possible.

“I wish I could help, but I’m tied up; however, I might know someone who can.”

You provide an alternative, by saying “Yes” to helping, but on a different level—offering another resource.

The words “Yes” and “No” don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The successful way to deliver a positive “No” is by finding a way to blend the negative response with a positive one. “No, but…” or “Yes, but…” provide a sturdy bridge.

Someone once told me, “Every time you say ‘yes’ to someone else, you say ‘no’ to yourself.” Remind yourself of that. Respect the value of your time and hone the skill of delivering a positive “No”.

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

Selling Is A Dialogue, Not A Conversation.

Categories: Customer Service, New Home Sales, New Home Sales Management, New Home Sales Marketing, New Home Sales Process, New Home Sales Training | Posted: September 27, 2016

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Recently, I was talking with a great sales executive who was explaining the concept of “conversational selling”. He told me that this particular process is a more “people-friendly experience for the buyer. If we maintain control while simultaneously keeping it real with people, the comfort experienced by most of them will result in a successful sale.”

I heard what he was saying. I’ve heard it many times before.

I just don’t happen to harmonize with it.

A “conversation” isn’t purposeful. You engage in conversation with people on the street, in the grocery store, while waiting in line. It’s often a time-filler, a casual back-and-forth that can be entertaining, enlightening, or possibly thought provoking.

But what conversation lacks is purpose. You don’t venture into a conversation with a desired outcome in mind. You offer a thought, the recipient lobs one back, and you volley from there. It can drift away into unexpected tangents, and you let it—simply because that’s the interesting miscellany of conversation.

A “dialogue”, on the other hand, is a scene that is played out, in advance, in your mind. Like a director with a screenplay, your dialogue is intended to communicate a specific point, to reach a conclusion.

In the pre-Internet days, you delivered a sales presentation. It was one-sided. We served up persuasive content, carefully crafted to influence the buyer by dangling those carrots that would prompt a bite. It was, in reality, a monologue.

The Internet created a vehicle for people to browse, research, study, and even engage in conversation. Buyers today come to you with far more knowledge and insight than ever before. With the advent of social media, they’ve also become accustomed to conversation and building virtual relationships in this way.

Sales presentations have evolved, as some trainers rebranded the sales presentation and named it “sales conversation”. Selling became more about relationship building than the feature-benefit presentational approach. This connection has grown from communication that encourages trust.

I respect the idea here, yet I believe we need to commit more deeply to the goal. Instead on conversation, engage in a “sales dialogue”. Prepare yourself for the role of salesperson by knowing the outcome you desire, and then crafting the exchange to achieve it. Sure, go ahead and achieve a friendly relationship through the casual banter of conversation. I’m not advising that you skip this step. I am, however, suggesting that you use the opportunity in a more purposeful way.

Prepare the dialogue in advance. Fine-tune it so that the language delivers a message of knowledge and honesty, with healthy dose of persuasion. Study the dialogue. Create scripts that enable you to be prepared to address objections in a friendly, but guided manner.

When you watch a television show or movie, you’re hearing dialogue that has been wordsmithed, with the purpose of guiding you to a specific emotional response. The writers craft the language as interplay between two people. It’s not ad-libbed. You won’t succeed without preparation. Create a dialogue that prompts purposeful engagement between the salesperson and potential buyer. Remember that the scene should not waft along in conversation, but move along a guided path to the desired outcome—the close.

 

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

Learning Lessons

Categories: Customer Service, New Home Sales, New Home Sales Marketing, New Home Sales Training | Posted: September 6, 2016

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If you’ve been with me for any amount of time, then you know I’m all about reading books and spreading and sharing knowledge. As a result, I often have in-depth conversations with friends and colleagues about what we’re reading. As you can guess, the topics we cover are broad.

 

Recently, I was talking with a friend who is reading a book called “ Making Sense of Who God is.” One chapter focuses on God’s will, defining His “revealed will” and His “secret will.” God’s revealed will is spelled out in the Bible: Don’t steal or murder. Be kind and courteous. Love your enemies. Don’t lie. Be grateful. Sell lots of new homes. Ok. That last one was my take on Matthew 19:21: “Go and sell what you have…”

 

God’s secret will is not quite as easy to pinpoint. Should you switch jobs, marry this person, have a child, move, buy a new car, borrow for a home addition, etc.? How can you even know the secret will of God?

 

The answer, according to the author, is to get to know the character of God. The more time you spend with Him in Bible study and in prayer, the more you get to know His character and, consequently, His secret will for you.

 

I mention this because it’s the same principle in relationships. Take a husband and wife, for instance. The wife comes home tired from working all day and has to cook dinner, help the kids with their homework, clean house, etc. The husband is sitting in the living room reading the newspaper and watching TV. She thinks, “Boy, I wish he would get up out of his La-Z-Boy and help me. I know if I ask him to, he will; but I expect him to see that I’m tired and I need him to pitch in because he wants to … not because he has to.”

 

As it plays out in real life, if she does not reveal her “secret will,” her husband — who is basically clueless — doesn’t respond. Because he does not see her need and meet her expectations, she becomes hurt and angry.

 

Nice lesson, but what does any of this have to do with new home sales? Well, I’ve given you this lengthy explanation to set the foundation for this statement: Every potential buyer you meet has a secret will and a revealed will. They may tell you some of the things they want in a home and neighborhood; but to know what they really want, you must spend time with them. Observe. Diagnose. Get to know them. Study their character. Learn how they think. Then you will understand how to respond to their needs, their home-buying objections, their desires and the “secret will” they have as a homebuyer. You will also know when to quit selling, either because they’re ready to buy or because they don’t want to buy.

 

Why is this important? Because the majority of new home salespeople are content to sit on their La-Z-Boys. They don’t make the effort to get up, get out and get to know the homebuyer. If you do, you’ll elevate your sales from second-rate to superstar status. And that’s my revealed will for you.

 

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

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.