To me, the discovery process in new home sales is the most important part of the selling process. Without asking the right questions, there IS no sale.
Making a sale requires a relationship that is built on trust. A buyer needs to trust that you understand their unique needs and wishes AND that you actually care about helping them. Discovery—the process of probing to uncover those needs and wants—is the only way to cultivate a relationship.
Think of selling a home like going on a first date. You don’t immediately launch into discussions of happily ever after or talk about wedding plans. That’s premature. You get to know each other through conversation. You discover what makes the other person tick.
I’ve spoken with new home sales professionals who are so excited about their product that they jump right into showing homes. There’s no sales foreplay at all! Others begin with financial qualifications before exploring what matters to the buyer.
These days, buyers do so much online research that they have likely pre-qualified your builder’s homes and locations. But in discovery, you give them a chance to dream, to imagine the life they could have in their new home. You put them in a relaxed and positive mindset. And isn’t that what you want them to feel?
If you don’t start with discovery, you’re simply wasting their time. Why drive from one home to the next to narrow down their preferences when you can wrap up a tidy list beforehand? Imagine taking your date to an oyster bar for the first date, only to find out they are allergic to shellfish? That kind of mistake doesn’t bode well when trying to impress a new home sales prospect.
Start with the location, not the home
Remember, you are not selling a house. You’re selling the experience of living in a home. That results not just from the home’s features but its location, too. Does it serve their lifestyle needs?
The new home sales process should start with finding out what the buyer wants for a location. If schools matter, what grade levels are pertinent to their family? If they want proximity to family members, where do those people live?
Some buyers might have their minds and hearts set on a specific location. As you get to know them, it’s your job to identify alternatives they might not have considered, or those that they crossed off their list due to misinformation.
This is your panoramic view of where they might like to live. Next, you’ll zoom in your lens for a closer look.
Focus on the neighborhood
When you are confident of locations that fit their plans, curb your enthusiasm for showing homes. Instead, move from a general location to a community. Give your buyer a sense of the neighborhood. Is it family-centered or a diverse mix of people? Do the amenities align with their wish list? Are they hoping for a cul-de-sac lot? Is a gated community important?
As you drive through the community, talk about the uniqueness of the lifestyle it offers. If you’ve sold homes here, talk a little about what your homeowners enjoy about the neighborhood. Get them excited about their new life here.
Finally…show the home
You’ve guided your buyer through the discovery process to the point you truly understand the home that will be the right match. Only then do you begin the home tours. As much as homebuyers might be anxious for walk-throughs, it’s to your benefit and theirs that you take the time to fully complete the discovery process. A serious homebuyer will appreciate your effort.
Discovery prepares for objections
Discovery is for learning the needs and wants, but it also can alert you to other issues. For example, if a buyer is concerned about mortgage pre-qualification, find out their concerns before getting them excited about your homes. Quite often, first-time homebuyers are unfamiliar with the wide variety of mortgage programs available. You can put their minds at ease and give them peace of mind with a simple pre-approval.
Maybe the home is great but the yard isn’t ideal. But is it large enough for the outdoor kitchen they mentioned? Is the community park a great alternative to taking care of a large yard?
New home sales professionals are matchmakers. Ask questions and be keenly aware of their answers, both spoken and unspoken. Guide them to finding the home that they fall in love with. When you do it right, the only question left to ask is, “Can we make this home yours?”