Myers Barnes' Editorial Archives
Results depend on relationships. Your customers pay your wages, so it stands to reason that the more buyers you have, the more money you make. It sounds logical, but many salespeople have not firmly grasped that truth. If they had, they would do everything possible to keep their customers happy and to bring prospects to closing.
You can use two methods to increase your business in the profession of new home and neighborhood sales. You can wait for company-generated walk-in traffic, or you can obtain more business from your existing customers. The more profitable of the two is to obtain more business from your existing customer base. Every customer is a source of new business and referrals. Once you have satisfied a customer, he or she will continue doing business with you if you follow up and stay in touch.
Customers Buy 'More of the Same'
How will customers continue to do business with you? They eventually will purchase another new home or investment property, and you can continue to upgrade them in perpetuity if you make them feel like royalty.
Regardless of what was initially purchased (home, home site or investment property), there will come a time when your customers become dissatisfied with what they have. Or their investment strategy will change, and they will want to upgrade or add to their original investments.
Customers Provide Referrals
In addition to buying more property themselves, your customers also provide you with referrals. What's great about a referral? Studies show that 68% of the decision to purchase is based on the customer's trust in the salesperson. This means a referral prospect is almost 70% sold on your credibility because someone he or she trusts recommended you.
Also, referrals are pre-qualified for the most part. Are you familiar with the term "nest factor"? It states, "Birds of a feather flock together." If your customers are financially qualified to own, they probably associate with and refer qualified prospects.
What's the Outcome - the Welfare Line?
If the benefit of referral prospects is not enough to excite you, then you need to ask yourself, "What's the outcome if I do not obtain referrals?"
The outcome is to wait for walk-ins. Well, waiting for walk-ins, call-ins and company-generated traffic is like being on welfare. You become dependent on the system, which is your company's marketing department. Depending on the system causes you to sit around, day in and day out, saying to your company, yourself and, more important, your family, "I don't need help. I need a handout." When business is slow, the cry is always the same: "The marketing programs aren't working."
Your goal with referrals should be a minimum standard of "one for one." For every sale, you will obtain a referral sale. Think of the advantages if you obtain just one referral sale from each customer. Regardless of your number of transactions in a year, your sales funnel would have the same number of transactions waiting for you the next year. You never will have to start a year from scratch. Couple your referral sales with company-generated sales, and your business grows exponentially.
Methods and Strategies to Maintain Customer Contact
Maintaining customer contact starts the day of possession, on delivery of the new home or home site. That very day it is appropriate to welcome your customers to their neighborhood with a gift. If it is impossible to meet them personally, forward the gift and follow up with a call.
Realtor and Sphere-of-Influence Referrals
The days of simply showing up at your model or sales center and picking up a check while waiting for walk-ins are over. It's a new age, one of self-prospecting. Great opportunities await the new home and neighborhood salesperson who takes advantage of networking.
The key to building a Realtor referral business is to understand that the Realtor's prospect is not your customer. The Realtors themselves are your customers, and they should be respected accordingly. Just like with any other customers, the more the Realtors trust you, the more prospects they will refer.
Whom are you helping? Who can help you? Bankers, closing attorneys and those partners close to your business should feel comfortable in establishing a mutually beneficial relationship. Partnering with others is the embodiment of networking.
There is no such thing as downtime in new home and neighborhood sales. There is only quiet time while waiting for walk-in traffic. If you want more sales, self-prospect. With you at the helm of your personal marketing department, you can create your own great year.
Referral Prospecting Close
The optimum time to obtain referrals is immediately after the purchase or at the time of delivery. If you have provided excellent customer service and maintained customer follow-up, your customer might provide you with referrals. For the most part, though, you must be willing to ask for them.
Salesperson: "Mr. and Mrs. Customer, I have a favor to ask you."
Customer: "Sure, what is it?"
Salesperson: "With my business, my most valued resource is the customer. My top priority is knowing you are satisfied. You are satisfied and comfortable with your investment decision, aren't you?"
Customer: "We certainly are."
Salesperson: "Then the favor I ask is this: I would like to share the same opportunity with your friends or relatives. Do two to three people come to mind who would enjoy the same benefits as you?"
Remember, you earn referrals with excellent service. If you have followed through and satisfied the customer with good service and positive results, you have earned the right to ask for referrals.
Myers Barnes writes articles for many of the nation's top sales-related magazines and trade publications. Myers is also the best-selling author of Reach The Top In New Home & Neighborhood Sales  and Closing Strong: the Super Sales Handbook.  He is a nationally known motivational speaker and a consultant on new home and resort property sales. You may visit Myers' web site, www.myersbarnes.com  or reach him at his e-mail address email@example.com .