Myers Barnes' Editorial Archives
Within the past few weeks, many of my customers have expressed concerns that the current market and state of affairs are affecting their ability to sell real estate. They stress that current conditions are causing indecisiveness in their prospects, who use them as an excuse to drag their feet about buying a new home. Their customers tell them they want to wait until the market settles and the economy "stabilizes."
Before providing you with a list of solutions to this real estate roadblock, I want to address an issue regarding the "professional's mind-set." First, a sale is made every time a salesperson and a prospect begin a sales conversation. Either the prospect sells you on why she will not own, or you sell her on why she should own. My question is, each time you're with a prospect, who is doing the selling? Between you and your prospect, who ends up being the better salesperson?
It's important to realize that objections come from one of two places. They are introduced into the sales presentation by your prospect - and these are easy to overcome - or by you. Sometimes, without being aware of it, you create objections in your mind about why a customer will not buy.
You can handle your prospect's objections by employing strategy and scripted responses. You can eliminate the self-defeating objections in your head by changing your attitude and your perspective. Is the economy really bad, or is it simply "adjusting?" What is a bad economy anyhow? Is the idea being introduced by you or your prospects? What is the reality … not your perception of reality?
Here are the Official Rules for Beating a Declining Market like a drum.
1. Decide not to participate. Seriously, get out of the drama of the situation and get back to work. Now we will find out how hot most salespeople, managers and builders really are. Telling is not selling, and those who have become accustomed to simply presenting the property and having prospects sign on the dotted line are due for a wake-up call. Reputations are earned in a challenging economy, not during the good times.
2. Make rapid, bottom-line decisions. This is no time to be spending a lot of time trying to decide what to do. In the words of W. Clement Stone, "Do it now."
3. Work every day on developing your personal and/or team selling skills because the most skilled person always succeeds during challenging times. If you are a salesperson, be willing to invest your own money in books, tapes and seminars. New information will improve your attitude as well as increase your skills. If you are a manager or company owner, now is not the time to eliminate professional sales training for your team. Your salespeople need to be equipped to deal with a changing marketplace, and it's your responsibility to insist that they knuckle down and get to business.
4. Evaluate your results. If a certain marketing program or housing design is not working, or a campaign is losing money and producing an energy drain, drop it. Eliminate excess baggage and, regardless of cost, cut your losses and do what's right for today.
5. Work twice as hard. John Maxwell observed, "Whenever you let up, expect a letdown." Hard work covers many sins and makes the climb upward go smoother.
6. Develop and intensify your relationships with your "spheres of influence." Remember, your best prospects are your current customers.
7. Get creative. Do something different. As Dr. Einstein professed, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."
8. Let go. Lao Tzu wisely said, "When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." Let go of fears, bad attitudes and unwarranted expectations that undermine your success. Then you will be free to discover what you can become.
9. Develop new scripts and don't get discouraged. Recognize that objections connected to the market's performance are really disguised as questions. When your prospects say to you, "I need to think this over" or "I need to see what the market's going to do," they are really saying, "I am not yet convinced this is a good decision, and I need additional information to be certain."
So give them more information. You aren't a fortuneteller, so you can't predict the performance of the market with certainty, but you can show them how your new neighborhood has performed. Recap its sales history. Repeat how it will increase in value and decrease in availability because real estate is a limited commodity. Real estate does have stability. Isn't that what your customers want?
Part of being prepared is doing your homework. Before you meet with your next customer, memorize this script, which gives you a ready reply to apprehension:
Salesperson: Mr. and Mrs. Prospect, I can certainly understand your concern about the current status of the market. As a matter of fact, as an investor, my holdings are also down. May I ask, do you think the experts are predicting the market will eventually come back?
Salesperson: You are absolutely correct. And how long before you think it will be before the market will come back?
Prospect: Three months, six months, one year. Who knows? (Regardless of the answer, proceed with …)
Salesperson: Mr. and Mrs. Prospect, history repeats itself, wouldn't you agree? And a new home investment consistently outperforms any money put into the stock market (pause and wait for a reply). In fact, owning real estate is part of having a balanced portfolio, isn't it? Today, the lower interest rates for mortgages created by the stock market offer the smart new home investor the perfect opportunity to save money as well as make money over the course of the mortgage. Don't you agree? Mr. and Mrs. Prospect, like you and the experts, I think we'll soon see not just a market rebound but an economic upswing. So why would you want to delay enjoying the benefit of your new home/home site and risk paying more for it later, as well as having to incur higher interest mortgage rates?
The bottom line is that real estate is the one investment that during the past 75 years has always been sound, and investing in real estate does not subject you to the emotional ups and downs of Wall Street, wars, gasoline shortages and economic swings. With the exception of the past couple of years and the handful of instant millionaires created with the dot-com craze, the major percentage of all millionaires and billionaires have had a good portion of their money parked in strong real estate investments.
Here are two final thoughts: First, should you be looking at real estate as your personal haven to protect your financial future? Second, should you be talking (selling) to your prospects and current owners about taking advantage of their equity and low interest rates to buy more real estate to build their financial futures?
The answer to both questions is yes, of course, so get out there and start buying and selling more new homes.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org .