Even in the toughest of housing markets, builders that adopt and believe in the fundamentals of new-home sales will find success. Here’s proof.
We’re three-quarters through 2011 and, generally speaking, there is not much optimism being written or broadcast about the housing market. Add to that the ongoing financial woes the country is facing, and it’s no wonder why we are not hearing much about builders doing good things.
But I know of some who are, and they’re doing it by following the fundamentals of new-home sales. Since the beginning of this year, my articles in Professional Builder have not focused on “great new ideas,” but rather on reinforcing the critical importance of the fundamentals of new-home sales.
The problems I encountered during previous major downturns caused me to learn what it takes to create, manage, and maintain highly functional sales organizations. In our work with home builders and developers worldwide, we provide information, tactics, systems, and training that build a foundation for the implementation of the principles covered in these recent articles. We have documentation of many builders achieving sales success in their respective marketplaces. Here is a short story of one of them:
This past May, at our Sales Boot Camp and Serious Sales, Marketing and Profit Management programs in Boca Raton, Fla., I met Shawn Forth, a young builder in the Oklahoma City area. He is a custom builder who builds five to 10 homes per year, but he wants to build more — a very interesting concept during times when many builders are slowing down and pulling back. The reason I want you to know Shawn’s story is because everything he has started to implement in an effort to generate growth follows the concepts covered in my past Professional Builder columns. His immediate success is indicative and reflective of what can happen when there is a will, fortitude, and passion to make good things happen.
"Shawn’s immediate success is indicative and reflective of what can happen when there is a will, fortitude, and passion to make good things happen."- Bob Schultz
Upon his return to Oklahoma City, Shawn immediately began the process of transformation. He didn’t think about all the reasons he shouldn’t do it. He took to heart something he heard me say: Hope is not a strategy, wishing is not an action plan, and success in today’s world of new-home sales is not an accident.
Shawn commissioned an independent market study and assessment of his place within his competitive market, found the opportunities, and immediately revised his product offering. While that was being accomplished, he started implementing what he had learned and became his own “salesperson.” Amazingly, in less than two months, Shawn “the builder” began selling more homes.
Here is one of the first messages I received from him: Bob, I want to thank you for changing my mindset to that of a sales professional. While I have a long way to go, I am already seeing the fruits of the seeds you planted during boot camp. I sold another home tonight; it was the first physical visit. After going through the presentation, visiting the home under construction, answering multiple objections, asking for the sale multiple times, I finally wrote the agreement at 9:30 p.m. The customer forgot her check book, so I provided the “effective on” opportunity I learned from you, and the agreement was written for the following Tuesday. One sale is not a record, but it is the fourth I have personally made since my visit to Florida.
Of course, we were excited for Shawn. As other messages on a variety of topics continued between us, the announcements of “more sales,” and, in particular, defining how those sales were accomplished, became common. A subsequent message from Shawn read:
By the way, I wrote a purchase agreement on a home in the Willows last night. It was the fourth visit. I started with a recap and posed the question, “Any more questions before we start the paperwork?”
My response: Amazing, my good man. You are simply following the process that is available to everyone. However, the difference with you is that you believe and implement. You are fast becoming our new builder hero. By the way, what did the customers say when you asked that question?
After a moment of pause they looked at each other and shrugged. I said, “Can I have the correct spelling of your names?” It seems almost insane to think that I have never really asked someone for the sale prior to your boot camp. I can’t stop thinking about this process. I have an appointment on Wednesday with another customer.
In the previous 12 months before I met Shawn, he sold two homes. Since then he has sold six — five of them by implementing his newly found presentation skills with customers.
My point in bringing you Shawn’s story is that the focus on and implementation of proven strategies will provide results. When a builder, any builder, regardless of size, makes the effort to seriously key in on being in the business of creating a lean, strong selling machine, exponentially amazing things happen.
Bob Schultz is president and CEO of Bob Schultz & The New Home Sales Specialists, a full-service management consulting and sales company based in Boca Raton, Fla. For more information, visit newhomespecialist.com  or call 561.368.1151.