Step 1 of the sales process is, as most of you should know, building rapport or what we at LearnMH.com would refer to as the CONNECTING phase of the sales process. As we discussed in the article entitled Step 1 in Selling: Connecting (a.k.a. Building Rapport) (link to previous blog) you will know with great certainty that rapport has been established when the customer seems relaxed, the conversation flows freely, and your customer is actually engaged in what you’re saying. You also will have learned to never move on to the next step in the sales process until that connection has been established.
Let’s take a look at what should happen next, and why this should happen next.
Realize that when most prospective buyers arrive at your location, whether it’s a walk-in prospect or a first appointment, they will have some trepidations. We have to realize this person is making one of the largest financial decisions of their life, about something that they most likely know very little about. But, whatever decision they make, they will have to live with that decision for a long time to come, right? To make things worse, they have to work with a salesperson whom they don’t know, who certainly has the advantage of knowledge and experience. So they have to trust that this person will assist and lead them to make the best decision.
Once rapport has been established, and the prospective buyer is relatively relaxed, the sales professional has to move from having built a personal relationship to a business relationship. This is when you start asking business related questions pertaining to their needs, their wants, and their ability to buy. Obviously, some of these questions can appear intrusive if rapport has not been established, so gently is the best way to proceed.
A number of years ago, more that I care to admit, I had a client who had one of the highest closing ratios of anyone I had met. I don’t mean he just got a lot of deposits, but he actually funded a higher percentage of transactions, sold a lot of higher end homes, made higher profit margins than most, and did so without ever focusing on high initial deposits up front.
I asked for his “secret”. It turned out to be quite simple. Aside from being just a generally nice person, soft-spoken and gentle, not forceful, he explained that he intentionally took a great deal of time explaining to his prospective buyers the “process” he uses to help his clients find just the right home. He, quite literally, took them through the entire process, step-by-step, in an easy-to- understand manner; and he did so each time in under 3 minutes. He had a pre-printed flow chart that highlighted a number of steps, what to expect, what the objective was in each step, and what happens after. Keep in mind, he did this before he started to ask any questions pertaining to their potential purchase.
Thinking this through, it’s easy to understand why that critical step made such a difference. As I stated earlier, your customer feels handicapped to some degree because they don’t know you, they realize you know way more that they do about buying a home, so they are at a disadvantage. Most people don’t like to move forward in the dark. People like to know what lies ahead, what topics are going to be discussed and why they need to be discussed. Taking the time to lay such a process out for them accomplished several critical objectives.
- It demonstrates your competence and knowledge.
- It demonstrates transparency.
- It demonstrates your patience.
- It demonstrates genuine concern for your prospect.
- It demonstrates Servant Leadership.
You need to implement a process that will help you articulate, in a succinct and efficient manner, how you help people find just the right home for their family. Create a flowchart that will serve as a demonstration tool to make it easy for your customer to visualize the involved steps. It will take a little time to develop and implement such a step into your sales process, but once you’ve done it, it will serve you well for the rest of your career.
As in the 1st Step of the sales process, do not move on to the next step until your potential buyer feels comfortable with what you have just presented. Again, you will know this by their body language, their agreements, and their questions.
If you don’t have such a process, but need a little help developing one, reach out to us at LearnMH.com.