The Magic of “The Next Step”

John Ace Underwood

As a trainer and sales performance coach, one is always on the lookout for things that sales professionals have developed to make their efforts more productive. I made such a discovery about 32 years ago while interviewing a highly successful Realtor in Arizona. He and I became friends in the years following, speaking often, but I remember our first conversation like it was last year.

This realtor wasn’t just successful, but he actually grew his business into the largest Real Estate Agency in Arizona, and I say this simply to underscore his credibility. Having disclosed that I was a sales trainer, during our conversation, I simply asked him what he did that has proven to have the biggest impact on his success. 

He mentioned all of the more obvious factors such as responding to people as soon as one is able, doing what you say you’re going to do, and listening to the client and really understanding their true wants and needs, but the one act that he felt had the biggest impact on his sales was “The Next Step”. 

He explained that during the initial conversation with a prospective buyer, his primary focus was to determine if he would be able to help this individual or not. Once he decided to take on this prospective buyer as a client, any and every conversation he had with that individual would always end with a discussion of what the next appropriate step would be and then he would schedule that step with his client before the conversation ended.

I asked why he felt that this was so critical, and he gave me a comprehensive and logical answer. “The first thing we have to accept is that buying a home is a process, it’s not an event,” he said. “It is a process that contains numerous events or mile markers, but it’s still a process. My job is to continue to move that process forward, sometimes by the inch, sometimes by the yard, but I am responsible for moving the process forward, and my client must always be certain that I am. This puts me in the leadership role and helping people find a home is a leadership issue. So long as I am leading, my clients will follow. The minute I stop is the minute they get confused, disoriented, and begin to lose confidence. Once you’ve gained their confidence, if you lose it, it’s very difficult to get it back.” You may want to read his response again, as there is a lot to unpack. 

With my gratitude and his permission, I have shared this approach with my students since that very day I had that first conversation. Aside from the “Why didn’t I think of that?” discussion with myself, I found this to have the biggest impact on those that heed this advice.

It does make sense, doesn’t it? We spend a lot of time gathering knowledge about our industry, our homes, and the services we provide. All this knowledge is what the prospective buyer doesn’t have, but needs, in order to make a sound decision.

Realize that when people call or visit you in your community, they’re not in the market for a new home. They are in search of someone who will lead them through the process of finding a new home, a process they typically know very little about, yet the decision they make will have a lasting impact, so making the best decision is, in fact, critical.

Make scheduling The Next Step a constant in your current sales process and I assure you, you will always have ample appointments with plenty of interested clients, and you will help more people into a new home.
Any questions, comments, or anything else, feel free to reach out at [email protected], or follow me on @LearnMH, and @johnaceunderwood on LinkedIn.


About John Ace Underwood

John Ace Underwood has a very successful 30-year career in the manufactured and modular housing industry. As a manager for a single lot retailer in the southeast, he managed up to 9 salespeople with sales typically over 45 homes per month. John has also served as Vice President for multi-lot manufactured housing retailer in the southwest.
More Posts By John Ace Underwood