Business

Are You an Entrepreneurial Salesperson?

melinda_head_shot-red-114x152BuilderRadio interviews Melinda Brody, Melinda Brody & Company, Inc.

SALESPERSON WANTED.  MUST BE GOOD WITH PEOPLE, RELIABLE, AND ENTREPRENEURIAL – CAPABLE OF GENERATING ENDLESS TRAFFIC ON THEIR OWN.

You’re not likely to have seen that job posting, but according to Melinda Brody, you probably should.  Melinda’s firm specializes in mystery shopping builder’s sale teams, and she believes that  salespeople should see themselves as entrepreneurs, marketing themselves as they would their own business.

Listen to this week’s audio interview, or read the highlights below, and we think you’ll agree.

“Part of being a professional salesperson is to self-generate customers, and I think we don’t do that enough,” says Brody.  “Salespeople need to understand that that’s a critical part of their success.  If they would adopt an entrepreneurial attitude and treat their community like their own business, I think things would be a lot different.”

If you are a salesperson in a sales model, do you consider generating your own leads, or at least part of them, part of your responsibility?  Most do not, and Brody sites two main reasons:  First, in the pre-2005 market, salespeople were busy following up on the enormous amount of traffic that every decent builder had.  Second, lead generation is too often considered the role of the marketing department; marketing generates the lead and salespeople follow up and close.  Everybody knows that.

Those days are over, and, according to Brody, even when the market rebounds, salespeople should still see their job description as being lead generators.  “You always have to get the pipeline filled up, and you can’t expect your builder to it all, you have to participate in bringing in traffic.”

Brody describes an entrepreneur as someone who is:

  1. A risk taker – they dive headlong into whatever they do;
  2. Willing to try new things; they are innovators with an “endless optimism;”
  3. Always hunting for business, 24/7, and never miss an opportunity to sell;
  4. Welcomes failure and is willing to learn from it.

So, how do salespeople become lead-generators?  It really isn’t all that hard, as Brody explains:

“One thing is to always wear your name tag, and make it creative.  For example, I’m always looking for good mystery shoppers, so when I’m in a networking group my nametag says ‘We pay people to look at a gorgeous model!’  Then I get the opportunity to explain what I do.  A salesperson could have a nametag that says ‘We work with the homeless.’  You need to make it compelling and a little edgy.”

Action Steps for Entrepreneurial Salespeople
Entrepreneurial salespeople are action oriented.  They not only generate a substantial portion of their leads, they work them.  Brody recommends that salespeople make a minimum of 20 marketing calls per week, as follows:

5 follow up calls to prospects that have been into the sales model. “Make them compelling, quirky, interesting and memorable,” says Brody.  “I want somebody to send a follow up where the customer gets it and says, ‘What the heck is this?  They sent my dog a bone! This persons crazy; I think I’ll go back and talk to them.’”

5 follow up calls to people whom you’ve already sold a home.  “When we’re selling a home, we’re romancing them, but after they sign the contract we kick them to the curb; we turn them over to the customer service department.  If you want to get referrals, you have to be referral-worthy.  How about continuing the relationship so that when they have an opportunity to make a referral you are the first person they think of?”

5 calls to Realtors. “I want  salespeople to go after the players.  Become best friends with the top 10 realtors in your market who are selling and listing real estate, and don’t waste your time with the ‘coffee-sippers.’  These realtors want to hear three things from you:
that you’re easy to work with, you’re not going to steal their customer, and that you pay quickly.”

5 calls to the community at large.  “This is where you’re going to partner up with local businesses that align with your demographic.  Ask, ‘Who is my target market?  Where do they work, play, shop, eat, and hang out?  What do they drive?’  Then, ask, ‘Who is targeting the same person?’ and partner up with those businesses.  This does not involve a lot of money, but does take initiative, creativity, and exchange of flyers and use of public bulletin boards.”

Salesperson vs. Entrepreneurial Salesperson
Where most salespeople look at Brody’s action list and say ‘Who’s got the time,’ entrepreneurial salespeople take the responsibility for getting it done.  Brody recommends that before the week begins we have our list made and scheduled – who we will call or visit and when we will do it.  “An entrepreneurs knows that this strategy is going to be fruitful.  You can’t have crops where you don’t plant the seeds.  To say you don’t have time is just an excuse,” she says.

Entrepreneurial salespeople understand that they are ultimately in control of responsible for generating their own income.  That comes with being paid a commission instead of a salary.  If that’s the case, then thinking like a businessperson, taking calculated risks and branding yourself just makes sense.

Melinda Brody realizes that most salespeople won’t every make the leap in thinking required to become top earners, but she’s a good evangelist and more “evolved salespeople are getting it” every day.  As they begin taking actionable control of their sales, something else happens.  They become more valuable to their employees who begin seeking out their feedback and advice on new marketing campaigns, plans and projects, notes Brody.

In other words, think like an entrepreneur, act like an entrepreneur, and you’ll be treated as an entrepreneur.

_________________________________

Melinda Brody can be reached through her website, www.MelindaBrody.com.

Also from Melinda Brody:
Entrepreneurial Marketing: Creating Endless Traffic

Audio CD + Resource CD – $39.00 (plus s/h)
Turn Ring into Bling
Audio CD + Resources – $29.00 (plus s/h)  Click here for details

Wednesday, May 13  2:00pm
Webinar:  You Must Build Rapport Before You Can Build a Home.

With special guest Mary LeBlanc and additional resources from Melinda Brody.
Register today to attend the live presentation and/or the recorded webinar.

Need a speaker, consultant or trainer?  The best in the business are all right here!

Did you benefit from this week’s blog/podcast (blogcast?)  We’d love to hear from you and value your comments.  All appropriate comments get posted, good or bad.

What Will It Take to Restart the Building Industry?

steve_kallerBuilderRadio Interviews Steve Kaller, CEO, Ultimate New Home Sales & Marketing, Inc.

It’s a buyer’s market.

Think about that phrase and the message it conveys.  It means that there is more inventory than there are buyers, that demand is low, prices are lower and profits… well, we won’t even go there.

The buyer’s market is our reality.  How we deal with it is our choice.  Our guest this week, Steve Kaller, believes that getting as many buyers as possible to buy up existing inventory is the first step on the road to housing recovery. Listen to the interview as he describes what needs to take place to put builders back to work, and what you can do now to jump-start your building business.

Learning to Sell to a Fearful Market
The demand for new homes is still there, it’s just too afraid to come out and show itself.  So, how do we overcome buyer’s fears and help them see that now is an extraordinary time to scoop up a new home at a bargain price?  “That’s the right question and the core of the problem today,” says Kaller.

“A lot of salespeople need to go back to school.  Sales training is at the core of our business.  The largest room in our building is our training room.  We do constant sales training regardless of the market.  We have required reading.  We believe in windshield time, too; that you should have CDs or tapes playing in your car.

We believe that sales people should be ‘resident experts.’  A resident expert is able to look at the buyer’s side of the transaction.  They can distinguish between a detail buyer and a family buyer.  Most salespeople sell the way they buy; they don’t sell the way the buyer wants to be sold.  So, they need to be an expert on their community, the construction of the homes, their competition.  They need to know the lot sizes, the tax rates, the schools systems, etc.  We require our salespeople to visit the schools and meet the principals, because for any family the most important thing is the kids;  the house falls far behind them.

Salespeople also need to read positive, upbeat material.  It’s so important because customers can read body language and they’ll know if you’re desperate or down,” says Kaller.  “Because housing is such an emotional sale and usually such an easy sale, we find that a lot of salespeople just don’t keep their saw sharp.  That’s a big mistake because there are people coming in the door.  If you are down in the dumps or don’t know everything you need to know about your community and competition, why are you there?”

Connect with Emotions
“Salespeople also need to get people back into the emotion of buying,” continues Kaller.  “You say, ‘You’re going to buy this new home and have great family traditions here.’  Sell them the emotion of the lifestyle of the home, because right now they’re caught up in the emotion of fear.  But they did come out to visit you; they did say ‘I am a buyer.’  It’s the salespersons responsibility to determine the right home for them, help them through their fear and to close them. We’re not in the home building business, we’re in the home closing business.”

Create Urgency – Why now is a phenomenal time to buy!
Housing is now the most affordable it’s been in 50 years.  And, with pressure from both the market and the government, financing is loosening just a bit to allow more buyers to take advantage of the ‘perfect storm’ for homebuyers.

“Get the buyer to understand why it’s a good time to buy,” Kaller continues.  “The reasons are real basic; it’s fundamental ‘supply and demand’ economics.  We saw a huge supply of foreclosures hitting the market.  We now see that that supply is starting to diminish.  Prices are so low that homes are beginning to move.  The government is getting involved and banks in many cases are taking a moratorium on foreclosures.”

Kaller offers a brief list of reasons that we can share with our prospects as to why now is the time to buy a new home:

Artificially low interest rates
For every point rise in interest rate, the monthly payment goes up 10%.

Existing home inventory is shirking and not being replaced.
“Here in California, we only have approximately 6 months or less of new homes left available, and very few are being built,” notes Kaller.

Get more home for less money.
Kaller  points out that new homes now on the market are of superb quality, feature great, livable floor plans and top-level amenities, “and can be bought now for less than what is cost to build them.  The next generation of home will be built so that builders can make a profit.”

Rising Demand
“The salesperson is going to have to show the customer that population is demand.  The population continues to grow, but where in the country do you see new housing developments coming out of the ground?” asks Kaller.

The Next Housing Boom
Does this mean that the recovery has started and it’s time to break out the tools again?  Well, almost.  Kaller sees the reduction of existing inventory and the return of financing for development and new construction as the keys that will start the housing engine.  “You’re not going to start building overnight,” he says.

Still, Kaller sees areas where new construction is already making a comeback, especially where land prices have dropped and among buyers who are self-financed.  They know that the return of housing will mean the rebound of the entire economy, and they want in on the ground floor.

The groundwork is being laid.  Buyers are starting to come out of their shells and are taking advantage of the bargains that are still available.  Once that inventory is gone, then new construction will be next.

So builders:  Hang in there.  It will be your turn again soon.

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Contact Steve Kaller at Ultimate New Home Sales & Marketing, Inc. here.

Don’t miss this week’s Double Feature!

Get 2 webinars for the price of one – a savings of $37. A last minute scheduling conflict is preventing Roger Fiehn from being able to present his seminar live as planned this coming Wednesday, April 22.  So, we’ve done two things:  First, we asked our good friend Margot Larson to fill in with the topic ‘Do You Have the Right People to Ensure Sales Success.’ Then, because you definitely do NOT want to miss the seminar we had planned with Roger, we got him to come in early and prerecord the entire webinar… and we’re giving you both for the price of one!

So, register to attend Margot Larson’s live webinar, and you’ll get Roger Fiehn’s seminar The Only 5 Things You Need to Know to Become a World Class Salesperson as a bonus!  Here are the dates:

Wednesday, April 22, 2:00pm ET
Do You Have the Right People to Ensure Sales Success

Guest presenter:  Margot Larson, Management Alternative, LLC
Pre-recorded bonus:  The only 5 Thing You Need to Know to Become a World Class Salesperson
Guest presenter:  Roger Fiehn, Roger Fiehn & Associates, Inc.

Click here to register.  Choose the seminar ‘World Class Salesperson.’

By the way – we haven’t heard from you in a while.  Why not leave a comment below to let us know you’re still with us.

Mike Moceri of Michael Morceri Design|Build

Positioned for Success – Finding Your Niche in a Down Market

What do you do when you find yourself holding excess inventory in a quickly eroding market? While thousands of builders across the country have found faced that question in recent months, Mike Moceri has found an answer that is working well for him: diversify your product line, get creative with your marketing, and find a lucrative niche. Listen to Podcast

Craig LaDuke, LaDuke Construction

Project Planning – An Effective Sales Tool

Michigan builder credits his planning process for winning record sales.

Record home sales… in Michigan? No, that’s no misprint. 2006 and 2007 were the best sales years in the Marysville, MI based company’s 28-year history. How did they accomplish record sales in one of the most conservative markets on the continent? In this exclusive interview Craig LaDuke not only shares his secret, he shares his system. Listen to the audio to hear Craig tell us how he continues to sell at a record pace, and how you can, too. Listen to Podcast

Eric Lipar, LGI Homes

Refuse to Participate in the Housing Slow-Down

Eric Lipar has heard the news reports about the housing slow-down. But, in his words, he “refuses to participate” in it. Instead, his companies, LGI Homes and LGI Development, are selling homes and property at a record pace. From their three communities (two in the Houston area and one in San Antonio) they sold and closed 418 homes in 2006, putting LGI Homes among the top 200 builders in the country. They expect another 10% increase in 2007. Listen to Podcast