A few years back I was asked to assist a building company with their sales.
They were building great homes...
They had a documented sales process which worked well…
And they had a display home that brought in dozens of potential clients every weekend…
However, sales were not what they should have been.
Looking at the numbers, the challenge appeared to be moving people from being display home visitors into becoming qualified opportunities.
However, there is only so much you can achieve by looking at numbers from behind a desk and speaking to salespeople. I needed to visit the coalface and observe for myself what was happening.
The Danger of Question Overload
After a two hour drive I arrived at 10am on Saturday morning just as the perfectly presented display was opening for visitors.
I watched as couples wandered in and exchanged pleasantries with the immaculately presented salesperson before proceeding to inspect the home room by room.
Every visitor was greeted professionally and offered assistance before being left to their own devices.
...Until 30 minutes in when the salesperson got her first ‘bite’.
“We’re looking to build in Peregian Springs,'' the young couple confidently announced, “We love your designs and wondered what the next step would be. How do we get started?”
The perfect buying signal!
“Wonderful,” the salesperson said.
However, rather than engage the couple in a conversation that would initially qualify them before taking them through the discovery process, the salesperson handed them a clipboard with a series of questions laid out on three pages of A4 paper.
“If you could answer these questions for me, we can get you started.”
The young couple looked a bit bemused as they lifted the first page to see the questions continue onto page two and then page three.
The Eyes Say It All
“Oh that’s that’s nothing,” said the salesperson unapologetically, “This is just the beginning!”
Over the next few months you will need to make hundreds of decisions and answer thousands of more questions!
And then without pausing for a breath she proceeded to describe the torturous journey ahead for the couple and what was involved when designing and building a custom home.
I could see the husband's eyes glazing over and the wife's eyes nervously darting around the room, probably wondering if they should buy a home that was already built!
After asking if it would be OK if they took the questionnaire with them to fill out at home and return with it at a later date, they then proceeded to make a swift exit, probably never to be seen again!
I observed this happening six or seven times throughout the day, and while two couples did actually fill out the form as requested, neither of them looked particularly excited about the idea of building their dream home!
And that’s what happens when you overwhelm people, they get stuck, unable to move forward.
Your job, as a salesperson, is to help your client navigate the journey ahead one step at a time.
And the most important step is the first one.
They don't have to answer thousands of questions, just a few qualifying questions to see if your building company is going to be a good fit for them.
And then if they qualify, a few more discovery questions to see if you are going to be able to hit their expectations.
After identifying a prospect that is a good match, it’s time to get them excited about the design stage before moving to selections and specifications, and finally the build.
Guide Them Every Step Of The Way
Everything is bite-sized, and it’s easily digested because you are there, acting as the prospect's fiduciary. Guiding them every step of the way so that they never feel overwhelmed or bogged down at any stage.
It does not matter what you are selling, if you overload your prospect with too much information, their journey through the sales process will grind to a halt...Or in the case of this building company, the vast majority will never enter the sales process!
Prospect overwhelm is one of the biggest challenges custom home builders face in the early stages of the design and build process.
Design, prelims and construction. There is always a tendency to unleash too much information too quickly.
Your prospect needs quick wins at each new stage in order for them to feel like they are in control.
So rather than hit them with a list of selection decisions to make, identify one or two that can be made quickly.
This will give them the confidence to move forward and make more decisions.
And rather than handing out forms for new prospects to fill in, engage them in a conversation that qualifies them.
To discover the new sales process for custom home builders, check out our latest book, Professional Builders Secrets.
Inside you’ll discover how to generate more quality leads and convert more of those leads into sales at higher margins while improving the client experience.
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