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Servicing the Sale: ...

Servicing the Sale: The Lost Phase of the Critical Path

By Star Report 5 min read

By Keith McKinney, Regional Vice President - New Home Star 

It would not take you long to find countless books on becoming a pro in new home sales.  As a matter of fact, I have about 20 books I could suggest to you right off the top of my head.  As a true new home sales geek, if I have not read it, I have had a conversation with someone who has.  Which brings me to my point: there have been an enormous amount of hours devoted to how to become the best at getting the sale.  You will be trained for years on how to shorten the cycle time of getting that customer from Internet to contract.  But after the love is gone I want to talk about when the real work begins.  The work nobody wants to talk about.  The work that can take down the best of all salespeople.  That's right…Servicing the Sale.

First, let me be clear that the actions I'm referring to are not the same as following up.  I think as an industry, we have married these two, posing them to be one in the same. But I would like to draw a distinct difference between the two.  Follow up is what you do when new traffic turns into a prospect and you are now turning focus to your follow up process to get the customer back in your office to execute a sale.  Servicing the sale is the manner of activities in which you engage the customer after the contract is executed.  The most skilled salespeople often fall victim to not being proficient in true servicing due to the 'thrill of the kill' and often put servicing behind knocking down the next sale. 

Buying a home is the most emotional purchase that anyone will make in their life.  If we know this, then why are we surprised in a 4-6 month build process that if anything goes wrong, customers explode? Why do we act surprised if we get a good satisfaction score on a closing survey, but get hammered on the 3rd party survey 30-60 days later?  You sometimes will lose focus on the emotional side of the customer as to how they felt after the contract has been written.  So to assist, here are four short strategies for servicing the sale:

1. The weekly phone call is a must! Please notice I wrote phone call and not Email, text, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn message or tweet.  Do not get me wrong, technology has given us fantastic tools to enhance our service to the customer.  However, it should not be a substitute for making the phone call.  At least for now, we are still in the phone business.

2. Do not speak for father time! The number one reason salespeople will fall under bad light with customers is due to not setting favorable expectations with the customer in regards to timelines.  Good salespeople earn incredible trust from their customers to where they hang on every word the salesperson says as law.  This becomes a problem when the salesperson starts throwing dates out there and then the construction time demons start to get involved.  These demons are things that are out of the salesperson and customer's control, such as weather, supplier changes, lending changes, design center snafus, as well as several others.  You want to always set favorable expectations like, "Mr. and Mrs. Jones, our expected time until we start your home is three weeks.  So let's cross our fingers that everything lines up according to plan with no unforeseen issues."

3. Do something special! Remember the feeling of preparing to date someone you were eager to show you liked? Even after the love word was said, there was still effort of impression.  Well in servicing the sale, you have to do the same thing.  For this conversation, let's call them touch points.  You should have several touch points with the customers all along the way.  These should be distinctive and special to your customer based on what you found out about them in the discovery phase.

4. When things get hot, you have to be cool! This is the thing they really do not prepare you for.  When your emotional buyer has a breakdown over some situation with their home,you are the elected one to take the lashing 90% of the time.  Up to this point, salespeople have been left to deal with this alone. Because when it does happen, management is not always there for the assist. The important thing to remember is no matter what…Smile.  Your smile is the beacon of light to the customer that their trusted salesperson is in control and believes everything will be okay.  Even if the stones are being thrown at you, remain calm.  Lower the tone of your voice and relax your facial muscles and expression.  The more tense you get, the more intense the atmosphere will be.  Remember, somebody has to put the fire out.

There are many other situations and strategies that can be discussed when you are talking about true 'Servicing the Sale.'  Hopefully, this gets your head thinking about the ways you can become better prepared for the journey ahead with each buyer.  I hope for anyone reading this article, that there are many many journeys ahead.  The more journey's you have in servicing the sale, the more closings you have.  And I for one believe that's what the world needs now…more closings!

Keith McKinney has captivated audiences on all levels of the new home industry. In just 14 years he has demonstrated his vast understanding of the new home sales process, unique and commanding leadership style, plus his expert knowledge in sales operations. His reputation as an unmatched trainer and motivator has allowed him to play a major role in the unprecedented growth of New Home Star and influenced the lives of hundreds of sales people.  Keith is an award-winning sales and management professional who has earned these distinctions by producing market leading results and sales team effectiveness for many homebuilding organizations.

Originally published Apr 15, 2015 under Explore the latest topics, updated March 19, 2024

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