Coffee is for Closers
If you haven’t watched the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross with Alec Baldwin, Al Pacino, Jack Lemon, Ed Harris and Kevin Spacey, it is almost a right of passage for salespeople. Crass as it may seem, the ultimate message is “Coffee is for Closers”. In sales, you must always be closing.
In the past month I have attended three separate meetings where leadership talked about rolling out new technology to their agent base. I love watching other people give presentations because it allows me to analyze their delivery, cadence, content, and sales acumen.
- Sales is about asking questions and listening to people’s answers.
- Sales is about presenting solutions to the problems you’ve uncovered.
- Sales is about communicating value of the services you provide aligned to the needs of your client.
We often assume we know what clients want or what is best for them, without actually asking. Big mistake.
This brings me back to the presentations I heard where management presented new tools they were rolling out. The tools seemed great, but the presentations missed the objective – they focused on the great features of the new tools, but no one actually took the time to translate those features into benefits the agents would receive by using them.
For example, in one of the presentations they talked about launching a new end-to-end solution for agents, but they talked at such a high level that I couldn’t figure out what was actually included in the solution, let alone the benefit it would bring to agents. In another case, they talked in great detail about the features of a new marketing platform, but they didn’t translate these features into benefits for the agent (i.e. cost savings, extended reach, time management).
Watching these presentations made me realize, that this is how most agents deliver presentations. They give a features dump on all the services they provide, and they assume the prospect will be able to translate the features to a benefit without explanation. Never assume people will link your feature to a benefit – you need to do that for them!
TEN TIPS FOR BETTER PRESENTATIONS:
Go digital – Good communication is about ensuring clients truly understand your value. By using a stellar digital listing or buyer presentation, they not only hear what you say, but they see it. People are either visual or auditory communicators, sometimes both. Using a digital presentation with great graphics and videos allows you to connect well with both types of people.
Routines build confidence – Using the same digital presentation at every appointment elevates your confidence because you know exactly what is coming next. There are so many variables that come up in an appointment, that creating structure with a great digital presentation ensures you stay on track, communicate services and benefits in the right order and answer most of the common objections in advance.
Master your tools – I run into agents all the time who don’t understand the company tools they have available to them to help market their listings. You not only have to know the tools you have in your toolbox, but you must understand how to use them and what benefits the client will get from you applying them. This is a rhetorical question, but do you know every marketing tool your company offers and how it works? If not, it is time to do your homework. Your sellers count on you to use every resource available to tell the world about their property. It would be remiss on your part not to use every available tool your company offers.
Preparation is key – Consumers are more educated today than they have ever been. When you truly know your stuff, you give clients the confidence to trust you. You must have solid answers to every question they can throw at you. That comes from having a grass-roots understanding of the local community and the benefits of living there, an in-depth knowledge of past sales and current inventory, as well as an in-depth knowledge of the marketing strategies you and your company will apply to get their house maximum exposure and ultimately sell for top dollar.
Don’t underestimate small chat – Most agents are a little nervous when they show up to a listing appointment. There is a lot riding on the next couple of hours. In their nervousness, many agents default to going directly to business. One of the most important factors in whether you get the listing is if the clients like you and trust you. The only way to build that rapport is by making a human connection. When you first arrive, look for hints around their property (such as pictures, décor, pet toys, etc.) to get a sense for what they may be interested in. Take time at the start of the presentation to have a coffee, small chat and get to know them.
Power of questions – You can offer the best service in the industry, but if you can’t align your service with what the client wants, it will be a very difficult sell. The key is to ask a lot of questions at the beginning of the appointment to get clarity on what is most important to the client. What is most important to the client must be what is most important to you. Once you know their concerns and challenges, you can identify specific solutions to bridge the gap. They will think you are the perfect fit for them. Do this by highlighting the slides in your presentation that are important to them.
Focus on the future – When at a listing appointment, most agents focus on selling the house, rather than the seller’s future plans. People don’t sell houses for the fun of it, they sell because they want something different. Selling is secondary – your primary goal is getting them excited about where they are going. A couple of years ago, I considered selling my house and moving into a condo. It was a lifestyle choice. Because I travel so much, I thought the convenience of being able to lock the door and leave was a huge benefit. I found a condo I liked, but when it came down to making the decision, the agent made a critical mistake. He kept selling features of the condo without tying them to my WHY, so he was selling the wrong features. In the end, I didn’t buy the condo. The most important thing you can do is figure out WHY the buyer or seller wants a change. Every conversation should be a reminder of how your solution will make their life better based on their wants and needs.
Sell with emotion, justify with logic – People buy residential real estate based on emotion; they then justify their decision based on logic. You need to be able to communicate both ways to convince people to make the move. When I bought my Florida condo, I knew I wanted to be close to downtown for the walkability factor. I loved the idea of being able to walk to hundreds of shops and restaurants without having to drive anywhere. The condo I found wasn’t perfect, it was a little smaller than I hoped for, it didn’t have a garage, it was missing outdoor space, but the agent kept bringing me back to the most important benefit I wanted…being close to everything. In the end, I bought the condo. She sold me emotionally on lifestyle, then backed it up logically with low HOA fees, low maintenance, great location, amazing resale value, it was great entry property, etc. etc.
Be prepared for objections – Most objections are just unanswered questions. If you don’t cover something thoroughly in your presentation, you can expect that the client will push back. I believe your best clients are educated clients. Make sure by the end of the presentation you have given them solid solutions for every concern they’ve brought up. Your solutions must wrap back to the reasons why they are moving. If clients have objections, don’t get defensive. Agree with them about why they would find that issue concerning, repeat the concern back to them to make sure you clearly understand it, ask them if they would move forward if you had a solution, when they say yes, give them your solution, then ask for a commitment. Expect that clients will not move forward until all their concerns have been dealt with.
Be a closer – It baffles me how many agents lose sight of the end goal – a signature. Most agents think their objective is to deliver a great presentation, but that is just the conduit to the desired outcome. A signature is confirmation of your excellence. If you walk away without the signature, you failed at the exercise. Asking for the commitment at the end is much easier if you use tie-down questions throughout the presentation. It is hard to say “no” at the end if they have just spent two hours saying “yes” to you. The very best closing question at the end of the presentation is “do you have any more questions?” If they say no, they are giving you permission to ask for the signature.
Be a salesperson. Always be closing!
Leader’s Edge Training