Builders & Agents: The Era of the Pitch Passed With Billy Mays

By John Garrett, July 2, 2009 | In Home Builders |

Billy Mays passed this week and it’s not just sad, but perhaps the end of an era. Mays said, “I was the last guy trained on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. “This post isn’t so much about the passing of Mr. Mays, who was a pro of his craft and will be missed, but more about the changing of the guard, from “pitch” selling to consultive assistance.

Over the past few years, pitch and close has begun to die. To anyone who is a pro, it’s obvious why. The consumer is more informed with more options than ever before. And for us in the housing industry, there are three million reasons you can’t simply pitch a house and close a deal. Those three million reasons are the sitting houses that have flooded the market.

As early as three years ago, you’d take four or five offers on a house. You’d walk in, pitch the house, let the buyer know there is another couple putting in an offer and take the highest bid.

Not anymore!!

Not only has the market changed, but the consumer has progressed as well. Sites such as Ebay, PriceLine, Hotwire, Overstock continue to climb as they give the consumer the option to do research, cross compare numbers and bid for the lowest offer, not the highest!

There is a HUGE difference between those two buying cultures.

On one side, the consumer is given limited info, constrained purchase time and forced to make a choice… NOW! But who in their right mind wouldn’t take their time, research data and bid for the LOWEST price, if they had the choice?

So what’s on the horizon for the builder and real estate agent?

The keys to being a great sales pro still embody drive, organization and practice, practice, practice. That said, what is being practiced needs to be:

  • Use of open ended questions.

    Now, I know your going to say, “John… really? Come on, who doesn’t do this?” When I say use open ended questions, I mean layering them and netting them together like a fine tapestry. Go four, five levels deep on the same subject.

  • Use a sales method that brings the client to ask you how the buying process works.

    Like a natural conversation. Walk through the process of dialog, the phases of questioning, the experience and life change portion and then… shut up! Let them ask, “So, what’s next?”

  • Stop talking features and functions and start talking the only thing that matters, where and how the client wins from their perspective, not yours!

    How will you know? See bullet one!

  • Don’t sell to everyone.

    Be exclusive, chose your clients as much as they chose you.

  • View yourself as a consultant and expert.

    Now,it would help if those were true. If it is, act like it. Not from a high and mighty posture, but from a composure stand point. Had a client in my office last week that told me their real estate agent was crying!Time and place people, time and place.

  • Remember the principle of, “The Economy of Words.”

    The less you talk, the more your words mean. When you listen, LISTEN. Don’t think about what you want to say next, don’t let your mind wander.

    Don’t babble, be comfortable with silence. Think Mohammed Ali, float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Use the jab here and there, set up the big punch and land it.Don’t go in there swinging like a fat kid eating cake.

  • Finally, realize the world is changing and grow with it.

    It’s a new era and I’m telling you, grow or go. Integrate CRM’s, Social Networking and Media. It’s not enough to just have a website, now you have to have a conversation. Blog, tweet, plurk and squidoo!

    I promise, promise, promise… it’s not a fad. If you’d like more information how to step into this and really see some sales results,email garrett@microfitgroup.com.

One more, it also isn’t about your preference!

For the love of God, shut up about what you like. This is especially true for those in real estate here in AL. I’m not sure what it is about this place, but I’m telling you, and take this with love as I love salespeople…. listen and pay attention to the client. Don’t tell me the closet is HUGE if it isn’t. I can see…

I don’t care if you like this “cute” little xyz. It isn’t about you. I don’t care if you like xyz floor plan, it isn’t about you.

If you listened during the discovery phase (open ended questions), you’d know what I like and you’d speak my language. Get past yourself and you’ll be in a better place, promise.

Closing story:Tried to help a guy (we’ll call him Bill) who had the classic “pitch”mentality. After weeks of being ignored (me that is), we went out with the CEO of the company, an all star rep for the company, Bill and myself.We walk into the room and sit with the client and Bill sits down across from the client and goes into his pitch, asking, “Don’t you just love plan x?”

Bill had sent the stuff HE liked to the client, asked no questions and got what was one of the funniest and most massive crash and burns I’ve seen in over a decade of doing this!

Client looks right at him and say very rudely, “NO!” Then looks at the rest of us in the room, points and asks, “Are you done? Are you done? Are you done? Are you done? OK, well I’m done…” Gets up and walks out.

Morale of the story is… It’s a brave new world. Experience is good, but if you can’t change to the new economy, the consumer and the new buy culture…

Game over.

** Note: Visit Get In Front Communications

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