Do You Know How to Break Free From Groundhog’s Day in Sales?

By Ryan Taft 

My wife, Melissa, and I shopped several apartment communities up and down the California coast.

After the fourth community, Melissa said, “I feel like I am in the movie, Groundhog Day!”

Melissa could not believe that every sales person asked the exact same questions (almost verbatim), in the same order and the same pattern.

Her willingness to continue shopping decreased exponentially with each repetition of this worn out pattern.

I could see her dying to share more about why we were looking for a home, but no one ever cared to ask. And it began to suck all the joy and energy out of the experience.

Obviously, that becomes a really big problem for the next sales person who dares to utter the same set of questions right out of the gate!

Imagine you are greeting someone in your new home sales office. See if you recognize the pattern by finishing these questions:

  1. “Hello. Welcome. Is this your _________________?”
  2. “So, how did you ____________?”
  3. “How long have you _______________?”
  4. “What size __________________________?”
  5. “How soon are you looking  ________?”

(* – you can find the answers at the bottom of the blog post if you need help…but I doubt you do)

Let’s face it, our customers wind up living the same sales experience over and over and over again.  They are in a Groundhog Day pattern.

And guess what? They want out!

If You Look the Same and Sound the Same, You Are the Same.

So how do you change the pattern?

How about this: Begin a sales conversation by talking about your prospect instead of your product.

New home sales people (and sales people at large) focus way too much on what customers are moving to. They tend to ask product and timing questions such as, “What are you looking for?” and “What is your time frame?”

Create a new pattern by centering your conversation around what customers are moving from.

Discover why this person is looking for a new home and why they are currently dissatisfied. Trust me, you will give yourself a much better shot at helping them accomplish their mission.

Try these sample questions on for size — they work amazingly well as conversation starters:

  • “Why are you thinking about moving?”
  • “What triggered your home search?”
  • “What is not working for you in your current home?”
  • “If you could change something about your home, what would it be?”

When you ask a better question, you get a better answer. And you will be well on your way to helping your customers escape the Groundhog Day pattern!

* Answers: 1) first visit; 2) hear about us; 3) been looking; 4) home are you looking for; 5) to move

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About the Author: Ryan Taft

Ryan Taft
Ryan Taft is consumed with a passion for helping others achieve breakthrough results in sales, business and life. With a career spanning two decades training and coaching sales teams from call centers to new home sales to Realtors®, Ryan combines his knowledge of human performance, psychology and sales skills development to deliver extraordinarily engaging, energizing and insightful training experiences that drive peak performance at all levels.  Learn more at and follow Ryan on Twitter.