New Home Sales Training: Are You Asking Your Customer to do Your Job?

It’s actually one of the most common lines in the sales world, regardless of product, price, industry, or even the tenure of the salesperson:

“Tell me what you’re looking for.”

Picture yourself visiting a doctor due to severe stomach pain. How would you feel if she asked, right out of the gate, “So, what are you looking for?”

You’d walk out in a heartbeat, wouldn’t you?

Why? Because you expect the doctor to do her job, that’s why!

You expect the doctor to diagnose why your stomach feels like you just finished 1,000 P90X ab rippers. You expect a little empathy, followed by a discerning line of inquiry and a clear-headed assessment of your situation.

Stop Asking the Customer to do Your Job for You

“Tell me what you’re looking for” is worse than mediocre. It’s rude! It forces the customer to take the lead in the sales process, just like the patient in our little story above.

With that said, let me share a short example of how to do it right…

Last year, my wife and I moved into a friend’s brand new cottage up in the mountains during the construction of our new home. In other words, we left the house where we raised our three kids, temporarily moved into a very small home on the edge of nowhere, and simultaneously built our future home…all within a short and enormously stressful period of time.

The cottage wasn’t so bad…the goat and I got along exceptionally well, as a matter of fact. We actually started to enjoy this little cottage very much, except for one small detail: no washer and dryer. Our friends just hadn’t gotten around to it and so they suggested that we go pick out a washer/dryer set at Home Depot and they would reimburse us.

So, that’s the backdrop. Picture a highly frazzled me with my equally stressed-out wife in this scenario.

We walked into the appliance department of Home Depot and stood there looking dumbly at the blinding array of washers and dryers. At this point, orange-aproned gentlemen approached, sidled up next to me, cast his gaze across the appliances, crossed his arms, stroked his chin, slowly nodded his head, and drawled: “So…washers and dryers…what’s your story?”

I admit…not the most elegant approach (it was Home Depot after all). But he did NOT ask us what we were looking for. This is good…because we didn’t know one washer and dryer from another. Instead, he inquired about our story.

He inquired about where we started FROM so he could figure out what we should move TO. This is a key concept in our new home sales training that many of you know as the 4:2 Formula.

So, I told him our story. And he showed us the PERFECT solution for our needs. We were out of there in twenty minutes. Brilliant!

Of course, it’s not always this easy. But please, please, please don’t begin a sales conversation by demanding that your customer do your job for you! I can assure you there is no new home sales training out there that suggests doing this.

Let’s all agree to deep-six the “Tell me what you’re looking for” line once and for all.

Every customer brings a story to the sale…make it your mission to learn that story by starting with the right questions!  When you know their story you can help change their world.


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About the Author: Jeff Shore

Jeff Shore is the Founder and President of Shore Consulting, Inc. a company specializing in field-tested and proven consumer psychology-based sales training programs.

Jeff is a top-selling author, host of the popular sales podcast, The Buyer’s Mind, and an award-winning keynote speaker. He holds the prestigious Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association and is a member of the NSA’s exclusive Million Dollar Speaker’s Group.

With over 30 years of real-world, frontline experience, Jeff’s advanced sales strategies spring from extensive research into the psychology of buying and selling. He teaches salespeople how to climb inside the mind of their customers to sell the way their buyers want to buy. Using these modern, game-changing techniques, Jeff Shore’s clients generated over $30 billion in sales last year.