Customer Care in New Home Sales: Setting Expectations

Salespeople love to please. But is it possible to go overboard by overpromising? You bet it is. Today we’re going to talk about customer care in new home sales, and it’s all about setting expectations.

Now, it’s a fact, we salespeople love to make people happy. That’s great. Happy is a good thing. But sometimes, we go a little overboard in our desire to please. Maybe we get too optimistic about what we’re promising versus what we can deliver. That might sound like an innocent little misstep in the short run, but it can have some devastating results.

How does that happen? It comes down to three words Optimistic Expectations Setting. Seems like a good idea at the time, but it rarely turns out well. So here’s my instruction: pay attention; this is important. Only make promises that you know you can beat. Let me repeat that, only make promises that you know you can beat. Not meet, beat.

I address this topic in a new book I’ve just finished writing with my friend and customer care expert Bob Mirman. The book is called From Contract to Close. It’s all about how we guide our customers through the post-sale process in a way that maintains trust, exceeds expectations, and minimizes cancelations. The best salespeople are not looking for referrals and great evaluation scores. They’re looking to provide great experiences that earn referrals and high evaluation scores.

This book exists to help you create those amazing experiences. You can preorder the new book, From Contract to Close right here. When you preorder, you’ll get a special pre-launch price, and we’ve got some bonus opportunities coming in the weeks leading up to the launch in September.

Now, an important part of the new home selling process includes explaining the purchase and construction process, often in response to questions the customer raises. That discussion will include projected build times, expected finish quality, major milestones along the way, communication patterns with key employees, and much more. You might be getting many of these questions while you, as a salesperson, are still attempting to procure the sale.

Sales professionals must strike a balance between moving the customer towards a purchase decision on the one hand and setting realistic expectations on the other. The challenge and opportunity are to under-promise on the deliverables without devaluing the offering or striking fear into the hearts of buyers. 

So, where do you start in this? Well, I suggest you start by eliminating words that erode trust. Words like perfect, absolute, ideal, guarantee, and definitely. You need to get those words out of your vocabulary. Listen to your comments through the ears of your home buyer because you need to understand something critical. Buyers tend to listen to what they want to hear. It’s far better if your customer expects that there will be issues, and then you exceed their expectations. The phrases that you want to utilize sound more like this.

We’re estimating a delivery date of _____, but delays should be expected.

Your home under construction is going to get dirty. There will be construction snags and issues along the way. Those things will be addressed before the home is delivered to you.

In this environment, delays are likely. You’ll want to build in flexibility to your schedule.

You could say I can’t promise a specific date, but I can promise to keep you updated all along the way.

Here’s a list of the ten expectations you should set with every new home buyer coming straight from the new book.

  1. The likelihood of variance on delivery date.
  2. Frequency and timing of communication from the builder about key dates.
  3. The reason for and necessity of adhering to cut-off dates.
  4. The anticipated condition of the home at final orientation and the likelihood of a punch list.
  5. The anticipated time to clear the punch list.
  6. The likelihood of the need for warranty repairs after move-in.
  7. Typical speed of response to repair requests.
  8. The probability that many types of repairs require more than one visit to complete.
  9. The likelihood of visible changes to the home due to settling over time.
  10. The benefits of homeowner maintenance and which items are the homeowner’s responsibility.

You’ve got to get these expectations down solid. You will be doing a tremendous service to your customers when they know exactly what they can expect. Don’t forget to go to to preorder my new book with Bob Mirman, From Contract to Close.

And until next time, learn more to earn more!

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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.