Okay, so the market was red hot, and everyone was a genius. Sales professionals were heroes and heroines. Sales managers were the definition of brilliance. Consultants were planning their own parades.
Oh, sure, the market was strong, but it wasn’t that strong. Much of the success came from your superior efforts, right? Even the homebuying customers played along. Many times the sales office conversation looked like this:
Salesperson: “Welcome to my community; here are the rules. Rule number one: no contingencies.”
Salesperson: “Rule number two: we don’t cooperate with Realtors.”
Salesperson: “Rule number three: no investors.”
Buyer: “Um . . . Fine, I can lie about that one.”
Salesperson: “Rule number four: when I ask you to, you’ll bring me a grande, extra-hot, one-pump mocha latte.”
Buyer: “With or without whipped cream?”
All right, maybe it wasn’t that bad, but you must admit that you had the upper hand. And I, for one, have seen too many sales professionals take that for granted.
THE “ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY”
The problem in a prolonged healthy market lies in what I refer to as an “entitlement mentality” from new home sales professionals. This mentality says, “If I show up for work and handle the rush of stuff that comes my way, I’ll get my fair share of sales.”
It says, in a nutshell, “The market will come to me.”
And then the market suddenly changes. In the blink of an eye, you see more rigid mortgage qualifications and appraisal issues. Dozens of non-contingent homebuyers suddenly “remember” that they are contingent and can’t sell their homes.
Oh, and by the way, a rise in interest rates does knock people out of the market. At the least, rising rates can dramatically decrease buying power.
Then there are those customers who stay in the market but now approach things with a much different and far more skeptical attitude. They generally fall into three categories:
The Neurotic: These prospects are so skittish that every media report causes them to call their therapists. Facial tics are not uncommon; loud noises scare them.
BWAs (Buyers with Attitudes): These are, ironically, the same people who agreed to all our rules in a hot market but who now walk through the door with a certain swagger, asking the question, “Who’s your daddy now?” (Gee, wherever did they learn such arrogance?)
Psychotic-Amoral-Godless-Money-Sucker: You know, the deal-making guy.
Yes, it’s time, once again, that we must exercise our fundamental selling skills. New home sales professionals must ensure they are approaching the current market with the right mindset. Stay tuned for part two of this series, where I’ll share a new definition of “the market” for you.
Bring your focus back to the healthy and proven sales behaviors that get too quickly set aside during boom years. Learn more about these and other relevant topics in the updated version of Tough(er) New Market New Home Sales.
Remember, even in a tougher market, you’re still in the business of changing people’s worlds!