Avoiding Malpractice in New Home Sales

Sales Malpractice

Can Sales Professionals Perform Malpractice? 

In sales, the concept of malpractice rarely crosses our minds. Unlike doctors, whose every decision can lead to significant consequences, sales professionals operate in a domain where mistakes, though impactful, don’t seem to carry the same weight. But what if they did? What if the way we approached sales was with the same meticulous care a doctor takes in diagnosing a patient? 

The Wake-Up Call 

My journey into this comparison began with a personal health scare that mirrored an all-too-common oversight in the sales process. One morning, I woke up to find the left side of my face paralyzed and my arm numb. Fearing the worst, I rushed to the hospital, only to be calmly informed by the doctor that I was not having a stroke but experiencing Bell’s Palsy. This doctor, despite his initial certainty, proceeded with various tests to ensure no stone was left unturned. His approach was not just about avoiding a misdiagnosis; it was about ensuring absolute certainty before proceeding. 

This experience sparked a revelation about my view of the sales industry. Just as doctors cannot afford to jump to conclusions without a thorough examination, sales professionals must resist the urge to solve problems without a deep understanding of their client’s unique needs.  

In our pursuit to excel in sales, especially within the competitive landscape of new home sales, falling into the trap of making assumptions about our clients’ needs, preferences, or personal situations is all too easy. These assumptions can lead to misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and sometimes, irreparable damage to client relationships. Let’s delve into two poignant examples that underscore the critical importance of avoiding assumptions in our sales interactions. 

The Misinterpreted Bedroom Request 

Imagine a scenario where a salesperson is approached by a couple interested in homes with a main-floor bedroom. Without delving deeper, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the request stems from mobility issues or perhaps an anticipation of aging in place. This assumption seems logical, right? However, this is where the danger lies. In this specific case, the couple’s request had nothing to do with their physical condition but was entirely for the comfort of their beloved dog, who could no longer navigate stairs due to a bad back. 

This example illustrates not only the risk of misinterpretation but also the potential for creating a disconnect between what the salesperson offers and what the client actually needs. The assumption made about the couple’s needs could have easily led to recommendations that missed the mark, leaving the clients feeling misunderstood and possibly overlooked. 

The Oversimplification of “Family” Needs 

Another example involves a salesperson showing a home to a client and enthusiastically highlighting its suitability for a “family,” given its spacious backyard and proximity to excellent schools. On the surface, this seems like a positive, perhaps even a winning strategy. However, this assumption ignored a crucial, sensitive detail about the client’s situation: they were recently divorced and navigating the emotional turmoil that accompanies the end of a marriage. The emphasis on the home’s family-friendly features, made without a deeper understanding of the client’s current life stage, inadvertently caused emotional distress. 

Adopting a Doctor’s Methodology in Sales 

To steer clear of sales malpractice, integrating the following strategies can make a significant difference in how sales professionals engage with clients. 

  1. Dive Deeper into Understanding

Beyond the initial conversation, it’s crucial to explore the underlying needs and motivations of clients. This means looking past the obvious and asking probing questions that reveal deeper insights into their real estate desires and concerns. 

  1. Foster Curiosity with “Tell Me More”

Encouraging clients to share more about their situation can uncover details that might otherwise be overlooked. This approach helps in tailoring the sales strategy to better match their actual needs and desires, ensuring a more personalized and effective service. 

  1. Leave No Stone Unturned

Before concluding any interaction, posing the question, “Is there anything else I need to know?” can prompt clients to reveal last-minute details or considerations. This not only ensures all bases are covered but also strengthens the trust between the sales professional and the client by showing genuine interest and concern for their unique situation. 

Elevating Sales Practices with Empathy and Precision 

Adopting these steps not only minimizes the risk of ‘sales malpractice’ but also elevates the level of trust and rapport with clients. It transforms the sales process from a transactional interaction to a consultative relationship, where the focus shifts from selling to solving. 

While the stakes in sales may not always seem as high as those in medicine, the impact of our actions is significant. By borrowing from the medical profession’s playbook, we can ensure our sales practices are not only effective but also deeply respectful and understanding of the individuals we serve. Let’s commit to being as thorough and considerate in our sales approach as doctors are in their practice. After all, in sales as in medicine, the well-being of those we serve should always come first. 

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About the Author: Jeff Shore

Jeff Shore is the Founder and CEO of Shore Consulting, Inc. a company specializing in psychology-based sales training programs. Using these modern, game-changing techniques, Jeff Shore’s clients delivered over 145,000 new homes generating $54 billion in revenue last year.