How understanding your clients’ lifestyle can help you close the sale
Finding out what a potential clients wants and needs in their new home is what we in the industry call ‘qualifying the client’, and it’s a relationship that needs to work both ways. This part is central and critical to the sale, and provides you the ability to offer a tailored solution to the prospect. Qualifying the client allows you to build on a relationship you’ve already formed, and is key to closing to the next stage or the sale.
In a lot of situations (and because sales people like to talk a lot), we do not listen. What can often happen as a result is that the customer describes something they want in the home, yet the sales person designs something that was not asked for. Delivering a product that the client asked for builds credibility. This time should be used by you to determine what the client’s specific needs are and why they require them.
I always like to remember that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Take the time to listen to what your client is asking for rather than assuming.
A few key things to remember will help you conduct this thoroughly;
- No two clients are the same – don’t talk about a home you designed for a client 6 months ago, your new client does not care.
- Do not make assumptions, use the floor plans that the builder has at hand to sell or design what they client wants if you are custom builder.
- While listening to the client, make sure to uncover underlying reasons why the client wants certain things in the house.
- And remember, always continue to build trust and work on your relationship.
If not conducted correctly, this stage of the process can affect your outcome of trying to close for the sale, and can undo the relationship you have just built with the client.
Work out what the house needs to look like based on the client’s lifestyle
When trying to understand what the client requires in a home, we automatically talk about the details of the house. We talk about what they want in a house, not how the house needs to work for them based on how they live. In most cases, you will hear a consultant asking questions around how many bedrooms they require, whether they want a double garage, or whether they would like a single or double story home. This does give you an understanding of how the client lives, but it’s an impersonal way of finding out what you need to know and doesn’t help to build trust and rapport.
By conducting a correct and thorough needs analysis, you will continue to build trust with the client. Asking them about their lifestyle will make the client think that this is a sales person that wants to get to know us, and to understand what is important to us. This will help them to open up and the brick wall will come down even quicker.
There are also areas of the needs analysis that are critical to understand. From the builder’s perspective, there are some critical items which a lot of sales consultants do not ask about, or sometimes feel uncomfortable asking. Budget is a classic example, however, this information ultimately helps determine the home that you will present to the client.
When trying to understand someone’s lifestyle, we need to figure out what questions to ask that will engage in conversation and find commonalities. So for example, instead of asking if they want an alfresco area, ask them if they like to sit outdoors a lot, or if they entertain a lot, and what space thorough out the home they can see themselves entertaining in. If this is a topic that you have in common, share some experiences of your own. However, make sure you do not spend too much talking about yourself – its all about the client.
Listening carefully to the client is important, as you do not want to produce a home that does not tick off on all their needs; this will lose you credibility and in turn effect your relationship.