Every sales professional encounters a pitfall now and then which may negatively impact the success of the sale. If you can identify some potential stumbling blocks ahead of time, you will have an easier time working around them. In this article, we’ll discuss 6 common mistakes sales professionals often make and how you can avoid them.
Mistake #1: Not speaking the customer’s language.
Most salespeople try to sell to others the way they like to be sold. Beware; this is a big mistake as we all process information differently. You may feel irritated when others do not fit your sales method ideal. If this is the case, I recommend the following two books that were instrumental in helping me understand others and how they interact:
• Winning with People by John C. Maxwell
• The Power of Understanding People by Dave Mitchell
According to the Harvard Business review, 81% of buyers indicated they would rather talk with someone who shares their same mannerisms!
Action Tip: Mirror the Customer
If your customer looks like they are in a rush, move things along faster. For example, you could complete the guest card in the model rather than sitting at the desk before going to the model. If someone is more conversational, you should be more conversational. If someone loves numbers, data and analysis, use more of those tools in your answers and presentation. Try to mimic the behavior and energy of the customer. Your customer’s attitude can confirm whether you are on the right track. If they seem agitated, irritated or you have lost their attention, change your approach to meet their needs.
Mistake #2: Using Fair Housing as a reason NOT to customize the sales experience.
**You will always want to consult with your Fair Housing attorney or Risk Management team if you have any questions or want clarification around any ideas before implementing them.
Equal does not mean “same”. The experience does not have to be the same for every prospect. Instead, customize and tailor the tour presentation to each customer, making sure they all have equal access to seeing everything that should be included on the tour. Do not be so afraid of Fair Housing that your tour presentation feels the same for everyone.
• Don’t ASSUME you know what the customer wants; ask questions
• Be sure to ask GOOD questions, consistently – During your phone call, through email and while completing the guest card
• Find out what is truly important to the customer
• Tailor the experience based on what the customer has told you
• Remember, FAIR Housing isn’t FEAR Housing – Document why you chose to give a short or long tour for a particular customer. This will help you remember why you chose to do certain things during each tour
Mistake #3: Not Being Prepared
Customers go on 75% of the buying journey on their own BEFORE contacting a business!
There will be some customers who will let you start the conversation then follow up with you with their research, so you may not be able to spot these customers right away. This is why it’s important to stay current with your knowledge, so you are prepared.
1. Know what’s going on in multifamily on every level: nationally, regionally and locally
2. Keep abreast of online information through LinkedIn, social media, and other business publications. Tip: Search these hashtags #multifamily and #propertymanagement
3. Be prepared to answer the most common information about your community
4. What are the top five objections people raise about your community? – Prepare your responses now for each of those objections so you’re ready when the time comes and teach these responses to new team members
Mistake #4: Not having or using a consistent follow-up strategy!
Follow-up is the key to closing a sale! If you do not follow up, you are missing out on 60% of your potential sales. Only 40% of prospects finish the process in 30 days, 29% in 31-60 days, 12% in 61-90 days and 19% in 90+ days.
• Block out specific times each day for follow-up
• Ask/allow your team members to “cover” for you/each other when doing your follow-up
• Remind yourself and everyone else, “This is as important as taking someone on tour!”
Mistake #5: “Fortune Telling”
Do not give up before you get started! Avoid assumptions about any of your customers. Remember, sales is just a numbers game, which means taking a “no.” It is completely normal to hear “no” more than “yes”, so always ask for the sale without assuming anything about the person based on their demographics or financial situation. After all, you really do not know what is going on in their mind and life. Go ahead and ask for the sale…every single time!
Mistake #6: Majoring in the Minors
The average employee spends five hours a week on his/her cell phone. Source: Office Team
While you’re in the office, choose to spend your time on:
• Following up
• Listening to phone calls
• Outreach marketing
• Researching your competitors
• Analyzing your performance
• Walking vacant units
• Asking current residents for referrals or ratings/reviews
All of these tasks will improve your leasing abilities!
Your job is to provide all customers the opportunity to see your community and all it has to offer. Do not make assumptions about what the customer may like or what they can afford; always ask everyone for the sale. Be creative and listen to your customer’s needs. These needs may be revealed through their actions and responses and not only their words. As long as you are sure to show every customer all the necessary areas for a tour, you can be creative about the process you use. When you are in the office, not on a tour, make a conscious effort to follow-up and watch your sales percentage go through the roof!
The Relationship Difference, President and Founder