Get a group of New Home Sales Professionals in a room together and suggest using sales scripts to improve their prospect-to-homebuyer conversion ratio, and you may just get a tomato thrown at you. Well, to be honest, they have some valid reasons.
“When sales scripts are used verbatim, they put the sales veterans in a cage and tie their hands,” says one Sales Professional. “They turn the Sales Team into mindless robots who are despised by the weary home shoppers they are supposed to be selling to.”
“I know right away when a sales person is using a structured sales script, and right away that triggers a negative salesperson stereotype in my mind,” offered another. “As soon as they start reciting, their voices go up with fake enthusiasm, they talk faster, and they sound canned. I hate sounding like that.”
“Sadly, it is quickly becoming a popular and most disturbing move with all the big national builders,” stated another Sales Professional.
But here’s the downside to not having sales scripts: inconsistency in the message to the customers. Construction advantages are not promoted because a Sales Person may not understand the importance. Green features are not discussed because a Sales Person may not be sure what to say about it. And sales contract or warranty information is often misunderstood because details are not conveyed correctly. That’s why scripts make sense.
So what if, instead of throwing tomatoes, we apply some lean principles to this sales technique? Where sales scripts can be verbose and mechanical, we look for efficient and natural. Something that can be used consistently, regardless of the prospect or the environment.
Like a “Sales Nugget.”
“Nuggets” are compact, valuable, “bite-sized” portions of information. They are brief and to the point, just two or three sentences long. Easy to memorize. And can be easily slipped into a conversation virtually undetected. And more important, you probably already use them.
Sales Professionals often see Sales Nuggets – one or two line responses – as a counter to objections. The same strategy can be applied to explaining green features or when reviewing the sales contract.
“I generally touch on 10 features when I show a home, depending on what my prospects appear to be interested in,” says Bob Schultz in his book The Official Handbook for New Home Salespeople. “However, in my head, I have 2- or 3-line scripts for about 60 different features we offer. I just fall back on whichever one I need during the course of the presentation.”
The placement of a good Sales Nugget within a conversation has the ability to create an attitude of expectancy in you and in your customer. They can allow you to control the conversation and move the topic away from “how low will you go on your price.” Using the right phrase will lead your customer down the desired path, putting them in the right frame of mind to listen to what you have to say and subsequently make a purchase. Plus they can help you get back on track when you find yourself developing a nervous lump in your throat and failing for words. When all else fails and you find yourself not sure what to say next, just refer back to the bank of Sales Nuggets in your head and you will find yourself once again gaining your customer’s attention.
“Some sales people write out scripts for themselves, as though they are acting on a stage. Their point is not to be canned or unspontaneous, but to develop a scenario which they can analyze objectively.” says Richard Tiller in his book Success in New Home Sales. “The script is not intended to be repeated verbatim. It acts as a framework for your selling strategy, which you adapt to each customer individually. I found this tool very helpful in my own preparation. I wrote out scripts not only for the initial greeting, but for each of the stages in the selling sequence.”
In par with lean home selling, one of the biggest advantages to using Sales Nuggets is that they can be standardized. By learning generic two-line descriptions for construction advantages, features in the model home or explaining the warranty service that everyone can learn, memorize and follow, you will set a pattern of duplication in your sales team that will ensure more people producing results.