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Closing: Take a Few Steps Toward the Closing Table

Jan 26, 2011

Posted by

Bob Hafer

Bob Hafer began his career in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1972 as an on-site new home sales representative. He has been a senior manager with some of Americas leading home builders and has recruited, trained Read more

Successful closing is fundamentally an extension of other steps in the sales process. You must be proficient in all phases of new home selling if you hope to close consistently. Therefore, your first move toward sharpening your closing skills is to improve all your selling skills, especially your ability to discover and qualify. The more proficient you are in the critical area of questioning, the more successful you will be in closing.

Lead People To Minor Decisions

The more your customer says “Yes”, the harder it will be to say “No.” Get your customers to agree that your homes, home sites, community, location, financing and builder satisfy what is important to them. Ask affirmative questions or tie-downs throughout your sales presentation and especially during discovery. A tie-down question is any question that asks for an agreement. Use tie-down phrases such as these:

• Don’t you agree?

• Wouldn’t it?

• Isn’t it?

• Doesn’t it?

• Don’t you?

• Aren’t they?

• Can’t you?

• Isn’t that right?

• Don’t you think?

• Aren’t you?

• Okay?

This is an easy way to lead customers into minor decisions, isn’t it? You can gently influence them to nod their head in agreement, can’t you? The result is a series of yes responses that will lead to a closing, don’t you agree?

Use Trial Closes

Throughout the sales presentation, test your customer’s mindset by asking trial close questions. A trial close question is any question that requires the prospect to make a conditional commitment. Some examples follow:

•  “If you were to make a decision today, do you think you would prefer the white or oak cabinets?”

• “I have shown you several home sites today. Do you prefer the one on Kennedy Lane or Whiterbone Court?”

• “When you make the decision to purchase, will your front elevation be stone or brick?”

If your prospect answers any of these questions, you are moving toward a partial close. Your prospect hasn’t bought the house but she has purchased a color for the cabinets, selected a particular home site or decided on elevation. Each response by itself represents a partial decision and when all the minor decisions are combined, you’ve earned the right to ask for the order.

Give Reasons To Close Now!

Today more than ever, you have to generate a sense of urgency to buy, to buy today, otherwise your prospects will want to think it over; and delay a decision until absolutely necessary. Therefore, how you create urgency is very important to your sales performance and income.

Urgency is a function of time and personal motivations. What may seem important to one prospect may not to another. Some people, for example, will place little value on money, while others will jump to close if they learn that a price increase is imminent. Not everyone will react the same way to the things you may say to stimulate urgency, so it’s good to develop a range of ‘timely messages’ and there are at least eight you should consider:

1.) One Of A Kind

I strongly believe that home sites represent a good opportunity to create urgency because land, views and amenities vary with each home site. Each home site has its own inherent values based on its exact location and its orientation to other elements in the surrounding environment. This simple fact helps create a desire to own a particular home site and emphasize the need to make a decision now -- for fear that someone else will appreciate its value and decide to buy it first. If others are looking at the same property, the tempo of decision-making can easily be accelerated.

2.) Price Increase

In new home selling, you always have the reality of increasing costs that ultimately must be passed on to homebuyers. By using your knowledge of pending or anticipated price increases, you can encourage hesitant prospects to buy now. If they wait, they’ll have to pay more.

Price increases also represent an opportunity for your prospect. If they buy before the increase, they earn instant equity. Always remind your customers that housing remains a great investment and the longer they wait to buy, the less equity they earn. Urge your prospects to buy now and receive the benefit of price increases.

3.) Financing

During the past few years, fluctuations in financing rates and closing costs have affected your homebuyers. Because of media attention, people are instantly aware of variations in interest rates. You can use this awareness to create the urgency to buy now. If your prospect waits, he runs the risk of less favorable borrowing conditions. You might have finance calculations prepared ahead of time and show prospects how much more they will pay over a 15- or 30-year contract if they pay just 1/2 or 1% more.

4.) Construction Schedule

Most homebuilding companies work on a controlled program for construction scheduling. Therefore, you can easily justify the importance of selecting and confirming a home now, so it will be started in time to meet the buyer’s occupancy requirements.

The convenience of moving at an optimum time also helps stimulate an immediate decision.

5.) Processing Details

Many steps are required to secure the necessary permits to build a new home. If approval for a mortgage is a factor, and it usually is, then the normal procedure is further complicated with paperwork required by lenders and government agencies. By stressing the length of time required to follow through on all administrative details, you can create a valid and compelling reason for deciding now.

6.) The Season Of The Year

Based on the attitude of your buyer, the nature of your climate and possible building delays, you can normally create some sense of urgency for any season of the year. Perhaps your prospect should order early so that her home is available when she wants it for the enjoyment of the remaining seasons, or to avoid possible weather-related work stoppages.

7.) Solving Contingency

If your prospect has another home which must sell before a new one is purchased, you can point out the urgency of getting the old house on the market, particularly if it’s a good time of the year to sell. It’s often wise to have actual records of real estate activity to show hesitant buyers who have homes to sell. Such third-party documentation not only increases your credibility, but also adds to the sense of urgency you want to create.

8.) Living Pleasure

The personal benefits of enjoying home ownership may be the most important force in motivating a prospect to act now, rather than wait. People don’t like to postpone pleasure, and you can capitalize on this universal desire.

If you maintain a tempo of excitement and urgency to act now; if you work to promote an environment of success; then closing becomes a formality, just another step in the sales process.

Close Constantly

If you do not close early and often, you run the risk of losing your prospect’s respect. Prospects know why you are there; they expect you to close, they even expect you to close many times. If you do not close repeatedly, they will see you as weak and unprofessional.

When you close again and again, they will respect your drive and tenacity -- even if they don’t buy. They may complain that you are pushing them too hard, but remember -- if you don’t push, you won’t close.

Of course, you may feel that pushing for action is inconsistent with your approach to selling. You may have learned to slow down, avoid pushing and how to relate to prospects on their terms.

Why, then, should you push now? Because you don’t help your prospects unless they buy. The best house in the world is worthless if it’s never built. If you have performed well, you know that your prospects need your product. Be prepared to give them that little push they need to overcome their fear of acting. And don’t hesitate to do it often.