Is It the Market, Or Is It You?

Welcome to episode 111 of Selling More Homes: The Monday Morning Meeting. This Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast features a great talk between Jerry Rouleau, Scott Stroud, and guest Paul Montelongo.

But first, Jerry and Scott discuss a recent webinar titled, “Using Technology to Increase Sales.” New technology rolls out all the time, and you need to use every tool at your disposal if you want to keep up with the competition.

Mr. Montelongo discusses the fact that the market is always changing, but it comes down to how we engage and the responses we get from our customers.

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

Intro:  This is the selling more homes podcast program number 111. This week our guest Paul Montelongo asks the question, is it the market or is it you? You’re listening to the Selling More Homes Media Network.

Welcome to Selling New Homes Monday morning sales meeting. I’m your host Scott Stroud. Every Monday morning you’ll find a new program featuring interviews with new home sales and marketing experts who share techniques and strategies to help you find more buyers close, more sales, there’s more money than ever before.

In addition to the audio program, a written outline of each episode is posted online for you to read or print and save. And each episode will remain online indefinitely. So you can come back and listen at your leisure. Selling New Homes, the Monday morning sales meeting is presented by Jay Brillo and Associates and is a production of Builder Radio.

For more information on this and other resources for new home sales professionals. Visit our website at www.builderradio.com.

Jerry Rouleau:  Welcome to another episode of Selling More Homes, Media Network. I’m Jerry Rouleau.

Scott Stroud:  I’m Scott Stroud.

Jerry Robot: Hey, Scott, what a great webinar you did this last week here on using technology to increase sales.

Scott Stroud:  Jerry, Thank you for saying that!

Jerry Rouleau: You had some great information in there and I picked up some new tips. I guess I better get on the ball here and start using some of this new stuff you talked about.

Scott Stroud:  Boy, it’s so new. I mean, I was finding things the two hours before the webinar there’s new stuff coming out. So I tried to be very current.

Jerry Rouleau:  Well, if our listeners haven’t had a chance to register and didn’t listen to the program, it is available for a download and you can simply go to builderradio.com,  sellingmorehomesmedianetwork.com and download or register for that program. And we will send you the download for it. It’s one hour of coaching on how to use new technology to increase sales.

Scott Stroud:  The part that I found most interesting in doing the research and presenting it was how do you use social marketing to find out what’s on your customer’s mind? I thought that was fascinating to me.

Jerry Rouleau:  And there are some good things on there and how to use it also. This week, Scott, we have Paul Montelongo who is going to be talking with us and his topic that he wants to share with us this week is, is it the market or is it you?

Scott Stroud:  Ooh. Ooh, I’m not sure how I want to take that.

Jerry Rouleau: Well, I think in most cases the market is different, but it’s definitely us and how we work with our customers.

Scott Stroud:  Our perception has everything to do with how we engage and the responses that we get from our customers.

Jerry Rouleau:  Well, why don’t we get Paul on the line? We’ll see how we end up at the end of this year. Is it the market or is it us? Hey, Paul, welcome back to our program.

Paul Montelongo:  You’re welcome. Glad to be here with you today.

Jerry Rouleau:  Paul has a new book out. Hopefully, I got the title right here – The Real Secret to Selling New Homes in a Downmarket. Okay. Is that the correct title, Paul?

Paul Montelongo:  That’s it. The Real Secret to Selling New Homes in a Down Market or any market for that matter?

Jerry Rouleau:  I thought that would be a great topic to talk about. Maybe kind of an overview of some of the points that you talked a lot in your book.

Paul Montelongo:  Yeah. Of course, as you know, there is a wide perception out there in the marketplace right now that it is that down market. There’s a lot of terminology: use correction, adjusting down. You pick the term that you want to use. I’ve been working on this book for several months now, collecting some of the best ideas and some of the best information out there from successful salespeople, people who are selling successfully in this marketplace, in the market, current market conditions.

And then of course, I added to it my 30 years of experience. I’ve come up with this book – The Real Secrets to Selling New Homes in a Downmarket or any market for that matter. The premise here of the book is that there’s a reality of the situation. And the reality of the situation in our current economy is nothing more than a perception.

Now sales people will say to me, you don’t understand that my marketplace has experienced a 50% decrease in walk-in leads or 75% decrease in sales. So you don’t really get the reality of the situation. I still stand by the idea that the reality of the situation is a perception. A perception is driven by the media.

It’s stripping by the gray matter between your ears, it’s driven by a number of things. Well, let me give you an example. If there’s a 50% reduction, just statistically speaking in your marketplace, my question then becomes who’s selling it 50%. There’s a 75% reduction in the number of leads or the number of sales. My question then is who’s selling the other 25%. And so there are still sales being made. There are still prospects that are being worked. There are still leads out there and someone is making those sales. Someone’s generating those leads. Someone is having those people walk in.

The question then is, is it you? And if it’s not you, then why not you? And so I go through a set of different scenarios about what you can do to generate more leads, what you can do to experience more sales in this economy. Now, the reason I titled the book “To Sell in a Down Market, I will tell you, frankly, because the perception is that we’re in a down market.

But the principles in the book apply to anything, any kind of market, whether it was the market from four years ago, where everybody was on fire and a monkey could sell homes, or if it’s the marketplace that we experienced in 1979, two year after I came into the business where interest rates were 18%, 19%, 20%.

You know, if you think right now is tough, go back to 1979. When the interest rates were 19%. That’s a challenge. There are some realities out there.

Jerry Rouleau:  Going back to this perception here, and it’s a question, I’m sure you get all the time and the salespeople and they’ll go, Hey Jerry, or, Hey Paul, you don’t understand our market is different.

Paul Montelongo:  Right. And you know what, if you believe that’s the case, that you’re absolutely right. I will not challenge you. You’re absolutely right. So the premise of what I write about is our internal belief system, our perception, and the intention that we hold or that we set forth for selling new homes.

And if the marketplace truly is different, then the question is what are you going to do about it?

Jerry Rouleau:  How are you going to change it?

Paul Montelongo:  How are you going to change it and…you’re exactly right! How are you going to change it? Not how’s the market place going to change to adapt to you. How are you going to adapt to the marketplace?

A couple of things, you know, I talked extensively about why consumers buy new homes. There are a set of specific principles that are applied to why people buy new homes. And I tell you what it really applies in this marketplace now because to purchase a new home, the fact still remains that it is a highly emotional purchase.

So the salesperson must tap into the emotion. Now the emotion is driven much by the individual’s perception. Their perception of the marketplace, their perception of the builder, their perception of the housing industry, their perception of you, the sales person. When they walk into that sales center within the first 10 seconds, they have a perception about you, the sales person.

So now what are you going to do to drive that perception in a positive manner? What are you going to do to alter that perception in case the perception is not where it needs to be so that you can sell them a house. You know this all relates to why consumers buy new homes. Now I go through a specific process here of how to determine what the perception is, and then manage the perception.

And I’ll give your listeners one specific strategy. I call it A.T.O. – acknowledge the obvious. Alright. Simply what you do is you goback and you interview your last 12 buyers. Now there’s magic in the number 12, and I won’t go into it right now, why 12? But four won’t work, five won’t work. 15, 20, 25 is too much.

12 is the magic number and I’ve come across this number after doing it for close to 30 years in my own business and in all of my educational programs. 12 is the magic number. Go back and interview the last 12 buyers that you had. If those 12 buyers came in the last month, great!  If it took you three years for you to get the last 12 buyers, that’s great also. 12 buyers. And you ask a couple of very simple questions. And the question is, why did you buy it from me? It’s nice to ask. Why did you buy it from our company? But you want to know specifically, why did you buy it from me?

Why did you buy from me? And you can ask that in different ways. I’m curious, why else did you buy from me? What was it about me that you saw that you wanted to buy this house? So you ask in a different way. After about four or five or six, you will see a specific theme emerge. That theme now becomes the perception of your buyer.

So let me just give you an example. The theme might sound something like, the reason I bought from you is that you very clearly articulated to us what it was that we were getting in this purchase. So they had a complete understanding, more from an analytical perspective. You might also get the reply that the reason I bought from you is we just flat out trusted you. We liked you.

So now you have a little more soft skill perception that you’re dealing with. So whatever the perception is going to emerge as a theme. Then you ask the question, I’m very curious. What was it that you had to overcome? Or what perception or fear did you have to overcome? I don’t like to use the word fear because it’s a fearful word.

So you used the word perception. What perception did you have to overcome? What did you have to manage that caused you to make this decision? You’re going to get a theme. Right now, the theme that you will likely hear is, we heard it’s not a great time to buy. We should wait a few months until the market really bottoms out so we can get the best deal.

So that is the perception. In ATO, you acknowledge the obvious. If that’s the common theme or thread of the perception that your buyers are having, then the next buyer or potential buyer that walks into your sales center, you acknowledge the obvious. “Good morning. How are you, Mr. and Mrs. Jones?” In a few brief moments after you built a little bit of rapport, you say, “Hey, listen, you probably heard that right now is not the time to buy. That you should wait. Let me explain to you if I may, why it is a buy and hold market right now.

Jerry Rouleau:  You know what I liked about this quick little process here is you’re getting into your past customers’ mind and they’ll tell you everything you really want to know. What you’re really doing here is acknowledging the obvious, but finding it out is the key.

Paul Montelongo:  Exactly. I find that so many salespeople are hesitant to do this little process, but if you will do it, a couple of things happen. Number one, it reconnects you with your buyer and you get an understanding of the perception in the marketplace and invariably, number two, what happens is you will get referrals.

Now, there is a concept. It’s a new concept I understand, but you will get referrals because people determined that you care. That that you give a darn and when you come from a place of understanding and want to be helpful, people want to reciprocate. It’s the law of reciprocity. They want to reciprocate. They want to help you as well and they help you with referrals.

So the other thing that this does for the salesperson is giving you a real understanding of the mindset of what’s going on with your buyer. When you have that mindset, then you can deal with it in your sales presentation. Even now in 2008, so many salespeople want to sell amenity features.

They want to sell the 100% brick on the home or masonry. That’s not why people buy, people want to buy because of the perception of what it does for their lifestyle, which would go back to the original point and that is, it’s a highly emotional purchase. So that’s what we’re dealing with.

I talk extensively in the book about earning the right to make sales and that’s where we are in this marketplace right now. Every sale that we make, we have to feel like we’ve earned the right. That’s the number one reason that most salespeople will not ask for the sale.

They feel like it’s pushy, intrusive, invasive, manipula to ask that final closing question to make the sale. The reason is that they don’t genuinely feel like they’ve earned the right.

Jerry Rouleau:  They haven’t found out enough about the customer to earn that right.

Paul Montelongo:  You’re exactly right. They had a gut level. They know that they’re going to hear ‘No’ because they haven’t done their homework. So here’s the best example that I can give you. Statistically speaking, men only ask their wives to have their hand in marriage one time and the success rate of that single question is over 90%.

Now, why? Because men in their infinite insecurity will not ask the question if they feel like they’re going to get turned down. They only ask the question when they know that there’s a very, very high chance for success. Not only that, when they asked the question, they still play the role, they get on the knee, they make sure they got the big ring. They do the environment. They get the flowers. They do stuff that they’ll never ever do again in their life.

Jerry Rouleau:  I love the analogy here. This is great.

Paul Montelongo:  Yeah. Because they feel like they’ve earned the right and they know that they’re going to get the answer. Yes. Now, occasionally you’ll have the odd ball, man that doesn’t represent, you know, our side of the species very well.

They’ll ask through two, three, four, five times. Right. But for the most part one time and they do it only because they feel like they’ve earned the right. Well, the same is true with sale, you know? There’s so much emphasis on teaching salespeople to ask for the close, ask for the close, ask for the close.

I will tell you Jerry, that when you feel like you earn the right to make the sale, your customer is asking you, where do I sign? What’s next? How do I get this financed? When can you start? How long will the bill take? All of those questions that are basically questions where the customer is saying, help me make this deal. They do that because they feel like they’ve earned the right.

Jerry Rouleau:  You know, with your analogy here. I think that they haven’t established that courtship with the customer. It’s the first date and they’re asking him to get married instead. They haven’t earned that right and I love your analogy on that.

Paul Montelongo:  Well, let me tell you, if you’ve got a lot of bravado and on the first day you can ask a woman to get married and she says, yes, then. You know, good on ya, but most salespeople don’t get to that and get to that point. I’ll tell you a great question, that I’ve used for years and years and years when somebody comes to my sales center or when they request my services for me to build a home.

One of the first questions I ask is, I’m very curious, why would you have me build your home? Would you buy from me? The answers that you received to that question, why they give you a jillion ways to go to help this person make that decision. If they start telling you, well, the reason I was buying from you is because of my neighbors.

I’ve seen your community. Whatever they say. Now it just sold itself. If they said to you, I’m not sure I would buy from you. Great. That’s a great piece of information. Next thing you say is what information do I need to give you to help you make the decision?

So you’re earning the right, you’re going down the path to earn the right and that’s the number one reason that people don’t make sales is because they have not, they don’t feel like they’ve earned the right.

Scott Stroud:  You talked about the perceptions and the belief systems and you talked about both. In making the sale, which is the most important, which do you spend more time addressing and adjusting?

Paul Montelongo:  Belief system. Your internal belief system about who you are and about what you can do in the marketplace drives everything. It drives everything. So I have a three pronged approach to this. Number one, you have to set clear intentions. You must be specific with what you intend to happen. Let’s say you’re in a community where there’s 300 homes. Your intention is to represent and sell all 300 of those homes in a timely fashion.

You must have the clear intention that you’re going to be helpful and that you’re going to sell at a profitable level. First, we must have the intention itself. Next. You must have the clarity of the intention. In other words, you must be specific with how much money you want to earn? How many homes do you want to sell? Who’s going to purchase your home? Your intention is clear that you’re going to sell to families that want to live in your community, and that want to buy from you and they’re going to be completely static and not give you any grief. You’re going to get that intention as well. The third area is association and that is you must hang out with, for lack of a better term with people, other people who have clear intentions and who are clear about the intention.

So this is probably one of the areas that most of us fall short in. There’s this thing out there that says, I can probably tell you about you if I just look at your 10 friends. I can tell you how much money you make if I look at the income level of your 10 closest friends.

So the challenge with all of this is to continue to elevate our association so that we, it doesn’t mean we leave our friends, we just add the group of friends or associates that take us to that next level. So fully intentioned, clarity of the intention, and then associate with people who have similar intentions for better intentions or higher attention.

Scott Stroud:  Excellent.

Paul Montelongo:  All that drives your belief system and your belief about yourself, your product, the market, etc. but the media, all of that, right.

Scott Stroud:  Do you find if the salesperson can adjust his belief system and hold those beliefs that he can succeed, then he can educate and convince buyers more effectively?

Paul Montelongo:  Absolutely because it comes through. He didn’t even have to say very much. It just comes through. In an interaction, the person with the highest and clearest intention wins, and here’s what happens. If your intentions are not clear, if your intentions are not firm, your potential customer, your prospect feels it at a very gut level. They don’t know what they’re feeling. Sometimes they can’t articulate what they’re feeling, but they feel it. They walk away with this big question mark on their forehead and you don’t want anybody to walk away with a question mark on their forehead. You want them to walk away with an exclamation point on their forehead. That you are the one they’re going to buy from.

Jerry Rouleau:  You’ve made some excellent points. I’ve got two pages of notes myself here, some great things that you mentioned here.  I’m sure our listeners will get equally as much out of our conversation here.

Paul Montelongo:  Great! So let me make this offer here for all your listeners. I will give your listeners a free chapter from my book. I will give them a free audio download of a program called “Be Memorable or Be Gone” and I will give them a free sales manager agenda that is four weeks long. So it takes you through four weeks of sales meetings and I’ve had sales managers telling me that there’s so much content there that they have converted it to eight weeks.

Jerry Rouleau:  This is free?

Paul Montelongo:  Yes, this is free for your listeners and if they will simply go to paulmontelongo.com/builderradio. They will get a free chapter of my book. They will get the one hour audio download of a program called “Be Memorable or Be Gone” and a four week sales manager agenda. That’s my gift to your listeners for hanging in there and listening to this program today.

Jerry Rouleau: Hey, thanks a million.

Paul Montelongo: You’re welcome.

Jerry Rouleau:  Okay, Scott. I figured it out it’s me, it’s not the market.

Scott Stroud:  You’re the cause for everybody’s down, the whole downmarket.

Jerry Rouleau: Well, it’s our attitude really that makes all the difference.

Scott Stroud:  He made that point clear.

Jerry Rouleau: Yeah, and I think it’s how we look at things that makes a whole big difference. And that’s why, you know, over the past several months, over the past year, we’ve talked back and forth about how even in some strange and bad, slow markets.

I follow and work with some builders that have had a decent year. Competitors selling the similar product are having a tough year. So, a lot of it is the attitude.

Scott Stroud:  I talked to people, builders that in 2009 had their best year ever. You’re right. Their attitude has made all the difference for them and it can for us too, now that we’re coming into 2010, attitude is just as important, if not more so.

Jerry Rouleau:  Paul is out of Texas and he’s certainly one of the best of the best out there as far as marketing and sales consultants. I really love listening to Paul and talking with him.

Scott Stroud: I agree.

Jerry Rouleau: Well, you know, we’re, we’re winding down this year. We’ve had, what is it? 51 interviews that we’ve done this year. We’ve done 18 webinars as well, 18 webinars for our program. Plus we’ve done some other webinars on specialty programs, tax credits, and for various organizations. So we’ve had a busy year.

Scott Stroud:  it’s been an exciting year, too, even with the market the way it’s been. Talking to so many people that are so upbeat and are looking for new ways to market. I think the things that we’ve uncovered during the downturn is going to help us as the market rebounds.

Jerry Rouleau:  Well, we have one more program this year. That’s going to be next week and I’ve, I’ve got a new person that we’re going to interview next week. I just need to confirm a few things with him here, between now and next Monday, but we should be good to go. So I’m not gonna mention his name yet until we can make sure with his schedule that we can get everything in, in time for this coming Monday’s program.

Scott Stroud: Love to talk to new people.

Jerry Rouleau:  Yup. Well until next week, I’m Jerry Rouleau.

Jerry Rouleau: I’m Scott Stroud.

Jerry Rouleau:  Thanks for listening to the Selling More Homes Media Network.