Do you remember the movie, “Glengarry Glen Ross?” If not, I suggest you get it and watch it immediately Alec Baldwin’s character, Blake, makes a statement that has resonated with me to this day:
“Put that coffee down. Coffee is for closers only. I don’t see any closers in here,” Blake from “Glengarry Glen Ross.”
As a Starbucks enthusiast and sales trainer, every time I take a sip I think about that line and consider how it’s going to affect my day. We’re all sales people and we all must “close” in order to succeed professionally.
As a trainer who teaches sales, I have to win each learner to my way of thinking by demonstrating, sharing success stories, utilizing facts, encouraging participants to try it, etc. It’s my job to make them realize that what I’m telling them (ahem, selling them), will in fact work. This is sales, is it not?
As a regional director, aren’t you selling to your boss when you’re pitching the need for that front cover of Apartment Guide, redecorating the model or going outside the budget for a new manager’s salary? You’re providing your boss with reasons for all of these, such as the net effect and more.
Obviously, as a leasing consultant, it’s your job to get those prospective residents to sign on the dotted line, right?
What I often find missing during the sales process is the close. We’re not actually selling until we ask for a commitment, whether this is asking a prospect to live at your community, asking learners to commit to trying something new, or actually asking your boss for the money to spend.
So let’s discuss the steps involved, shall we?
First, we need product knowledge. We cannot sell what we don’t know. By product knowledge, I don’t mean knowing that you have beautiful 1-2-3 bedroom apartment homes. I mean knowing what is available right now and what is special about it. Do you know what kind of light they get? What they face? You should! That’s what I’m referring to when I say “product knowledge.”
Second, we need to have competitor knowledge. How can you compete when you don’t know what you’re up against? When that prospect says they’re going to XYZ Community and they don’t have garages, you now have the opportunity to help that prospect not waste their valuable time. Know your competitors and have their information on hand.
Third, utilize trial closes. These allow the prospect to give you feedback along the way and if that feedback isn’t favorable, it allows you to (quickly) come up with a new game plan. Asking open ended questions allows the prospect to tell you what is and what isn’t working.
Fourth, uncover hidden objections. As sales people, we’re often chatty. But if we don’t listen, pay attention to body language or get the prospect talking, we’re doing everyone a disservice. I remember one instance when I was leasing, I had a great call that I turned into a great appointment. I had a fabulous apartment home available overlooking a resort style pool, and I created urgency by letting her know this was the only one I had like this (overlooking the pool, but I didn’t say that). I never actually asked her questions.
She didn’t lease.
I was floored.
Turns out, she worked from home and was concerned about noise from the pool. Oops! I had other homes like this, but I didn’t stop to ask her any questions, and I did not uncover her hidden objection.
Fifth, the summary close/create urgency is great at reminding the prospect of what they told you (and that you were listening). This is a great opportunity for you to really put your community and their needs in perspective.
Finally, don’t forget the assumptive or alternative close. At the end of the day, you have to actually ask them to live at your community. By the time the tour is over it’s up to you to ask them to come back and choose to live there. You could ask, you could give them a choice between apartments, or you could ask them to pick one. Any way you slice it, it has to be done. If you miss this step, you’ve screwed up. Not asking for the sale is not doing your job. And please … don’t give them an application and send them out your door!
If you follow the steps above, tailoring the information to your style (after all, you’re unique and that makes you awesome). You will have a better result in your sales efforts. Will you commit to trying these steps and seeing if they work for you? Thinking about your approach, what will you do differently in your everyday sales?
Let’s get out there and SELL, ok?