Why People Don’t Buy New Homes — what a strange title for a book that is supposed to teach people how to sell new homes! This title certainly implies that an explanation is in order. The explanation of this title will make clear both the impetus for this book, as well as its basic premise. It all started one day when we began musing over the industry standard of “one sale for every 100 visitors”. (Well, that was the industry standard at one time anyway.) In other words, we began to wonder what we could do to convert just one of the 99 people who didn’t buy, into a buyer for our homes. When we wrote up a contract, we had the buyer fill out a questionnaire provided by our employer.
- There were questions about how the buyer first found us. Was it from an advertisement? A referral? Signage? These are marketing questions.
- There were questions about the buyer’s income, family size, and place of employment. These are lifestyle questions.
- There were questions about the salesperson, the decorating, the ease of parking, and the models. These are salesmanship questions.
- There were questions about the standard features (yes, we know it’s not kosher to say “standard” features), as well as the optional (upgraded) features. There were even places to suggest additional features. These are the amenity questions.
We could go on and on, but as a professional, you know what we’re talking about. Without exception, the buyer “loved” the amenities, “loved” the salesperson(s), “loved” the community, etc. “Ah yes, we’re doing everything right,” we thought. So, by golly, we sure believed them. And you know what? They weren’t lying. It slowly dawned on us that we were asking the right questions, but to the WRONG people. Hey, these were the people who BOUGHT. Everything worked for them— the advertising, the signage, the model decorating, the salespeople. OF COURSE they “loved” everything, because it all worked, and that's why they bought! The problem then was to determine what it was about our marketing, product, sales approach, etc., that DIDN’T WORK for the other 99. In other words, we needed to find out why people don’t buy new homes. If we could find out why people weren’t buying our homes, we could adjust our sales approach to accommodate this huge market of potential buyers. If we could sell just a few the “other 99” our sales would soar in a good market, and we could easily survive, and perhaps even thrive in ANY market.
We knew we were so very close to selling many more people than we did. We saw it in their eyes. They wanted to buy, but something was holding them back. What was that “something?” If we could crack just one more sale out of the 99 who didn’t buy, our sales would double. Most of the time, however, we weren’t getting 100 visitors in a month. We were usually called in to bail out an existing community that was already in trouble. So we didn’t exactly have a huge population of subjects to study. There did seem to be a common mindset in the people who bought that was lacking in the people who didn’t buy. If only we could draw out this attitude the buyers had and instill it into the non-buyers.
We also encountered puzzling reactions from prospects. During a presentation of the logical reasons for buying our homes, some prospects would suddenly get angry. Yet the exact same logical presentation to an engineer would result in sale to a very happy buyer.
What was going on?
At the same time, we saw buyers doing strange things. For
example, a family with 3 small children looked at our homes. We
offered them the ideal home. It had a large backyard, was on a quiet
cul-de-sac, had 4 bedrooms upstairs, and one bedroom downstairs for the grandmother who visited every other week to help out with the children. The home was a block away from the grade school and a block away from the park. The previous buyer had ordered stainless steel appliances, which the wife just loved, and we were including them in the sale free of charge. You can imagine our surprise when we found out the family bought a 4-bedroom home on a busy street with a small backyard, far away from the school and even further away from the park. The home was 250 square feet smaller than our home, without stainless steel appliances, and was a higher price than our home. When we asked them why they bought that home instead of our home, they insisted that the other home was “… just perfect for our family.” After 6 months in their new home, we saw a “for sale” sign sprout in their front yard. We dropped by to say “Hi” and coincidently mention that we had the same home as before but with a slightly smaller backyard. The buyers said they were buying a slightly smaller home just down the same busy street, but one that had a bigger backyard.
We once had the occasion to watch the salesman who sold these buyers. He was tall, handsome, with greying temples, and a beautiful west Texas accent. He was talking to a young couple as he said, “Ah jus know this will be the PERFECT home for your lovely wife and your 3 beautiful children.” You could see these buyers fall under his spell.
What was it? How could these buyers be so easily swayed into buying a home that was so wrong for them?
Why would some people suddenly get angry during the sales presentation?
What was holding back the “other 99” from buying?
Learning why people don’t buy new homes has opened up a huge population of potential buyers enabling us to make more sales at higher prices, more easily. This approach is exactly what the new home sales community needs to use to make sales in today’s new home market environment. In a way, this is the book we wish we could have read when we first started in the new home sales business. Please join us on our journey of discovery.
Copyright © 2011 Steven M. Weston
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