There are three common sales mistakes that even the most experienced property managers can make, and today I want to point them out, and talk about ways to avoid them. Here at Fourandhalf, we help Property Managers leverage the power of the internet and social media to expand their brand and grow their business. But, no matter how many quality leads and connections a property management company gets in that way, you still have to close the deal. Every good salesperson has their own style, but some things are universally relevant – so, let’s take a look at three of the biggest sales mistakes.
1. No Preparation. Preparing for a sales call or a presentation does not stop at dragging a comb through your hair, splashing on some scent, and popping a breath mint into your mouth. While these things are important, people often neglect to thoroughly prepare for the sales appointment itself. Sometimes people are doing generic presentations on a whim, following a pre-made script, or they’ve made their speech a thousand times and are running on autopilot – so they rush to close a deal as soon as the presentation is finished. It pays to take your time.
One way to ensure preparation is a part of your business strategy is to split your sales process into two separate parts – discovery and demonstration. In the discovery phase, you’ll introduce yourself and ask about the problems your potential client is having. Your job is to listen and gather information. Don’t try to sell at that time. Instead, set up an appointment to show them a solution that will help them with the problems you just talked about. For property management clients, that might mean high vacancy rates, or terrible tenants, or working with people who inherit houses they don’t know what to do with. So, start with an information gathering session, use that information to do further research and prepare a presentation that targets that particular client’s needs. Then, and only then, have your sales call.
2. Talking. Talking all the way through the discovery call and the sales presentation is a mistake that’s easy to make, and is often made by very experienced sales people (myself included) who are among the best in their industry (not that I claim such a title). If you are a property manager who has been in the business for over 20 years, you probably have great instincts and know what your prospect is likely to say before she says it. Because we feel we know the customer’s issues better than they do, we tend to interrupt, make assumptions, and show off our knowledge. Resist that urge and listen.
Even if you know what an owner-prospect is going to say, let them say it. If you feel that urge to speak and look knowledgeable and professional, (or fill in that awkward pause) – ask pertinent questions, then listen to their answers. If they say what you thought they were going to say, they still feel good that you’d listened to their problems – and there’s always the chance that they’ll say something you’ve never heard, and then you learn. Getting a personal connection with your customer will be beneficial for years to come.
It might help you to think about a really great doctor you’ve seen. Delivering a diagnosis before the patient had a chance to talk about their symptoms would be crazy. Doctors listen first and ask questions after.
3. Continuing after ‘Yes.’ When you are almost done with the sales call and are wrapping up the demonstration/presentation stage, talking beyond the ‘yes’ is never a good idea. When someone says yes, or agrees to a contract or says he’s “sold,” it’s time for you to shut up. Get the contract in front of the customer as soon as possible, and show him where to sign. A client often experiences a bit of ‘buyer’s remorse’ soon after agreeing to something. I have learned this the hard way, losing sales in my career, by continuing to sell even after I’ve heard the ‘yes.’ It’s really easy to talk yourself out of a deal. Don’t help your customers bring up doubts that don’t really exist. When they say yes, get the deal closed. Schedule the next step, whether it’s an inspection or reviewing existing leases. Develop a process that allows you to get a contract in the client’s hands with the least possible delay.
I hope my highlighting these three mistakes and my tips on how to avoid them will help you develop a successful sales strategy for your property management company. Remember that preparation is accomplished by discovery before demonstration, listen to your customers and respond back based on what you hear, not on what you think. Finally, stop talking and present the contract once you hear that ‘yes’ you’ve been waiting for.