My Sales School of Hard Knocks
My Sales School of Hard Knocks
I started my sales career back in 1985 at a private golf community in Williamsburg VA. I was hired as a new sales consultant to sell developer lots and homes in a large 2,000+ acre private community. The lots started at $75,000 and the homes started at $350,000. I knew nothing of how to really sell. I had no idea how to deal with customers. I didn't know the inventory. I just knew this was my opportunity to get into the sales game and make some money. I had the heart of a lion!
Before I knew it I was part of a group of cut throat, blood thirsty sales guys who were not about to help me in anyway. There were 22 of them to be exact! This was a very busy golf community in terms of sales. The guys were busy making sales and filling their pockets with money. I watched and learned. Every now and then I would get a customer who walked into our sales office and wanted to know about our offerings. They usually asked for a brochure and said they had "just started to look" at real estate. I met with them and slowly started to figure it out. I maybe had 20 or so UP's as we called them back then. My sales manger, (the thief), who was a complete thief asked me why I wasn't selling. I told him I just hadn't had a really good customer yet. He looked at me with kind of a sorry look in his eyes.
Finally, a Buyer!
Then one day I sat in front of a very good qualified couple. They were what I would later say is a "Receptive Listener". The receptive listener is what we strive for. It is never good when people have the really bad body language to start with. When I spoke they were actually listening and we were interacting. BEAUTIFUL! I did what I was told by my boss, the thief. He told me to get the people interested and then bring them into him, and then shut up and listen! The thief called this a T.O. It stands for "Turn Over". He tried to weave his magic but they weren't buying. Once we walked out of his office they turned to me and said, "I wouldn't buy anything from that guy, but I would buy it from you"! And buy it they did! I knew I was on to something! People trusted me and believed what I was selling! After the first sale they started rolling in. All of a sudden the sales team started checking me out. Who is this guy? How is he doing it? I was selling with integrity, and people were buying it!
There were a few great things that were happening when I was with this type of on-site community sales. One......they had great marketing. I mean cutting edge stuff. Two......we trained every single day on how to sell someone. The thief never really trained us, he just stayed in his office and tried to intimidate everyone. However, the guys would role play many times and I learned a lot. You see our type of selling was a very emotional sale. Most sales are, but ours was extreme emotion. People were buying their dream home or dream lot. At least that is what they thought. We usually made the sale in one day or within a few days. It was a high pressure type of sale in a way. It just depended how you presented it. We trained on how to handle objections, the art of closing, presentation skills and just dealing with people in general in a sales atmosphere. It was amazing and we became lethally trained real estate assassins! It was almost like we could sell someone anytime we wanted to. To this day I still incorporate many of the skills I learned. This was the foundation of my sales and marketing expertise. When you do this day in and day out, you become very good!
My Sales Promotion
Sure enough the thief was fired (because he was stealing our money) and I was promoted. It was OK with me because he was gone and I stared to make great money. I grew the sales team and continued the training everyday! Life was good! My wife and I built a house (on the property) and made a serious commitment to be at this particular development.
Then one day the developer walked into my office and said I was fired. He was going to put his daughter in my position and keep it in the family. That is code for I was making too much money! We were crushed and disappointed by their behavior. I mean, how could they?
That was my start in management working for developers in a brutal business. Pretty rough! As the years went on I created new property sales teams to record sales and built super stars. Guess what? I learned every step of the way. Boy, did I! Some of the those sales teams and sales guys (and gals) were unreal! Selling $2,000,000 and $3,000,000 homes in one day! All true!
We Had a System
It took 30 years of selling clients myself, managing sales teams and developing a system to sell luxury items like real estate. I have never seen anyone or any organization use anything like our system. That system has evolved because the customers now have information, technology and social media. Now the customers walk-in with reams of paper-work and APPS on their phones which tell them the best properties in the area and where they want to look. By incorporating our new sales tools that we created we always had the upper hand and served our clients well using new tools of the trade. I will be creating posts for this blog called sales stories. We will discuss the world of sales. The ups and the downs. The name Sales Stories is unique in every way and I believe you will grow to like it!
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