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How to Sell More Houses in 2024

February, 6, 2024
How to Sell More Homes in 2024 by Roland Nairnsey photo from Freepik

I have the good fortune to work with builders all across the country, and the similarities in patterns and behavior are eye-opening. In order to liberate yourself from macroeconomic trends, own your market and increase your market share, let’s look at what you can be proactively doing in 2024 and beyond.

Market Outlook for 2024

The outlook is sunny for the 2024 spring selling season, plus the whole of 2024 in most parts of the country. Experts such as Zonda chief economist Ali Wolf, NAHB chief economist Robert Dietz, and National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun all forecast steady growth for the year.

A combination of factors underscore market optimism. We still have a vast housing shortage, plus the economic trends are positive with record low unemployment and inflation, a surging stock market, and an increase in the consumer confidence index.

Add to this that many buyers have now become accustomed to the higher rates and realized that their desire for a new home is permanent, and the concept of “marrying the home and dating the interest rate” makes sense.

Many mortgage companies have adapted and are offering either float-down rates if you are building or free refinance within a few years if you are moving in more quickly. Add short market times and low supply of inventory, and balanced optimism is warranted.

While one can never predict extreme black swan events, housing has shown such resilience and demand for homes is so high that I don’t see concerns for sales for the builders that have retooled their products, pricing, and sales processes. The biggest downside that experts have mentioned for home building isn’t sales related, but potential labor shortages in being able to keep up with demand.

Shifting Buyer Preferences

I believe that many buyers are slowing down and taking their time again, just like they did before COVID and the post-COVID low-interest rate boom.

Sales professionals who started selling new homes within the last five years have been used to an accelerated buying cycle of 30 days or less. However, we need to remember that the traditional buying cycle has always been eight to 10 months or longer in some market segments.

We still have to build value for buying now. However, we also have to develop a more patient approach to long-term follow-up—creating a second lane where we stay in front of our customers systematically, leveraging our CRMs, and making sure that we are the ones who are top of mind when customers come back and are ready to buy.

Strategies for Success

At the risk of sounding boring, executing the fundamentals at the highest level is the key for sales professionals. There is no need to lurch from one fad approach to another or panic with drastic pricing changes that will negatively impact profits.

Additionally, here are three concepts that when executed perfectly will jump-start your spring selling season, while transforming your long-term sales, creating consistency, and maximizing profits.

1. Narrow down to one of a kind.
Salespeople almost have to be deaf to the customers who say they are “just looking” or waiting for some magical moment in the future, such as an economic change or election. Instead, we have to fuel desire for our homes by narrowing down to “one of a kind.”

The salesperson must leave their model and take the customer to the homesite, or showcase home, or build their actual home together back at their desk. This causes connection, as the customers begin to fall in love with their one-of-a-kind dream home while also creating authentic urgency.

Research shows that the amygdala is the most effective part of our brain in driving decisions, as it deals with fear. What I call HFOMO, or healthy fear of missing out, can only be created when the customer experiences the home of their dreams with their view and finishes, and understands that pricing could change at any time.

2. Understand the numbers.
With rates being on customers' minds so much, gone are the days of new-home sales people pushing monthly investment conversations to their preferred lender representative.

In new-home sales, we must maintain control of the sales process and become a kind, empathetic guide for the customers, with a basic understanding of how the total investment translates into their monthly investment.

3. Close at your desk
“Never negotiate on your feet, always close at your seat."

Last, we need to remember that our sales movies have to end sitting down recapping and closing every time. If your process ends standing up, your body language is effectively saying:

Hey, this meeting is over, there is no way you could realistically move forward, I hope you come back one day!”

I discovered this many years ago when I was on-site in a large master-planned community, as one of 10 salespeople for a decade with over 2,000 homes that we sold. At first, I only sat down and “closed” the ones I felt were likely to buy that day. I was drastically underperforming, and then I had the epiphany to sit every customer down for a formal recap, after visiting the models and then the homesites and narrowing down to one of a kind. I quickly became a top salesperson and discovered that so many customers hadn’t been receiving all of the information they needed to make an educated buying decision.

I created a formal yet friendly recap, with the tools and sales props they would need to understand the step-by-step process for moving forward. Also, creating a safe space for them to voice their real “buying buts” or objections. Please don’t think of it as a recap to close or be pushy, instead think of it as a recap to be helpful and to guide your customers to the promised land of owning their dream home.

With the new year, now is the perfect time to reevaluate your sales processes and dig deep with your teams and plant the seeds for your success that will bloom this spring and beyond.

By Roland Nairnsey New Home Sales Plus
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