Have you ever wondered what makes some people seem like such a natural in sales? Turns out it’s both an art and a science. Like any skill, it improves with practice, a very important element. Founder and CEO Kevin Markarian of Marker Real Estate in San Francisco has been awarded the National Sales Associate Of The Year by Taylor Morrison, one of the largest homebuilding company in the United States. Markarian has grown his residential realtor business from nothing to $100 million in sales in under three years, expanding throughout the Bay Area and into Central Valley and Orange County. Supported by a growing team of 60, Markarian points out that he actually has just a couple of constituencies, which include home buyers and sellers, as well as hand-selected entrepreneurial real estate agents who choose to join his hard-working team.
The buying and selling of homes involve one of the most emotionally packed and financially significant decisions of our lives, requiring massive doses of sales acumen. Kevin Markarian shares 10 rules for sales success that guide him well.
Finding out what’s important to your customers may sound trite, but that is far from the truth. Ask questions. Nobody wants to hear a canned pitch.
Focus on benefits, not features
Making the benefits of your products a focal point is classically the best practice rule in sales and marketing. Markarian says, “Remember to identify the underlying benefit that each feature of a product or service provides. This way, you can add value. Of course, you cannot do so until you’ve actually listened to your client.”
Manage expectations, be honest
If your product or service falls short of expectations, manage the unfortunate situation with your best asset — honesty. This is paramount. If you should lose your client’s trust, you’ve not only lost the sale, you’ve irretrievably damaged your reputation.
Be confident, resourceful
Confidence is a continuous circle that comes with practice and experience. Be resourceful. It’s okay if you haven’t got an immediate answer to a client’s question. See it as an opportunity to get the answer, and then promptly respond with more information.
Keep communication channels open and be as broadly available as you can manage. Determine your client’s preferences for communication and set the most convenient times to call by phone, email or text. “The closer you can get to face-to-face contact, the better for both of you,” says Markarian. A phone call is better than an email.
Don’t leave anyone wondering where things stand. Do what you say and say what you do. Keep your clients fully informed at all times using the agreed upon channels of communication.
Navigate the process
A transaction is a process, not just a signature on a document or a check. The process is a series of mini-sales throughout and each step provides you with the chance to reinforce the main sales objective.
Build great relationships
You’re creating a positive experience for your client. You’re selling now and for tomorrow because every contact means the opportunity to do business together in the future.
Ask for the sale
“I’ve seen otherwise talented salespeople neglect to close the sale,” says Markarian. “That’s simply not a strategy for success. I suggest looking at it this way. The answer isn’t always going to be ‘yes,’ but for every time I hear ‘no,’ I am one step closer to my next ‘yes.'”
Generate positive word-of-mouth
Outstanding enthusiastic word-of-mouth is a golden opportunity for increased brand awareness, as well as for generating direct sales. It’s authentic, it’s trusted, it’s earned and it’s unpaid.
Remember, practice makes perfect. Those who follow a set of basic golden rules in sales certainly get better results.
This article was written by Laurie Jo Miller Farr for Small Business Pulse