“Comedians are nothing more than highly paid purveyors of amusing truth and outlandish gossip.”

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Growing up (and all the way through my undergraduate degree), I was socially inept and severely introverted. I was deathly afraid of standing up in front of people or having to speak in public.

My hands would sweat, I’d suddenly get cotton-mouth, my stomach would churn, I’d stutter and stammer, and my mind would go blank. I’d become a total PANIC-ATTACK train wreck.

Maybe this sounds familiar? If so, you know it’s terrifying, humiliating, and debilitating!

Being “funny” and learning how to make others laugh was the furthest thing from my mind. But I was lucky – because this is something I “accidentally” learned to do.

Through an incredible series of events, I found myself in front of some of the best stand-up comedians in the business. They took me under their wings and taught me their amazing secrets … the science of humor and the art of “funny”.

And now this is something I’m able to teach others. (In fact, this is my #1 requested course.)

Once you learn the secrets of humor and “funny”, your whole life will change. Mine sure did!

So why am I writing about “funny” and learning the secrets of humor? What does this have to do with New Home Sales?

Here’s a little tip I share with my New Home Sales clients. If you want to substantially (and quickly) increase your sales closure rates, if you want to reduce your CAN rates, and if you want to quickly gain an unfair advantage over your competitors, you’ll want to develop your “improv” skills and your ability to use “scripted” humor.

Before we go any further, it’s important to grasp the difference between:

  1. Attempting to be a stand-up comedian during the sales process (BAD) and
  2. Knowing how and when to interject humor to advance the buying process (GOOD)

One of the cardinal rules every successful comedian understands is, “You can’t make people laugh, you can only make them want to laugh.”

The same concept applies to YOU as a new home sales agent. You can’t make people buy, you can only make them want to buy a new home (hopefully within your community).

FACT #1: Social psychologists tell us that it is virtually impossible to dislike or distrust a person who can make us laugh.

FACT #2: We also know that those who make us laugh are more fun to be around (as opposed to a hard-nosed, hard-core, feature dumping sales person who is constantly trying the ABC/Always-Be-Closing routine).

Just think about your group of friends. Chances are, the ones that are the most fun to be around are the ones who tell great stories and make us laugh.

If you want your potential buyers to quickly see you as a Trusted Advisor instead of a typical salesperson, start using the art of subtle humor. A little laughter will disarm them, it will help eliminate “push-back” and buyer resistance, and the buyer will be more apt to interact with you without developing the typical “us vs. them” attitude we sometimes have to deal with.

One of my favorite “adlibs” is to let the prospect know I was a former stand-up comedian. This fact has nothing to do with showing/selling a home – it simply disrupts the typical sales presentation for a few moments and gives me an unfair advantage to “take-over” the sales presentation.

First comes the obligatory greeting of:

“Hi, thank you for coming in …” or “Hello, thanks for stopping in to see our community … BLAH, BLAH, BLAH”.

After I get their name and where they’re from (a separate “funny” mini-script I use), I change directions and say,

“Before I started working with [insert builder’s name], I was a professional stand-up comedian for over 10 years … and one of the most important things I learned was this … you can’t make people laugh, you can only make them want to laugh.”

“You know, the same thing is true about this job. I’m not here to sell you a new home. [SHORT PAUSE]

“I’m here to help you find a new home you cannot live without.” [PAUSE, then followed with a little laugh and a “yes” head-nod]

Does this technique work? Virtually every single time.

I can hear your skepticism as you ask, “Well Matt, what if the prospect doesn’t laugh?”

NOTHING! No harm, no foul! I’ve just learned they may be one of the few prospects who are more interested in “just the facts” – or – I’ll try to get them to laugh a little later when I’m pointing out one of the model home’s key features.

Why does this work?

First, if you’re able to make prospects laugh, they are more likely to trust you, they will become more open to what you are saying, and you become memorable (laughter tends to “lock-in” memories).

As a new home sales agent, you need to immediately establish trust and knowledge, and you need to stand-out from your competitors. When prospects first meet you, they have two questions they ask themselves about you.

  1. Can I trust you?
  2. Can I respect you?

Remember what I said earlier? It is virtually impossible to dislike or distrust a person who can make us laugh.

Start working on your greeting scripts … add a touch of “scripted” humor. Allow your prospects to enjoy your personality and your sales presentation.

PLUS – If you can get them to laugh, even just a little, you’ll gain a HUGE advantage over your competitors! And honestly, isn’t that what we really want – to crush our competition AND increase our take-home pay?

Take it from me, a previous introvert and social outsider. I’m living proof that with a little professional coaching and practice, humor and “funny” can become a valuable tool within your social life and for your career advancement.

Now, go out there and make me PROUD!

“Don’t cling to a stupid idea just because you spent a lot of time coming up with it.”

 

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“Objections are simply unanswered questions in the minds of your prospects.”

Photo of Matt Rix

SUMMARY: Increasing closing rates (while reducing canceled contracts or “CANS”) within the New Home market is the Holy Grail for all home builder’s sales agents. Here’s a script that can make this happen for you … and all it takes is asking your prospects two simple questions.

As a national sales trainer for new home builders, I’m continually amazed when the builder’s sales agents blindly adopt the role of a mundane salesperson instead of a trusted advisor.

Research shows that people decide within seconds of meeting someone whether they’re trustworthy or not.

In fact, social psychologists studying first impressions tell us that people immediately ask themselves two questions when meeting someone new:

  1. Can I trust this person?
  2. Can I respect this person?

One of the techniques I share with my clients is the “2-Question Interview” … and when I started using it, I increased my close rate by over 200%!

After the initial “Meet and Greet” sequence, most sales reps slide into a sales pitch which generally begins with the same lame phrases “So, what brought you here today?”, or “So, ya’ out looking to buy a new home?”

Instead, why not be seen as their trusted advisor? Trust goes deeper than product knowledge, sales banter, and formal niceties.

Tell the prospect the “WHY” behind your role and what you are trying to do. Otherwise, prospects will ascribe your intentions based on their fear of being sold.

Here’s the basic 2-Question Interview Script

THE OPENING – “To help me better understand what you are looking for and what is important to you, would you be offended if I ask you two simple questions?”

No one is going to respond with, “Yes, I would be offended” because prospects expect you to ask them questions!

THE QUESTIONS – Next comes the questions (ask them in this order – and LISTEN to their response):

  1. What is the one thing you really love about where you currently live? [prompt them to explain in detail why they LOVE this feature/benefit – and you’ll be surprised at some of the answers you hear]
  2. OK, now what is the one (or two things) you really dislike about where you are living? [again, prompt them to go into detail why they HATE this feature – the more emotional the answer, the better it is for you!]

The answers will give you an amazing insight into their motivation. They allow you to quickly drill-down into your available models, floor plans, and specific locations that better fit the needs of your buyer. This can be very useful when you transition into your DEMONSTRATION phase and then again into your CLOSE.

With a little practice, you can easily customize this script to fit the personality of your buyers (based on a simple 30-second DISC assessment of the prospects) while eliminating any initial anti-sales-pitch pushback.

P.S. – Remember, you need to ask these two questions in this specific order and write down the answers. In a later newsletter, I’ll explain how to include this information within a killer closing script.

“You must become the only VIABLE CHOICE in your market” – Jay Abraham

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