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

Photo of Matt Rix

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.”

 

Want to Know More?

“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

Sign up for more of my “Rants and Raves” articles – just click on the button below! And I welcome your comments …

Want to Know More?

“People don’t change behavior or positions based on what they know. They change based on what they feel.” – Oprah Winfrey

Photo of Matt Rix

Shaping – Emotional Triggers and Subliminal Embedding

What if there were ways to subtly influence people (and increase the odds of getting what you want) by embedding subliminal suggestions and ideas into their memory?

In this newsletter, I will share some amazing information on one particular type of Sublim Embed (short for subliminal embedding) technique called Shaping.

Within top-level sales and marketing groups, there is a saying, “The mind, once pointed in a specific direction, is unlikely to reverse course without much further thought and consideration.”

Shaping

DISCLAIMER: The information I am sharing with you is very powerful, and with this power comes an ethical and moral decision that you, the reader, must make for yourself. As in all powerful information, you have an obligation to NEVER misuse these techniques.

Much like a loaded gun, it is neither good nor bad … it’s the person wielding the gun that determines how the gun is to be used. That being said, we can proceed!

Fact #1 – Normally, questions are used to help extract useful information from others – but shaping questions will help people create connections between concepts, past experiences, and emotions.

As Kevin Hogan Ph.D., a leader in the field of social psychology explains, “Shaping is asking a question in such a way as to shape or highly influence the answer – immediate input to get an immediate and influenced response.”

MATTRIXX Tip: Shaping provides a process that allows you to subliminally introduce an idea into a person’s subconscious … an idea they will eventually come to think of as their own … all through the use of questions!

Shaping can increase awareness of specific issues, it can aid in the thinking process, and it can force a person to explore deeper levels of understanding about a particular subject.

When we understand how the brain processes information and stores memory, we gain an insight into certain forms of instantaneous subconscious memory formation, such as in certain types of Déjà Vu.

Fact #2 – There are many ways to construct a question; in fact, there are five distinct categories of questions that can be utilized in the shaping process. These are Factual, Convergent, Divergent, Evaluative, and Combination.

For example, a divergent question is a question with no specific answer, so it can force a person to explore different scenarios and possible outcomes at virtually the same time.

Divergent questions are VERY effective if you supply key information to the reader or listener immediately before or after posing the divergent question. This is because of two related factors:

  1. People make their decisions emotionally when the answer to a question isn’t obvious, and
  2. People rationalize their emotional decisions instead of making rational decisions.

Fact #3 – Divergent questions can also be directional, meaning that while your question may not offer the correct answer, it will block or eliminate other less desirable alternatives and push the person toward the desired conclusion. Rhetorical questions can be very influential in shaping a person’s opinion, especially when critical information has been introduced within several minutes of asking the question.

A great example of a divergent question would be, “Where do you think we would be today if our country’s Founding Fathers and the signers of the Declaration of Independence had been as self-absorbed, greedy, and morally corrupt as today’s politicians seem to be?”

This is a divergent question followed by an inferred statement that today’s political figures are corrupt, greedy, and self-absorbed. I offer no supporting information other than a simple declarative statement; yet, this statement cannot help but shape and narrow the response to the question.

Very few people will spend the time to consider that some of our politicians may not be corrupt, greedy, or self-absorbed, even though I have offered no proof one way or the other.

In short, I have narrowed and SHAPED the reader’s (or listener’s) response to my seemingly rhetorical question. Additionally, I have embedded a subliminal thought of “self-absorbed, greedy, and morally corrupt”, which will be reinforced each time the reader (or listener) encounters this issue.

MATTRIXX Tip: Highly successful evangelical preachers, comedians, TV infomercial hosts, and trial lawyers are very good at using divergent, rhetorical questions. When shaping is used, some of the best questions are presented in such as way as to appear to be a statement rather than a question.

One of the primary sectors I work in is the Assisted Living and Continuous Care Retirement Communities (or AL/CCRC) market. During a recent corporate workshop, I helped a large multi-state corporation create a collection of signature stories to use within their “Story-Selling” campaign.

Divergent questions were purposely embedded within these stories to help trigger a desired (and very predictable) response within the reader and prospective client. These questions will shape specific answers (and emotional responses) based on the information embedded within the Signature Story.

MATTRIXX Tip: When you can make the person consider alternate scenarios, some of which are painful or emotionally uncomfortable, you can then offer unique and unforgettable solutions.

MATTRIXX Tip: One additional bonus of learning about Sublim Embeds is that once you know about them and understand how and why they work, you will become less susceptible to them when others try to use them on you.

The beauty of a divergent question is that it can appear spontaneous while virtually eliminating any answer but the one you want your client to come up with.

In the end, our goal is not to simply offer products or services – our goal is to offer unique solutions to our client’s problems … solutions that, once the client becomes aware of them, they find they cannot live without.

“You must become the only viable choice in your market.” – Jay Abraham

 

Want to Know More?