For decades, I’ve been working with new home sales professionals to strengthen their sales
skills, which includes a positive mindset, negotiation, and asking the right questions. In recent years, these same salespeople have been served up a mouthwatering buffet of technology to give them more advantages. But are you training them to master digital selling tools and data? Or just leaving it as self-serve? And are they up-to-date on what homebuyers really want right now—both in terms of what you’re offering and how you’re communicating with them?
The tools and data are readily available. What’s keeping builders and salespeople from
leveraging their many advantages?
Start with a CRM refresher course
From my experience, new home sales professionals aren’t fully utilizing the CRM they’ve had
for years. How can we expect them to embrace even more technology? And by embrace, I
mean become so enthusiastic that they invest their time into learning every aspect and putting each one into practice in their sales process.
The number one sales tool every new home sales professional must master is the CRM. It’s the key to staying on top of details—maintaining the right communication at the right time. Too many salespeople look at the CRM as a chore. They need to shift that perspective and see a builder’s CRM as a gift, a golden key to sales!
It’s not overload. It’s under-appreciation.
According to Salesforce, 66% of salespeople say they have too many sales tools. Do they really have too many or does it just feel overwhelming because they don’t know how to use them? I suspect the truth lies in the latter.
“The way forward isn’t simply ditching tech. It’s about optimizing critical tools and getting rid of nonessential or redundant ones,” says Adam Gilberd of Salesforce. “Sellers indicate there’s plenty of opportunity here: only 37% strongly agree that their company takes full advantage of its CRM.”
Buyers want the digital tools!
Using digital selling tools and data for new home sales shouldn’t be perceived as a choice.
Homebuyers want builders to give them more information, like floor plans and virtual home
tours. A 2022 Zillow survey of more than 4,900 homebuyers showed they want more features available digitally:
66% believe a 3D tour would give them a better view than static photos
61% wished more listings included 3D tours
62% prefer to schedule in-person tours online.
Zillow also conducted research of homebuyer trends, surveying both prospective buyers and successful buyers.
74% of prospective buyers and 72% of actual homebuyers agreed that 3D tours give a
better representation of a home than static photos.
70% and 67%, respectively, want more listings with 3D tours.
57% and 52% said they wasted their time visiting homes they would have skipped if they
had better understood the floor plan first.
If you’re not including 3D tours on your website, your sales teams are lacking one of the most
important digital selling tools.
You don’t set it and forget it.
My son is a professional photographer. There was a time when he was getting started that
people looked at his images and said, “Your camera takes great pictures.”
It’s not the camera. He didn’t just set the camera on a surface and leave it to do the work. It’s
the person who has mastered the tool to capture the visions he sees. The same is true for
digital selling tools.
I spoke with my friend, Sara Williams, Director of Sales at Anewgo, about this challenge.
Anewgo is a leading innovator in tech tools for the new home construction industry and Sara is a smart sales and marketing pro—including in-depth experience selling new homes and later working for Lasso.
“If you don’t leverage the tools, they won’t work and nothing will help you. A camera won’t
help you if you don’t learn about angles, lenses, etc.,” Sara told me. “The people make the
You have it. Now use it.
As someone who remembers placing print ads and doing expensive brochures to promote new homes and communities, I’m excited about the vast opportunity that technology has gifted us. I admit I’m not as skilled with these tools as people like Sara Williams, but I respect the value. As a professional new home sales trainer, I encourage sales leaders and teams to include training to master these digital selling tools.
Technology enables you to do something—like requesting an Uber, shopping online, and
connecting with people. It doesn’t do these things automatically. Even with AI, you have to
prompt the program with your thoughts. But I do find it surprising that the same people who complain about too many digital selling tools are so quick to watch TikTok, order dinner
delivery, or brag about the cool app they have for fun things like betting on sports, playing
games, or dating. Maybe these people should reconsider their priorities.
Builders and sales leaders need to invest in sales training to teach their teams the why and how of tech tools. From CRMs to AI, virtual tours and videos to social media, there are so many ways to be more effective in new home sales, particularly with the power of visualization. If you know how to use them.
Present a better story.
Selling is about being a storyteller. Success comes when you’re a great storyteller.
“When I have great sales aids, my story is so much more impactful,” Sara explains. “Here’s how you do it. ‘Imagine, we’re going to have ponds and lakes and a dog park, but it’s a pile of dirt right now but I can show you the video of what it’s going to be. And your home is going to look like this, with a red door and shutters. Just look at this visualization. Trust me, it’s going to look great, but let me show you.’
“When I use these tools, I’m not showing you someone else’s house, but your house in the
colors you just picked out. The visualization tools help build trust between the builder and the buyer and the salesperson. I don’t have to “tell you” I can “show you” what your new home will look like. ”
A skilled new home sales professional can get their customer to yes. But with technology, they can get to yes faster.
“Look at how Amazon uses AI to provide recommendations. We have the same ability. AI can
prompt a salesperson that a customer has looked at white house with black shutters and a red door, and then the same AI can pull up content about that,” Sara explained. Anewgo’s Insights feature was created to personalize the customer’s journey in this way. And it doesn’t stop with the digital selling tools. There’s so much data available to learn about
buyer preferences and sales metrics. There’s no reason to just trust your gut and follow “the
way we’ve always done it.” Technology delivers fact-based insight that you can turn into action.
Take your sales process off “Pause”
With the right training, a seasoned sales pro makes things look so easy. Like a ballet dance or anyone good at their craft, their performance appears effortless. But the dance is performed and practiced over and over.
Sales training isn’t a one-off proposition. When you realize that 84% of sales training is lost after 90 days, you understand the importance of ongoing training and putting the knowledge into practice everyday. Sales training delivers 353% return on investment, $4.53 for every dollar invested.
The question shouldn’t be “Are you training to master digital selling tools and data?” but “Why aren’t you?”
Written by Myers Barnes