There are many times in dealing with prospects that a sales person, or a selling community manager, faces a decision. It can be summed up like this. Should I tell the truth, or should I shard the truth, or even tell a lie? What if telling the truth might cost me the sale?
A qualified customer is asking one or more specific questions. Or they are assuming something that is wrong, and you can tell that’s the case.
Some possible examples:
• perhaps it’s about a community guideline, or
• maybe it’s about appreciation or depreciation of manufactured homes.
• Or it could be that a customer wants to do something like add-on to the structure of the home – perhaps a garage – and it will be an attached garage, which can change the load-bearing on that wall, and can in theory impact the structural design of the home. BTW, HUD has specific rules on this bullet.
What do you do?
- Do you tell the truth?
- Do you wing it, if you don’t know the answer?
- Or do you shade the truth, or perhaps even outright lie, hoping to make a sale?
The solution ought to be simple. You should tell the truth, the best way possible, and as you know it. If you don’t know the details to a question, you should admit that, and find someone in that office or by phone ASAP who can answer the prospects inquiry. We like to say, “The Truth Well Told is Powerful.” ©
The alternative to the truth, a falsehood, a half-truth, or ignoring a challenging truth is often the beginning of a huge mess. It simply isn’t worth it.
There are savvy ways to communicate an unpleasant reality that you may suspect that a prospect doesn’t want to hear. But they need to hear it.
The good news is that there are always ways to say the unpleasant, where you still have a legitimate opportunity to earn a prospect’s business. There are too many possibilities to cover – and it can’t be done in a single post. Besides, those are the kinds of things that companies hire us to game plan, coach, and teach. For those who need that coaching, and have a budget, please click here.
Truth or Consequences
There was a pair of TV shows that date back decades ago that dealt with this theme.
“To Tell the Truth” was one TV game show, and “Truth or Consequences” was the other.
Coach Lou Holtz has been one of the most amazing coaches in football. That’s about as competitive a profession as you will find. There was always opportunities to do things the wrong way during a game, and have hopes that it will pay off. He was successful, doing things the correct way. I recall one year when a team he was coaching was up against a team I was rooting for; and I didn’t know much about Lou Holtz at that time. He had benched two players for violating a team rule. He did that before the big game. Virtually everyone thought his team would lose with those guys, but without them, it was certain he would fail. Long story short, he pulled of one of the biggest upsets in that game, and he did so by doing the right things.
Holtz was and is a man of deep faith and moral convictions. He used the following rules shown in the framed quotes below. These rules are absolutely suited for the sales and marketing of manufactured homes (MH). When selling homes, we reduced everything to writing, and what was written we did, what was not written, we did not do. Clear. Simple. Honest. We made those points clear to customers, all before they signed. We got tons of referrals by doing what was right. We advise our coaching/training clients to the same with their prospects today, all as part of a broader system, of course.
As an anecdotal point, we still face the same challenge of telling the truth as we know it, or ignoring the truth. We face that decision with essentially every article we do on MHLivingNews, and on MHProNews. We designed the MHLivingNews website to answer many questions that real-life home shoppers have. For those who link to it, it’s a useful sales and marketing tool. By the way, the content is copyrighted – linking is OK, but it is never cool to take something without written permission. Even Clayton’s marketing manager. who asked us a few months ago to use some of our content; they did not just take it. They understand copyright law. By the way, permission was never given for specific reasons, but each case is handled on its own merits.
The factory-built home industry – which is made up of professionals like yourself – has to come to grips with the huge opportunities, and several unpleasant realities. What may look negative, is often an opportunity in disguise for those who try to do what’s right, each and every time.
The vast majority of the people who consider a manufactured home do not buy one. That’s third party research, not opinion. One of several examples? We’ve referred before to statistics provided by MHVillage. Out of their own co-president’s mouth, they say 25,000,000 people surfed their site, which resulted in 80,000 sales last year worth a total of $3 billion dollars. It’s quite impressive sounding. They are number one in that part of what they do (we blow them away in engagement of publishing, and in other areas too – that’s another story for another time).
But the point here is simple data, what it means, and it is painful. It is also very much tied to Truth or Consequences.
Most consumers have questions. Because most don’t find the answers they want about MH, they don’t buy a manufactured home, not one MHVillage, nor from industry giant Clayton Homes, or from anyone else. The proof is self evident, and is found in the industry’s new home shipping statistics.
But that is an opportunity in disguise.
Sunshine Homes CEO John Bostick says, “Easy doesn’t pay well.” The easy way is often the wrong way.
But the good news is this. Look at the reverse of those MHVillage statistics. It’s a HUGE invitation to learn how to engage those prospects. Once you learn how that’s correctly done, and make it a habit, then that habit which at first seems hard becomes second nature. Second nature becomes easier.
Be willing to pay the price. If you have the time now read the 7Ts, do so. If you don’t have he time now, make time later.
Invest the time, talent and treasure – plus the other 7Ts – into yourself, your team, your location(s), and your career. Once you make them a habit, you will never regret it.
The Wrap up on Truth or Consequences
To wrap up the headline topic, tell the truth. Deception, can prove costly. The Truth doesn’t always pay on the spot. But over time, the truth well told absolutely pays off.
A quick story will make the point.
I personally had a HUD Code manufactured home customer who I didn’t sell, but I shared with that couple a tough-for-them-to-swallow truth. They didn’t buy from me, but they did buy a manufactured home from someone else.
Of course, I was disappointed, but when I learned during the follow up call what happened, I wished them the best. I also encouraged them to consider sending me their friends. A few months later, I had a referral from that family. They told me their story. They got a pleasant sounding lie from another sales person, and they bought from that liar. But as often happens with liars, the lie was discovered after a while. Who go the referral? I did, and others beside that one.
The truth doesn’t always pay on the spot, but the truth well told, with the other 7Ts — does over time pay a rich reward. Enough said for today on this topic. ## (Manufactured housing related marketing & sales news, analysis, and commentary.)
(Third-party images are and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)
By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.
Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
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