Thus far in 2006, new-home sales per community are down in comparison to prior years in most markets around the country. Salespeople around the country can learn from the salespeople in Denver and Austin, Texas. Sales professionals in these two cities are generally the best in the country simply because they have been forced to become excellent or find another profession. The housing market has been very competitive in Denver and Austin for the last four years and more.

Austin Case Study: The best salesperson I have ever encountered works for KB Home in Austin, a market where conditions have been soft for years. I told her I was doing research on the market but, since she had nothing else to do, she took me through the spotless model homes. She pointed out the features of the very basic home that buyers found popular. She found out I had a brother who was considering moving out of California and asked if he would ever consider Austin. She knew, from memory, the lot-by-lot pricing of the builder across the street. She knew Dell’s expansion plans and who the main tenants were in the proposed retail center down the street. She didn’t get a sale, but I am certain she gets more than her fair share of sales.

Here are a few suggestions to make 2006 as successful as possible:

  • Put Yourself in the Consumers’ Shoes: Pretend that you fit the buyer profiles you want to attract. Visit the new and resale home communities in your price range. Where would you buy? List the reasons consumers should buy at your community. If there are reasons not to buy, fix them. The last “fix” should be price. 

  • Increase the Effectiveness of Your Marketing Budget: Effective marketing can pay off in spades. Don’t expect expensive ads in the newspaper to solve the problem. Get creative. Go to community events. Network. Spread the word.

  • Sell: Why have the prospects taken the time to visit your community? What are their needs and how can you accommodate them? If they are not serious buyers, do they know anyone who is seriously looking for a home? 

  • Practice: Work with your manager and other salespeople at overcoming objections. Every time a prospect walks out the door, ask yourself what you could have done better. Those who are most effective at turning a negative into a positive will get the extra sale. 

  • Work Harder: Paperwork can be done after hours. If the entrance is dirty, clean it. Begin most phone calls with, “I may have to call you back if a prospect walks in the door.” Offer to meet a prospect after hours, particularly if you are attracting commuters. Is 9 a.m.-6 p.m. during the week really the right time to be open? 

  • Hold Onto Your Sales: Cancellations are up in many markets. Generating new sales is much more difficult than holding onto existing sales. Make your existing sales your number one priority.

In summary, you are selling the American Dream. What could be better?

John Burns is the founder of Real Estate Consulting in Irvine, Calif., which monitors changes in real estate market conditions and provides consulting services, including strategic planning, market research and financial analysis. He can be reached at

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription