By Kimberly Mackey
There is a myth in the new home industry that the active adult buying cycle is much longer than other buyers. The truth is, many sales professionals often don’t understand the buying motives of this demographic well enough to help them move faster.
It’s easy to understand the motives of a buyer who is relocating for a job. We know the time frame, the general location they need, and they have a pretty good idea what size and style of home they want.
But how do you figure out the motives for the buyer who doesn’t have to move?
Nurturing the Downsizing/Right-sizing Buyer
Downsizing or right-sizing is a complicated process for many couples. It may mean that they are leaving a home or hometown where they raised children and have many friends and family. It may be difficult to move from a place which holds a lot of memories and memorabilia with sentimental value. Social status may also play a part since larger homes are often in affluent areas.
For the single buyer, downsizing can be even more complicated because the need is tied to the loss of a spouse through divorce or death. The move may be necessary, but not wanted.
Wow! That’s a lot of personal baggage to unpack with a prospect you just met. How to get there without prying is a delicate art form. However, the path to understanding the urgency goes straight through the heart of understanding the buying motive. All paths have a start and end point, and you can’t help them get to their desired destination without really understanding where they are now.
One of my favorite opening questions is, “where are you folks from originally?” Often this may be the only prompt needed to get the buyer to tell you their life’s story. Be patient and don’t rush this process. You will learn much about the prospect’s wants and needs here, along with some buying motivation.
Engage Your Clients with the FORD Method
Other great inquiries at this point are FORD questions.
F- ask them about their family.
O- occupation, both past and present (don’t assume they’re retired).
R- recreation. What do they plan to do for fun after they make this move? How much of this activity do they get to do in their current living situation? This one is key to understanding what they will gain by taking up residence in your community.
D- Dreams. Not the Freudian kind, but how do they envision their new life once they make this move? What does their perfect day look like? What freedom will they have that they don’t currently? Help them paint a picture.
How to Motivate the Downsizing Prospect
Fear of loss is not what normally motivates the downsizing buyer. They will look at home after home, so selling by process of elimination and showing everything you have to offer is something they’ll indulge all day long without moving the needle much. Then tomorrow, they’ll head to the next community who will show them all their homes.
If you want a different result, do something different!
Even though the downsizing buyer tells you they are in no hurry to move, or they aren’t ready to move for a couple of years, many can and will move forward once they find the right situation that gives them the lifestyle they crave. Even if retirement is a few years off, they may purchase now to start enjoying the community part-time until they can make the move full-time.
Understand the Motives of Active Adult Community Buyers
Your goal should always be understanding the buying motives well enough to earn the right to close the sale. Too often we get caught up in telling people what our homes or our community have to offer without taking the time to get to know them. Yes, this will “slow you down” at the beginning of the process. It should, because when you open better, you close MORE! Change your focus from being product-oriented to people-oriented.
When you find that you can’t immediately close the sale, be sure to get commitment for a follow-up appointment before you part ways. If not, the buying process automatically goes on longer as you continue to reach out, often taking weeks and months to get them back because they are out of the area or unavailable. Closing or getting commitment for a follow-up appointment is more natural and relaxed when you’ve established a personal connection and taken the time to really get to know your potential buyer.
Ultimately, once you truly understand their motives, it becomes much easier to keep your prospect moving through the sales process—helping them make the decision that now is the right time to make their big move.
About Kimberly Mackey
Kimberly Mackey is the founder of New Homes Solutions, and has the reputation as someone with real-world SOLUTIONS in a competitive and rapidly changing sales environment–SOLUTIONS like “50 Sales per Year before Any Walk-in Traffic”. She is a keynote speaker and published author of many Sales and Leadership articles with 20 years of experience as an executive in the residential home building and real estate industry. She has a proven track record working with Builders and Developers of all sizes –from the local/regional companies to the publicly traded nationals. She also works with Brokers from across the country and is the architect and director of the highly successful Preferred Builder Partnership with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Properties Group where she works with 32 builders, 22 offices and over 650 agents.
For more information, or to book Kimberly for your next event, visit www.NewHomesSolutions.com.
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