Abuja housing show is an annual gathering of active real estate firms where the latest innovations in the real estate industry are showcased. It’s an opportunity for estate developers to display what they are doing to provide affordable housing for Nigerians and for Abuja residents in particular.
I have worked with some real estate firms who are major players in the industry, and I was privileged to be invited to their stands for many reasons. I took the opportunity to play the part of an independent mystery shopper. I will here outline and share my experience with you. The manner the sales staff conducted themselves, their selling skills and how they interacted with prospective buyers.
I will try not to mention company names. Rather I will stick to the positive and negative behaviors of the sales staff.
1. Dressing: 8/10
All the sales people I met dressed quite well, some wore a striking well-tailored uniform while others used branded t-shirts with smart trousers to match. There were, however, people who did not care about dressing but very few.
2. Greetings & Smile: 9/10
Almost all the sales representatives were friendly, smiled well and did their best to welcome me to their stands without minding if I was buying or not.
3. Exhibit Professionality: 7/10
They understood their products and did well to describe them within a shortest possible time.
4. Data Collection:
They all came with registers to collect email address and phone numbers of everyone that visited their stands. This is for follow up and further engagement.
5. Adequate Adverting Materials:
Most of them had more than 10 products with flyers to separate the different packages. They also came with business cards, those without business cards were temporary staff.
1. Poor Selling Skill: 4/10
Many of them did not know the act of selling. The reason is that they have not been trained, even those that had been trained did not have formal training on how to sell at the trade showground. Telling me about your products without giving me the opportunity to say something is not selling, it’s newscasting or preaching.
I was hoping they would engage me in conversations to find out everything they could possibly find out about me. Find out what brought me to the tradeshow, where I work, my current housing plan or project, ask me about the problem I am currently facing in getting a house; if possible find out about what I am planning for my family with regards to housing.
My advice here is, before you set out on your next housing show, be sure you properly understand who your customer is, once you are able to know who they are, you will instantly know the kind of questions to ask.
You also need to have consultative selling skills to know how to get information from prospective customers.
2. Poor Follow Up: 1/10
I visited not less than 12 companies’ exhibition stands, 10 of them collected my phone number and my email address. The two that did not collect my data are government establishments. Out of the 10, only 2 followed up after the show, even the 2 that followed up on me have selling problem that leads me to my next point “Purpose and selling Process”.
3. Lack of purpose and sales process:
If I have the opportunity I will ask them one vital question: Why did your company participate in the housing show? Let me guess the answers they will give.
- This is the gathering of major real estate companies in Abuja if we don’t have a stand people will see us as a small company. So we must attend.
- To sell properties
- To connect with other players in the industry
- To meet new prospects, this is most likely the reason why all of them participated in the show.
These reasons are good but my understanding is that nearly all the prospective buyers that came to the show did not show up with their cheque booklet neither were they ready to make an instant payment transfer to any company account except the company is selling subscription based products that are below N200,000.
Most of the exhibitors lack sales process. Sales process in simple terms is the step by step repeated process you use to sell your products within the shortest possible time. From attracting prospects to receiving payment. There are a series of steps to follow in order to achieve desired results that lead to the next step.
Since 99% of the strangers you attract will not buy properties on the spot, the role of a salesperson is to guide them through the process as smoothly as possible. Let me give you a general sale process for real estate business; Prospect visit exhibition stand – the prospect is encourage to visit the office – next, property inspection – next, answering questions and objections – next, closing the deal and finally asking for referrals. This is a short sales process you can improve upon, but you need to make it even shorter depending on your company style of doing business, the type of real estate service you provide, your company purpose and vision.
At Abuja housing show and after, this process was not seen. The two people that called me after the show should have concentrated on bringing me to their office or schedule an appointment to meet with me anywhere. Instead of moving me to the next stage of the buying process, they went silent probably because they don’t know what next to do. What I assumed they are doing right now is to look for new prospects, and completely abandon the idea of following up on me. You need to follow up on the prospect not less than seven times for you to give up, even then follow up should not stop.
What about the managers? It might interest you to note that the managers of these companies or the sales team leaders are excellent salespeople, without mentioning names, they know what it takes to sell properties faster and easier. The reason why they are not able to mentor their team members to sell like them is another subject matter.
With the positive point I outlined earlier, these salespeople are amazing people with a smart attitude and sincerity. All they need is a little training on how to move customers through the sales process and close the deals. I am so sure they are capable of bringing in good results. There are lots of free courses on Marketing, Sales and Customers Service in our consulting firm. Also, we deliver free training session, that’s an opportunity for your staff to learn the art of professional selling. I am sure in the next housing show, many salespeople will improve their sales skills and help grow their companies.