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By Chris Kaucnik

RISMEDIA, Sept. 15, 2008-Yes, a home is a large asset-not a coffee maker or an impulse purchase-but employing the innovative techniques we discuss here, adapted from retail strategies, can help you achieve the goals of both you and your clients.

See through your prospects’ eyes and consider these three factors about them:

1) Visual judgments are made in a second in today’s environment
2) Sound is a key factor in the sale and often overlooked
3) Distinctive benefits-not common features-impress their memory

Visual-Think Bling

Guide the first portion of your prospect’s walk-through. Show the most irresistible elements of the home first, from a benefits point of view. This mirrors the retail technique of putting the newest, most profitable vanity products toward the front of the store such as cosmetics and jewelry-the hot new merchandise.

Today, clients sort out the basics they are looking for in a home before they view it live. They know it has four bedrooms, a three-car garage, and 2.5 baths when they walk in.

But there may be hundreds of houses for sale in their geographic area that meet these and their other basic requirements. Focus on one or two outstanding aspects of the home, no more. This will set the positive impression.

Where’s the Bling?

A unique feature could be the great, old-brick patio and spa in the backyard, or the professional series appliances in the kitchen. No matter what, every house has them and they can be turned into benefits that sell. Creating this unique, first impression puts you and the house in a special place in your prospect’s memory-even if they go on to see many more homes.

Showing the Bling

While you are showing a unique benefit or two, start an informative conversation perhaps about the neighborhood, schools or shopping. Casually, find out a bit about their lifestyle. Then let the prospect move about the rest of the common areas in the home without you.

Keep your goal in mind which is to make a distinct impression. So instead of telling the prospect there is a clubhouse and pool, mention the fun they will have with the clubhouse and pool in the summertime. There is a difference.

You are painting a scene in their mind. One they could slot their family into easily. Remember, prospects will sub-consciously limit the mindshare they give you, so use it wisely.

This is what a great retail sales person will do. They won’t walk you back to the sales area, but will instead mention all the new, full-priced merchandise up front, ask you what you are looking for and steer you to a particular area. Then, they will let you move to the sales area by yourself.

Audio-Think Ambiance

Don’t discount the value of your prospect’s ears. Great retailers and retail brands view audio as a science and have seen it add greatly to their bottom lines.

Create an audio mood that makes them feel like they can live there and be happy. Sounds direct our feelings, thoughts, actions and speech. When the music fits our expectations, we stay in that environment longer and buy more.

Be creative, what music matches this home’s personality? Chances are it will match the prospect’s personal preference too or be close enough to please. After all, they did select this style of home to view.

Audio Buying Study

In 1998, there was a test conducted in a British wine shop. On certain days, French music was played and on certain days, German music. On German music days, German wines outsold the French by a ratio of three to one and visa versa.

Perhaps it makes sense then to play some music in your listings when prospects are present. Pick different selections for a classical home style then a contemporary one for example, or for a Victorian versus a Spanish and Mediterranean style. You get the idea. This will further differentiate this home from the others for sale in the neighborhood.

Next month, watch for “Show and Sell – From Smell to Cross-sell” to find out how to use scent and unique cross-selling techniques to help sell homes.

Chris Kaucnik is marketing director for Home Warranty of America.

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