Three Key Questions to Increase Sales Fitness

The key to staying fit in selling is to follow a similar strategy of self-evaluation and tracking

By Phil McShan

There it was—that little black box lurking in the corner. I tried to avoid it, but I knew it would haunt me until I asked for its feedback.  Hesitantly, I stepped on the truth detector—and learned I had gained about a dozen pounds. 

The truth is, I knew what I had to do; I just wasn’t doing it. Since that eye-opening day on the scale, I have made a change.

The key to staying fit in selling is to follow a similar strategy of self-evaluation and tracking. The most successful new home sales pros are self-aware and evaluate their progress with each customer. Ask yourself three simple questions after every presentation to track your sales fitness:

1. Who is in control?

The most successful sales pros on the planet recognize that customers need leadership. Buying a home is exciting, confusing, fun and stressful at the same time. Customers are looking for someone to lead, guide and direct them every step of the way. 

When I first started selling new homes this was a struggle because I was programmed to believe that selling is all about the customer. But when I was only focused on the customer, I yielded to their leadership. The shift occurred when I realized my job was to lead them. My new mantra became this: It is all about them and I am the leader. The best way to serve my prospects is to lead them. Remember, clients are not looking for a faux friend; they are looking for a leader who will show them the path to life improvement.

2.  Are you curious?

So many new home sales agents are passionate about the builder they represent and motivated to tell about their amazing floor plans and their incredible community. But instead of dumping all of your knowledge on the client, first figure out where they need to go. There are no shortcuts to listening.

I can remember when my kids were small, they asked why a million times a day. They wanted to know why I drank coffee, why they couldn’t eat cookies and why the dog smelled funny.  To this day, I can still hear their sweet kid voices saying, “Why, Daddy?”

You don’t have to teach little kids to be curious. They just want to know how everything works and why. Successful sales pros have the same mindset. They are passionate about discovering what the client is looking for and why their home and community will improve each client’s life. You have to understand their needs—not just what they want, but deeper. How will your community and home improve their life? Get them talking about their current home—what they like about it and why they’re looking. Be curious—for real. Your genuine interest will make them feel wanted and give you the opportunity to lead them to the right solution.

3.  Do you compare?

Comparing is one of the most effective strategies in leading someone to choose you. I saw this firsthand when I bought my last car. I was trading in a 12-year-old vehicle with over 200,000 miles on it. While talking with the salesperson, I decided to check out one more place first. The salesperson told me to wait a minute while he pulled my old car back around to the front. Then he strategically parked my old clunker next to the shiny and beautiful new car I was considering. My wife and I got into my old car, backed out about two feet and immediately stopped. We pulled back in and bought the new car! When we compared what we had to what we could have, it was a no brainer.

You can do the same. Ask your customers how your kitchen, floorplan, etc. compares to their current kitchen, floorplan, etc. How does it compare to what they have seen out in the marketplace? To their vision for what they are looking for in a new home? Leading them in a comparison conversation will move them forward faster and set you apart as their leader.

Now it’s time to examine. Think about your last interaction with a client or customer. Were you in control? How much did you show them you’re curious? Did you help them to see how your home compared to their current situation? Stay focused on evaluating these three questions and you will lead customers to choose you—and you’ll learn to love your little black box.

Phil McShan is a National Trainer at Forrest Performance Group. He may be reached at or on Twitter

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