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Posts Tagged ‘ sales management ’


Victims are Fearful: Victors Are Fearless (Note from Jason Forrest)

March 28, 2014

Erasing Fear-Handling Objections-Jason Forrest Forrest Performance Group-Sales Techniques-Training X Factor Sales professionals-Hot beliefsSales Pros:

Fearless salespeople never play the victim.

While sales managers often try to encourage their teams by saying things like, “We’ll weather this storm,” or “We’ve just gotta sit tight and wait for the upswing;” they don’t see that such phrases actually take the power and hope away from salespeople. It’s because they strip their people of accepting any challenge that will encourage growth.

Remember: Fearless X Factors thrive on objections. I’ve said it before. Regardless of the season, your ownership of the overall sales process will determine the outcome of the sale.

Own more. Fear less.

Here’s to earning what you’re worth!

Jason Forrest

Click here to subscribe to my mailing list

 

JASON FORREST (named one of 2012’s Top Young Trainers for Training magazine–a national, industry-wide publication) is an expert at creating high-performance sales cultures through complete training programs. He incorporates experiential learning (rather than theory) to increase sales, implement cultural accountability, and transform companies into sales organizations. A sales professional at heart, Forrest is the author of two previous books. Forrest’s competitive distinction is his behavior-modification approach (which focuses on people, process, and presentation) and his focus on culture change.

ABOUT FORREST PERFORMANCE GROUP

Forrest Performance Group specializes in culture change and creating urgency within sales teams and management. Forrest PG’s competitive distinction is its behavior modification approach as applied to a variety of programs, education, seminars and sales coach training offerings all aimed at dramatically improving sales force success.

2014: Lead, Engage, Refine!

December 24, 2013

Leadership Sales Coaching-Yearlong Program-Jason Forrest-Forrest Performance Group-Sales-Leadership Selling-Success-Growth Mindset-Improvement“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”

–Rosalynn Carter

If you’re reading this post, you are an X-Factor Sales Pro and want to refine your ability to lead your sales pros. Look no further! Start the transformation January 9th with Forrest Performance Group’s yearlong Leadership Sales Coaching Program.

Check what it’s all about here!

Here’s to earning what you’re worth!
Click here to subscribe to my mailing list

JASON FORREST (named one of 2012’s Top Young Trainers for Training magazine–a national, industry-wide publication) is an expert at creating high-performance sales cultures through complete training programs. In 2013, he won a Gold Stevie Award for Sales Training Leader of the Year. He incorporates experiential learning (rather than theory) to increase sales, implement cultural accountability, and transform companies into sales organizations. A sales professional at heart, Forrest is the author of two previous books. Forrest’s competitive distinction is his behavior-modification approach (which focuses on people, process, and presentation) and his focus on culture change.

ABOUT FORREST PERFORMANCE GROUP

Forrest Performance Group specializes in culture change and creating urgency within sales teams and management. Forrest PG’s competitive distinction is its behavior modification approach as applied to a variety of programs, education, seminars and sales coach training offerings all aimed at dramatically improving sales force success.

Training Magazine: Paradox of Success

August 22, 2013

Leadership Sales Coaching: Transforming from Manager to Coach- Jason Forrest-Forrest Performance Group-Leadership Selling-Sales-Conversion-Techniques-Hot BeliefsTraining Magazine features an excerpt from Jason’s book Leadership Sales Coaching: Transforming from Manager to Coach that addresses the danger of lumping marketing (P’s on the left) with sales (P’s on the right). Read a portion of this article below:

“That dangerous lumping practice is also what I saw in my experience as a national sales trainer for a large public homebuilder. A sales professional, Christine, asked if I could come out to her office and shadow her the next time I was in town. I did and we spent three hours together. I coached her—passing along the sales processes and techniques that had worked for me when I was in her shoes. Two weeks later, she called again. She said, ‘When can you come out again? I just made three grand in commission creating a sale off of what you taught me. I want to learn more.’”

To read more of this article, click here.

Here’s to earning what you’re worth!

 

JASON FORREST (named one of 2012’s Top Young Trainers for Training magazine–a national, industry-wide publication) is an expert at creating high-performance sales cultures through complete training programs. He incorporates experiential learning (rather than theory) to increase sales, implement cultural accountability, and transform companies into sales organizations. A sales professional at heart, Forrest is the author of two previous books. Forrest’s competitive distinction is his behavior-modification approach (which focuses on people, process, and presentation) and his focus on culture change.

ABOUT FORREST PERFORMANCE GROUP

Forrest Performance Group specializes in culture change and creating urgency within sales teams and management. Forrest PG’s competitive distinction is its behavior modification approach as applied to a variety of programs, education, seminars and sales coach training offerings all aimed at dramatically improving sales force success.

2011 Leadership Summit – The Bell Cow | New Home Sales Management Training

August 19, 2013

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2011 Leadership Summit – The Bell Cow | New Home Sales Management Training

Jason Forrest elaborates on sales leadership.

Leadership Summit 2011 Testimonials – Feedback from Richard Drader

August 16, 2013

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Leadership Summit 2011 Testimonials – Feedback from Richard Drader

Richard Drader gives his testimonial from the 2011 Leadership Summit.

Leadership Summit 2011 Testimonials – Feedback from Jeanne Conger

August 16, 2013

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Leadership Summit 2011 Testimonials – Feedback from Jeanne Conger

Jeanne Conger gives feedback from the 2011 Leadership Summit.

Customer-Mission Focused Selling – See the Results! | Leadership Selling Program

August 16, 2013

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Customer-Mission Focused Selling – See the Results! | Leadership Selling Program

Jason talks about a customer-mission focused way of selling and increasing your sales.

Sales Leaders: Make 2013 a Year of Transformation

February 6, 2013

Leadership Sales Coaching–The Seminar provides 15 strategies to transform from a sales manager to a sales coach.

Register here to be the best version of you in 2013!

Leadership Sales Coaching the seminar Jason Forrest Forrest Performance Group NoTagline

See details below.

PRICING:

$995/person
Group rate (four or more people): $895/person
Register by March 26th for early bird pricing ($845/person) and contact laura@forrestPG.com for group rates.

SCHEDULE:

Monday, April 22, 7-9: Cocktails and appetizers
Tuesday, April 23, 9-4: Seminar, Day One
& 7-9: Dinner
Wednesday, April 24, 9-4: Seminar, Day Two

LOCATION:
Call 972-373-8900 to book rooms and mention Forrest PG event for special rates at the unique NYLO hotel (12 minutes from the airport). Reservations must be received on or before Monday, April 1st in order to receive the group hotel rate.

ABOUT JASON FORREST

JASON FORREST (named one of 2012’s Top Young Trainers for Training magazine–a national, industry-wide publication) is an expert at creating high-performance sales cultures through complete training programs. He incorporates experiential learning (rather than theory) to increase sales, implement cultural accountability, and transform companies into sales organizations. A sales professional at heart, Forrest is the author of two previous books. Forrest’s competitive distinction is his behavior-modification approach (which focuses on people, process, and presentation) and his focus on culture change.

ABOUT FORREST PERFORMANCE GROUP

Forrest Performance Group specializes in culture change and creating urgency within sales teams and management. Forrest PG’s competitive distinction is its behavior modification approach as applied to a variety of programs, education, seminars and sales coach training offerings all aimed at dramatically improving sales force success.

Visit ForrestPG.com for more information.

On Coaching and Cookies–the X Factor Sales Coach

August 15, 2012

“All fighters are pig-headed some way or another: some part of them always thinks they know better than you about something. Truth is: even if they’re wrong, even if that one thing is going to be the ruin of them, if you can beat that last bit out of them… they ain’t fighters at all.” –Eddie, Million Dollar BabyCookie Jar-Security-Jason Forrest-Forrest Performance Group

Salespeople are fighters. Why else would they give up the security of knowing their income each paycheck, work retail hours, and miss weekends and holidays with their family and friends?

I’ve got a little three-year-old fighter on my hands in my son, whose circumstances (including my instructions) aren’t going to separate him from what he wants. Is it a challenge to parent him? Sure. But it’s rewarding, too. Of course he has to learn how to follow instructions and I have to teach him respect and temperance. It’s like you. As a home sales consultant, you need team members who will allow you to help them ditch the programming and beliefs that hold them back.

But you also gotta have people with a little spunk. Remember–this is sales! If your sales pros don’t have an edge, they ain’t gonna make it. So yes, salespeople tend to have a little bravado and think they know better. And that can be challenging. But they also tend to be like my son–purposeful and persevering toward reaching their goals.

So don’t be discouraged if you get a little push back. What you have is a fighter. And you can work with that.

Respect them, earn their respect, and sell them on the reasons they should want you to be their coach. I guarantee if you start proving that your coaching puts money in their pockets, they’ll be lining up at your door.

To hold yourself accountable, strive to make your coaching sessions worth the $600-an-hour going rate for such coaching right now. Wait for your people to give you permission to coach them. And once they give it–coach them. Hold them accountable to being their best.

Contributed by Jason Forrest, new home sales trainer/coach

Jason Forrest (named one of 2012′s Top Young Trainers for Training Magazine–a national, industry-wide publication) is an expert at creating high-performance sales cultures through complete training programs. He incorporates experiential learning (rather than theory) to increase sales, implement cultural accountability, and transform builders into sales organizations that build homes. A sales professional at heart, Forrest is the author of Creating Urgency in a Non-Urgent Housing Market and 40-Day Sales Dare for New Home Sales. As a consultant for many of the leading homebuilders in the United States, Canada, and Australia, Forrest’s competitive distinction is his behavior-modification approach (which focuses on people, process, and presentation) and his focus on culture change.  Learn about our new home sales training programs at http://www.forrestperformancegroup.com.

Avid Builder: Stop Selling to Increase Revenue? Nuts!

August 6, 2012

Keys to House-Sales Pro-Jason Forrest-Forrest Performance GroupI went to the dealership a loyal Audi-ist and walked away with keys…to a BMW. It didn’t have to be that way, but the Audi salesperson seemed to be taking Mike Myatt’s advice — To Increase Revenue, Stop Selling. He handed me a key and sent me on a test drive.

Read more.

 

JASON FORREST (named one of 2012’s Top Young Trainers for Training magazine–a national, industry-wide publication) is an expert at creating high-performance sales cultures through complete training programs. He incorporates experiential learning (rather than theory) to increase sales, implement cultural accountability, and transform companies into sales organizations. A sales professional at heart, Forrest is the author of two previous books. Forrest’s competitive distinction is his behavior-modification approach (which focuses on people, process, and presentation) and his focus on culture change.

ABOUT FORREST PERFORMANCE GROUP

Forrest Performance Group specializes in culture change and creating urgency within sales teams and management. Forrest PG’s competitive distinction is its behavior modification approach as applied to a variety of programs, education, seminars and sales coach training offerings all aimed at dramatically improving sales force success.

Lock on, Lock out

May 16, 2012

My second child, Mary Jane, was born six weeks premature and was quickly placed in an incubator on a different floor than my  lock on lock out principles of coaching j forrest group new home sales training and development creating urgency jason forrest j forrest groupwife Shelly. They couldn’t wheel Shelly’s bed (along with all the wires and attachments) to Mary Jane and they couldn’t bring Mary Jane (and the incubator) to Shelly. The only way for Shelly to see our six-pound, five-ounce newborn was for her to get up. So that’s exactly what she did—in less than 24 hours after her c-section.

It usually takes several days, as it had with our first child, but this time was different. When Shelly locked on to the idea of seeing our newborn, no obstacle was going to stop her. Not doctors and nurses advising against it. Not her own experience with our first child. Not even her concerned husband.

When you lock on to something, you see everything through that filter and you lock all other information out. You look for supporting evidence and lock out evidence that contradicts your beliefs/goals.

While in Shelly’s case, it caused her to do something extraordinary, it can also have the opposite effect. In new home sales, it can cause a sales pro to lock on to the fact that some of his lots are smaller and back up to a busy road. Because he believes they’re undesirable, he starts looking for supporting evidence from prospects, the news, his wife, etc. He avoids showing those lots, which then confirms what he “knew” all along—they just aren’t sellable.

When your sales professionals lock on and get trapped, you need to present evidence to help them see it differently. Help them focus on what’s great about those lots and why people do choose them. Present evidence they haven’t thought of—such as the fact that many prospects don’t want to mess with maintaining a large lot. To them—less landscaping, fencing, and maintenance is appealing—not appalling.

Sales coaches–in the event that one of your salespeople is so stuck that they won’t hear anything you say, put the ball back in their court. Give them an assignment to do their research and come back to you with a presentation on the other side of the argument. If they can’t or won’t do it, be ready to have a conversation about whether or not you want them on your team.

Locking on can either hinder or push them to excel. So be aware of the concept–either to overcome it or to tap into its power.

 

The above is adapted from Jason’s upcoming book on sales coaching.

Jason Forrest (named one of 2012′s Top Young Trainers for Training Magazine–a national, industry-wide publication) is an expert at creating high-performance sales cultures through complete training programs. He incorporates experiential learning (rather than theory) to increase sales, implement cultural accountability, and transform builders into sales organizations that build homes. A sales professional at heart, Forrest is the author of Creating Urgency in a Non-Urgent Housing Market and 40-Day Sales Dare for New Home Sales. As a consultant for many of the leading homebuilders in the United States, Canada, and Australia, Forrest’s competitive distinction is his behavior-modification approach (which focuses on people, process, and presentation) and his focus on culture change.  Learn about our new home sales training programs at http://www.forrestperformancegroup.com.

Coaching the sales process

May 4, 2012

Yacht-Boat-Jason Forrest-Forrest Performance Group“It is not the ship so much as the skillful sailing that assures the prosperous voyage.” –George William Curtis

There’s nothing predictable about the ocean. The best a sailor can do is know every crook and cranny of his vessel; be as prepared as possible for every shift of the wind; and get a lot of experience under his belt so he candle what the deep blue sea throws at him.

You can’t prepare your team members for every sales situation either. But by helping them perfect a repeatable process, you can help them get as comfortable as possible to face whatever comes their way.

It’s all about consistency–coaching your people to perform at a consistently high level so that every customer gets the richest buying experience possible–beyond what they will get from any competitor.

Think about Elton John or Lady Gaga, who practice until each song and motion becomes instinct. It’s the work that happens behind the scenes that helps make sure that each performance is consistently phenomenal. You are a part of perfecting the process, which helps eliminate variables and increase confidence.

Average salespeople practice until they can get it right sometimes, but professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.

Sales pros: see more on the subject just for you.

Sales coaches: Watch for more on the subject in our upcoming Coaching Management book.

Contributed by Jason Forrest

Jason Forrest (named one of 2012′s Top Young Trainers for Training Magazine–a national, industry-wide publication) is an expert at creating high-performance sales cultures through complete training programs. He incorporates experiential learning (rather than theory) to increase sales, implement cultural accountability, and transform builders into sales organizations that build homes. A sales professional at heart, Forrest is the author of Creating Urgency in a Non-Urgent Housing Market and 40-Day Sales Dare for New Home Sales. As a consultant for many of the leading homebuilders in the United States, Canada, and Australia, Forrest’s competitive distinction is his behavior-modification approach (which focuses on people, process, and presentation) and his focus on culture change.  Learn about our new home sales training programs at http://www.forrestperformancegroup.com.

 

Number One Rule of Coaching

March 30, 2012

Even though Jill, a sales coach, called me for advice on a “disaster,” I knew she’d just been handed a gift from the coaching Jason Forrest quote managers versus coaches creating urgency leadership coaching new home sales traininggods.

Jill described an interaction that ended with a top-producing sales pro leaving her office in tears. She said, “I know I didn’t handle this situation well and I need help. Have you ever dealt with anything like this before?” I had.

One of Jill’s top producers, Morgan, was offended that Jill hadn’t chosen her as a team captain. Jill practically scoffed, thinking the reasons she didn’t choose Morgan should be obvious. She rattled off her laundry list of frustrations (including Morgan’s chronic late and incomplete paperwork). She made a strong case. And Morgan walked out in tears–feeling defeated.

I saw an opportunity. Jill saw a disaster. What she didn’t see is that Morgan had just given her permission to be her coach–the most valuable thing a coach can have in a team member. So I advised Jill to call Morgan back, apologize for letting her emotions drive her response (leaders can never apologize too much), and work with Morgan on a plan to reach her goal.

She could say, “I didn’t know being a team captain was so important to you and I would be so proud to have you contribute in that way. Let’s talk about how to get you there and make a plan so that, as soon as you reach the following goals, we can make it happen.”

Can you see the difference? In contrast to the insecurity she left Jill’s office with the first time, Morgan now feels empowered and has the fire in her belly that comes with having a goal to work towards. And Jill has the best gift of all–permission from Morgan to be her coach.

Reflection questions:

1. Have you ever attacked a team member’s weaknesses without providing a plan or a goal to work toward?

Why do you think it’s important for a team member to want to receive coaching from you (rather than having to)?

 

The above excerpt is from Jason Forrest’s upcoming book on sales coaching. Stay tuned for more details.

Jason Forrest (named one of 2012′s Top Young Trainers for Training Magazine–a national, industry-wide publication) is an expert at creating high-performance sales cultures through complete training programs. He incorporates experiential learning (rather than theory) to increase sales, implement cultural accountability, and transform builders into sales organizations that build homes. A sales professional at heart, Forrest is the author of Creating Urgency in a Non-Urgent Housing Market and 40-Day Sales Dare for New Home Sales. As a consultant for many of the leading homebuilders in the United States, Canada, and Australia, Forrest’s competitive distinction is his behavior-modification approach (which focuses on people, process, and presentation) and his focus on culture change.  Learn more at http://www.forrestperformancegroup.com.

Sales Coaches – Encourage a Growth Mindset

February 13, 2012

Contributed by Jason Forrest

Green Growth-Growth Mindset-Encourage-Jason Forrest-Forrest Performance GroupFearless sales professionals and coaches operate with a growth mindset. A growth mindset says, “What I am currently doing equals what I am currently getting. If I improve what I am currently doing, then I will improve what I am getting.”  What we say to ourselves and our teams can have a direct impact on creating a growth mindset or fixed mindset.

Encouraging a Growth Mindset:

Example: “Thank you for focusing on the 13 decisions of buying. You put forth a great effort and I can tell that it paid off with your new sale.”

Celebrate the process, even if it hasn’t yet resulted in a sale. Ask sales pros to share war stories on how they’ve moved sales forward in the process.

If a sales pro brings in an offer, use it as an opportunity to understand what they accomplished with the buyer. Ask them questions to find out what decisions they’ve accomplished. If they haven’t accomplished several of the decisions, talk them through it. Help them realize that not knowing enough about the buyer puts us in a position of weakness in the negotiation.

Examples of Fixed Mindset Feedback:

“Great job on making the sale.”

*This feedback doesn’t make a connection to the behaviors the sales pro has done to achieve the sale.

“Just write up any offer. We need sales!”

*This encourages sales pros to get off the process and focus solely on price. It might get you immediate results, but it confuses your team. It will also cost you sales in the future because you will only be able to get sales when you buy them.

You’ll inadvertently cripple your sales pros if you tell a struggling sales pro to “hang in there,” and that a sale “will eventually happen.” This promotes the belief that it’s a numbers game and has nothing to do with their efforts.

Examples of Growth Mindset Feedback:

You can encourage a growth mindset in a struggling sales pro by saying:

  1. “Keep putting forth the effort towards the 13 decisions and the sale will happen.”
  2. “Let’s focus on what you did accomplish with the buyer so that we can celebrate those victories.”
  3. “Let’s focus on your last five prospects—the decisions you accomplished with them and where the sale stopped. Together, we will come up with a strategy to advance the sale.”

If you find yourself giving into a fixed mindset, work on correcting your language right then and there!

 

Jason Forrest is an expert at creating high-performance sales cultures through complete training programs. He incorporates experiential learning (rather than theory) to create urgency, increase sales, implement cultural accountability, and transform builders into sales organizations that build homes. A sales professional at heart, Forrest is the author of Creating Urgency in a Non-Urgent Housing Market and 40-Day Sales Dare for New Home Sales. As a consultant for many of the leading homebuilders in the United States and Canada, Forrest’s competitive distinction is his behavior-modification approach (which focuses on people, process, and presentation) and his focus on culture change.  Learn more at http://www.forrestperformancegroup.com.

To teach new home sales, do more than teach

December 29, 2011

Three days early this month, I stared at the Rocky Mountains from an office in the foothills. And it got me thinkleadership selling new home sales training and techniques skiing—you don’t teach someone to ski by teaching someone to ski. You get on the mountain with them, show them the stance, and demonstrate, skiing alongside them and offering tips and reminders all the while.

My dad actually had me stand between his legs as we crisscrossed the slopes together. Have you ever seen a ski instructor in a classroom? No–you see them on the mountain, right beside their students.

Unfortunately, we sometimes don’t take the same care with our sales pros. Our new home sales training program often consist of three days in a classroom. And then we just pat our new home sales professionals on the back and send them on the chairlift to the double black diamond slope.

Think about it—do you teach your people to sell by teaching them to sell? Or do you get in the trenches with them and walk through their situations? If you’re in the trenches—great! If not, it’s time to reevaluate your strategy for a successful 2012.

You can’t master skiing, driving, or selling without a lot of training, demonstration, and real-world instruction.

P.S. Learn about our new home sales training programs.

Gain the Win or Prevent the Loss?

October 24, 2011

New home sales managers: do you manage to gain the win or to prevent the loss? Turf-Play-Love of it-Sales Pro-Jason Forrest-Forrest Performance Group

Defense is “An action of defending from or resisting an attack,” an “attempt to protect/defend against opposition” or a “barrier against attack.” When leaders of sales teams manage defensively, they are just trying to survive in the market.

Rather than simply putting her head down and hoping for the best, an offensive coach attacks, steals sales from competition, and makes things happen. Offense is “the action of attacking,” or “the team or players who are attempting to score or advance the ball.”

I talk to clients all the time who try to tell me that they take this kind of proactive approach to managing the sales process. But when I dig a little deeper, I find that they’re sitting in their offices, taking phone calls from sales consultants, and talking about customer offers. During those calls, they have one overriding goal—get the deal to the finish line without getting creamed and losing a ton of profit. In football, this approach would be like being in a goal-line stance; knowing that you’re about to get scored on; and doing all you can just to hold your opponents to a field goal.

Managing offensively means considering the people (their attitudes, beliefs, and fears) and the process (coaching sales professionals through where the sale stopped, what decision needs to happen to move this prospect forward, and how they can improve the new home sales presentation).

There just aren’t enough market sales (new home sales that would happen with or without the persuasive efforts of sales managers and sales professionals) for us to make our goals each month. Market sales can be counted by an admin—six-figure employees should be making X factor sales happen.

This week, you can either count sales by managing reports or you can create sales by moving the ball forward, one coaching call at a time. Choose wisely—your company’s success depends on it!

P.S. Learn about our new home sales training programs.

Never Give Up! by Jeanne Conger

September 20, 2011

He struck out over 1,300 times in his career, and yet Babe Ruth is considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time. new home sales managementRuth is a great example of one of my favorite adages: “Never, never, never give up.” The man is one of the most recognized players in history even though he has not played since 1935 and died in 1948.

In the new home sales industry, this means that we cannot become victims to market shifts, low consumer confidence, foreclosures, stringent loan conditions or any other obstacles that the market throws our way. We may “strike out” with several weeks of poor sales, but we must never, never, never give up.

A tough market will reveal the character of a company and the culture of an organization.

New home sales managers: Do you accept excuses for “no traffic” or “no qualified buyers” as a market condition that can’t be overcome? The question is what are YOU and your team going to do about it?

New home salespeople:

Don’t wait on fate! Create traffic by calling all your old prospects. Never, never, never quit (at least not until you have at least three appointments for the week).

Gain control of your success, whether it takes 30 calls or 300.

Contributed by Jeanne Conger

P.S. Learn about our new home sales training programs.

T.C.U. football–A culture of excellence

September 7, 2011

Since we’re on the subject this week, I had to share my own avid fandom for college football—T.C.U. football to be exact. Not only is T.C.U. my alma mater, but I also attend every home game and wear purple socks in honor of my favorite team’s colors.TCU-Horned Frog-Jason Forrest-Forrest Performance Group

It’s more than the thrill of the game—it’s the culture of T.C.U.’s program that gets me going and, in the case of this NY Times article, makes me cry. Coach Patterson is a leader who has created a dynasty of unity and high standards on and off the field (he took a team with no police records to the Rose Bowl and his players have above average graduation rates). Talk about a cultural change–the same program was scandal-ridden in the 1980s.

Because of the program’s reputation, recruitment at the small private school is up, “His 98-28 record over the past decade is the reason that this year, T.C.U. had nearly 20,000 applicants [...] for 1,600 spots.”

This guy is a model for new home sales managers. Do your market’s best new home salespeople want to be on your team because of the culture you’ve created? Are you known for raising the standard and holding your team accountable to it? Are you stealing top recruits from other builders by making salespeople more successful in their careers? What is your legacy in new home sales management? Are you purposeful in what you do?

Del Conte, the athletic director at T.C.U, said Patterson is their Joe Paterno or Bear Bryant. Are you the Bear Bryant of your industry? Would your division president be able to say that about you? Why or why not? If not, how can you find a way to be better? What can you do to facilitate a culture change in your organization?

Do some soul searching and consider these questions. Or don’t. Just count the days until you get replaced by somebody like Gary Patterson.

P.S. Learn about our new home sales training programs.

Managers: It’s Time to Get Dirty

July 27, 2011

An excerpt from my latest article for Builder new home sales processNews Online:

Gone are the days of managing from a distance. Today’s managers must get in the trenches if they want their sales teams to reach their full potential. Effective new home sales managers get “dirty,” by managing the process, not just the results; asking specific questions; and holding their sales professionals accountable to greatness.

Read more.

P.S. Learn about our new home sales training programs.

What’s your struggle?

May 23, 2011

Our Sales Leadership Summit for new home sales managers got rave reviews for one simple reason—we followed our own advice and solved our customers’ problems.sales training and development

As usual, we had an agenda based on proven sales strategies, but we also added a section called “I’m struggling with” where sales managers wrote their current challenges on note cards. At several points throughout the day, Jeff Shore and I addressed the concerns directly.

We created the training around our audience’s struggles, just like X Factor sales professionals create a home around each customer’s life and needs. We didn’t teach people what we thought they wanted to know—we taught them what they needed to know for the coming days and weeks.

That’s also our overall approach at J Forrest Group. We tailor our programs to address our clients’ needs directly—their market challenges, their buyers, etc. We don’t just use textbook theory, we use our vast experience and sales wisdom to address actual, day-to-day issues in real time.

The high rate of satisfaction from the event came from the fact that by solving our customer’s problems, we followed one of our most basic sales philosophies.

Now it’s your turn. As a sales professional or manager, what are you struggling with? Post your own concerns in the comments and we’ll see how we can help.

P.S. Learn about our new home sales training programs.

Embracing the X Factor

April 7, 2011

X Factor sales pros Jason Forrest Forrest PGThe team at the Villages at Lake Sumter has truly adopted the mindset of the X-factor salesperson and it’s paying off.

According to research from Hanley Wood, there are only a few large builders (those closing more than 1,000 units) that will see an increase in closings in 2010 versus 2009.

Leading the pack with a 34% increase is The Villages at Lake Sumter, one of Jeff Shore and my shared clients. In 2010, we took them through the 12-month process of changing their sales culture and they now see themselves as a sales organization that builds homes rather than a homebuilder that tolerates salespeople.

With sales at the center, they’ve made a priority of coaching and training their salespeople weekly.

Incentives, models, and deals don’t sell homes, people sell homes. The market and circumstances didn’t create success for the Villages. Greatness will always prevail regardless of circumstances. As the beliefs at The Villages have changed, their confidence has increased and their behaviors have changed to match. That is the point of true training—to change behaviors, and thus, to change sales results.

Congratulations to the Villages for getting serious about becoming a culture that creates salespeople who earn what they’re worth!

Click Here for Information on the Who’s Up and Who’s Down in 2010 Closings!

P.S. Learn about our new home sales training programs.

Vital Behavior: Childlike Curiosity

March 16, 2011

In this podcast, Jason discusses how new home sales managers can ask their salespeople the right questions, have more productive coaching sessions, and create more successful new home salespeople.

Contributed by Jason Forrest, new home sales trainer/coach

One of Training magazine’s Top Young Trainers of 2012, Jason Forrest is an expert at creating high-performance sales cultures through complete training programs. He incorporates experiential learning (rather than theory) to increase sales, implement cultural accountability, and transform builders into sales organizations that build homes. A sales professional at heart, Forrest is the author of Creating Urgency in a Non-Urgent Housing Market and 40-Day Sales Dare for New Home Sales. As a consultant for many of the leading homebuilders in the United States, Canada, and Australia, Forrest’s competitive distinction is his behavior-modification approach (which focuses on people, process, and presentation) and his focus on culture change.  Learn about our new home sales training programs at http://www.forrestperformancegroup.com.

Vital Behaviors of Sales Leaders, Part 2

March 12, 2011

Last week, I talked with BuilderRadio about two vital behaviors of effective sales leaders (managers).

This week, we covered the next two (highlighted below). Listen to the full podcast here.

Childlike Curiosity—

Just as salespeople face “sales-stopping moments,” sales coaches face coach-stopping moments. As those who lead salespeople to excellence, sales coaches need to have a childlike curiosity, asking the right questions so they can deliver the right coaching.sales training and development

When a salesperson says something like, “no one who came in this week could qualify,” the coach needs to find out why. Often, they’ll discover that something else (like a desire not to spend over a certain amount) actually stopped the process, not an inability to qualify. Go through each registration card and find out what happened. Questions may be as simple as why or they may examine what happened right before the client left the sales office.

Great leadership is getting in the trenches and pressing further to find out what got in the way and how to improve the process next time.

Mastery of the Sales Process—

Too many managers do not know everything about the sales process. Managers don’t have to be better than salespeople at selling, but should at least know the playbook better so they can hold salespeople accountable to the play.

Bill Walsh, legendary NFL coach, understood this concept. Though he was not a better quarterback than Joe Montana, he was able to help Montana improve by saying, “Here’s how you’re supposed to do it. Here’s how you did it. Do it again.”

Help your salespeople think at a higher level so that they can gain self assurance and become the best version of themselves.

If it’s right, praise them. If it’s wrong, coach it out of them.

P.S. Learn about our new home sales training programs.

Vital Behaviors of Sales Leaders, Part 1

March 5, 2011

sales management seminars

Training that doesn’t change behavior is nothing more than education. As a new home sales trainer, my goal is to provide ongoing coaching that changes results. For sales leaders (managers), this means equipping salespeople to become the best version of themselves.

In a podcast for BuilderRadio.com, I talked about the vital behaviors of sales leaders. Here are some of the highlights:

The toughest challenge that leaders face is how to get their people to exceed their own expectations by expanding their comfort zones. This requires certain behaviors, including:

1. No fear of conflict

Without conflict, there is no change. I’m not talking about “make my day” kind of conflict, I’m just talking about holding salespeople accountable to doing what they’re uncomfortable doing, which helps them become the best version of themselves. As a leader, you’re not doing your new home salespeople any favors by being their buddy and enabling them to stay in their comfort zone.

Help them do the things they don’t want to do today so that they can have the results they want tomorrow.

2. Assertive Communication

Assertive communication means providing clear and specific direction for your salespeople. Instead of saying, “I need you to focus on improving your sales message,” tell them exactly what they need to do/say; and how, why and when they need to do it. Assertive communication sets clear expectations and attainable goals.

Beliefs drive emotions, emotions drive behaviors and behaviors drive results. An effective sales leader will give new home salespeople the right direction, equipment, and expectations to be successful alone. Show your salespeople how and practice with them so that they can confidently execute the principles on their own.

Next week, we’ll cover the next two vital behaviors. Stay tuned.

P.S. Learn about our new home sales training programs.

Vital Behaviors of Sales Leaders

February 21, 2011

builders trainingTraining that doesn’t change behavior is nothing more than education. As a new home sales trainer, my goal is to provide ongoing coaching that changes results. For sales leaders (managers), this means equipping salespeople to become the best version of themselves.

In a podcast for BuilderRadio.com, I talked about the vital behaviors of sales leaders. Here are some of the highlights:

The toughest challenge that leaders face is how to get their people to exceed their own expectations by expanding their comfort zones. This requires certain behaviors, including:

1. No fear of conflict

Without conflict, there is no change. I’m not talking about “make my day” kind of conflict, I’m just talking about holding salespeople accountable to doing what they’re uncomfortable doing, which helps them become the best version of themselves. As a leader, you’re not doing your new home salespeople any favors by being their buddy and enabling them to stay in their comfort zone.

Help them do the things they don’t want to do today so that they can have the results they want tomorrow.

2. Assertive Communication

Assertive communication means providing clear and specific direction for your salespeople. Instead of saying, “I need you to focus on improving your sales message,” tell them exactly what they need to do/say; and how, why and when they need to do it. Assertive communication sets clear expectations and attainable goals.
Beliefs drive emotions, emotions drive behaviors and behaviors drive results. An effective sales leader will give new home salespeople the right direction, equipment, and expectations to be successful alone. Show your salespeople how and practice with them so that they can confidently execute the principles on their own.

Next week, we’ll cover the next two vital behaviors. Stay tuned.

Author Jason Forrest Speaks At Southwest Suburban Chicago Home Builders Association

September 14, 2009

new home sales training

Read this article posted today about Jason in Chicago Land Real Estate Forum.

The Perfect Storm for Sales Management Demise

May 22, 2009

home sales trainingThis October I was on a coaching call with a Regional Sales Manager who is not making his region’s monthly sales goal for his company. Let’s call him James. James was managing about 30 community salespeople, and he had three specific problems he was dealing with:

  1. He was not making his monthly sales goal;
  2. His boss was not convinced that he was doing everything he needed to be doing in order to make his sales goal;
  3. He is in the 2008 housing market.

This is what I call the Perfect Storm for Sales Management Demise. If you are in sales management, you can’t have all of these forces against you. One of the forces is troubling enough, but when you have all three, you’re faced with a ticking time bomb for needing to dust off that resume and hit the streets.

What I have observed is that it’s what you do about the situation that is most important. You see, even though James might not be the only one in 2008 that isn’t meeting his monthly sales goal, the higher-ups may not give him much grace if he doesn’t handle this situation properly. So here is my advice if you’re also falling short of your sales goals as a sales manager.  You can’t change the market, so you need to either A) meet your goals, or B) convince your boss you are doing everything you need to be doing to make your goal.

Here are ways to convince your boss you are doing everything you can:

  1. Ask your boss what he/she believes are the most strategic activities you could be doing to generate sales. Don’t wait for your boss to tell you-just ask.I am not saying to go into your boss’s office looking defeated. Go in saying what you have been doing up to this point, and then ask him or her if theyhave any suggestions. (If you are a boss reading this, then have your salesmanager read this article.) Then implement those suggestions.
  2. Create a monthly, weekly, and daily plan of what you are doing to reach your sales goals. (I know it seems like a lot of work, but you need to stay focused to get through the slump.)
  3. Each week, submit an end-of-the-week report that lays out what you did that week to generate sales. Don’t worry about making the report look pretty. Just list out in bullet points what you did each day that week.
  4. Review your weekly report with your boss at least every two weeks.  In this meeting, share what you think is working and what needs to be adjusted. Be specific and offer solutions to the problems, not just a list of the problems. For example, don’t just say that the salesperson at Pine Ridge just won’t make it. Instead you might say, “The salesperson at Pine Ridge is not making his numbers. This is what I have had him do to correct it, and he did not do it. I decided to find a replacement for him so I had HR set up four interviews for sales candidates tomorrow. I commit to having a replacement within 14 days.”
  5. Promote victories, no matter how small, as often as they happen. These victories can consist of your salespeople’s actions and improvements as well as the positive results themselves. You might feel awkward, like you’re bragging, but when you’re behind in your sales numbers it’s not bragging-it’s
    reporting progress.

One final thought-in whichever plan you commit to executing, go all out!! Be confident, not arrogant, that you are doing what you need to do in order to be successful. In many cases, if people around you don’t feel that you are confident in what you are doing, then they will also lose confidence in you as a leader. So don’t let the perfect storm rob you of your confidence. Be the sales leader who can help your team weather this storm.

Tough Market: More Training, or Less?

May 15, 2009

new home sales consultantMore training, or less? That is the question. Conventional wisdom says that the answer depends upon market conditions: in a good market you spend more money on training, and in a bad market you tighten the budget and spend less, or even none at all, until things pick up. While most builders would agree that this is a rational way to operate, it is a recipe for mediocre performance and poor return on investment. Here’s why.

Many companies consider training to be a luxury. Therefore, they treat it as a gift to be given to their teams when there’s enough money to justify the expense. The problem is, in a good market, the recipients of this gift don’t always see the necessity for it, and therefore they don’t put it to good use. Why? Well, in a good market, when customers are urgent to buy, salespeople can have success regardless of how well they do their job. They don’t have to execute the right behaviors or exercise any discipline to win a sale. Improvement is not a necessity. In their mind, training is only a nice thing to have, and not something that they perceive to be necessary for their success.

When the market takes a downturn, sales teams find themselves in a bind. Before, they could get by without training, but now they need it more than ever. The “build it and they will come” philosophy of the good years doesn’t work anymore. Buyers do not walk
into sales offices with an urgency to buy. Sales don’t just happen-they must be earned, and they cannot be earned if a sales team is not trained or equipped to win them.

When a salesperson faces a tough market without proper training, they feel the negative impact not only in their bank accounts, but also in their mind and emotions. Anxiety builds as they fail to reach their sales goals. Family relationships struggle because of the
financial strain. What does this mean? It means that now is the time when they are hungry for improvement. Now is the time when they are ready to apply new strategies and techniques for winning sales and bettering their situations.

Do you see the irony? When the market is good, and sales are easy to come by, companies provide training. But when the market is tough, and it becomes more important than ever to earn sales, training falls by the wayside. Successful builders are the ones who go
against convention, and realize that a tough market is a great time to train and build for the future. While everyone else is riding it out, cutting costs and downsizing, you can invest in your people and your processes, improve the way you treat your customers, and strengthen the foundation of your company. There are sales out there to be made, and they will be made by the salespeople who execute more of the right behaviors with their prospects than the competition will. That’s true in any market. So in any market, if your
salespeople are not maximizing every prospect who walks in the door, the answer is always “more training.”

In a tough market, you have a choice: follow the crowd, ride out the storm, and wait until everyone else does better, or rise from the pack and separate yourself from everyone else by adopting new strategies and techniques to create your own success. If you train
and coach your sales team to maximize every sales conversation and be successful in a tough market, then imagine the success they will achieve when better times are here. So forget conventional wisdom. Train your team now, and you will be miles ahead of the competition when they wake up and decide to get back in the game.

This article appeared  first in the Shore Select Sales Strategy Journal. Click here to subscribe.

What Kind of American Idol Judge are You?

May 14, 2009

Every Tuesday and Wednesday night, I watch the greatest show on television right now. You guessed it: American Idol.

new home sales and marketing

The other night, as I fast-forwarded through Paula Abdul’s comments so that I could hear Simon’s, I came to a realization: most people aren’t concerned with what Paula has to say. Why is that? Most of her comments consist of generic praise (e.g. “All you can do is the best you can do”). The advice she gives the contestants will not make them better. (The same can be said of Randy. He may say that someone’s performance was ‘pitchy,’ but rarely is his advice constructive or helpful.)

Not only do many home viewers tune out Paula, but the contestants seem to wish they had a fast-forward button, too. They stand and nod politely while Paula speaks, but they’re more concerned with what Simon Cowell is about to say. Simon is the one who will give them specific advice that will improve them. His entire goal is to shoot straight with them. The contestants know that if they listen to Simon, and take his advice seriously, they will probably have the best shot of advancing to the next week. His opinion is the one that carries the most weight, and it’s the one that determines their fate in the competition.

If you could only coach like Simon, or only coach like Paula, whom would you choose as your model? I know what you might be thinking. “But Jason, Simon is so mean, and I can’t imagine myself belittling people like that.” I agree that Simon is harsh. His stinging, degrading comments have driven many auditioners and contestants to tears. As a coach, it’s not a good strategy to act like Simon and make people cry. At the same time, you shouldn’t be a “Paula-style” coach who just tells people that they’re doing great, when you know in your heart that they aren’t going to survive the next round of layoffs with their current performance. Your job as a coach is to help people achieve their goals in life, and the only way to do that is to give them advice on how to become better. Now, if Simon’s coaching style is too harsh, and Paula’s style is too gracious, whose style should you model? Neither one. I say, be like Kara.

Kara DioGuardi is the new addition to American Idol’s judging panel. She’s not a perfect coach, but she is a very strong one — one of the strongest I have seen. Even if you are not a fan of American Idol, or a fan of Kara, I challenge you to tune in next week and observe the way she critiques the contestants. Notice how she gives the contestants specific praise, not general praise. Notice how she gives them specific advice on how to improve, and does so without belittling them. More often than not, she is the judge who provides honest, useful criticism without tearing someone down. That is the healthy way to motivate someone, and to build a productive, effective coaching relationship based upon mutual respect.

Strike a Balance Between Grit and Grace
To coach like Kara, you must achieve a balance between the amount of toughness, or grit, that you exhibit, and the amount of grace you give. Coaches with too much grit will tend to coach like Simon. Motivating with fear may work with some salespeople, but it doesn’t lay the foundation for a healthy long-term relationship with your team. On the flip side, if a coach gives too much grace, he or she will end up coaching like Paula. Being everyone’s cheerleader may help you to make friends, but it won’t challenge your team or create consistent results. Successful coaches are the ones who learn to achieve a balance between grit and grace. When you achieve this balance, you will increase the probability that your salespeople:

  • Will respect you.
  • Will want to listen to you.
  • Will have the desire to follow your advice and improve.

On the diagram below, draw an ‘X’ on the blue line to represent your current balance of grit to grace in your coaching style.

american_idol_1.gif

Do you have too much grit? Take steps to tone down the toughness of your delivery. Having your salespeople fear you is not the same as having them respect you. Encourage them, and remember to praise them when they get something right.

Do you have too much grace? Embrace your role as a manager, and don’t be afraid to critique your salespeople. If you truly respect your salespeople, you will have their best interests in mind, and you will want to help them do everything it takes to improve and be successful. That includes giving them specific, useful criticism. Remember: giving someone direction doesn’t mean you have to act like a ‘Simon.’

Be Specific, Specific, Specific
To coach like Kara, you must also provide your team with specific, constructive criticism and praise that will lead to their improvement. Think about your coaching tendencies for a moment. Would you say that you’re specific when you correct someone, or would you say that you’re pretty generic with your words? Generic criticism sounds like this: “I don’t know what it was, you just weren’t ‘on’ today.” Specific criticism sounds like this: “I noticed that you froze up when the customer objected to the steep slope on lot #1200 — let’s brainstorm some ways that you could overcome that objection next time.” Likewise, generic praise would sound like, “Keep up the good work,” while specific praise would sound like, “Instead of giving incentives away at the beginning of the conversation, you’ve learned to save them for the end when you can use them as a bargaining tool — I’m really proud of you!” On a scale of 1-10, how specific are you when you deliver criticism and praise to your salespeople? Circle the number below that best describes you.

american_idol_2.gif

Each day, you can take the following actions in order to make your criticism more specific and effective:

  1. For each salesperson, write down the parts of their presentation/areas of their performance, where they need to improve.
  2. Choose the area that is most important, and then outline specific steps that the salesperson can take to improve in that area.
  3. In your coaching session, use your notes to help them create a plan for improvement.
  4. Keep this question at the forefront of your mind: How can I make this person better, and take them one step closer to achieving success with the customers who are walking in the door?

You can also take the following steps to increase the power of your praise:

  • Don’t just focus on what’s wrong — be on the lookout for what they’re doing right.
  • Take notes of the improvements and victories that you witness.
  • If you lean towards having too much grace, remind yourself daily that you do not have to dish out praise all of the time. Only praise people when it is deserved. By doing this, your praise becomes more meaningful and valuable.

When you’re a coach, you don’t have to chose between being a Simon or a Paula — you can be a Kara. Today, commit to balancing grit with grace, and to leading your team with specific, valuable criticism and praise. Above all, you need to remember this: your ultimate goal is to help the people you’re coaching to achieve success. In the end, you want them to be better because of what you’ve said.

Real Work
Think of a problem that you recently had to address with one of your sales counselors. Now, imagine that the American Idol judges are sales managers, and they are going to offer their advice/critique to the sales counselor.

What would Paula or Randy say?
What would Simon say?
What would Kara say?
What would you say?

This article appeared first in the Shore Select Sales Strategy Journal. Click here to subscribe.

Are You Wasting Your Very Important Marketing Dollars?

May 14, 2009

new home sales managementRecently I teamed up with a sales manager to coach one of his salespeople, who we’ll call George. Our goal that day was to coach George towards overcoming his yielding tendency. Just to give you a little background information, yielding occurs when a salesperson fears that he or she will come across as too pushy. This fear causes the salesperson to yield their position of strength to the customer. Prior to our coaching session, George had already taken our assessment test, which determined that he had a high yielding tendency – he often hands control over to the customer. Our next step was to conduct our post-test coaching session with him, in which we get him to buy into the results and the underlying reasons behind them, and help him to chart a plan for his improvement.

After asking several questions to build a foundation of trust between us, I decided to ask George to describe his sales process to me. His response revealed that yielding to a customer costs a company more than sales.

Jason Forrest: “Describe your sales process to me.”

George: “Well, I start off by trying to see if they’re interested in being left alone, or having me tour the homes with them. If they don’t want me to go with them, then I stand in a central location, trying to warm up to them as they move from room to room.”

Jason Forrest: “How do you know if they don’t want you to give them a tour?”

George: “You can tell by their body language. If their body language shows me that they’re not interested in a sales presentation, then I leave them alone.”

Jason Forrest: “How many people do you see per month?”

George: “Forty.”

Jason Forrest: “Of those 40, how many of those customers give you body language that tells you they want to be left alone?”

George: “Twenty.”

I went on to give him some advice on how to overcome his yielding tendency, but that is not the point that I am trying to make in this article. I want to show you one of the repercussions that his yielding has had upon the company. During the month I coached George, his company had spent $5200 on marketing and advertising to bring in those 40 people. So, each prospect he met was worth $130. He left 20 of those customers alone, and 20 times $130 is $2600. That’s a total of $2600 in marketing costs that were completely wasted. George allowed $2600 to walk right out the door because he didn’t want to come across as pushy.

The purpose of marketing and advertising is to generate prospects who will come in and spend time with a salesperson in order to determine if there is a home and community that meets their admitted needs. The problem is, if you’re not spending time with the customer, then you’re not finding out what their needs are, and you’re not showing them how your home and community could fulfill those needs. So, here is the message, and it is an important one: The next time you spend money to bring in more prospects, you must ensure that you are executing the other side of the equation, which is to execute the sale and provide a solid sales experience for those prospects. If this doesn’t happen, it’s like throwing your money away.

Yielding is not the only thing that will prevent a salesperson from winning a sale, but it is a major culprit. If you are wondering if your salespeople have yielding tendencies, please contact me  for information on our testing to determine if your marketing dollars are not being maximized. Salespeople with a high tendency to yield are not beyond help. Proper coaching can transform them into confident salespeople who serve their customers to the best of their ability, and who turn your marketing dollars into sales.

This article appeared first in the Shore Select Sales Strategy Journal. Click here to subscribe.