Episode #29: How To Save Sales And Reduce Cancelations

Buyer’s Remorse Is Real, Here Are Some Tips To Combat It:

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Well hello and welcome to the show everyone. Thanks so much for joining me for another episode of the new construction marketing podcast. I’m your host, Anya Chrisanthon.

Today wanted to talk to you about saving sales and reducing cancellations. So as we’re heading into kind of an off season for real estate, November, December, those months can be tough, not as many people are out shopping typically. And then I think with the whole election happening, there’s definitely been a market shift and there’s a little bit of a slowdown. When it comes to selling houses, if you don’t have all these people lining up to buy, it becomes even more important to save the sales that you do get.

You don’t want to have any unexpected cancellations come up. And so today we’re going to talk about how to reduce your cancellations and save your sales. You worked your butt off, going back and forth and back and forth for this prospect. And finally you’ve convinced them to sign on the dotted line. Now that the contract is signed, what’s next? Well, it’s important to think of the contract signing as not the end of the sales process, but just the beginning of the sales process and you’ll want to reinforce that feeling to your prospect because typically people will want to cancel for a few different reasons and usually it’s if they don’t feel supported in their decision to be making this purchase. So you’d want to make yourself extra available after the signing of the contract to reinforce that they’ve made a right decision and that they’re in best hands possible with you.

Step 1.  HOA

If you’re like most new construction communities, you’re going to have some type of an hoa or a condo association potentially, and so your prospects will have a review period where they could back out of the agreement of sale for any reason during this period. So it’s important to give your prospects or your buyers, their hoa documents as soon as they sign a contract or if you can even do it before they ever sign that contract so that they do have the time to review all of the rules and regulations and make sure there’s nothing in there that they would not agree with. And typically I like to review it briefly with my prospects just to go over any commonly asked questions. typically it’s going to involve questions about pets, satellite dishes, grills, etc. So what you want to do is review your hoa documents, know your hoa documents so that you can easily answer any questions that could arise from that.

And hopefully you’ll just put it to rest right away and it’s not going to be an issue, but make sure to provide those documents to your buyers asap, preferably before the contracts ever signed, but no later than the date when the contract is signed in order to start that clock for them. Now, I generally do not tell my buyers that they do have the time to back out of this contract due to hoa. I usually only reserve it for absolute dire situations if I’m, maybe I’m trying to convince somebody to sign a contract on the last day of the month and, I know that was the first time they’ve ever walked into my model home and this typically would not be happening, but because certain incentive is expiring at midnight or whatever, if you need to close the deal, then you may want to mention that they do in fact have some time to review this document and it provides essentially a way out for them.

Other than that, I usually do not mention that at all. I just tell them that they have the right to review the hoa documents and I make sure to provide it to them right away. Be proactive about talking to your prospects about the buyer’s remorse. Buyers remorse is real and it’s, well usually it’s a day or two after the buy high wears off and your prospects are starting to doubt their decision whether they made the right choice or not. It can especially happen after they meet with the loan officer and they have a chance to sit down and go over all the scary numbers and it really becomes real for them, especially if some of those estimates come out to be a little bit higher than what they anticipated, which is usually almost always the case. And the final figures are looking higher than they feel comfortable with.

Step 2. Talk about buyer’s remorse.

It’s very easy for them to talk themselves out of a decision to buy a home even if they know that it’s the right decision for them. And if they have a spouse who may not be on the same page with them or they may be hearing from friends and people saying like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe you purchased this expensive house. And you know, you went bankrupt before and you had a foreclosure and you know, all those things that they may be fearing are starting to replay in their minds over and over again. And especially if they’re not feeling supported by you and they’re not hearing from you during that period, it could lead to a cancellation. So what I like to do is I like to be proactive about talking about buyers remorse and with my buyers, so right as we’re sitting down and signing agreement of sale or shortly thereafter, or even before as we’re leading up to it, I’ll have a conversation about buyer’s remorse, what it is, why it happens, and that it’s very normal to experience buyer’s remorse, especially when it comes to an important decision such as buying a home and that if at any point they fear that they’re getting this buyers remorse to just go ahead and give me a call and we can always talk through it and we can walk through it together.

And other thing you can do is you can preempt them and almost give them an opportunity to back out. I know it sounds terrible because we work so hard for these sales and you know, last thing you want is somebody to not sign on that dotted line. But if you can ask them if their reason that they would want to cancel what that reason would be, they may be able to tell you if they have any fears outstanding. Maybe there is something that you haven’t addressed, something that you had missed, and what that will do is actually we’ll give you an opportunity to address it with them face to face and it will give you a chance to resell them on this home instead of them going home and then coming up with that reason when they’re by themselves and actually giving them a chance to talk themselves out of making this purchase, celebrate their decision to purchase a house to combat the buyer’s remorse.

Step 3. Celebrate and share on social.

So right after contract signing, make sure you high five them, shake their hand and really make it an exciting, moment for this buyer because even though it may be something that you experience every single day or not every single day, but, it’s a frequent occurrence for this buyer. This could be first time they’ve ever bought a house, let alone new construction home. So definitely celebrate with them and reinforce that they made a great decision by buying this new home and that it’s going to be an amazing experience and that they’re in best possible hands for their journey. So take a photo of them either putting a sold sign on the home site of their choice or take a picture of them standing in front of their home sites and encouraged them to share it on their social media because guess what, once they shared on the social media, it’s going to be a whole lot more difficult for this buyer to then back out and to explain to all of his friends and family, um, you know, why he’s not moving forward. So definitely encourage your buyer to share their news on social media as soon as possible and partake in that celebration with your buyer.

Step 4. Hand written thank you note.

One very effective method of combating a buyer’s remorse is to write your buyer a thank you note, a handwritten thank you note, and maybe even send them cookies or chocolates or something special, to show your appreciation for them taking this leap with you and that you are grateful for them trusting you enough to take them through this process. So when it arrives by mail in a few days, that’s when that buyer’s remorse can really start to show up. And Imagine if they go to their mailbox and find a little box and it’s filled with chocolates and treats and has a nice handwritten note from you saying how much you appreciate their business and trusting in you, etc. How terrible would you feel if you know you have to call somebody after that, after receiving something like that to say, hey, guess what?

I’m not moving forward. I’m going to cancel. I mean the bottom line is if somebody’s going to cancel, they may cancel, but I think it’s going to make it a lot more difficult to make that phone call and to cancel when they receive something so nice from somebody. and it shows again that you are providing that support and care for your customer.

Step 5. Be clear about their next steps. 

When people feel confused or unsure about what they need to do next, that could create doubt in their mind and that uncertainty can lead to them wanting to start doubting whether or not they made a right decision and if they can do this. So it’s very important to establish the next steps with your buyers. So usually what I like to do is right after they purchased, I like to send them a congratulations email so that they’re receiving multiple forms of congratulations from me, so something coming by a mail and a few days, but right away they’re receiving congratulations email that’s basically says, hey, you’ve made a great decision by purchasing in this community.

You’re going to be so happy and reinforce that they’re made a right decision and personalize it to how perfect this particular home, this particular home site is for them and their family and reinforce why they made the decision to buy in your community and also set the expectation for next steps. So what are some of the things that they can expect over the next few days? Do they need to make a loan application? Do they need to meet with the designer? You know, what are those next steps that your prospects, your buyers are going to need to take over the next few days so that they don’t feel confused or surprised by it. Even better is if you can make it a warm handoff. MeanIng that if they do need to meet with that loan officer, it’s even better if you can get the loan officer on the phone and introduced them, introduce them to your buyer and say, hey, Joe just bought in my community, I’m so excited for him.

And I was telling him about a potential loan programs that could work for him. And so you have that warm introduction to the loan officer who is again going to reinforce that, hey, Joe what a great decision you made by buying this home in this community. It’s one of our top selling communities or whatever it may be. Again, to reinforce that this buyer made a right choice by trusting you. Same thing with a designer. So if your community uses a designer, again, make it a warm hand off. Instead of just sending them to your decorating center, pick up the phone, get the designer on the phone and see if you can schedule an appointment together while you’re there or at least give them a warm introduction so they know who they’re dealing with. And again, it gives them more of a confident feeling that they’re being taken care of.

They’re being cared for, that they’re not just being dropped off. And it’s kind of like, okay, good luck you navigate the waters from here on that I am your person and I’m going to continue to take great care of you throughout this entire process so you’ll have no doubt on your mind that you’ve made a great choice by buying in my community.

Step 6. Make a phone call. 

I would recommend making a phone call to your prospect right at the end of their expiration date for an hoa docs. So you want to check in and say again, wanted to see how everything is going and if you have been able to make appointments or make contacts with x, y, and z vendor and make sure that you are on track. So again, they feel like you’re there. You didn’t just sell them a house and abandoned them, but you, they feel that you are following up with them, you care and you’re still present in the situation with them and you’re concerned and following through to make sure that they are staying on task.

It’s going to help them feel extra supported by you and if there’s any doubts in their mind, then hopefully that’s going to evaporate. And if it doesn’t evaporate again, it gives you an opportunity to address it right away with them instead of waiting and, you know, hearing from them at midnight, by email or something like that. So it’s always better if they feel comfortable enough to address that with you and if they’re feeling some kind of insecure way or maybe your designer maybe hasn’t reached out to them yet. And, in their mind, your buyer is now concerned that the people are reaching out or whatever else is happening. So again, you’re showing that you’re being proactive, you’re staying on top of that. And if there’s any issues with any of the vendors, you are being the champion for your buyer.

And once again, you’re making them feel secure that they have made a right decision with you. So those are some of the things that you can do to try and give your customer extra support following contract signing. On the other hand, what you’ll want to do is make sure that that deposit check goes straight to your office and is being deposited right away. Now, I’ve been burned way too many times by this when, you know, maybe I was late to the office or somehow the deposit check did not actually make it into the bank account for a way past seven days that it typically takes for somebody to canceled their agreement of sale. And maybe it’s been two weeks and the check still has not been deposited. So definitely make sure that whatever you do, you want to make that check deposited as soon as possible so that you do have some leverage.

If it’s past the initial hoa period and your prospect wants to cancel than  you do have something to hold and you do have some leverage to talk to them about that. Now, before you even get into leveraging the deposit, you may have to resell them again on the reasons why they made a decision to purchase in this community and always remember that buyer’s remorse is a normal thing and probably 99 point nine, nine percent of your buyers actually experienced buyer’s at one point or another. So when somebody calls you or sends you an email that they want to cancel, don’t just say, okay, you know, we worked so hard for the sales and sometimes you just want to bang your head against the wall and you feel so discouraged when people want to cancel, but don’t just take that. Find out why are they cancelling?

What are the reasons why they want to cancel? Because a lot of the times you’ll discover that it’s just a misunderstanding. Maybe they misunderstood numbers from the loan officer or maybe if the numbers are higher than they expected, or is that a different way to manipulate those numbers? Maybe they can try out a different program that would allow them to get into a more comfortable payment or whatever else the issue that they may be bringing up. A lot of the times it’s just going to be a misunderstanding that can be very easily addressed. You already made the sale and so now you just need to reinforce that fact and reinforce that it is a good decision and they thought this through and it’s just buyers remorse and buyers remorse is a very normal emotion to experience, especially when it comes to such a big purchase as buying A home.

I’ve seen way too many times when the sales rep is willing to give up. When somebody says, I want to cancel my agreement of sale, and they justified as well. You know, this was a long shot with this prospect. I knew there were going to cancel or whatever else. So don’t give up so easily. Remember that your prospect made a decision and yes, they may feel uneasy about it, but it’s your job as a sales rep to make them feel confident in their decision. And that means you have to be confident when you’re talking to them. So if they want to cancel, make them come in, make them sit with you, meet with them face to face because again, it’s much easier to hide behind the computer and send that email canceling versus making a phone call or actually meeting with you face to face to go over their concerns and their issues and they get most of the time when they’ll meet with you and actually explain why they want to cancel it.

Something that you’ll be able to overcome. So just stay in it, push past that uncomfortable feeling even though it’s going to feel uncomfortable. It’s normal and it’s worth it. At the end of the day, you know, it’s, I’m gonna make a huge difference in your numbers for the year. Even if you can save one or two cancellations and depending on which community you sell in, some cancellation rates can be much higher and again, you want to get to the bottom of it. Why is somebody wanting to cancel? What are their beliefs that making them think that this is not the Right decision for them and what is required of you to make them believe that this is the right decision? So definitely go through reselling your prospect on all the reasons why it’s perfect for them and sometimes it just takes that as you have to remind them of why they purchased there in the first place and usually it’s going to be an emotional tie in and you’re going to back it up with logic.

Remember, people always buy homes because of the emotion and they justify with logic, not the other way around. Another out of the box idea is maybe consider using Facebook group for your community. So if your community already has a Facebook group with residents being part of it. If you invite this new buyer into your Facebook group for the community and have them introduce themselves or introduced them and saying, hey, so and so just bought the lot, 58, please everyone say hello and congratulate them on that. Again, it’s going to have a very similar effect, a friends and family, right? So if you say, oh, yay. Hi guys, I’m so happy to be your neighbor. I purchased it in this community. I’m so and so. This is my wife or my daughters and we’re so excited to meet everyone. It sure is going to be awkward if you’re going to be leaving that Facebook group and not making it through the finish line when you had already introduced yourself to your potential neighbors, so again, that’s going to play in that emotional tie in and the more emotional ties you can create, the better off it’s going to be and the more difficult it’s going to be for your prospect to cancel, but the bottom line is, remember, you want to give your buyer even more attention and hand holding than you did when they were a prospect.

I know it’s not easy to do and so that’s where you may want to utilize automation in that process because again, you can do something simple as have them receive a few emails, especially in the early period saying, hey, it’s been seven days by day 10, you need to be applying for financing. Did you get a chance to do this yet? And maybe on day 14 and the email goes out that talks about the design center and that they should have made an appointment by now and these are the things to expect during your visit to the design center and maybe another email talking about technology opportunities in the community. Adding a touchpoint that, can make them feel that you have not abandoned them after the sale and that you’re still there every step of the way.

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