10 Things Every Customer Wants

Surprisingly, the best price and best value is at the bottom of the customer’s priority list. See what’s at the top.

Why does a customer buy from one vendor rather than another? According to research recently conducted by The Rain Group (detailed report here), customers tend to buy from sellers who are superlative at the following tasks:

1. Bring New Perspectives and Ideas

If customers could diagnose their own problems and come up with workable solutions on their own, they would do so. The reason that they’re turning to you and your firm is that they’re stuck and need your help. Therefore, you must be able to bring something new to the table.

2. Be Willing to Collaborate

Customers absolutely do NOT want you to sell them something, even something that’s wonderful. They want you to work with them to achieve a mutual goal, by being responsive to the customer’s concerns and ways of doing business. Ideally, customers want you to become integral to their success.

3. Have Confidence In Your Ability to Achieve Results

Customers will not buy from you if you can’t persuade them that you, your firm, and your firms offerings will truly achieve the promised results. It is nearly impossible to persuade a customer to believe in these things unless you yourself believe in them. You must make your confidence contagious.

4. Listen, Really Listen, to the Customer

When they’re describing themselves and their needs, customers sense immediately when somebody is just waiting for a break in the conversation in order to launch into a sales pitch. In order to really listen, you must suppress your own inner-voice and forget your goals. It’s about the customer, not about you.

5. Understand ALL the Customer’s Needs

It’s not enough to “connect the dots” between customer needs and your company’s offering. You must also connect with the individuals who will be affected by your offering, and understand how buying from you will satisfy their personal needs, like career advancement and job security.

6. Help the Customer Avoid Potential Pitfalls

Here’s where many sellers fall flat. Customers know that every business decision entails risk but they also want your help to minimize that risk. They want to know what could go wrong and what has gone wrong in similar situations, and what steps you’re taking to make sure these problems won’t recur.

7. Craft a Compelling Solution

Solution selling is definitely not dead. Customers want and expect you to have the basic selling skill of defining and proposing a workable solution. What’s different now though is that the ability to do this is the “price of entry” and not enough, by itself, to win in a competitive sales situation.

8. Communicate the Purchasing Process

Customers hate it when sellers dance around issues like price, discounts, availability, total cost, add-on options, and so forth. They want you to be able to tell them, in plain and simple language, what’s involved in a purchase and how that purchase will take place. No surprises. No last minute upsells.

9. Connect Personally With the Customer

Ultimately, every selling situation involves making a connection between two individuals who like and trust each other. As a great sales guru once said: “All things being equal, most people would rather buy from somebody they like… and that’s true even when all things aren’t equal.”

10. Provide Value That’s Superior to Other Options

And here, finally, at the No. 10 spot (below everything else) comes the price and how that price compares to similar offerings. Unless you can prove that buying from you is the right business decision for the customer, the customer can and should buy elsewhere.

Like this post? If so, sign up for the free Sales Source newsletter.

Geoffrey James writes the Sales Source column on Inc.com, the world’s most visited sales-oriented blog. His newly published book is Business to Business Selling: Power Words and Strategies From the World’s Top Sales Experts@Sales_Source

Advertisements

6 tips for selling in today’s market

By Dian Hymer

Some homeowners have been waiting for years for a better housing market and a good time to sell. Is it better to wait a few more years and see if you can realize a higher sale price, or sell now and move on with your life?

The motivation for selling is a key factor. Are you commuting to work several hours a day and the commute is killing you? Are your children grown and your home is now too big, in addition to being a burden to maintain? Is your home too small? Have you taken a job out of the area? Can you no longer afford to own your home? Or do you no longer want to pay the price it costs to own your home?

These are all good reasons for considering making a move. Not only do current market conditions enter into the equation, but making a move like this is usually more complicated than it was the first time you bought a home.

HOUSE HUNTING TIP: First, you need to find out the probable sale price of your home and access the state of the current home-sale market in your area. You also need to know what you can do to maximize the salability of your home. Then you should consider where you’ll live next and how much that will cost.

If you don’t already have one, find an experienced real estate agent who specializes in your area. Friends whose opinion you trust are the best source of agent referrals. Meet with your agent at your home and ask for a comparative market analysis. This will give you information about what homes like yours have been selling for in the current market.

You’ll also want to know how long you can expect it to take to sell your home. How many homes like yours have sold recently? Are homes like yours in high demand? Or, is it located in a less desirable area that could mean a longer marketing time and, perhaps, a lower price than you were expecting?

Ask your agent to walk through your home with you and point out what should be done to make your home marketable. Homes that sell today are priced right for the market and are in move-in condition.

Read more…

APPEALING YOUR PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT

Each spring, Washington homeowners receive tax statements based on the assessed value of their homes. A large portion of revenues from property taxes go toward educating our community’s young people. In addition, our police, fire, libraries, and parks and recreation are funded with this money. During difficult economic times, these revenues are especially important.

As many in Washington have seen their property values decrease, it’s not unreasonable to expect that property assessments would go down as well. However, that’s not always the case. In the state of Washington, approximately half of your property tax is determined by levies for schools and community services.

While you can’t do much to avoid paying property taxes, if you are in question with the value your local assessor has placed on your house, you are entitled to an appeal. According to the National Taxpayer Union, up to 60 percent of homes are assessed at a higher value than they are truly worth, but only 5 percent of homeowners appeal their assessed value.

More information about Washington State tax statements, assessed property values, and the appeal process, click here to access them 

Property valuations and tax rates are assessed by individual counties. To find out more about your tax rate or how to appeal your assessment start by contacting your local county assessor. Click here for a link to all Washington State county assessors.

If your property assessment has piqued your curiosity about the value of your home, please feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to discuss a Home Valuation for your property.

CREATING A HOME INVENTORY

If your home was damaged by fire or other catastrophe, would you remember detailed information about what you own? Creating an inventory of your personal property can help with obtaining insurance as well as ensuring that any insurance claims are promptly and accurately filed.

The best way to start your home inventory is by creating a spreadsheet that lists name and description of each item, model and serial numbers, date and location of purchase, original price and current estimated value.

Next, go room by room and catalog everything. Start with high value items such as jewelry, antiques, artwork, and any collectables. Then count furniture, electronics, rugs, linens, kitchen items, lamps, appliances, media (DVDs, CDs, books, video games, etc.), and tools. Be sure to go through all cabinets, drawers, and storage containers.

If possible, take photos or video of your belongings. Get close-ups of the highest value items and at least one good wide-angle shot of each room.

Once you have your inventory complete, gather receipts, photos, videotapes, and appraisals and store them in a safe deposit box outside your home. Update your inventory whenever you make a large purchase or when consolidating your belongings, at least once a year.

Kitchen Sells

English: Modular Home Interior

Image via Wikipedia

Kitchens Sell a House
by Carla Hill

It’s a tool used by house flippers all across the nation. Stagers know its power. Real estate agents push its importance. What is this not-so-well-kept secret of real estate? A kitchen can sell a house.  

A kitchen is the heart of a home. This is true all across the globe. The old saying that the “stomach is the way to the heart” carries a lot of truth. Kitchens are where we spend much of our time and most of that is with our families. It’s the room where we nourish our bodies and our spirits.  

Kitchens are integral to entertaining and in today’s age of open floor plans, they’re a focal piece of many family rooms. It’s because of this that kitchens play such an important role in the buying and selling process.  

This one room is the showpiece of the house. You’ll see it every day and your guests will see it during most visits. This means buyers want homes with up-to-date kitchens.  

Kitchens, however, can be one of the most expensive rooms to renovate. These projects can also be the most labor and time intensive of all home renovations. It’s not just a new layer of paint.  

Instead you find a complicated array of flooring, tiling, cabinets, and counters. This means buyers may want a home with an up-to-date kitchen but they aren’t willing to tackle this problem themselves. Most buyers want a kitchen that is ready to use the day they move in.  

What do buyers look for in up-to-date kitchens? A lot of this depends on what price range your home is in.  

The main thing to remember as a seller is to not price yourself out of your market. If homes in your neighborhood are selling for $100,000 with tidy, but not luxury kitchens, then this is no time to upgrade to granite, travertine, and marble at the price tag of $40,000+. You simply won’t find a buyer.  

Scope out the competition. Use open houses in your area or MLS listings to find out what your competitions’ kitchens look like.  

Do area homes have new solid wood cabinets and granite counters in today’s designer colors? You’ll be wise to consider making the same move. Are they including new stainless steel appliances and add-ons like dishwashers, wine-coolers, and trash compactors?  

Are you in a higher-end neighborhood? It’s time to think high-end. Your older home may have a highly functional kitchen, but a buyer will take one look at your formica counters and white appliances and become lost in the stress of how much money and time it would take to remodel. If you don’t want to put in the time yourself to make upgrades then you’ll have to make concessions in the price.  

Don’t become overwhelmed, though. Sometimes a kitchen update can mean doing just a few minor changes. Change the paint color to a warm, neutral tone. Get rid of any clutter. Update your appliances, paint your cabinets, change the pulls, or get a high-end looking counter for a fraction of the cost (faux-granite or lower end granite). You might even save a bundle by doing much of the work yourself.  

The bottom line is a kitchen can sell a home. Do a little research and find out what your kitchen needs to make it competitive with area listings.

Thinking About Selling or Buying a Home??

 Here are some essential tips….

Smart strategies for sellers!

Putting a home on the market can be stressful, and some owners have hard time making objective decisions when it matters most. Make sure you also lean into your trusted real estate professional for additional insight & guidance.

When the price is right.Your listing agent will perform a current market analysis. Looking closely at the comparable sales of homes in your neighborhood that have closed in the last 90 days and take the number of available listings into account when agreeing to an asking price.

Keep in mind…

  • Homes that have failed to attract a buyer in a reasonable period of time may be overpriced.
  • Foreclosures or short sales in your neighborhood can impact your home’s market value.
  • It doesn’t pay to set the price too high; most buyers will need financing and the bank will generally use an appraisal based on recent sales to justify the loan amount.

Take advantage of your market debut.

Recent university research has found that homeowners consistently overestimate the market value of their homes by 5 to 10 percent.

Pricing your home competitively from the get-go increases the odds of a quick sale.

  • Most buyers screen available homes on the internet, and new listings get 4 times more web traffic. If your home is priced too high when it hits the market, you run the risk that active, qualified buyers will scroll right past it!
  • New listings are called “HOT” for a reason – buyers get excited about them. Showings are likely to cool off noticeably after the first 30 days on the market.
  • When weighing an offer, make sure to consider the potential costs of holding on to your property longer than you want or need to (including the mortgage, property taxes, insurance, maintenance, etc.)

Your agent may recommend that you perform repairs to correct visible flaws – or even suggest staging your home so it feels more spacious & potential buyers can picture themselves living there.

Sweeten the deal….

Sellers who agree  to pay the buyers closing costs can make it easier for first-timers to obtain financing. Offering to throw in appliances, upgrade allowances or other perks could also swing a buyer’s decision in your direction!