New-home sales specialist Quint Lears brings an unusual item to all the model homes he shows: a piano.
“It sets the atmosphere — kids are playing, people are singing,” says Lears, a Platinum Club member with RE/MAX Classic Real Estate in Las Cruces, New Mexico. “It always makes people smile.”
Music is, in fact, a fitting metaphor for sales, says Lears, a skilled, self-taught pianist and composer and a former trumpet player for the Air Force Honor Guard.
“Think of every interaction with the customer as a new song,” he suggests. “It’s important to create a harmony between you and the customer.” Harmony, he explains, involves taking two different elements and making them work well together.
To harmonize with customers, he recommends setting small, measurable goals. “Selling a house is too big of a goal to have. Instead, my goal for the interaction might be to make the customer laugh. Humor harmonizes.”
These small goals have added up to big payouts for Lears, who was recently named one of five Silver Finalists for a One to Watch Award by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) National Sales & Marketing Council. He also holds the NAHB’s highest designation for new-home sales specialists: Master in Residential Marketing (MIRM).
Find Your Rhythm
Lears’ success comes not only from harmonizing with customers, but from employing other musical parallels as well. Take rhythm, for instance.
“Customers seem to have their own rhythm when they come in, and salespeople have their own rhythm,” he explains. “And with that is the dynamic of pacing. If the customer is talking slowly, it’s important that you match that. Not matching accents or anything like that—not disrespectfully. I’m a very high-energy person, and I don’t fundamentally change who I am, but it’s important for me to accommodate my customers and slow my pace if necessary.”
First-time homebuyer Richard Melendez attests to Lears’ skill at matching his pace. Melendez’s son was nudging him to buy a home and recommended he talk to Lears. “The way he explained everything was very easy for me to understand,” Melendez says. “I asked him a lot of questions, and he always had or found out the answers. But he did it in such a quiet manner—very caring. You feel like he’s a friend talking to you.”
Lears’ masterful balance of advancing a sale without being aggressive comes from another musical principle he embraces: that of transitions. He compares the stages of a sales interaction to those of a song: the intro, the body, the conclusion—with graceful transitions between each section.
“A lot of people are good at making small talk, but then it’s awkward transitioning into business,” he says. To seamlessly jump from one segment of the interaction to another, Lears puts into practice an acrostic he developed:
He explains it like this: “There are some salespeople who are great servants: ‘Hey, come on in. How are you doing? Here’s a bottle of water. What can I do for you? Here’s a floor plan,’” he says. “But they never transition into the leader part. Then there are some people who are really bossy, maybe even a little bit pushy, and they’re the leader salespeople, but the real magic is when you can go from being a servant to a leader, and that will equal success.”
One of Lears’ favorite ways to create transitions is inviting the customer to discover what sets him apart from other agents. If a customer comes into a model home and says they’re just looking, Lears counters by asking if they would like to know what makes him different. “Invariably they say yes,” he says.
For the ending transition, Lears aims to solidify a next step. “A lot of people leave it open-ended,” he says. “They put the burden on the customer, rather than summarizing the sale and bringing it to a transfer of ownership.”
Master Your Market
One of the differences Lears points out to customers is his expertise in new-home sales. After the market downturn in 2007, Lears realized if his business was going to survive, he needed to specialize. After a brief stint in commercial real estate, which he didn’t connect with emotionally, he canceled all of his advertising and redirected his budget toward becoming a new-home sales expert.
“One of the big mistakes we make is thinking that real estate is real estate is real estate. The truth is there are specialties within real estate,” he asserts. “I like to say, ‘If you’re going to be terrific, you’ve got to be specific.’ The specialists are going to win. They’re going to dominate their space, and I would encourage people to find a specialty within real estate that they enjoy and then do it.”
In pursuit of mastering new-home sales, in 2016 Lears launched a YouTube channel, www.YouTube.com/NewHomeSales, and a website (newhomesales.com) that feature interviews with top agents, trainers and builders from around the nation. This gives him not only the ability to position himself as an expert in his field, but also opportunities to learn from the cream of the industry crop while doing so. Additionally, his online presence gives him a venue to equip other agents, which fulfills another of his mottos: Aspire to inspire.
Lears’ book is yet another way to demonstrate the value of harmony. “What I’ve been trying to do is bridge the National Association of Home Builders with the National Association of Realtors,” Lears says. “You’ve got these organizations that are separate, but if they work together, it’s going to be synergistic. When the market is hot, we don’t need each other. But when it’s not — like what happened in 2007 — we need to come together. And when we do it’s very powerful.”