HGTV is one of the most popular networks on cable, with real estate shows about buying, selling, and renovating homes. HGTV is fun to watch because it gives people a sense of escapism and aspiration – they can ignore their own cluttered, imperfect houses and focus instead on the idea of creating a beautiful new living space with perky, telegenic real estate professionals making houses look amazing. HGTV shows can also be a source of new ideas for decorating your house or renovating your property – but did you know that these shows can also teach us something new about sales?
Whether you’re selling a house or selling B2B products and services, HGTV has some surprising lessons in how to be a better salesperson:
Location, Location, Location: Selling houses is all about “location, location, location” – the street, neighborhood, and lot of a house, or the building that a condo is located in, can make all the difference in the selling price that a property can command. What does this mean for B2B sales? Make sure that you understand the fundamental value proposition of what you’re selling. Yes, your skills as a sales person are important, but you also need to understand the core selling points of the solution that you’re selling. What makes it worthwhile? Why should people pay for it? How does it make their work or their company or their life better? Even the best real estate agent will struggle to sell a house that’s in a bad location, and your solution won’t sell if you can’t explain where it fits into your prospect’s life.
Timing is Everything: Real estate deals depicted on HGTV are so exciting and (sometimes) stressful because they are time-sensitive deals: if a home seller has an offer on the table, they need to decide whether to accept the offer or decline it and hope for something better. Homebuyers have to make quick decisions to make an offer on the property that is right for them. Deals can fall apart due to problems with financing, lack of approvals from counterparties, or miscommunications. In the same way, complex B2B sales have a lot of moving parts and are often time-sensitive. You need to make sure your deal is on track and that all of the various complexities of the deal are under control. Make sure everyone is on board and that all stakeholders have given the necessary approvals. Making big sales deals run smoothly is not just about having a charismatic presence and building relationships – it’s also about attending to the details and making the trains run on time.
Customer Service Matters: The real estate professionals on HGTV are always sharply dressed, confident, smiling, and camera-ready – and the shows also tend to depict the ways that they provide attentive, professional customer service. In the same way, B2B sales people are also in the service profession. Show up on time. Be responsive to your customers’ questions. Be reachable by phone, text or email when your customers need you most. B2B sales can be highly complex and technically intricate, but there’s nothing complicated about providing good, human-focused service.
Find Ways to Add Value: Home sellers on HGTV find ways to add value to properties with smart renovations and re-decorating, with everything from a fresh coat of paint to foundation repair. In the same way, B2B sales people need to know how to add value to every deal. Keep in mind that “price” is not always the top consideration for B2B buyers. They are often willing to pay more if your solution can deliver premium value. So with that in mind, look for ways to demonstrate ROI with every sales conversation. Make sure they understand what they “get” by buying from you, not just what they “pay.”
Watching HGTV is a fun way to unwind after a hard day at work, but it can also teach you something about how to be a better sales person! Even if you never end up as a real estate reality TV star, you can still get better at your own profession of selling – by exemplifying the ideals of customer service, meticulous attention to details, and finding the fundamental value proposition of every solution you sell.