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Positively negative.

Everyone loves success - whether it's the accumulation of wealth or the ninth-inning rally. There is something special about victory, about accomplishment, about achievement.

Winning is positive, and positive is a powerful word and symbol. Positive means certain, correct, and enthusiastic. Positive is good; negative is bad. Yet life is filled with negatives. There is a limited number of perfect lots, a scarcity of great employees, and a buyer pool filled with people we would really rather not have as our customers.

Most people can sell a project with a magnificent vista or a great location. The true challenge is to sell around the obstacles and to construct the fight positives to outweigh the almost inevitable negatives.

When trying to address negatives, keep in mind these six truths:

1. Some negatives can't be overcome. If some aspect of the house simply doesn't meet buyers' needs, extra positives don't matter. For example, people who are moving because their existing home lacks storage will not buy a house with less storage no matter how much they like it.

2. A negative can only be overcome with a positive. While some negatives can't be overcome, smaller negatives can be overcome by compensatory positives. These positives may already exist (and you simply have to point them out to the client), or you may have to add them.

3. A lower price is not always the best answer to a negative. This is especially true for emotional issues. For example, parents may not like a pond behind their house because they fear for their children's safety. No amount of price reduction will overcome this objection.

4. A bad lot is a big negative. A great house on a bad lot typically becomes a bad house. Putting marble in the foyer doesn't make the noisy road go away.

5. One person's wash is another person's treasure. What may be a negative for one person may not be a negative for another. For example, a small lot may be a negative for someone with a growing family, but a positive for an empty-nester or someone looking for low maintenance.

6. Negatives are best eliminated in the planning and design stage. Common negatives include boring interior layout, inadequate storage, wimpy moldings, dark rooms, and cheap materials. Watch for them.

To help you address negatives, use this four-step process: validate, interrogate, sublimate, and ameliorate. When someone brings you a negative, listen to his or her concerns. Agree that there is a real concern (validate). Ask them for greater clarification to be sure you understand the problem (interrogate). Try to put the negative into context: Is this a petty annoyance or a major catastrophe? (sublimate). And then find ways of overcoming the negative or balancing it with other positives (ameliorate).

The person who understands how to overcome obstacles is the person who understands that, sooner or later, every buyer perceives a problem. It's the ability to deal with those negatives that separates the winners from the losers.

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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:overcoming the negatives in homebuilding
Author:Trellis, Alan R.
Date:Nov 1, 1997
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