Meet Our Speakers Series: John and Morgan Palumbo

Woman with long hair on the left, man with short hair on the right

John Palumbo is an international speaker, author of thirteen books and expert in the science of influence and persuasion. He has been invited to lecture across the globe, and his ability to take sales professionals and organization to new dimensions of performance excellence is world-renowned.

His daughter, Morgan Palumbo, is a new home sales agent with more than $60 million in personal sales during her first five years in the industry. According to her, understanding and connecting with millennial buyers is the advantage that assists with her personal successes. Her unique perspective also helps to identify the latest trends in the market and constantly outperform sales goals.

At the NAHB International Builders’ Show® (IBS), John and Morgan will present the session “The UnSalesperson: Breaking All Closing Boundaries.” We caught up with them to learn more about their session and gain their perspective on the industry.

NAHB: Without giving too much away, what’s your session about?
JOHN: The UnSalesperson is a unique program because we’ll share how to increase sales without being salesy—removing the false urgency, canned pitches, and high-pressure closing strategies of the past

MORGAN: This program is about moving away from traditional negotiation tactics and instead becoming an advocate for your customers.

NAHB: What are a few key takeaways that people will learn from your session?
JOHN: One big takeaway will be the ability to connect faster with clients.

MORGAN:  Those in attendance will learn to embrace a sales presentation that is less rehearsed and far more organic in order to be more influential.

NAHB: How did you get started in your field?
JOHN: I started my career in the industry by selling condominiums that had been converted from apartments. From there, I moved onto single-family residential and resort development. But it was when I got invited to speak at the Builders’ Show that my career went in a different direction.

After my inaugural appearance, I picked up one client and then another. The next thing I know, I was traveling all over the world working with clients on their developments, helping their sales teams to increase sales and teaching them strategies to work with their customers.

MORGAN: Well, I obviously came by it naturally, growing up with John as my dad. But like most kids, I didn’t think this is what I wanted to do. After a short stint in advertising, I realized that I wanted to be in sales and have that client interaction in my daily life. I grew up attending these sessions, and now I cannot imagine my life being anywhere but in the new home sales industry.

NAHB: What’s your favorite IBS memory?
MORGAN: Presenting a spotlight session at IBS 2018. I’m incredibly proud to be in my 20s and have that on my resume.

JOHN:  For me it’s the same thing. The highlight of my career has been speaking on stage with my daughter to a packed house at an IBS session.

NAHB: What industry trends are you noticing?
MORGAN: I’m seeing a trend toward younger couples buying—meaning those in their 20s. I’ve been in the industry for five years, and this is the first time I can say that. These couples are gravitating toward new construction for two big reasons. For starters, building gives them the hand-holding approach to buying their first home, and it also allows them the customization that millennials are looking for.

NAHB: How has selling homes changed in the last five years?
MORGAN: People realize that they need to get the financial piece straight before they shop, so more customers are coming in pre-qualified by a bank and knowing what they can afford to spend.

JOHN: To add to that, the savvy agent doesn’t pay attention to what amount the customer pre-qualifies for; instead, they ask questions, so they know what the customer really needs. Most consumers realize that real estate agents and new home sales consultants are probably paid on a commission. But the agent that can listen to the customer’s needs and not take them to that maximum limit instantly garners more trust. In a world where sales consultants are trained to upsell, when you step out of that mold and recommend less, you’ve caught the attention of the customer.

NAHB: What’s the one thing you look forward to the most while attending IBS?
MORGAN: The IBS Centrals are always a blast because you get to mix and mingle with all of your peers in the industry and meet new folks, too.

JOHN: I like catching up with people that I don’t see all year long—from clients to industry friends. I also like to stop by the BuilderBooks booth to sign autographs and answer questions people have about what they read in my books.

NAHB: Do you have a movie or book recommendation you’d like to share?
MORGAN: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my dad’s books, which have been a huge influence on my career. But aside from books, I recommend the movie “Inception,” which I know is a bit unconventional. The whole movie is about the art of persuasion and influence without the person ever knowing. I think that resonates so well with the new home sales industry. People don’t want to be sold something; they want to be influenced to make a good buying decision.

JOHN: For me, there are so many great books to recommend, but the one I always come back to is “Psychology of Winning: Ten Qualities of a Total Winner” by Denis Waitley. I’ve read or listened to the audio version of this book probably a hundred times, and I always take away something.

NAHB: Any last thoughts?
JOHN: The building industry has seen its ups and downs. But even when times are slow, people are still selling homes. When the market is good, everyone can sell a home. But when the market is slow, those who have invested in themselves to develop their skills are the ones who become a master in their profession.

MORGAN: If you are a young professional in the industry, attend the Builders’ Show. I am in my 20s and have been attending the show for five years. I am still amazed at how few others in my age bracket attend the show. I think one of the most important things you can do for your career is invest in yourself. Coming to the show is probably one of the best investments I’ve ever made—to the point that it’s a non-negotiable for me. I just make it a point to be there.

“The UnSalesperson: Breaking All Closing Boundaries” is one session in the IBS Sales & Marketing Track. It will take place on Wednesday, January 22, from 12:00 – 1:00 PM at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Learn more about 150+ education sessions, and register at

Register for IBS 2020

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