To kick off the new year, we are bringing you a brand new compilation of sales and marketing advice from the new home industry’s top experts. (Check out 2016’s tips here.) These are the thought leaders behind the most successful sales teams in the country, most innovative builder websites, and most impactful marketing campaigns. We are lucky that they are also Lasso’s supporters, friends and clients. If there’s anything we can do to make 2017 your most successful year yet, please let us know. Cheers to a fantastic year of home building ahead!
Myers Barnes, Myers Barnes Associates
Be a Go-Giver
So whose help do you need? The rule in obtaining cooperation is to be a go-giver, not a go-getter. The most successful people are those who have helped others obtain the things they want. As renowned author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar says, “You can have everything in life as long as you first help others get what they want.” The Bible refers to this as sowing and reaping. Socrates and Plato coined it the Law of Cause and Effect. Regardless of what you call it, if you take every opportunity to help others in life, there will always be someone to help you to the other side.
Ronda Conger, CBH Homes
Stop Hoping and Start Tracking
I love winners – from professional sports to home building. I’m always on the hunt for what success looks like, acts like, and what is done to achieve it. I recently asked our top selling sales center for 2016 what made them successful this past year. This was their response: “Stop praying and hoping you’ll sell more homes. Start tracking and measuring every aspect of your business. Don’t just let it happen. Study traffic, appointments, follow-up, and conversion. Look at your numbers every day. Figure out what needs to be done and then do it.” Professional athletes have a game plan. They keep tweaking and adjusting during the game. And then after all that, they review game film. New home sales and marketing is no different. Here’s to winning in 2017!
Mike Lyon, Do You Convert
Permission to Improvise
When it comes to sales automation, never forget that you have permission to improvise. You don’t always have to follow the prescribed communication plan the CRM lays out for you. Spice it up a bit. Follow-up will look different for each prospect. Their needs, motivation and preferred communication method are not one-size-fits-all. So take some creative liberty to add additional activities and adjust to drive results. Make that extra call, send that additional video email or text to make sure the email made it. When in doubt, communicate more to encourage that response!
Jane Meagher, Success Strategies
Upserve not Upsell
Author Dan Pink recommends replacing “Upsell” with “Upserve”, a word we at Success Strategies have now been using for a long time. Our modified version of Dan Pink’s definition of UPSERVE is as follows: “Doing more for the other person than he expects or you initially intended, taking the extra steps to transform a mundane, transactional interaction into a memorable and mutually-rewarding experience.” It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s extraordinarily effective. Upserving is about buyer-focused actions which are educationally rewarding, genuine, consultative and helpful, whereas Upselling is disingenuous, builder-focused, price-focused, and feels pressured. Everyone wins when builders create a customer-focused environment that truly supports a world-class customer journey, within which builders offer the right scope of products targeted to their buyers’ needs and wants, and then deliver that experience with authentic care and empowerment.
Who is at your door?
Who are the great people in your life? Are they helping you to become a better person? Remember the people IN your life have influence ON your life! In 2017 I challenge you to look at who is at your door, waiting to come in and become a valuable part of your life. Personal and Professional Growth comes from the right relationships you are bringing through your doors every day. Who you attract to your doors comes from who you are! By definition the Law of Attraction is the magnetic, attractive power of the universe that draws similar energies together. Focus on the positive and that is exactly what you will receive this year!
Jenn Nowalk, Homes by Dickerson
Push for Excellence
“Success is intentional! Make the decision to be excellent!” I have this quote hanging on the wall in my office as a constant reminder that each day you have to work on your goals and push for excellence. You must be committed to your career, your team, your builder and your client. The goals and the landscape are always changing but this principle will see you thru. Empower your team to make good decisions, show up and take ownership- they are the CEO of their communities.
Amy O’Connor, Shore Consulting
2017 promises to be a year of unknowns. There is uncertainty in what will happen with the incoming presidential administration and what it will mean for homebuilding. There is uncertainty in what will happen with interest rates although we are anticipating additional modest increases. And there is uncertainty on just how much the continued labor shortages will affect our industry. For many of us, these unknowns can cause stress and anxiety. The antidote? Gratitude. Remember every day to find the things that you are grateful for and let gratitude be your fuel and motivation for claiming a successful 2017.
Jeff Shore, Shore Consulting
Easy = Right
In these days of information overload and cognitive strain, keep in mind an important psychological hack. In your customer’s mind, Easy = Right. The easier something is to grasp, the “righter” it feels. Likewise, complex = wrong. Spend some time thinking through how to simplify your presentation. Your job is to make it easy for people to buy!
Sara Williams, Lasso CRM
Develop Your Personal Brand
Your personal brand is what differentiates you from others in sales and in life. In 2017, do a self-audit, and look for areas to improve upon or ask for feedback from those you trust. Personal brands are how you make people feel when they interact with you, your story, your social media presence, the way you present yourself, and so much more. Amazing opportunities can unfold from a cultivated, authentic, positive personal brand.
Will Duderstadt, M/I Homes
In 2017, I hope marketers start to look beyond direct competition and evaluate the experiences being delivered outside their core industry. The expectations of our customers are being raised as they interact with brands like Zappos, Uber and Starbucks. Zappos has built out a robust library photographs, videos and reviews; all for a single pair of shoes! Take a look at your product online, does it deliver the same level of detail?
With the click of a button, Uber can have a driver and car locate you in 10 minutes. Ready to whisk you away to your destination. Speed has been redefined. 30 minutes is slow; 5 minutes is the new norm. Comparatively, is your sales team responding to inquires in real time or are they disappointing customers with slow follow up?
My local Starbucks barista calls me by name and often starts preparing my favorite drink while I’m in line. This personalization of services is not unlike the homepage of Amazon.com, that displays recently viewed and recommended products. Do your marketing efforts (website, email, print) personalize the experience once you know who your customers are?
So in 2017, be aware of these “liquid expectations” and how they impact your business.
Mollie Elkman, Group Two Advertising
All About NEW
2017 is all about NEW. With the new administration settling into office, consumers everywhere are ready for change, even if they aren’t quite sure what that change means just yet. Builders can tap into consumer enthusiasm in the new year by adjusting their marketing message to be specific to the season. Consider changing more generic messaging like “Welcome Home!” to something that emphasizes the word “NEW” for the new year. No matter where you are in your life, it is human nature to look ahead at the next stage for yourself and your family, and builders can use that knowledge to better connect with prospects in a more meaningful and purposeful way.
The new year is also a great time for the “new vs. used” message. Builders tend to think about the Nationals in their market and other new home builders down the street, when we all know that the majority of the market share is still going to resale. Going after resale buyers is the real opportunity for any builder who wants to steal a good piece of market share. It’s not just about tapping into buyers’ interest in moving to a different house, but about really educating them on the value of moving to a NEW home. By educating buyers, you become their partner in the process and earn their trust before they ever walk in the door.
Chip Johnson, Builder Designs
‘Content is King’ Still Rings True
We’ve been saying it for years, but the statement ‘content is king’ rings true now more than ever in client engagement, SEO and overall brand awareness. For 2017, start by defining what great content looks like and then implement a plan to augment what you already have in place. Consider using a content calendar to keep everyone on the same page.
Mitch Levinson, mRELEVANCE
The Future is Here
These last few years really have flown by and have changed the industry significantly each and every year. The years continue to build upon the previous one, and I see that trend continuing in 2017. We came from personalization and the user experience to user content and usability to user engagement…this coming year will combine all of those but add in virtual and augmented reality. Remaining focused on the user and their experience with your company and your brand is important, but getting them to actually ‘see’ themselves and ‘engaged’ within your brand will make strides towards reaching Millennials, and keeping Boomers excited with cool technology. Virtual and augmented reality is not just for Poke-mon anymore. How about leaving a virtual post-it note for your subcontractor inside the home for them to know what needs attention? How about placing furniture and walking around a model, while at a Starbucks? The future is here, all we need to do is embrace it!
Carol Morgan, mRELEVANCE
Lead the Feed
Become more active on social media. The news has completely changed due to the rise of social media. Most breaking news is “released” on Twitter by everyday people. Trump’s use of Twitter may help to move this site from the back burner into mainstream. Some media outlets even advertise that they will pay for breaking news from citizen journalists. Today, most anyone in the right time and place can “lead the feed.” This means that it is more critical than ever for corporations to be present and active on social media. Also because news rooms are short staffed they often use press releases verbatim. Create a strong content plan that incorporates press releases, blogs and social media.
Kevin Oakley, Do You Convert
The First Interaction
Customer experience doesn’t begin in the sales office, or at the pre-construction meeting – it begins at their first interaction with your company. That includes how you market to them, the ease of use of your website on all platforms, and most importantly how much you build your online sales process around the customer, and not what is easiest for your builder to manage. You will only get a finite number of sales leads each year, and to have the biggest impact on your bottom line you need to focus on the customer experience at the very top of the funnel so you earn the right to carry it through face-to-face in your model homes.
Want to learn how a CRM custom-built for new home sales can help you accomplish your goals?