We asked the leading new home industry experts to give us their advice for 2020—now you can read it all in one blog! Get some great tips on a wide array of topics and start the new year right!
Looking for marketing tips for 2020? Check out the article, Top New Home Marketing Tips for 2020.
Here is to a successful 2020!
Jen Barkan, Do You Convert
Know Your Numbers
Being an online sales specialist is not just a job, it’s a career. Taking care of your business means knowing your numbers…where you’ve been and where you need to go. It means being proactive in bettering your business by communicating with your onsite teams, setting planned encounters with your manager and marketing colleagues, and taking time to enhance your follow up process with the latest and greatest tools and tactics. Come out from behind the screen and make 2020 the year of the Online Sales Influencer!
Myers Barnes, Myers Barnes Associates
Don’t Be Average
I just want to be average.
We all hear about the “average American”. What does that person look like these days?
– The average American household takes in about $44,720 in annual income and has an average family size is 3.14 people. How are you faring on the “average” meter so far?
– “C” means average. Does a “C” average get you into a good University?
– A 40-hour work week is average, with a one-hour lunch. Will this time commitment give you an edge over your co-workers when it comes time for a raise and promotion?
Average, for me, is another way of quitting. Being average means, you don’t reach for greater heights, achievements, or rewards. You’re satisfied with being satisfied, but not glorious.
You’re average if you’re not a standout. That also makes you replaceable. You’ve got to be willing to do more, to excel in whatever you do in order to rise above the average. Place yourself among the best and recognize that “good enough” never is.
I find it fascinating that the only people who worry about mediocrity are the ones who rise far above that level. Maybe the view is just clearer from up there.
Chad Bria, BDX
2020 seems the right year to talk about full transparency. Let’s call it 20/20!
Too many times, we as an industry, think we can hide information to get our phones to ring, or get people to set an appointment at our model homes or sales offices, but with our industry secrets come a devastating downside – elimination.
We’re in a digital age–the companies doing it right are giving you the elephant on one page, and letting you eat it one bite at a time, on any device, at any time of day, the way you, the consumer, would like to consume the information. This creates a trust, that the company being researched has nothing to hide.
There are tremendous side benefits to a “transparent” mentality in home building. Eliminating the “what else are they not telling me” objection in buying a home is a tremendous help in the sales process. It also keeps your company from the elimination I am speaking of.
In 2020 (20/20) give buyers the information they want on your website and on their devices, at any time of day, and in their own way. Because if they can’t find the answers in your digital journey, they’ll find it somewhere else.… leading to–elimination.
Paul Gortzig, Bokka Group
It’s here! The day you can purchase a new home from a new home builder in three easy steps…completely online! There has been a lot of talk surrounding AI/AR and VR in our industry for good reason. The emergence of chatbots, online sales and access to builders’ homes after hours are taking center stage. These are the disruptors that focuses on how today’s prospects want to buy.
Delivering a great customer experience requires us to get out of our comfort zone, be bold, and start thinking like the customer. They need our help so be there for them. It’s time to start examining your systems and processes through the buyer’s lens and be vulnerable to change and disruption. Embrace the technology that helps us interact with our customers more effectively. Stop comparing yourself to that other builder down the street and start looking at how great companies like Amazon, Zappos, and Southwest Airlines interact with their customers to deliver a great customer experience.
Challenge yourself, challenge your team, and challenge your company. While I still believe nothing is more important than building a great relationship with your customer, it’s the way we go about it that’s going to be wholly different in 2020. Embrace disruption and keep pace with your customer!
Mar’Sue Haffner, Sales Solve Everything
Embrace Cultural Differences
We are one of the few cultures who shy away from asking for a better price when purchasing a product. Because of this, we often are offended when someone asks us to discount our product. We need to re-train our brains to see the buyer’s offer as an exciting “buying sign” and say “thank you”.
Often it is the willingness to play the negotiating game with many of the cultures that creates an exciting purchase experience. Just realizing that the HOME actually represents something entirely different depending on the culture, changed the way I approached negotiating.
To the Indian culture the home is a Shrine, to their children, family, and success. The Hispanic culture buys their homes for a legacy to pass on from one generation to the next. To the Asian culture, the home represents more of an investment, so appreciation, tax benefits and buying as low as possible helps them realize a better profit at resale. While the American culture sees it as more of a dream. A dream that is supported by their core values that everyone should have the ability and opportunity to own their own home. Just understanding this one simple principal helps give us better insights when it comes to negotiating.
Erica Lockwood, Joseph Chris Partners
Take the Risk in 2020
When a brand-new year approaches the mindset tends to be: what is my resolution for the new year? While setting goals to be healthier, more organized or save money are commendable, perhaps it is time to consider taking intentional risks. Eleanor Roosevelt stated, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
While the average person normally does not gravitate toward this daily activity, perhaps the practice should be considered. Admittedly, being a risk-taker is not for the weak at heart. Failures and mistakes can and will happen along the way but anyone who has experienced the positive results of taking chances will tell you that risk-taking is failure-prone, but that is why it is not called “sure-thing taking.”
I have spoken with countless individuals over the years who not only have a career and life plan created, but the actions needed to get there intentionally mapped out with defined timelines. With these strategies, risks can and will be taken to achieve the milestones. With so many opportunities to produce positive change where could it go wrong? One thing I know for certain, not taking risks is the riskiest move of all.
Mike Lyon, Do You Convert
Need for Human Connection
2020 sounds so futuristic. Despite all the tech advancements, we have seen a resurgence in the need for human connection. Some builders have gone too far leveraging sales technology, almost eliminating the human interaction customers crave. This year, I am challenging the front-line communicators to focus on connecting with prospects and practice new ways to warm up those digital conversations. Purchasing a home is emotional. Even those just starting their journeys seek a friendly voice, a smiling face, or a warm text – even if it is virtual.
Kimberly Mackey, New Homes Solutions Consulting
Think Like a Customer to Create a Better Customer Experience
When we do things over and over again, it is easy to assume that everyone knows what we know. We do things like use industry jargon. SPEC, anyone? Do a Punch List lately? And, we forget to share with our prospects and customers what to expect next. Although it takes quite a bit of effort, try to step back and think like your prospects and customers. In your mind’s eye, try to experience buying from you for the first time. Anticipate and prompt for questions. Let them know that it is both normal and okay to have questions and that you are here to help guide them. Try to set the stage for what the next step in the process is, especially when you are handing off to another team member. For instance, think about how the transition works between your OSC (On-line Sales Counselor) and your sales professional; or, from sales to the design center, sales to construction, construction to customer support, and so on. Anyone who has ever competed in a relay knows that the most critical part of the race is the hand-off of the baton.
One best practice I witnessed this year when I spoke on “The Customer Experience Funnel” at the Master Session at the International Builders Show with Chris Hartley from Trendmaker Homes in Dallas, TX is to create a video with both team members in it to share with prospects (if they haven’t yet purchased) or customers (after they have purchased). This way, you know you are sending a consistent message, and it helps the customers to feel more comfortable because they see the next person on video with the person to whom they already have a relationship. Your team members can have a little fun with these videos and let their personalities shine through. Just make sure everyone stays true to the message that should you want conveyed to support the brand. To get more personal than this, you could set up a quick video chat using Google Hangouts, FaceTime, Skype, or Facebook Messenger, but this will create more work when you need to repeat it with each prospect or buyer. Use technology to help you, but more importantly think through your processes as a company and map them out. Do they put the customer first? If not, it might be time to refocus them in 2020.
Jane Meagher, Success Strategies
Upserving and Influencing your Design Studio customers
Upserving is not Upselling—which is disingenuous, builder-focused, price-focused and makes the customer feel pressured. Upserving is about genuine interaction that is customer-focused, consultative and helpful, and makes the customer feel grateful.
I’ve slightly modified Dan Pink’s famous definition of Upserving to be more appropriate for the design studio application: “Doing more for the other person than he expects or you initially intended, taking the extra steps to transform a mundane, transnational interaction into an educational, inspirational, and mutually-rewarding one.”
Yes, a Design Consultant does have to move home buyers through dozens of decisions, accurately documenting their selections, and finishing on time. But that’s the role of an order-taker. A RockStar Design Consultant harnesses the power of influence to truly upserve their customers by delivering the highest quality customer experience while maximizing per-home revenue. A RockStar Design Consultant shares their immense knowledge-base with customers to empower them to make their own best decisions with confidence and ease, by employing communication skills, presentation skills, sales skills, and organizational skills among others; essentially the same skills that are required for your New Home Consultants. Yet, often in our industry, we don’t look at our Design Consultants as sales people. For many builders, the Design Consultant delivers (or should deliver) greater impact to the builder’s bottom line profitability on each home than the New Home Consultant does.
Make sure you’re properly hiring and training your Design Consultants so they can be RockStars for your customers and your building company.
Alaina Money-Garman, Garman Homes
Stop. Checking. Boxes. Start checking in.
Melissa Morman, BDX
All About Great CEX!?
Got your attention?
And no, I did not misspell it! I mean great ‘Customer EXperience’. As we move further along the digital journey with our prospects and customers, customization and personalization are so vital. I am talking about customization and personalization of the experience. In today’s world, we all have been accustomed to our ‘Brands’ knowing us and understanding us–you would be annoyed if you had spent thousands of dollars over the years with a particular brand, and they are still marketing to you as if you are a ‘newbie’ versus a ‘loyal groupie’.
We all have gotten better at creating ‘reach’ and new ‘eyeballs’ in the digital world, and it is incumbent on us to understand who these new connections are and how best to engage with them, and ultimately hopefully convert them to buyers. This means we need to know more about them—What market segment? What demographic? What have they already done on their journey?
Today, we do know all of this information, so let’s use it to create great tailored experiences for our prospects (and customers). We will have a higher conversion rate and happier customers once they do buy. Now let’s all go out there and have more and better CEX!
Kerry Mulcrone, Kerry & Co.
Great Discovery Leads to Greater Closings!
2) Knowledge and Discovery Process (KDP): This is a two-way street. Theirs and yours.
3) Data Mining: Like in a gold mine for awesome data that gives you valuable prospect information.
4) Consultative & Conversational: Resist selling without first understanding and speak by exchanging thoughts.
5) E.Q.: Know your essential questions that personally take you down the right track to gaining confidence and trust in your customer!
New Home Sales +
Build Your 2020 Vision
Thanks to a healthy economy and the extension of record-breaking low interest rates, most of us are enjoying wonderful success across the country. Let’s remember to remain gracious and humble and still maintain a service mentality with our clients. It is easy to believe that we are bigger than this incredible industry and it’s also easy to forget the importance of working hard at our craft, developing the skills and processes that will last a lifetime. Let’s greet the New Year with pragmatic optimism and reflect on how we can “BUILD” a better future for you and your clients.
- B – Believe in your company and build upon your success
- U – Unite through authentic connections–today’s buyers need to feel unified with your company and your values
- I – Invest in your people
- L – Lead your market, don’t just copy others
- D – Develop your processes, home plans, and your sales & marketing infrastructure
Use these tips to build your vision in 2020!
Amy O’Connor, Shore Consulting
Creating Cognitive Ease for Your Buyers In 2020
- Why you? Why you as salesperson? What do you do for your buyers that other sales people aren’t willing or able to do? Action item: Create a personal brand promise and share it with your prospects.
- Why here? What makes this community special? What do I, as a purchaser, get if I purchase here that I won’t get if I purchase elsewhere? Pro-tip: To do this well, or really at all, you MUST know your competition.
- Why this? Why this floorplan versus the other ones you offer? Why this homesite over the other ones available? Hint: Make it personal!
Answer their whys and 2020 will be your best year yet!
Jeff Shore, Shore Consulting
Shorten the Cycle
The Hell with the Commission be on a Mission!!
Ryan Taft, Shore Consulting
Do Something Different
Leah Turner, Melinda Brody & Company
Master the Art of Delivery
As the sales coach and trainer, I have the opportunity to watch hundreds of video mystery shops every year. One thing I have learned is that no two sales presentations are ever alike. Everyone has their own, unique selling style. There is no “one size fits all” formula.
Often, as I am coaching sales people, they will ask me what the secret is to sales success. Well, the secret is…there is no secret! But there are areas that you can master in order to perfect your craft and sell more homes. One that we feel is most important is to understand the science of the presentation and then master the art of the delivery.
To understand the science is to know what the ‘structure’ of the presentation is….Meet & Greet, Discovery/Qualify, Demonstration, Overcoming Objections, and Closing. Then take it one step further and perfect the ‘art’ of the delivery. Make it your own. Be authentic. Be passionate!
Once you “own” your presentation by perfecting your sales delivery, being your true authentic self, and allowing your passion to shine through, the job becomes much less stressful and much more fun! Your prospects pick up on this immediately and they are instantly put as ease. Happy Selling!