Before the prospective buyer fills out the form on your site, they are doing research. And your website becomes the focal point, so it’s important to give them a great shopping experience. The market is very active, and people are anxious to buy, so leveraging technology like interactive site maps on your website provides buyers comprehensive information about your community and the ability to reserve a lot. The better the experience on the website, the more likely the buyer will move from the research phase to inquiring about a house!
Managing the Initial Inquiry and Pre-Sale
Once the buyer fills out the form, make sure they get an autoresponder email. This first touchpoint will be one of your most-read emails and is the first step in the process. Make sure you have the autoresponder set up correctly with updated information about your community, and the messaging is still relevant. (Don’t forget to create different autoresponders for different lead sources. A home buyer who filled out a form on your website will know more information about your community than one who signed up from Zillow or BuzzBuzz.)
If you’re taking a presale approach to your community, managing the initial inquiry is very important. You want to ensure that your CRM is capturing everyone who is interested and have sales processes set up, so you can nurture them in preparation for the grand opening.
Nurture: Follow-up Consistently
Getting their name is just the start. How you communicate with them throughout the buying process sets the stage for their experience with you and your company.
Capturing the contact information should trigger a combination of automated marketing emails and sales process follow-up to ensure that the prospective home buyer is nurtured effectively. Having 6-8 touchpoints for the different buckets of leads before they convert means you need to have the right message at the right time for each segment. Since your sales team can’t always manage everyone who makes an inquiry, leveraging marketing automation email capabilities is the key to ensuring no lead falls through the cracks.
Even if you don’t have the inventory today, having the right systems and processes in place sets you up for when the market is “not so good”. People will remember the service they receive from you—so when more homes become available, or the prospect is ready to buy, a positive interaction with your sales team helps shape their experience and can help future-proof your business.
Post-contract and Post-close
Given the market and speed with which homes are closing, it may seem like once they’ve signed it’s “mission accomplished”. However, closing the deal really is just an extension of the buyer’s journey.
With the shortages we’re facing in the industry, managing the relationship after the close is just as important. Reputation management is important for every builder and one of the most important components is communication. As mentioned in the webinar Customer Care, Customer Service: One Company, One Voice, communication and setting expectations are a big part of creating a good experience that leads to good word of mouth.
Once a buyer is under contract, then they’re getting ad hoc e-mails from different people and follow ups at different times. The consistent follow-up and communication they experienced during buying process can disappear. Your CRM helped you capture and nurture prospects to become a buyer, but it also needs to be an important communication tool after the sale. Once someone’s under contract, there are a lot of different steps involved, and your team may have 30 people in contract at different stages. The chaotic nature of the market means your team needs to use their CRM to stay organized.
Whether it’s sending out surveys or keeping the buyer up to date on their new home, you need to use your CRM to continue communicating with them and help ensure their overall customer experience is first rate.
Make sure your CRM is working for you at each stage of the buyer’s journey. From the research phase to close, being able to follow-up effectively with the customer throughout the process is key to providing them with a good experience.