Thursday, December 1, 2016

Builders: Relatable and Emotionally Charged Marketing Ideas

There's a current line of thinking suggesting that, regardless of the product (consumer electronics, cars, new homes), more and more women are now playing a primary role in the decision-making purchase process.
Adding relatable content engages your audience!

What does this emerging role have to do with your marketing approach and style?  If you've always marketed to what might be categorized as a "female audience," you might argue...not much.

However, all sorts of other bits of marketing data are emerging, as well: women are the "most" connected audience (throw out those preconceived "geek" ideas!).  That fact alone might suggest re-visiting your marketing approach: more mobile, less print; more Facebook, fewer mailers.

In addition, recent studies suggest women see information, products and even themselves in terms of how they relate to others.  Women, in other words, feel more comfortable responding to marketing messages that tell relevant stories.  And, the studies suggest a story's details matter as much as the outcome.

There are many marketing studies out there but.. let's just concentrate on these two pieces of information for a moment: women are "the most connected audience" and they are motivated by richly detailed stories.  How might this influence your marketing approach (and sales, for that matter!)?

Suggestion #1: don't cut to the end...take time (and energy) to tell the story!

Take a look at the image at the top of this blog.  It's from a CPS SalesTouch interactive touchscreen presentation at a multifamily property, The John Marshall.  This property is telling their location story: there's a lot going on in the surrounding area; there are all sorts of restaurants...

But.. that's not the end of their story!  John Marshall's interactive touchscreen system not only provides information about the restaurant and an appropriate image.. it calls out a signature dish!  If you were looking for an apartment in the area, can't you see yourself relating?  Trying this restaurant, living in this neighborhood?

To some extent, doesn't this image take you to Suggestion #2: The best stories are emotionally charged.  John Marshall doesn't just list the restaurants; it shows very appealing images and takes time to provide something really interesting: the "Gotta Try" dish.  Can't you just taste these oysters? Wouldn't it be great living in this property so you could try other restaurants and their signature dishes, too?

We'll have more Suggestions in future blogs talking about including women and their "relater" tendencies.  Meanwhile, try thinking of one new way you can incorporate relatable stores and technology into your sales and marketing process!

We'll give you a starter story idea: follow-up a prospect's visit (whether they were looking at a car, home, apartment or ...) with an email containing a short cell phone video you just made highlighting 2-3 items covered in your sales presentation -- as you open the door to the car or walk through the home visited.  It's easy-to-do and will resonate with your prospect!  This creative way to story-tell comes courtesy of new home sales trainer, Jeff Shore!

Interested in learning more about relatable marketing technology?  Here at CPS we can talk to you about interactive touchscreen-based presentations, social media walls and dynamic, consumer-focused comment systems.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

2017 Means More Buyers, More Selections: How to Manage Customization

Builderonline article, Your Biggest Competition isn't Other Builders, highlights advantages to purchasing a new home when compared with an existing home sale.  The author, Myers Barnes, highlights 7 key selling advantages.

The second key advantage is customization and that asks a basic but key question:  who wouldn't want input on design and product selections?  The article suggests reminding home shoppers that a new home will reflect their personal style -- not someone else's taste.

Take advantage of technology to manage customization
And, a reminder: Millennials -- expected to be a key 2017 buyer profile -- are very keen on customization and personal style!

Some of you might be thinking, "Oh, customization; tried that.  It adds time to our schedule and it's tough to keep track of all the selections, changes, re-selections. Not even sure they're profitable."

But...customization is a key selling advantage for new homes.  How can a builder's current process be better managed to efficiently offer something that home shoppers really like?

Previous Blogs mentioned the need for simplification and process analysis.  Scott Sedum's 25 Essential Scheduling Practices article in ProBuilder offers several steps to consider:

(1) Provide only the number of options customers will pay for and can be kept 100% current - revisit annually.  Do you know how many times each option is selected?  If every sale has a particular option, wouldn't it improve operations to make it a standard feature?

Ask accounting to provide an "options ordered" list and review with sales.  It's a great selling advantage to have an extensive list; take the time to analyze that all your costs are included and the scope isn't so extensive to unduly burden the team refreshing the list at the beginning of each year.

(2) Coordinate cut-off dates with sales for option selections and changes -- and help manage everyone's expectations. Sedum mentions, "It takes skilled salespeople, a focused management team and a company-wide commitment to maintain this discipline." Not maintaining such an approach impacts schedules and costs and can create negatives in home buyer perceptions, as well.  No one wants to hear the neighbor was able to add the granite counter top after cutoff when they couldn't!

We'll suggest a third:

(3) Take advantage of technology so your team knows when options are added or deleted -- and can easily browse all appropriate documentation including drawings.  CPS' FieldCollaborate offers scheduling software tools and provides field managers 24/7 data access necessary to keep up with options activity.  They're able to see, what has been ordered on Lot 12 -- and when.  It's possible to view drawings -- all from their smartphone and tablet!

Customization is a powerful selling advantage; make sure that your operations are nimble enough to manage the necessary processes. CPS can help you determine what processes will best help you -- CPS CRM manages option selections including cut-offs and FieldCollaborate provides critical 24/7 access to selections, schedules and drawings.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Why Did the Turkey Want a Move-in Ready Home?

All of us at Computer Presentation Systems wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!


and, to answer that question: He wanted something tur(n)key!

(with a shoutout to Steve Kaller at Ultimate New Home Sales in Southern California!)





Saturday, November 19, 2016

Demographics, Home Size, CRM: Who's Buying the Biggest Homes?

Today's new home marketplace can be thought of as a made up of a series of age-related buyer segments : boomers, millennials and Generation X'ers to name the most recognized.

Millennials are largest segment; Gen X'ers are buying largest homes!
Millennials are re-visiting previously developed home preferences, says Clare Trapasso in a recent Realtor.com article, as they're leaving the" fantasy, pace and possibilities" of big-city living and moving out to the suburbs.

Yes, the "burbs" and that's just the first of a series of major changes being noticed in the new home marketplace.

Another is the changing relationship between buyer demographic groups and home size. Today, Gen X'ers (generally thought of as those with birth years between 1965 and 1985) are buying the largest homes. They're the most likely to have children, with schools as "top of mind" and often have their parents living with them, as well.

The average Gen X'er home is 2,200 square feet; Millennials typically purchased 1,720 square foot residences.  Boomers were in the 1,800-1,920 range with the larger homes going to younger boomer buyers.  Jonathon Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com, notes that "older boomers are trying to downsize."

Of course, home size varies by regional price points.  The relationship between size and demographic group remains constant, however.

What does this have to do with CRM?  A good CRM system allows you to "slice and dice" information so you're able to associate profile information with individual prospects and then search through your database, using software tools, to locate those prospects meeting specific criteria.  Do you have more of your largest floorplan units available?  Consider creating a demographic-specific search and develop a followup email focused on home size -- highlighting local schools and suggesting alternative users for extra bedrooms!

CPS CRM features customized prospect profiles; we can show you how to slice and dice data to market effectively!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Have You Heard: There's a Tsunami of 1st Time Buyers on the Horizon!

Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com, says he's excited to see traffic and survey data indicating "first-time home buyers are poised to come back in a big way in 2017."

That's the good news; however, Smoke notes that, unfortunately, this surge doesn't mean all of them will actually become home buyers.
Up-to-speed on neighborhood schools & amenities?

And, that's where an agent with sound business processes can make a difference!

Why? This first-time buyer tends to face more challenges than other home buyer demographic segments:

  • They need help with down payment funds
  • These buyers tend to be renters so there's a lease in place that needs to be managed
  • Many need to improve their credit score
  • They need to fine tune their focus towards homes in the appropriate price range to quality for a mortgage
That's where the agent comes in with, as Smoke suggests, education, advice and support!

Why not have a prepared informational package highlighting common issues and offering suggestions to address them? A FAQ package, in other words! Work with your lenders so you understand which loans are most appropriate for your buyer profile -- so you can comfortably discuss some of these details with prospects.  If this is your buyer profile, think about scheduling group educational sessions -- and use your CRM software to send out invites, manage responses and keep track of attendees. You can become your prospect's "trusted advisor" for all things home buying!"

CPS has been providing sales/marketing software to home builders since 1985 -- and we've seen several tsunamis!  Today's CRM product will help you display financing and qualifying ratio scenarios, slice/dice data to focus on buyers needing additional information and manage those educational sessions, too!  Let us know how we can help you be prepared for this tsunami!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Using CRM to Build Homebuilder Customer Loyalty

At first glance, it might seem a bit strange to read about brand loyalty in the home building industry.

On-site Social Media Walls encourage social interaction
You might ask: don't folks buy one home at a time?  And, don't most hope to live in their current home for years? Once they decide to move, does it even make sense to suggest buying a new home from the same builder?

While there might be some truth in each of the statements above, there's also a considerable amount of weight behind having homeowners blog, Tweet and post about their new home purchase, refer a friend and, yes, actually have their current builder be "top of mind" when considering a new home.

Acquiring new customers is good, but it's just the beginning.  Businesses only win big, Jai Rawal posits in his recent 6 Ways to Builder Customer Loyalty at Every Touch Point article, when customers can be nurtured into loyal customers. Rawal goes on to suggest that providing a satisfying emotional experience helps create loyalty.

After all, it's estimated to cost 6-7 times more to acquire new customers than to nurture a current one into an ongoing relationship!
Schedule events and use CRM to invite & remind

How to engage home buyers at every touch point?  While there are ideas that might not resonate too well with home builders such as adding a points-based loyalty program (think your local market, airlines and hotels!), it is possible to kick-up your CRM system a notch and start taking advantage of his other suggestions -- and consider adding complimentary touch points to maximize your impact:

  • Engage your prospects and buyers via social channels.  We've talked about CPS' Social Media Wall -- an easy-to-implement tool capturing and displaying social media content in sales and information centers.
  • Encourage current buyers to become brand ambassadors through referrals. Nielson reports that family and friends are the most persuasive influence on buying decisions.  Use social media and a referral program so your customers can easily and confidently promote your communities.  Send letters and/or emails reminding homeowners about your referral program -- frequently.  Most people won't remember it exists after 1 month.
  • Use email marketing to keep in touch with homeowners.  Here's where CRM shines as you can create pre-set pieces, schedule their delivery and dial-in recipients (only those buyers in the last 6 months, everyone with a pool, all Plan 2 homeowners, etc.).  Send a referral program reminder, invite homeowners to a summer BBQ at the sales center, offer a coupon to the new pizza place...all focused on engaging and reconnecting with your homeowners.
  • Delight Your Homeowners on Special Occasions.  It doesn't have to be overly exciting -- a simple thank you on the anniversary of their closing or birthday wishes.  A recent Fulcrum study found that 75% of customers receiving a birthday message from a company thought more highly of the company.  Again, CRM excels at this type of automated -- yet personalized --messaging.
Intrigued by the concept of brand loyalty?  Interested in exploring how your organization can put some of these ideas into action? Contact us for a demo -- or visit our website.




Wednesday, November 16, 2016

How to: Add a Retail Customer Engagement Initiative

It's true: the old, wooden suggestion box with a slot on top is  past its prime.  Also no longer relevant to today's shopper is the passive,  tired-looking cork board with messages, faded and tattered flyers and weary, crumpled suggestion forms.

While those passive signage items are not longer relevant, retailers are definitely interested in getting in touch with their shoppers, soliciting opinions and pushing information.

Today, many of those objectives are being met with digital solutions -- and they've moved beyond passive to become customer experience zones displaying store specials, video and, even, social media content

CPS' Interactive Customer Comment Board
Are you spending time to listen to your customers?

CPS' touchscreen-based Customer Comment Board acts as a proactive customer service process.  Customers are  asked to submit comments, suggestions, ideas.  They're empowered, given a platform and might even provide ideas for new products, initiatives and improvements.

Take a closer look at the Board on the left -- there's all sorts of customer engagement initiatives combined into a single board designed to enhance the shopping experience:


   (1) The actual Leave a Comment section
   (2) A store events calendar with pop-up details available at a touch
   (3) Streaming video content
   (4) Weekly Specials display
   (5) Connections with social media

If you entered this store, wouldn't you want to walk up and see what's happening? Digital signage has moved from a simple, one-way dialogue with either the shopper filling out a form or the retailer broadcasting via video to a two-way conversation. It's engaging, more personal and offers an interactive experience with the brand.