Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Day 2012: Join the Parade of Thanks!

Everyone loves a parade and what better reason to celebrate than thanking our military veterans for their service?

Sit back and enjoy these Veterans Day 2012 Parade photos from one small town here in the Sacramento region: join the youth organizations, adult service clubs, school bands, and residents as they honor veterans for their service.

Cub Scouts Remind Us
The Sikh Community
Girl Scouts Say Thanks!
 
And, all of us here at CPS remember and thank family members for their service:

Bob's father, Robert Musa Sr, US Marine Corps (retired)
Chris' father, Michael Lott, US Navy (retired)
Michelle's husband, Jerry Stone, US Navy
Sean's father, Chris Miyazaki, US Air Force (retired)
Troy's brother, John, serving today in the US Army
Zoe's father, Charles Miller, US Army and brother, Wilson Miller, US Army

Bob Strickland, one of CPS' founders, US Air Force.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Use Interactive to Address Top 10 Reasons for New Home Purchase!

Jay McKenzie recently wrote an article in New Home Source discussing why so many home buyers prefer new homes as compared to resale home purchases.  Even with the recent pick-up in new home sales, many areas of the country still have a backlog of resale homes available and sales agents need to be able to effectively manage the new home sales process vs. a resale (or even foreclosure/short sales) purchase.  You can read McKenzie's blog post here.

What do you think is the top reason for a new home decision?
SalesTouch: Facilitates Your Home Your Way Design!
 Hint: it isn't location!

McKenzie suggests Reason #1Design your Dream Home Your Way. Buyers are encouraged to think of their new home as reflecting their taste, not someone else's ideas, as models explore the latest trends and Design Centers offer a multitude of cabinet, countertop, appliance and flooring choices. 

Reason #2 isn't too far removed from #1, says McKenzie: Choose a Floorplan and Room Layout that Meets Your Needs.  Interested in a 4-bedroom with lower level master?  That's available in this new home floorplan! High ceilings but..concerned about energy costs? 

We've found use of a well-designed interactive touchscreen will help guide home shoppers through a community and effectively address Reason #1 and Reason #2.  CPS' SalesTouch allows consumers to view current floorplans and mix/match available structural options.  Help your buyer design their home -- complete with den in lieu of bedroom 3, optional bonus room and kitchen island complete with veggie sink and wine refrigerator! They're able to drag/drop selections, print a brochure featuring "their" floorplan -- even email a copy to the mother-in-law!


SalesTouch: Buyers & Agents Highlight Favorites!
And, builders utilize SalesTouch to effectively brand their company and products.  Offering energy-efficient homes?  Add a "builder story" video, energy calculator (even compare your floorplan to similarly sized resale home) or take buyers "behind the scenes" with "stage of construction" construction tours.

Help your buyer understand why your home meets their Top 10 needs!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Interactive Touchscreen Systems: Encouraging Discovery

If you're a regular Solutions reader, you've seen our blogs regarding the value of interactivity.

We've talked about engagement, narrowcasting, the value of touch in decision-making and how using technology in your sales offices/information centers keeps your brand in synch with today's consumers. Whether Gen X, Y or Boomer, today's homebuyer is connected.

Recently, a CPS SalesTouch client posted a YouTube video highlighting their new Grand Palm Discovery Center located in Venice, Florida.

Go Interactive: take discover to an entirely new level!
Their SalesTouch presentation actively encourages the home shopper to explore and discover Grand Palm. The presentation, so colorful and full of life, provides actionable touch points: it encourages homeshoppers to visit the surrounding neighborhood, learn about Grand Palm's amenities, find a floorplan that meets their needs and customize it with desired options, as well as select and place furniture in the selected floorplan.

Take a minute and compare this experience to a buyer walking into a sales office with passive signage and a static brochure.

Everything about the Grand Palm's interactive system involves an action verb -- designed to actively engage the home shopper from the minute they walk into the Discovery Center.

And, when you think about it, shouldn't the homeshopping experience encourage discovery? Your buyers are looking for something new; interactivity actively encourages the process, helps answer questions and encourages the homeshopper to imagine living in this community!

Doesn't this type of marketing tool build your brand, as well?  Your brand is part of the connected world; it recognizes how critical the exploration part of home shopping is to the consumer.  And, take a look back at the Grand Palm presentation, above: wouldn't you want to start touching to discover  what this is all about?

Interested in finding out more about CPS' interactive touchscreen system, SalesTouch? We're available at www.cpsusa.com.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Multifamily Preleasing: Interactive is a Great Tool!

Today's renter economy is strong enough -- in many areas-- that preleasing is gaining popularity as part of a multifamily property's revenue management strategy. 

In evaluating a prelease strategy, we'd like to suggest several ideas to consider after you've determined property specifics, audience, features, amenities and the like. We think they'll make your marketing process more effective as you reach out to your audience and enable them to better see your property's value (and values!).

(1) Use Interactive In Your Messaging -- Start Branding: Of course, you've considered your audience but..we're suggesting a bit more as you evaluate marketing messages to the audience.  Are you thinking, Gen X, Gen Y, Boomers ... does it really matter? 

Recent studies suggest that all 3 demographics have much in common (the "Connected Consumer" isn't limited to only Gen Y, for example).  And, your "most connected" consumers are women..regardless of age group.
 
While Gen Y has grown up in the digital age and are recognized as comfortable with technology, there are unique opportunities with interactive systems (large touchscreens and tablets) to connect with all audiences.

Today's consumer wants immediate information. Interactive touchscreens respond to their particular interest. 

Does your visitor want to see if their furniture fits into the your 2 bedroom unit  (which they can't visit)? CPS' interactive SalesTouch Move it/Move it feature allows consumers to select from a "sized" furniture palette and move furniture into the unit.

What about your building's amenities? The pool; the clubhouse; the fitness center -- all still to be built What will they look like?

Neighborhood? Will there be a local coffee shop? How about restaurants in the area?

Key to providing information is making it actionable: provide a way for your visitors to imagine visiting the coffee shop (how about an exterior image) or visiting a new restaurant (highlighting the "best" menu item) or riding the bike trail (how about the sunset along the river?). 

Pre-leasing works best when your audience -- boomers, Gen X, millennials -- can imagine living in your building, the selected unit and the neighborhood.  Interactive touch systems let your visitors start telling stories about how the property will meet their objectives! And, you're building your brand in the process.

(2) Energize Your "Green" Messaging: Study after study suggests Gen Y will spend if a product is shown to be cost effective and eco-friendly.  The latest consumer neuroscience studies suggest boomers appreciate marketing messages illustrating what value will be gained.  Highlighting green's cost-effectiveness is a powerful marketing message for all audiences.

And, while there are lots of "big ticket" green products, your message can highlight that it's the little things that count, too.


Do you have a "green" strategy?  Use your touchscreens and tablets to leverage that message.  Start your eco-friendly messaging at the pre-lease process --  highlighting unit features such as low-flow faucet/toilets, energy efficient appliances and low-e windows.

Build on it with the little things that are part of your pre-leasing process: CPS' SalesTouch offers e-brochures and prints brochures "on demand" and only the desired floorplans.

Add-on with features that come as a result of move-in: e-leases/renewals, streamlined recycling programs..maybe even a community garden.

Keep all of this information in front of your prospects as they're touching to discover your property's amenities and your brand.  Touch is powerful; neuroscience tells us touching a monitor generates completely different brain processes than using a mouse.  If you'd like information regarding CPS' interactive touchscreen system, SalesTouch, plrease visit our website, www.cpsusa.com.

Friday, October 5, 2012

55+: Ideas to Fine-Tune Your Marketing Messages

Many marketing studies (and our own Solutions blog!) spend quite a bit of time talking about the Gen X and Gen Y audience.

As they should: these demographic groups constitute a significant buying segment in today's economy -- whether you're selling big ticket items such as homes and cars or day-to-day products including cable, groceries and cell phone plans.
Interactive touchscreens, CRM: nuanced messaging!
Nevertheless, the Baby Boomer generation is still a noteworthy demographic in terms of purchasing power; fresh insights, based upon Nielsen NeuroFocus consumer neuroscience research, suggest revisiting preconceptions and marketing approaches for this demographic.

In essence, mature minds respond differently to messages, input and information.  Differently doesn't mean less or slower or diminished.

No one wants to be considered "old" or be treated as such -- particularly this generation.  60 is the new 50, right?  Stereotyping doesn't work.

But, did you know that mature brains respond better to positive advertising messages and actually have broader attention spans than Gen X and Y? This enhanced attention span suggests more nuanced messaging is not only appreciated but critical. 

Nuanced shouldn't suggest busy or overly-detailed, however; this generation doesn't like clutter or rapidly changing graphics/information. Progressive Grocer's Boomer Brain Marketing Assumptions: Think Again article suggests, "While the messaging can be complex, the delivery and format should be simple."

Implications for your marketing efforts? Imagine you're 55+ (and take the above comments into consideration): when viewing the Colonial Heritage interactive touchscreen "welcome" image, what message do you take away?  Engaging, peaceful, serene, inviting?  Wouldn't you like to explore more?

Interactive touchscreen sales tools respond very well for this generation: the delivery and format can be specifically designed and consumers are able to progress through your marketing information at their own speed.

Consider your CRM activities, too.  Make your product "top of mind" with easy-to-recall messages -- and utilize an automated CRM system providing repeated follow-up with your prospects.  Keep the messaging positive and highlight what your consumer will gain with the purchase.

Boomers might be a consumer segment frequently overlooked; nevertheless, they continue to exert a major marketplace influence in terms of purchasing power.  Enhance your impact with nuanced messaging!

Interested in exploring how to enhance your marketing program to better respond to not only Boomers but Gen X and Y? We'd love to talk to you regarding SalesTouch and CRM 2.0 software products!





Friday, September 21, 2012

Your sales office provides a distinct home-field advantage!

Earlier this week, our CPS Solutions blog talked about marketing studies indicating that regardless of product -- that is, whether it is consumer electronics, cars or new homes, for example -- women are emerging as the primary role in decision-making.

We'd like to highlight another set of marketing data suggesting that even the most "dialed-in" retail locations (and..we're all retailers at heart..wouldn't you agree?) have room to improve their actual physical location as a place of engagement.  We're going to provide several ideas to consider-- and they're completely different from yesterday's Relater Suggestions #1 and #2!

In-house Idea #1: Be Bold and Strategic with Signage:

It bears repeating over and over...the mere fact a consumer walks through your doors indicates a level of interest in your product.  The good news is you have a physical location for prospects to visit and it is up to you to maximize its marketing value!

We spend a lot of time in this blog talking about interactive touchscreens and they're certainly a way to go Bold and Strategic!  Interactive touchscreens engage prospects from the minute they walk in your door -- and they're great conversation starters.
Small sales trailer goes Bold & Strategic with Signage!

They're other ways to go Bold, however, and several are probably well within your control.

No doubt, you'd like to engage your prospects and get them involved with your brand.  How visible are your calls to action?  Do you make connecting (via Facebook or other digital channels) clear and straightforward?

How about your prospect registration cards?  Do you "just" ask for information or do you include a QR code or piece of information found only on the card? Try kicking-up this process!  Think about the reg card as a means of two-way communication.

What about business cards?  Some might find them "old school" but..why not have them located so it is easy to pick one up?  Many times, business cards are put away in a desk or placed in some obscure location.

Selling new homes? Try putting a different piece of information along with your card in each model!  Mary Smith might not be interested in the rec center highlighted in Plan 2 but..very interested in the school information located in Plan 4.  Who knows what the next visitor will find interesting but..you're making an effort to reach out, offer something of unique interest and your contact info is attached to all of it! 

Did you know people find thowing out a business card with a photo very difficult?

Remember: your location provides you with a distinct home-field advantage.  Put it to good use!









Sunday, September 2, 2012

HomeBuilder CMO's: Your Construction Team Can Help!

The rapidly changing relationship between marketing and technology has been discussed by many; we found an interesting article summarizing an IBM study analyzing CMO issues. We think there's an opportunityto utilize technology employed by your construction team to help address the areas highlighted as CMO concerns:

(1) data explosion and social media;
(2) growth of channel/device choices; and
(3) shifting consumer demographics.

What do you think?  Are these your concerns? And.. are we serious about how your construction team might help?  Absolutely!
Live from your job-site: relevant and engaging content!

We like to think your construction team can help you deliver value to your customers and help create lasting relationships with your customers, as well.  How?  By taking advantage of recent construction scheduling software features utilizing new devices mentioned in #2 (above). 

Encourage your Field Managers to take "stage of construction" photos or video.  CPS FieldConnect Mobile makes it easy to email those immediately -- from the jobsite. Then, post those images on your website! 

Have a special "behind the scenes" story to tell?  Going green in terms of materials or processes?  Here's a unique, up-to-the minute way to tell your story! And, these stories will help you stand out -- both to potential and current buyers.

Social media (#1 on the list) is another great location for these stories.  Post Lot #12's grading photo; there's no doubt Lot 12's buyer will re-post it on his/her Facebook page, too!  Now, your buyers are joining your marketing team; and they're telling your story!

Did you know over 60% of Millennial (aren't they are large component of #3 above?) social media users will look-up a brand mentioned on a friend's page? You've just expanded your marketing reach -- not only in sheer numbers but to a demographic that is very relevant in today's market.  And, you've made a huge step in keeping them engaged; who knows when you'll post another image or aticle directly relevant to them? 

Try it; let us know how your content is becoming more relevant, more appealing and helping address those concerns outlined above.  Want more information about CPSFieldConnect Mobile?  We can help there, too!



Monday, August 20, 2012

Student Housing Leasing Offices: Great Venue for Interactive

Over the last decade, student housing has undergone a significant transformation.  Back in the day, universities (both public and private) housed almost all students on campus -- in dormitories and houses.  Married and graduate student housing demand emerged in the 50's and 60's; university-built apartment complexes met this need.  In the early/mid 70's, universities started adding apartment complexes designed for undergraduate students to meet demand for "non-traditional" housing.

Student Housing: Interactive Kiosks Meet Leasing Office Demands
Now, we've seen the transition towards private companies providing housing for all student groups.  Many institutions built and/or remodeled their traditional offerings around the Baby Boomer growth period.  Now, their complexes are aging and "in competition" with housing choices offered off-campus.  While "power houses" such as Harvard and Stanford might not find this an issue, Bill Bayless, CEO at REIT American Campus Communities, notes in Builder"Colleges and universities, in order to recruit and retain students, need market-based solutions acceptable to today's customers."

Market-based solutions allow colleges/universities to allocate their ever-tighter budget dollars to their core mission: education.  As student "consumers" look for housing options, many schools find themselves unable and/or unwilling to compete.  Yet, housing is critical to the institutions's marketability.  Tom Trubiana, Chief Investment Officer at REIT EdR says, "Schools are looking for solutions to fulfill their commitment to students.  They're looking to the private sector, which can go out to the capital markets and raise funds."

As a result of this change, "student housing" is seeing the addition of features and amenities typically associated with "market" housing.  Mike Harnett, Pulte's chief investment officer, suggests "resort-style student housing" is becoming the norm -- and this is similar to housing provided by Pulte in its Del Webb communities. “It’s about high-touch, hospitality, and lifestyle,” he says.

The leasing process is somewhat unique in this market niche.  Students might reserve popular locations a year (or more) in advance.  At the same time, there's a tremendous "rush" at certain times in the year.  Just as complexes are changing, the leasing office must adapt, as well.  We're seeing the addition of interactive touchscreen kiosks and tablets to provide a quick overview of what's available to lease (and when), property highlights and surrounding local "hot spots" including dining, shopping and hotels for parents to use when visiting!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Marketing Housing to Millennials? Product Info as Key

No doubt, you've run across an article or two (maybe twenty??) about marketing to Millennials.  Sometimes referred to as Generation Y or the Echo Boomers, Millennials are the demographic group following Generation X.  Born somewhere between the late 70's and early 2000's, members of this generation are known for their increased use and familiarity with communications, media and digital technologies.
CPS' interactive touchscreen: information, authenticity, quality

Although not large as the Baby Boom generation, Millennials are a significant part of today's economy -- which makes sense as they're in their prime "purchasing" years.  As a result, all sorts of marketing types are joining Millennial parents in trying to determine what influences their decisions

Pamela Marsh and Erin Bilezikjian-Johnson (referred to as M and BJ hereinafter) were interviewed for an Advertising Age article regarding Millennial "shopping habits." There were several interesting comments that are worth considering if you are related to a homebuilder or multifamily marketing team.  Then, it might be worth evaluating how your marketing approach meets the Millennial's "shopping" process.

First, M and BJ note there is the myth of Millennial "impulsiveness" regarding decisions.  Their analysis suggests the reverse, "Millennials spend time and effort researching products and services."  Millennials read reviews, talk to people and place a tremendous amount of value in shared information, experiences and references (frequently, via social media). 

This result suggests providing information is a critical marketing objective as is encouraging sharing and making acquisition of shared experiences and materials part of your marketing process. 

Second, look back to the first comment and revisit the concept of shared: Millennials "helicopter" each other; they tell stories about their experiences, provide details about prices and  highlight both good and bad purchases.  And, most of the time, they're using technology to helicopter.

This suggests facilitating stories is a great marketing process -- visually encouraginh your prospects and buyers to re-visit your sales/leasing centers, providing a "gathering" piece of technology such as a touchscreen to encourage conversation about the experience of living there and making purchases, and making sure you've maximized your social media presence in terms of story-telling.

Finally, even though Millennials are very tech-savvy, they're open to having relationships with brands.  However, the brand needs to meet several key criteria, according to M and BJ, including authenticity, affordability and quality.

How are you demonstrating these Millennial-critical qualities in your marketing program?  Take a look at the Whole Foods Market Customer Comment Board (above); they're using an interactive touchscreen system to solicit comments, provide a calendar of events and display the week's current specials (that's authenticity, affordability and quality -- at a touch!).





Thursday, August 9, 2012

Shopping & Queues: It's All About Customer Satisfaction

Pete Abila is on point in his May 14, 2012 blog, "What might seem like an obscure topic is actually one in which we are all affected: The Science of Lines."

Everyone has heard the horrors of DMV, airport, Christmas and amusement park lines.  They're long, they're boring, they close just before you get to the end!   We've probably all asked the question, "Isn't there something that can be done to improve this situation?"

QuikLine installation underway: Whole Foods 57th Street NYC
And, from the store/park/agency perspective, the "line" experience (or the "front") is crucial to customer satisfaction levels regarding their entire experience.  In other words, it doesn't matter (or matters less) that you found the bargain of the century if the check-out experience was lousy; the ride might be unbelievable but the entrance system was confusing and...you get the idea. 

Progressive Grocer sums it up pretty well, "75% of shoppers said a positive experience at the front of the supermarket makes their overall opinion of the store 'much better'."

That's a pretty significant number: 75% have a better shopping experience when the checkout process is perceived as good.  Another interesting comment is concern about check out time is so strong that many shoppers, upon entering, will glance at the front and base their shopping experience (time and related $$) on line conditions. 

Sometimes shoppers will "balk" after looking at lines (leaving the experience without a purchase) while some may wait in line for awhile and then leave without finalizing their purchase.  These behaviors are particularly bad news for a retailer: they were not only able to entice a shopper into their store (which took advertising, marketing, location and all sorts of other retail and financial components) but the shopper made positive purchase decisions only to lose the revenue because of a perceived (or actual) wait.

You're no doubt asking, "This should be a no brainer: why isn't the "front" experience better?"  There are several elements to this discussion and they range from mathematical and economics models to psychology:

(1) The tradeoff between cost and service in the "front" experience.  One might suggest a new cashier whenever someone new arrives to check out but..that's really not a reasonable solution given any sort of "cost/benefit" analysis.  There are ways to improve the equation, however!

(2) There are opportunities to implement queue management systems that notify shoppers when a new line is available, direct shoppers to the next available line and clearly identify closed registers.  These systems reduce many of the negatives associated with waiting such as the "unfair" line, questions about which line is faster, etc.

CPS' QuikLine provides all of those features with an administrative process allowing store employees to quickly/easily open new registers, assign registers to "express" categories and create messages.

QuikLine helps resolve a number of shopper "behavioral" concerns about waiting: "unfair" lines (e.g., "Why don't they handle returns in a special area?"); waiting seems longer longer when the end result is unknown ("I can't even see all the lines; some are around the corner or hidden") and "group" waiting's appeal ("I'd rather wait in a single line and know what to expect").

(3) The "wait experience" is capable of moving beyond "clock watching" when process improvements are made.  Why not make the waiting experience informative and/or a revenue opportunity?  It is possible to make a wait feel shorter by providing easy-to pickup items next to the line or running informative video, for example. There will be an immediate impact on both customer satisfaction and revenue!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Women Buyers: Does Your Marketing Respond to "Relaters"

We're sure you've read, heard and encountered this statement: "Wheter you're marketing new homes, consumer electronics, high tech widgets or new homes, more and more women are now playing the primary role in the decision-making process."

Back in February, this blog discussed

Friday, June 8, 2012

Store Design: Maximize Shopper Experience and Sales, too!

We've talked about how much we read: newspapers, magazines, blogs, you name it -- keeping in touch with technology and trends so our software products and services meet today's business objectives and maximize their customer's experience.  From construction scheduling to sales management to interactive presentations..that's what we're trying to accomplish.

One aspect of technology that doesn't always get talked about is design -- the "behind the scenes" aspect of a piece of hardware or application.  Today's Wall Street Journal has an intriguing headline: 
Forget B-School, D-School is Hot!
 
The article goes on to talk about the "murky, problem-solving concept known as "design thinking."
QuikLine: Maximizing Shopper Experience and..Sales, as well!
Today, when folks mention design, they're not necessarily focused on traditional design -- or what we might think of as architectural or fashion design.  Today's design thinking is centered around observing people in order to evaluate processes.  That's where Apple has been so successful in capturing "new" design thinking: who knew how much we'd appreciate an iPad? Apple's designers do far more than draw iPad shapes; they consider an environment and suggest technology to satisfy generally unresolved (perhaps unknown) needs.

CPS' QuikLine moves into this new design paradigm with line (or queue) management.  Designers evaluate the habits of shoppers waiting in line.  We've all been there: the "wrong" line!  How can technology improve the shopping experience and, where possible, enhance the sales process as well?

It's been said that today's competitive retail environment is pushing the envelope to enhance the last stage of the purchase process: the checkout line.  Here's where "new" design resides!

No one likes waiting unnecessarily (so reducing "wait time" is a winner for both shopper and retailer!) but there are other components associated with improving the "last transaction" that designers have pointed out after studying shoppers: decreasing the number of "walk-aways", adding one or more "impulse buy" locations, and adding randomness to reduce register "no counts."

CPS' QuikLine was developed to provide several unique components to automated queue management: use of over-the-counter hardware (monitor, controllers, sound), integration with third-party applications (think: cash registers so QuikLine recognizes when a cashier is free), multimedia reminders (monitor, voice and display lights) and the ability to display  promotional video and messaging. 

Design initiated the thinking, technology delivered the solution!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Great Stories: Let Your Customers Tell Your Story!

Robert Clay, writing in MarketingWizdom, tells us,

"By articulating everything you do in the form of a story,
you bring everything alive, you make the invisible visible,
you enable everyone in your team to understand what you're about, 
and deliver your product, service or expertise in a better and more consistent manner."

What??? you might ask.  Our product is "X" (where x might be diapers, pencils, accounting services or new homes).  How can this piece of marketing speak help me sell?

Your customer is telling their story -- with your product!
One key element, Clay suggests, is that great stories should be aimed at a specific group of people who are in the market right now for what you offer. 

Stories communicate values -- and those values reinforce what the target audience already believes. 

In a sense, you don't need to worry about teaching something new; rather, you're communicating a message to a small group already looking for your product today.  This target audience is open to sharing your passion -- and when that mission is fulfilled, they're ready to spread your story!

CPS' SalesTouch product helps tell your story.  You already have a target audience and (in most cases) they're in the market right now for what you have to offer.

Put your story-telling skills to work!  Tell your customer how your property meets their needs -- with words, pictures and video. 

Let them create their own story from your story: moving furniture into Plan 1 with Move it/Move it or re-drawing the floorplan with Make it Mine!

One SalesTouch client has homeowners bring their friends into the leasing office.  They're looking for a great place to eat, relax or visit.  At first glance, you might think they're using the touchscreen as some sort of giant map but..they're actually illustrating how their home meets their need for convenience, access and living "in the middle of it all!"  Aren't they telling the developer's story?


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Get Your Audience Engaged; Do Something That Really Stands Out

We're readers: books, magazines, blogs, you name it!  What's new in technology, marketing, the user experience, computer and mobile hardware ... all the areas we touch on with CPS' software products and our interactive touchscreen product, SalesTouch. 

And, we like to highlight articles we think others would enjoy, as well.

Power of Touch: Engage Your Prospects; Stand Out!
A recent Multifamily Insiders blog by Brittany McBride titled Let's Give Them Something to Talk About: Getting Your Audience to Engage with Your Brand is worth checking out; you can read it here.  Tongue-in-cheek she asks if anyone would every say, "Nope, I don't want anyone talking about me or engaging with my brand, said no one ever!"  She talks about the value of "word of mouse" as an influential tool.

We'll suggest the "power of touch" is equally persuasive.  Studies go so far to say as people touch, they make decisions.

And, if you're utilizing an interactive touchscreen system as a marketing tool in your sales or leasing office, consumers are touching your product!  And making decisions: I like Plan 2 better than Plan 1, for example.  Interactive touchscreens get consumers engaged and making decisions..who wouldn't want that?

Jeff Shore, the sales training guru, suggests (in his May 15 blog entitled Why You?)  that every sales person needs to ask, "What will make my product stand out?" to a home shopper as they go from community to community, looking at seemingly endless possibilities.

Shore suggests your sales presentation is key. What is different? What will really stand out in your buyer's mind?  What can you do to make your buyer feel differently about your community than all the others they have visited?

Again, we'll suggest the power of touch!  Let them browse through floorplans that meet their criteria, check out what's going on in the neighborhood that meets their needs (walking trails for one; nearby medical facilities for another), move some furniture around to see how things will look ( we've illustrated the Move it/Move it feature offered by SalesTouch above).

Engage your consumer; stand out in the marketplace; it's all possible with touch!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day: We Remember

This weekend we pause to remember those who died in service to our country.

We remember those who gave their "last full measure of devotion" in wars long ago and in wars we are still fighting.

We will never forget their sacrifice.

And, we pay tribute to all those who have served our country. Within our CPS community, we remember and thank family members for their service:

Bob's father, Robert Musa (US Marines, retired);
Chris' father, Michael Lott (US Navy, retired);
Sean's father, Glenn Miyazaki (US Air Force, retired);
Troy's brother, John (serving today in the US Air Force in Alaska);
Zoe's father and brother, Charles and Wilson Miller (US Army).

Bob Strickland, one of CPS' founders, spent many a cold day in Alaska with the US Air Force!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Multifamily Marketing: Keeping the 12 Must-Haves in Mind

Great article in Multifamily Executive suggesting developers and property managers need to be sure their property responds to the 12 "must-haves" in order to stay competitive and applealing to Gen-Y.  Take a look at the article by Jane Wolkowicz, based on discussion with KTGY's Rohit Anand and Bozzuto Group's Jeff Kayce, here -- it focuses on areas ranging from fitness centers (please, don't call them "rec" centers!) to finishes to sustainability.

Some of the "must haves" might seem cross-generational (e.g., location, location, location!); however, two standout because they probably apply more to Gen-Y than any other segment:

(1) The Leasing Experience today is not what it once was

Keeping your leasing space relevant & creative!
Remember private leasing agent spaces -- so necessary for lease signing? Gen-Y renters don't value that private space, as much. 

They're more interested, according to Kayce, in using leasing office space as a lounge for socializing with current and prospective tenants.

CPS' experience with SalesTouch, our interactive touchscreen system, bears this "must have" out; agents tell us tenants come back into the leasing office and use the touchscreen system after move-in.  They're interested in locating restaurants, shopping, recreation -- all the items displayed as "hot spots" in the touch presentation.  And, they bring their friends with them!

So..not only does the leasing office need an area to encourage socializing but..it has to be relevant to your renters.  Not just a space, in other words!

(2) Staying creative is key

Innovation, says Kaye, is critical as Gen Y wants environments that are fresh, creative and distinctive. 

Here at CPS, we suggest installing an interactive touchscreen system signals an innovative owner/property manager, one that keeps up with the latest in technology and delivers on that message.  Turns out, that's a great signal to send Gen-Y prospects!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Builders and Developers: Shifting from a Sales-Oriented to Experience-Oriented Model

Brent Williamson, writing in Multifamily Insiders, talks what it would be like to be an employee in an exceptional community. Take a look at the complete blog here;  he discusses how an employee views working in such a community, how that view impacts confidence in the product as well as influencing the entire operational experience.  He summarizes:

Creating a community that truly provides a memorable experience
shifts work from a sales-oriented model
to an experience-oriented model.

Prospects use SalesTouch to create memorable experiences!
Every business must analyze costs and benefits -- and some find it difficult to evaluate so-called "soft benefits" although the costs tend to be fairly straightforward.  Adding "soft benefit" sales/leasing office amenities and employee tools generally requires additional monetary investment; however, Williamson suggests the added costs, when properly allocated and understood, will result in significant rewards -- and monetary ones, at that! 

Williams recounts hearing Ann Sadovsky saying, in a recent webinar, that the top reason people work is to make an impact and feel they are part of something special. Spending decisions for a perceived"soft benefit" that is recognizable and improves employee morale can have a long-term profitability impacts -- through a quicker sales cycle, decreased turnover/cancellations, reductions in unnecessary advertising/collateral materials and decreased employee turnover.  In other words, those benefits can be calculated!

What would help create memorable experiences at your property?  We'd like to suggest that an interactive touchscreen does exactly that!  Prospects and employees consistently mention enjoying the experience associated with touchscreen use -- as well as easy accessibility to information, enhancing a "green strategy" with decreased use of pre-printed brochures and the ability to "signal" we've invested in you!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Interactive Touchscreens: Understanding Desired Outcomes

Currently, there's quite a bit of discussion in the "blogosphere" about "Stealing the Experience." Mike Wittenstein has written recently about this; you can see a blog post here.

If you haven't seen the articles, the concept implies creating copy, content, even complete environments based upon what is working for other brands or businesses.  The goal: quick solutions to a need or a changing environment.
Delivering content designed to enhance the experience!

"Stealing an Experience" doesn't work, says Wittenstein, because the experience depends on the business culture, environment and product -- and, most importantly, the customer.

As a result, every business needs to understand the customer's desired outcome and then focus on delivering towards that outcome.

When CPS designs a touchscreen system, we always ask about the product, the consumer, the demographic.  If the product is 55+ housing, does it make sense to "hot spot" schools?  Sometimes, the answer might be "yes," and the experience is enhanced by including schools -- and the consumer thinks: "These people understand 55+ consumers may need to think about schools!"  In other cases, highlighting schools only makes the consumer think: "Why does this system spend so much time talking about schools?"  Notice the word "system" in that sentence!!

Your interactive touchscreen system needs to incorporate appropriate outcomes to become part of a successful buyer experience.  If it does, it brings value to your customers and profits to your business!

Friday, May 11, 2012

HomeBuilders: Your Team as Content Providers - Part II

Recently, we suggested homebuilders consider using their Construction Team to create relevant content for website and other social media outlets.  The trend towards social and mobile media -- coupled with content "commoditization"-- suggests every business needs to locate sources for cost-effective content (the highlighted Forrester Research study provides a great jumping-off point for a thorough discussion on this subject).

How might you move forward with this idea?  Internal sources to consider might include using team members as subject matter experts, developing information that is relevant to your business processes (for example, using CPS' construction scheduling software, FieldConnect Mobile, to post "stage of construction photos) and providing information to educate your buyers (such as a "behind the walls" video discussing how your homes are built). 
Builders creating relevant website/social media content!
We were really thrilled to see an example come to life: William Lyon Homes just published a YouTube video featuring one of their project managers,  Patrick McCabe, talking about the impact of William Lyon Homes in his life (his family moved into a Lyon home when he was 2 years old!). We've enjoyed working with him over the years; take a look here!

Another great suggestion for builder-generated content was provided by new home sales trainer and  marketing guru, Jeff Shore: ask your sales agents to create their own "walk thru" video describing a home recently toured by a prospect.  All they need is a smart phone The agent is able to quickly recap what features the prospect liked, how the floorplan met their needs and add additional educational information, as well.  Who wouldn't love receiving this type of follow-up email?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Builders: How are you taking the Connected Customer into consideration?

A recent article by Brian Solis, Meet Generation C: The Connected Customer, makes a startling point: "the gap between how Gen Y communicates and connects and how businesses, educators, governments, et al. approach them is only widening."  You can read this very intriguing article here.

Connecting to today's "new" Customer: Different Strategies Needed
Solis goes on to say, "I often wonder whether or not we are simply trying to talk to ourselves in our approach to Millennials."

Should you examine this gap or worry about it?  Here are a few numbers that suggest anyone selling anything needs to care:

 --- Millennials trust strangers over friends and family; they lean on UGC for purchases (that's user-generated content)
--- They are 3X as likely to follow a brand over a family member in social networks
--- 66% will look up a store if they see a friend check-in.

But, Solis suggests, this techno-focus isn't just about age.  There is now a "class of consumer" that can be referred to as "the Connected Customer" and their behavior and habits mimic those associated with Millennials in that traditional marketing efforts aren't very influential in their decision-making process.

At a minimum, it appears the traditional marketing "funnels" are no longer appropriate; we need to consider multiple engagement strategies.  Do you have ways for prospects to "check-in" at your sales offices; do you have at least one "non-traditional and/or experiential" display as compared to the traditional wall images (think: touchscreen, iPad), are you building your brand using technology?

Did you know women rule the Connected Customer world?  As builders, it might make sense to review thoughts about women-centric design and marketing.  Check out our blog on March 2!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

iPad and iPhone: New Tools for HomeBuilder Construction

Just saw an interesting article in Mashable's iPad for Business Series (you can review here).  For the last several months, Mashable has been suggesting that iPads and iPhones are an "excellent, super-portable addition to the workplace (in addition, of course, to being great devices for viewing videos, playing games and surfing the web!).

Homebuilders: iPad Use IEnhances Construction Process
The latest article, 3 Innovative Business Uses for the iPad, reinforces this thought, identifying specific business scenarios (such as Point of Sale) focused on the iPad's "ability to go green, to collaborate and to increase productivity." 

All 3 of those iPad capabilities are critical to homebuilder construction operations.  Field Managers/Superintendents are out on the jobsite: they really aren't able to (and don't like to) carry bits of paper with notes, reports and miscellaneous pieces of their office outdoors.  But...they need information to effectively perform their job (in other words, to collaborate): scheduled activities, vendor contacts, buyer selections.  And, everyone is interested in increasing productivity (in homebuilding terms: increased carry rates).

CPS' FieldConnect Mobile -- using either an iPad or iPhone -- effectively tackles those job-site needs -- and more.  FieldManagers can access their current scheduled activities -- on a job-by-job basis.   They're able to track and record progress -- collaborating with the corporate office regarding deliveries, changing requirements, vendor changes and the like.  And, they have easy (via touch!) access to vital construction information: schedules, vendors, buyers, selections.  And, there's the ability to record Safety Assessments, punch items and Quality Inspections, as well.  As well as the ability to easily record construction notes and attach photographs to lot and task activities.

Go Green, Collaborate, Increase Efficiency?  All available at your construction Field Manager's fingertips with FieldConnect iPad/iPhone use!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Homebuilders: Your Interactive Touchscreen and Women-Centric Design

We suggested in an earlier blog that a successful interactive touchscreen helps get your home shoppers more engaged in finding out about your product and they're more informed as they begin a model tour.

How can you design an effective system? No doubt you've heard us say SalesTouch is more than "just a pretty face."  Effective design is oriented towards your buyer demographic
SalesTouch Engages and Informs Home Shoppers!
We like to suggest a touchscreen system engages the home shopper from the minute they walk in your door -- providing information about your product and helping them understand how living in your community meets one or more of their needs.

Have you investigated some of the latest thinking re: woman-centric homebuilding?  A recent BuilderOnline article (available here) suggests it's not just a matter of making your website "pink" or building better laundry rooms -- it's a complete rethinking of marketing, sales and design.

A well-designed interactive touchscreen can help with this: highlighting items that fit into the "10 Commandments of Women-Centric Design" (available here on a successful Maine-based builder's website).  Focus on lifestyle (how close schools and shopping are to your community), highlight specialty items (lazy Susans and open-wire shelving in your kitchens) -- in other words, use the touchscreen to describe how your product is more livable in their terms.

It's all about engaging your home shopper and informing them how your product can help meet their needs!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

CRM 2.0: Helping Homebuilder Agents Become Better Salespeople

No doubt you've heard the expression, "Now, there is a born salesperson!"

Have you really thought about that statement? Who really is born a sales person?  Or, an engineer, software developer or nurse, for that matter?  From a practical standpoint, people are born; everything after that, it can be argued, is based upon learning and choices.

Robert Clay, in his Marketing Wizdom blog, suggests that, while everyone utilizes selling skills in one way or another, very few salespeople have had formal training in selling technique or strategy.  And, too much of even formal training, he feels, is merely passing information from one person to another in a corporate setting.  Clay goes on to say, "Effective selling is not just a matter of a sales spiel, having the gift of gabor or using manipulative techniques."

Rather, Clay says, "Effective selling is a process of leading, guiding, educating and directing your buyers."  And, that's where an effective CRM system helps!

How can your sales agents lead, guide, educate or direct without some form of organization?  How can they keep track of who received a follow-up phone call or wanted more information about the school district?  And, the effective salesperson knows each prospect's needs and wants -- but very few can remember all of them after a day or two -- or, more importantly, a month!

CRM can bring organization and consistency to not only an organization -- but every participating salesperson.  It will help your agents communicate with prospects, nurture them, identify the best prospects and provide ongoing information oriented towards making a purchase decision.

Interested in how your agents can become better salespeople and increase sales?  We'd be happy to demo CRM 2.0 and talk about the power of the process!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Homebuilders: Use CRM Effectively to Maximize Co-op Sales

Are you in a market that offers closing compensation to outside buyer agents (often referred to as co-op agents)?  Statistically speaking, a vast majority of new home communities utilize co-op agents although the practice tends to wax and wane depending on the state of the real estate market.
Homebuilder CRM: Co-op Agents are Critical in this Process

If you are part of the majority, no doubt you recognize both of you have the same objective: closing sales.  And, in some parts of the country, co-op agents represent somewhere between 70-90% of closed sales.  That's a fairly significant percentage!

What are you doing to maximize your co-op agent traffic and sales?  If you know co-op agents represent such a hefty percentage, doesn't it make sense to direct a significant effort to introducing them to your product, inviting them to new community openings and generally, keeping in close contact with this significant part of your business?

Many new homebuilders utilize CRM systems; not too many take full notice of the role co-op agents play in generating traffic and sales -- or manage co-op agents any differently than prospective homebuyers.  You may send emails and be reminded to make follow-up calls; do you have an effective way to specifically market to your co-op agents -- and keep track of the results of such marketing efforts? 

Do know know who your "top producer" co-op agent is?  Which office; which individual?  How many agents are invited to "Realtor Open Houses?" How many attend?  How many attending your events sell your homes?

We'd like to introduce you to CRM 2.0 -- CRM designed for homebuilders and focused on helping you maximize your co-op agent pool.  Take a look here -- and contact CPS for a full-featured demonstration of CRM software designed for you!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

HomeBuilders: A Marketing Tool for New vs. Used Home Discussion

A recent Los Angeles Times article by Kenneth R. Harney (you can read it here) suggests home builders have modified their marketing process to confront the potential appeal of foreclosures to homebuyers. 

Harney mentions the expenses home shoppers are likely to encounter if they purchase a foreclosed home -- ranging from appliances to flooring to cabinets to plumbing and, of course, we've heard the horror stories about the "behind the walls" costs, as well.
Selling New Homes vs. Used: There's more to this story!
He goes on to highlight advantages offered by a new home: energy efficiency, ability to select options/upgrades and ease of financing with new home construction.

Harney suggests that home buyers seriously consider the potential risks but...he doesn't mention all the other marketing opportunities home builders have to present the new home in the most positive manner.

Marketing opportunities such as...schools, neighborhood features including shopping, dining, recreation, builder reputation, floorplan options (wouldn't you rather than bedroom 5 than a den, for example?).  All of the "feed good" elements that home builders can offer when they determine the home shopper's needs and objectives.

That's where an interactive touchscreen presentation really shines ...and makes the New vs. Used evaluation process even more persuasive.  Home builders can get assertive about the comparison without being negative.

Home builders are able to take advantage of these marketing opportunities because they control the sales environment...why not maximize the possibilities offered with an interactive touchscreen highlighting your best features?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

HomeBuilder Construction Scheduling: Smartphones & Tablets Add Features

Are you an Operations Director or Manager in the home building world?  Field Manager? Superintendent? 
FieldConnect Mobile for your iPhone!

Do you think an iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone or tablet brings anything "extra" to your construction scheduling universe?  Apart from goodies such as easy-to-scroll lot lists or the ability to pinch/expand screens?  Take a look at FieldConnect Mobile to see how a cross-platform job-site scheduling tool takes advantage of the hardware you are carrying around in your pocket!

We'd like to suggest thinking about your phone or tablet in a slightly different (perhaps, more casual) fashion for a minute.  Does it have a camera?  See a problem with the header on Lot 26? Take a photo and include it in a task note, punch list or email directly to your sub!

Using an Android device? Now, you can walk your jobsite and "talk" your task notes using the phone.  "What?" you might ask.  You've seen the ability to switch keyboards -- one choice is a microphone.  It turns speech into text!  No more typing, using a stylus or trying to keep up.  Speech-to-text makes input straightforward.

FieldConnect Mobile..selected as a 2012 Top Product by Constructech...we'd love to show you more of the reasons why!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Signs of a Successful Interactive Touchscreen Installation

Is there a way to measure the success of an Interactive Touchscreen Installation?

We'd like to suggest the answer is, "YES!" with the caveat that every client needs to step back and ask, "What was our objective when we selected the interactive touchscreen?"  And, no doubt there are multiple reasons!  We'll be addressing a number of them in this blog over the next few days.

Interactive Touchscreen Systems Engage Shoppers!
1. Shoppers Get Engaged

Many of our touchcreen systems located in a new home sales office have, as their primary objective, engaging prospects as they enter the office -- meaning stopping them upon entering and encouraging them to interact with the product.

Traditionally, these offices have had static signage -- a topo table, information on the walls, brochures. How many of your prospects breeze in, say "Just looking!" and walk right out of the office into a model?  Not much time to talk about what makes your community unique-- features, amenities, "behind the walls," energy efficiency -- or determining the shoper's needs and wants.

A well-designed interactive touchscreen system draws prospects into identifying their needs and wants as they "find out more" by browsing your product through touchable items.  Your "just looking" home shopper is presented with visually appealing images drawing their attention.  Not too many prospects will turn to page 11 in the brochure to find out about energy savings; but, most will touch the light bulb illustrating energy savings.  It's quick, speaks to their need to know and information-packed.

What do our clients tell us is the first sign of a successful touchscreen system?  Engaged prospects who actually "pre-qualify" themselves!  They know more about your product, have specific questions for the agent and enjoy being in an environment that is "technology-forward."

Friday, February 17, 2012

Multifamily Properties Find Value in Interactive Touchscreen Presentations

People ask us, "Does an interactive touchscreen make sense in a multifamily development?"  In other words, they're asking does a touchscreen system offer any advantages compared to a topo table or traditional brochures and..is it a cost effective choice?

Interactive touchscreens: Providing value-added information
The answer -- based on almost 5 years experience with both touchscreen systems and multifamily properties -- is a resounding "Yes!"

What does this new marketing tool bring to a leasing office?  We think there are at least 3 key points:

(1) Interactive touchscreen systems engage prospects from the minute they walk into your leasing office.  They'll start touching your product as soon as they walk up to the monitor -- and continue touching it to find out information. 

They're engaged and inquisitive -- we suggest comparing that type of behavior to a standard brochure or wall-mounted renderings for a minute.

(2) Well-designed interactive touchscreen systems provide value-added information that encourages prospects to think about living in your property: amenities, local "hot spots", recreation -- whatever appeals to your demographic.  And, this information "builds" your brand as being knowledgeable and in touch with your demographic.

Are you right in the midst of a burgeoning "arts scene" -- let your prospects know this with both visual cues as well as information about what's available in the neighborhood!  Now, your prospect can start thinking about attending openings, taking classes, going out to dinner -- as a result of your property!

(3) Interactive touchscreens answer questions immediately and can create a sense of urgency.  Your property will go from an amorphous 750 units to just 2 when a prospect "searches" for a 2-bedroom with a pool view! 

That capability to "create urgency" also works to your advantage as prospects "self-qualify" and take up less agent time.  You're adding a virtual agent to your staff!

We've always said a well-designed interactive touchscreen system is more than just a pretty face; now, you know some of the reasons multifamily executives are selecting them for their new properties!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

CPS' FieldConnect Mobile Selected as Constructech Top Product

OK...sometimes we have to step back and blow our own horn!  Today is one of those days as we're thrilled to announce FieldConnect Mobile was selected by Constructech as a 2012 Top New Product!

FieldConnect Mobile: 2012 Top Product!
What makes FieldConnect Mobile worthy of notice?  Constructech says they selected: " ...technology solutions that have demonstrated the greatest innovations geared toward the homebuilding market."

FieldConnect Mobile definitely meets that criteria: it provides a cross-platform construction scheduling tool for Field Managers to use on the job-site. That means Field Managers can select either an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet -- they're not tied to a specific device and they can probably use something already in their pocket!

What's really important, however, is what our homebuilder clients say about FieldConnect Mobile and how it improves their construction process, reduces cycle time, increases carry rates and improves communications:

"Easy-to-use software; works like my project flows; keeps my subs informed when schedules change;"

"Provides lot-by-lot schedules;"

"Gives me a tool that not only schedules but keeps my subcontractors up-to-date with the Collaborate portal;"

"Allows me to take pictures and publish them so my homebuyers can see the stage of construction images -- and allows me to remind subcontractors of problems before we can too far along;"

"Appreciate the fact that I can schedule both single-family and multifamily projects using the same software."

Thank you, Constructech, for recognizing FieldConnect Mobile as a software solution designed to help home builders build more effectively and efficiently!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

New Home Sales Agents: Is there a Tablet in Your Future?

We've been talking about the Tablet Revolution over the last several weeks and... we wanted to check if you think there's a tablet in your future? And, if the answer is "Yes," how will you use it to sell?
Stainless or Black Appliances? Tile or wood floring? All here!

CPS has been putting SalesTouch featuring large, interactive touchscreens out into new home sales offices, information centers and leasing offices for about 4 years. 

Everyone tells us: People want the touch experience! There's no getting around the popularity of the SalesTouch experience.  Prospects like the interaction, they want information more quickly than a brochure typically provides and they like to self-serve.

Now, SalesBuilder Mobile is ready for the sales office! It puts all your community information in front of the prospect and makes it interactive in really exciting ways.  Wonder what the Plan 2 kitchen would look like with stainless appliances and a tile floor? And, what the cost would be? It's all there at your fingertips!

So...here's the big question for sales agents: how would you use SalesBuilder Mobile as part of your presentation? Introduce the community and let them self-serve? Or, use it during a home tour?

Will you be in Orlando for IBS2012? You're invited to stop by our booth (W4943) and let us know how the Tablet Revolution can help you sell more homes!

If you're with your construction team: send them over, too!  We have FieldConnect Mobile for them -- lot-by-lot construction scheduling on iOS and Android tablets!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Construction Field Managers: "Tablet Revolution" includes you!

 
Smartphones and tablets are changing the way almost every business does business.

The reasons vary but we can say that communication is at the heart -- whether you're presenting beautiful products,  providing information for off-site employees, doublechecking a phone number, photographing a problem ... business uses are as varied as the number of businesses. 
Construction field managers have had the opportunity to utilize mobile devices (remember PDA's?) for several years.  There wasn't a "standard" environment across devices, however, so scheduling programs typically had to be designed for a specific mobile device.  If you didn't have the "right" device...you'd either have to change or add another device to your toolbelt!

Now, widespread acceptance of iOS and Android smart phones/tablets have encouraged/enabled developers to design for a large portion of the market.  Yes, there are others but -- at least for now -- iOS and Android are the major smartphone/tablet operating environments; lots of construction personnel already have them and scheduling programs need to be available across both platforms.

Why should Field Managers get enthused about CPS' new cross-platform FieldConnect Mobile? First, they're able to use phones and tablets they already have -- no additional expense.  Then, they can starting improving both their business processes and communications.  Current FieldConnectMobile builder clients report measurable critical business benefits: decreased cycle times and increased carry rates.  And, there are the "softer-side" benefits, too: ease-of-use, access to buyer/vendor data on the jobsite, better communications with vendors and the ability to incorporate "built-in" features such as cameras and voice recognition. 

We like to talk about "connectivity" -- and there are many components to that phrase.  FieldConnect Mobile changes the construction "connectivity" game with anytime/anywhere scheduling that works on virtually all of today's smartphones and tablets.  And, we'll be demonstrating these benefits at NAHB's IBS2012 in Orlando next month!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sales Training: How Do You Communicate Your Advantage?

Robert Clay, in his Marketing Wizdom Tips No. 1 & 2, suggests asking yourself, "Why should someone buy from me?"

Their unique Selling Proposition is very clear!
There are a number of components involved, in order to answer that question, including a Commitment Statement, a journey "Behind the Scenes," a Positioning Statement and an irresistible offer.  Have you developed any of those components? 

And, more importantly, how do your salespeople articulate these components?  Are they able to communicate your advantage to every prospect that walks in the door?  Interactive touchscreen systems can help; however, how your sales force addresses the components is critical.

That's where sales training comes into play! Everyone in your organization needs to be able to easily and clearly communicate your selling proposition -- and you need to be able to coach your agents through the communication process.

Are you attending IBS2012 in Orlando? There are a number of great Sales & Marketing seminars available at IBS and we'd like to suggest Pulse2012 - a free sales and marketing event featuring Jeff Shore -- a nationally know sales trainer.  Information is available here:

https://www.builderwebapps.com/pulse/

Monday, January 16, 2012

What is Your Unique Selling Proposition?

Why should someone buy from you?

Robert Clay, in his blog, Marketing Wizdom Tips No. 1 & 2, suggests that fewer than one business in a thousand can answer that question in a compelling manner. 

Are you that powerful number one or a member of the anonymous 999?
Don't you agree: there's a unique selling proposition here?
Can you tell someone what differentiates your business, what's unique, offering a superior benefit or providing something irresistible? 

There's actually at least two elements involved in that conversation: your actual unique selling proposition and how you tell that story.  We'll let you work on what is unique as we concentrate on telling the story.

Communicating your benefits quickly, clearly and effectively is critical -- and an interactive touchscreen will help.  Guaranteed.  Have you been in a sales location that has one?  It brings energy; immediately engaging visitors and getting them involved in your product. 

We're going to be at the International Builders Show in Orlando, Feb. 8-10.  Talking about our unique selling proposition as we demonstrate how we can help you communicate yours -- stop by!