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!