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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!