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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Putting Digital Tablets to Work in Your New Home Sales Office

Did you know 2015 digital tablet sales are scheduled to surpass PC sales worldwide?  Tablets -- whether iPad, Android or Microsoft Surface -- are changing what can be referred to as the computing world by providing a very user-friendly experience that meets the many needs of today's businesses and their connected customer.

Our Solutions Blog (back in 2012) talked about the Connected Customer as a "class of consumer" whose behavior and habits mimic, says Brian Solis in Meet Generation C, those associated with Millenials in that traditional marketing efforts aren't very influential in their decision-making process.

At a minimum, it appears the traditional marketing "funnels" aren't as effective and that businesses should consider multiple engagement strategies. We've mentioned tradigital previously -- taking traditional marketing processes and applying digital technology for an enhanced result.  Think about the ways your prospects register at the sales office -- why not add a digital registration tablet or kiosk?  Start your CRM process with an engaging consumer experience!

Another idea: take the traditional sales brochure and turn it into digital exploration!  There's an opportunity to take a large touchscreen presentation and use it on a Windows Surface tablet -- or create an entirely new iPad/Android downloadable app for your prospect to browse in the sales office and at home.

An added benefit associated with adding tradigital: adding a memorable customer experience that enhances the sales process for your agents. It's a soft benefit that can result in improved employee morale with long-term profitability impacts through a quicker sales cycle, decreased turnover, reductions in collateral materials and decreased employee turnover.  Those benefits can be calculated!

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


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It's What You Say -- and How You Say It -- that Can Provide a Competitive Advantage

There's a recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Stefanos Chen (you can read it online here) noting sales agents in Los Angeles seeking a competitive edge might want to brush up on their Armenian language skills.

Trulia reviewed agent profiles across the US and found many salespeople speak languages in addition to English -- and that certain metro areas are now becoming "global markets" in terms of diversity in both agents, buyers and sellers.

Reach out using co-op agents and tradigital tools!
How is your marketing program addressing this increased diversity?  What tools can be added to provide you with a competive advantage?

In an earlier Solutions blog, we discussed the value of  building a co-op agent team to assist in opening new markets with a focus on demographics unique to your community.  Jim Park, at a recent REALTORS Conference & Expo, reminded his audience that the Asian community is frequently missed when surveying the ethnic market.  He comments, "The last category usually is 'other.' Well, the 'other' community has a lot of people in it."  Asian-Americans have higher incomes, on average, and they prefer buying new homes!

Reaching-out via co-op agents is one strategy; another idea is adding tradigital marketing tools and GO Interactive! CPS' interactive touchscreen system, SalesTouch, offers the ability to display a multilingual presentation.  Put a button on the presentation's "main layer" and offer, if you're in Chicago:  English, Polish and Greek -- or, if you're selling in Southern California:  English, Armenian and Korean. 

An interactive presentation also provides a great way to drill down into the surrounding neighborhood so your buyers know that your location meets their needs.  Highlight schools, restaurants, shopping areas that appeal to your diverse clientele.  Let them know they're Close to Everything that is important in their home search. 

Co-op agent teams, tradigital: great ways to speak your buyer's language and gain that competitive edge!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Turning Customers into Brand Ambassadors

No doubt, you've heard the stories of businesses that Go Above & Beyond for their customers -- handwritten follow-up notes, baked cookies, even gifts at the end of a long airplane ride!

There's a terrific MarketingProfs article about customer relationship initiatives (you can read it here). The author, Brandon Sawalich, points out the key to a good relationship is day-in, day-out engagement.

You've offered either a positive one-on-one experience or some sort of event; now, how do you keep the momentum going.  And, do it cost-effectively, day-in/day-out?

The customer experience doesn't need "big bang" moments all the time...but it does require an ongoing focus on the customer. 

Take a look at the CPS-designed Whole Foods Customer Comment Board image to the right. It solicits comments from customers -- about anything. Store personnel responses are published back to the Board. The Board provides for proactive customer service and the process effectively addresses the 5 key elements of positive engagement mentioned in Sawalich's article:

Listen -- How do you know what your customers want and need? Ask; then listen to the answers.

Engage -- Respond to their answers to #1.  An added bonus: doing it in an inviting manner.

Take initiative -- Anticipate your customer's needs.  Don't you love the businesses that provide an at-the-door umbrella stand when it's pouring rain? Or, the misters keeping you cool at the outdoor restaurant? Whole Foods publishes Weekly Specials on the Board -- as well as a Store Event Calendar. Customers know they can find the latest as soon as they walk in the store.

Personalize -- That's the human touch reaching out to the individual consumer. It doesn't have to be major: address them by name in your follow-up, keep notes in their customer file so you can customize your conversation. The Whole Foods Board encourages shoppers to reach out and thank store employees, by name, for outstanding service.

Get your employees on board -- Sawalich reminds us: you need employees who are willing to go the extra mile. And, encouraging that behavior needs to be something you do everyday.

Big events are great; Sawalich reminds us that "little things" ensure your customers get a consistent, high-quality experience -- and that motivates them to keep coming back for more! 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Twice as many American consumers prefer newly built homes!

Were you aware of that statistic? It's discussed in a recent Builderonline article -- and based on an April 2014 Harris Poll. You can read the details here.

Let buyers tour the Neighborhood with an interactive map!
Top reasons for the new home preference? Modern features (think bigger closets and kitchen islands), customization options (such as kitchen islands or pre-wired bedrooms, kitchens, family rooms) and maintenance/repair savings.

One interesting item is the number of times respondents mention "the neighborhood" as important in their homebuying decision.

How does your new home marketing address these buying considerations?

Here's where "tradigital" marketing tools can enhance your sales office to stand out and address home shopper needs: add an interactive touchscreen system to highlight solutions to these stated home shopper objectives!

Let your home shopper customize their home with interactive structural options (add the bonus room, build out the basement, try on bedroom 4 instead of the den). Then, encourage them to email the results to anyone/everyone! Or, print their customized floor plan in the sales office to review at home.

SalesTouch mark-up encourages buyers to highlight key features
Use CPS' SalesTouch mark-up feature to highlight what's special in your kitchen (the island, the double oven).

Address energy savings in the presentation, too! Millennial and boomer buyers -- both rank energy savings and green in their Top 3 objectives in a new home.

Let your home shopper virtually tour their new neighborhood -- exploring shopping, dining, schools, recreation -- the amenities your demographic prize.

We're available to help design your SalesTouch interactive presentation so you can see how tradigital will maximize your marketing process.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Retail Wait Warp: what can you do?

Retail wait warp? Is this some new Star Trek activity?

Not really, but...the term implies changing your retail customer's perception of their time in a checkout line.

No one likes waiting in line; that's something everyone agrees on. We can also agree that the checkout line experience heavily influences your customer's opinion of the entire shopping experience.

A recent Irisys blog notes, "People's perception of elapsed time when waiting is fairly accurate up to a minute and a half; after this point, they tend to over estimate how long the wait was."   In a sense, people's wait perceptions get exaggerated (one might even say warped!). Thus, it's even more important to proactively manage the experience.

There are a variety of methods to reduce perceived wait time. POS activity (messaging, for example) is a possibility -- as is having staff members interact with shoppers when possible.

Key, however, is a single file line -- or multiple lines with a specific target. A single line removes any question about who is next in line.Uncertainty generates anxiety -- and that anxiety negatively influences the experience. Multiple lines with a single target allow your shopper to select a line and know that it will be effectively managed, as well.

Managed lines maximize the wait warp as everyone senses the process is optimized. The wait experience itself is warped!

Talk to us here at CPS about QuikLine -- warp your retail stores with automated line management!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tradigital Marketing: How You Can Maximize Results

Great Tanya Williams blog in DigitalSignageToday (you can read more here) pinpointing the paradigm shift underway regarding the way people consume marketing messages.

We've mentioned the transition from broadcast messaging to narrowcasting; at the same time, Williams suggests traditional marketing might be the conversation starter but digital is the new destination.

Traditional sales centers utilize interactive touchscreens
In other words, we can't think either/or.  It's not "traditional" vs. "digital" -- today's messaging needs to utilize the current and add digital to produce "tra-digital"  to generate better results.

What does this mean in real terms? Let's take a look at supermarkets as an illustration: you still see passive signage highlighting specials as well as weekly promo flyers.  No doubt your Sunday paper (if there is one!!) is filled with these flyers.

That traditional messaging is augmented by digital platforms such as point of purchase digital signage, automated line management systems and digital customer comment boards.

Point of Sales messaging + queue management
Williams highlights digital's ability to enhance the marketing message process (think: updated digital signage in minutes vs. printing, shipping, posting traditional signs) even as she combats "I can't afford to implement digital signage into my business" comments. Her "You can't afford not to!" response might sound a bit glib, at first.

Conduct a cost/benefit analysis, suggests Williams, and perform a competitive analysis, too.  What are your competitors doing? If you walk into your location, how does it compare to a tradigital one? Try a phased approach, she suggests; implement key locations first and tweak as you roll out. But...get started!!

CPS can assist you in this transition: our SalesTouch interactive touchscreen systems complement passive signage in sales/leasing centers; Customer Comment Boards are proactive customer service contact points and QuikLine manages  the "wait warp" inherent in busy retail locations.