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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Multifamily Amenities Marketing: Pet Spas Replacing No Pets Allowed

Believe it or not, it's only been about 20 years since "No Pets Allowed" signs were commonplace in the majority of multifamily properties!

Today, you'll see an abundance of pet-friendly communities offering a wide variety of amenities to entice pet-owning prospects to become tenants.

Making Your Property's Story Engaging and Visually Appealing!
What do you know about Pet Spas? For one, they're becoming more and more available at high-end properties.  Pet Spas provide a range of services from self-serve washing stations to specialized care and treatments by professionals.  Need to board for a week? There are facilities right at the property.

Pet-owning tenants are drawn to properties that cater to human as well as pet needs.  By providing these amenities in addition to concierge services, sports bars and in-property office space, developers are meeting lifestyle needs.  Today's pet owners frequently see their pets as family members -- and desire property services meeting their needs for convenience as well as providing essential peace of mind.

Looking for an engaging and informative way to highlight property amenities to prospects? We suggest an interactive touchscreen system capable of telling your neighborhood and property story -- as well as offering full details regarding floor plans and availability.

CPS' SalesTouch system can be wall-mounted or offered in an easy-to-use kiosk or topo table style. We offer real-time integration with a number of 3rd party inventory/availability software packages, too.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Builders: Getting Proactive With Construction Data

Did you have a chance to read our last Blog (it's here!).

We highlighted a recent Builderonline article: Pain Points: Win or Learn by John McManus.  He focused on 3 things that matter most for builders this morning!

And, those 3 things are within every builder's control (vs. those you can't control such as weather, the economy, etc). Not just large builders, or public builders, or small mom-and-pop builders. All builders.

Information Helps Clarify Vision!
The first was sales.  The second is taking those sales to completions.

That is, the construction cycle. You're able to evaluate how your construction process is delivering by reviewing specific information: cycle time and, in turn,  profitability.

McManus suggests: you work with greater velocity or... you learn the pain.

Greater velocity can't be measured in the abstract, however.  Other factors -- and they are measurable -- have to come into the equation or profitability is a one-time gain with a short life.

What are you doing to consider those other variables? Do you know which vendors show up on time, or have the highest level of rework, have safety issues consistently, always fail field inspections? That information helps shape a long range vision of your construction cycle and help deliver consistently better results.

We're suggesting FieldCollaborate -- including the  available web Portal for vendors and home buyers -- will help.  It's not just scheduling but reporting on quality items, delivery times, subcontractor consistency, safety assessments and punch items.  It all helps highlight factors impacting your construction cycle and allows you to be proactive about the next lot, phase and community -- and design for long-term profitability.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Builders: Proactive Translates Well to Productive and Profitable

Builderonline's recent Pain Points: Win or Learn article by John McManus highlighted a timely point: 3 things matter most for builders this morning!

And, all 3 things are within every builder's control (vs. those you can't control such as weather, the economy, etc). Not just large builders, or public builders, or small mom-and-pop builders. All builders.

This Blog will focus on the first controllable: sales.  Everyone has their eye on trends, projections and actual sales. Sales are important because they're not just a clearly identifiable way to measure actual vs. budget but provide insight into what your buyer profile is looking for in a home and where your product stands in terms of delivering.

What are you doing to make sure your story is being told most effectively?

Using technology to tell your story!
Today's buyer -- whether Millennial, GenX or BabyBoomer -- is using technology to search, review and rate communities and homes.

Yesterday's broadcast marketing (same information to all participants) doesn't meet today's buyer's need for individual focused narrowcasting addressing their objectives.

Have you taken a look at interactive sales presentations?

Are your buyers focused on neighborhood, schools, recreation?  Tell that story with an interactive map highlighting the interesting, unusual and local favorites.

How about the variety of home customization options offered? Let your buyers mix/match the options to "build" their new home! Offer them the ability to "mark up" the plan with notes, names and wishes and then email it to study at home. This home shopper just transitioned from the brochure floor plan to their home!

Let technology not only tell your story but inform your buyer that you understand their stories, hopes, dreams and needs.  Every buyer segment responds to this message!

CPS has been providing interactive touchscreen systems since 2008; ask us to show you how SalesTouch can enhance your current marketing program and help address the first controllable: sales!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Builders: How to Improve Your Field Inspection Pass Rate

RealtorMag recently highlighted an alarming fact: About 45% of residential field inspections reveal a code violation. 

How does your construction process measure up?

Add Quality Inspections into your schedules!
Are you encountering improperly placed anchor bolts, missing blocking for braced wall panels or inadequately measured horizontal space planned for stairways?

These issues are identified as Top 10 code violations in the Journal Of Light Construction (in a Feb. 5, 2016 article, Top 10 Code Violations).

Do you have any idea about your Top 10?

We've been blogging about the interest in building quality in during the construction process. Did you know that construction scheduling software can help you identify issues before they get to the stage of a failed inspection?

Take a look at your construction schedule: do you have Quality Inspection tasks included in your task list?  Or, are you relying on someone "catching" an issue during a stage walk through -- when they're already busy or, even, overloaded with other tasks?  Or, do you wait until a failed inspection to repair? There goes efficiency on that job!

Or, worse,  does the organization wait for a problem to be caught by your home buyer during the walkthrough?  You need issue-free walkthroughs to generate buyer referrals! Facebook and other social media platforms are only too available to record issues and complaints.

Put Quality Inspection tasks into your construction schedule as the last item to satisfy a Milestone. Then, the schedule can't be considered on-time as the Milestone can't be completed until the Quality Inspection is processed.

CPS has been helping builders build in quality with FieldCollaborate since the 90's -- ask us to show you how FieldCollaborate will help you become more efficient with greater accuracy and happier homeowners!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Co-Op Agents Helping Home Builders Sell to Millenials

This year, it seems, is all about Millennials. In 2015, they surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation's largest living generation.

A recent John Burns Consulting report found that, by sheer numbers, the generation is huge and their impact on home design and home sales will be huge, as well.

68% of Millennials interviewed only 1 resale agent!
Those facts and studies make a recent Visual Capitalist article, Millennials are Buying Their First Homes and Here's What They Want, particularly eye-catching.

Particularly this statistic: 90% used a real estate agent or broker to buy a home.

And, 68% interviewed only 1 agent. 

44% self-identify as belonging to a minority race or ethnic group.

These numbers suggest that it is worthwhile getting your co-op agent game on!

We have several suggestions to develop and nurture your co-op agent pool:

  • Make sure your CRM system enables you to identify and track co-agents and their prospects!
  • Then, you'll be able to send targeted emails to these agents highlighting available homes, features and special events.
  • You'll also be able to use your CRM system to manage special events, such as agent lunches and wine & cheese get togethers so you're able to manage the invitation list and know who attended.
  • Why not schedule "drop in" events at a local broker's office and bring in a tablet with your community's interactive touchscreen presentation pre-loaded.  You can share your floor plans, options and local neighborhood amenities to remind them what is available at your community. How about a downloadable app available just for agents?
  • Remember: your co-op agents need to be able to sell your location, features and amenities just like you do!  Make it easy for them to do so by providing the materials they need.
CPS has been providing agent-friendly CRM since 1985; contact us to find out how we can help you build and nurture this increasingly important traffic source! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How to: Build in Quality in New Home Construction

 A recent Carl Seville blog, Desperately Seeking Quality, was featured in Green Building Advisor.

Associate QI with task to achieve Milestone
Great title!

Seville bemoans a shortage of skilled labor and current high volume of work combining to create knowledge and communications gaps in the field.

Seville asks: "Where is the quality control?" He says inspectors are finding a significant amount of deficient work and that field superintendents tend to rely on their subcontractors to monitor their own work.

Most would agree: quality needs to start early in the process. While it can be reviewed or measured at the end of a job, that's really too late to be effective.  At that point, quality problems mean rework is the solution -- and that's both costly and inefficient.

Having your home buyers walk their new home to discover problems doesn't build the type of relationship home builders need in today's market.   Facebook is only too happy to post photos and comments submitted by unhappy homeowners.  And, referrals are too good of a source for future business to ignore.

One effective way to build in quality is to develop Quality Inspection measures at meaningful points throughout the construction process.  Don't wait for a  builder walk check list, in other words! Your Quality Inspections don't need to measure at every milestone although that might be a reasonable initial starting point.
QI templates drill down for specifics

Are you using automated scheduling software? Make a Quality Inspection the last task of a milestone in the schedule.  In other words, the milestone can't be complete until every task -- including the Quality Inspection -- is complete. That way, your superintendent or field manager is reviewing work in a timely manner and schedules stuck at a milestone with an open QI task are easily identified within schedule progress.

CPS offers construction scheduling software providing Quality Inspection processes -- contact us and see how FieldCollaborate lets you build in quality during the construction process! And, you'll be doing it on the jobsite, in real-time with results available for your vendors, anywhere/anytime, using the Vendor Portal.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Using CRM to Extend Sales Office Hospitality

Always love seeing Amy O'Connor's posts on Jeff Shore's website.  Amy blogs in addition to providing new home sales seminars -- and she brings a great combination of insight, humor and kindness to her commentary.

Technology Will Enhance Your Welcome Message!
Recently read 3 Southern Hospitality Tips That Will Increase Your Sales and could imagine Amy asking "How's your Mama doin'?" to a sales office visitor in that great Southern drawl of hers!

Of course, not many of us could ask that question like Amy can but... got us thinking about how the concept of hospitality fits into today's new home sales skill set.  And, what tools might an agent use to consistently enhance the home shopping experience?

Amy's #1 hospitality tip is Express Gratitude. There are lots of new home sales offices out there but this particular home shopper selected yours!  Let them know you are happy they visited and welcome them into your office.

This first visit should be just the beginning of your hospitality touch points. Did you know technology can help you enhance the welcome after the home shopper leaves your office?  Let your home shoppers know you listened and remember their unique reason for the visit.

The percentage of new home sales agents following-up with even a basic Thank You! is very small.

You will stand out with your show of hospitality touchpoints, in other words!

Let's assume you're already recording prospect visits; why not take the extra step and associate a particular area of prospect interest (a floor plan, amenity or an interest in schools)? Have these items setup in advance so you're selecting from a list of "reasons" for the stop at your office!

Then, have a preset series of Thanks for Visiting emails offering a little extra about their particular interest.

It's true; people aren't wild about generic emails.  Set yourself and your community apart from the generic with an informative (and hospitable) follow-up focused on a specific topic.  Think of the possibilities: adding a quick video about an amenity, taking your prospect on a short, cell-phone tour of Plan 2's kitchen!

Wondering how you can become more hospitable with technology? CPS has been providing CRM software to homebuilders for a bit more than 30 years -- we can show you!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

How to: Getting Creative & Adding Social Media to Your Sales/Leasing Centers

Thought-provoking recent Myers Barnes Builder article, Nine Millennial Traits that Impact Home Sales -- and a definite must read for builders/developers throughout the US.

The good news: Millennials are now in prime time for home buying.  They're the right age and only a small percentage of Millennials are homeowners currently -- and many are financially capable!

Builder suggests it isn't tougher to sell new homes to's just different.  And, it's a growing market with tremendous potential; so, put on your seat belts and get ready!

Today's blog is focused on Trait 5: If you can't use social media right, don't use it at all.

Because we think we can help you get social media right with Social Media Wall!

Builder nails how to take advantage of social media with this comment: Be in the conversation!

The Wall takes traditional marketing copy and images and integrates social media into a continuously evolving, ever-changing conversation.  Your content is added to that of home shoppers, home buyers, home owners, vendors.  It can be general: hashtag your community or specific: try an upcoming neighborhood event hashtag.

Curated, of course! You review submitted Tweets and Instagram posts prior to having them display on the Wall.  That lets you keep the conversation focused and suitable!

The Millennial market is here -- get the conversation started with a new set of marketing tools, now, with CPS' Social Media Wall in your sales and leasing offices!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

How to: Build a Construction Team Pipeline

You've probably read the news: the construction industry is facing a severe labor shortage.  And, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us construction workers tend to be older: the median age is now almost 43 years old!

Bringing technology to work on the jobsite!
There are some solid reasons behind these statistics: almost a decade of very slow growth within the industry.

A perhaps larger business issue needs to be addressed, however: how to energize a new generation of workers to consider not only a construction trade -- but the construction business -- as a career path.

And, today's construction team member -- as well as the construction environment -- isn't your father's!

Many of today's senior construction executives started out "swinging a hammer" -- and Millenials and Gen X'ers haven't learned or aren't interested in skilled labor jobs.

At the same time, many schools have pushed skilled trade courses off their schedules -- not enough people are interested and these classes can cost more to produce.

Consider ideas suggested in Dian Zhang's Builder article, Bringing Young Blood to the Construction Labor Force and a few of suggestions, as well:

  • Rebuild the image of construction work -- spread the word that there is a vibrant, well-paying industry looking for all levels of employees.  There are production workers, yes; but also an entire team of workers supporting the home building industry.  It's not just the trades, in other words.  Let your world know there are opportunities at all levels -- and much of the home building world is entrepreneurial in nature. Get involved in trade associations -- as well as business groups.
  • Bring back mentorships and apprenticeships -- those are definitely good ideas.  Build a system within your organization to support your team members in these efforts.  Reward their success bringing in a new team member or mentoring someone just as you would home completions! 
  • Sponsor activities at your local schools and colleges -- show students you are actively using technology in the business, for example. Bring iPads, iPhones, Android devices to schools -- and show them how you schedule, track construction progress, read floor plans -- using today's technology
Here at CPS we've been thrilled when asked to provide our FieldCollaborate software to construction management programs at schools and colleges.  Let us know if we can help you build the pipeline of interested and educated construction professionals!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

How to: Leverage CRM to Improve Your Buyer's Experience

Bob Mirman, in a recent Builder article, noted "customers become anxious when uncertainty flourishes."
Minimize selection anxiety: help your buyers imagine their new kitchen!

A recent Texas A&M study identified a group of "high-emotion events" which included illness, death, marriage, birth -- and home buying/selling!

What can you, as an organization, do to help your buyers through this high-emotion event?  Mirman offers 3 suggestions (and they're summarized in italics) -- and we suggest how to leverage the power of your CRM system to provide easy-to-implement solutions.

Recognize that all buyers will be anxious about their purchase --  Some may be more anxious; for others, this might not be their first rodeo! Why not use your CRM system to not only send a Thank You for Buying email but include a process review highlighting key points and dates? Send it that night! Make sure they have it the very next day -- and keep the unknown at bay.  CPS CRM will help you set-up automated, and customized, emails just like this one!

Identify the touch points that are the most common emotional triggers -- Mirman notes that triggers are those items in the purchase process that have the highest level of uncertainty and anxiety.  You know the major ones: loan docs, loan approvals, design center selections to name a few.  Here's where CRM can help, too!

Put together a visually appealing package of information surrounding the trigger touch points.  Let your buyers know what they'll be selecting at the Design Center ahead of time and send a reminder 3 days before.  They'll be informed and more knowledgeable about the process. You can supplement this information with an interactive touchscreen system highlighting Design Center options, as well. Ask us about SalesTouch option packages!

Introduce your buyers to key staff members involved in their transaction.  Mirman suggests biographical flyers.  Use your CRM system to send these out on a pre-set schedule -- associated with the touchpoint.

CPS has been providing CRM software to homebuilders since 1985; contact us and see how you can put CPS CRM to use relieving your buyer's anxiety!